How do I decide which sections should appear in Sidebar?

Hey :wave: this is my first time asking a question on meta, hope I’m in the right category.

My employer thinks I should remove the categories, direct messages, personal chat and channels sections from the sidebar as he deems them redundant. (He likes accessing the categories from the home page, says the extra click is worth it because pages are less cluttered. He doesn’t see the point of fast access to tags and likes accessing discussions from the bubble on the top right).

I’m very new to forum administration and UX in general. Here are my two questions :

  1. What are the questions I should ask myself when determining what gets to be in the sidebar or not?
  2. What are the pros of accessing Categories and Tags and chats from the sidebar?

Thanks for your time.


The answer is likely depends on the community and what usage patterns you expect. If you feel you like you’re able to safely experiment, you can try different things and open up a channel with your users to share their feedback (e.g. a topic in site feedback). Make a change, ask for feedback, iterate.

It sounds like all they want is the main section?

Do others who use the site have opinions? Maybe it’s worth reaching out to a few people to ask them whether they currently use any of those sections?

If it’s just one person who feels things are more cluttered than necessary, perhaps they want to collapse the sidebar completely most of the time, which they can do by clicking the hamburger icon in the upper left. If everyone feels the same way, perhaps it does make sense to hide those other sections in some fashion.

There is also the option to set the navigation menu site setting to header dropdown instead of sidebar, that may be worth trying out.

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