Redesigning the default category page

Not going into discussion about the problems inherent with over-categorizing I’m wondering if a petition might help?

That is, areas of Discourse have been “virtual DOM-ized”

AFAICT making the change is not trivial and requires rounds of patching and polishing.

But it has been done when doing so resulted in very substantial performance improvements.
That is, it was worth doing.

AFAIK the Categories list page does not have a performance issue.

Being VDOM allows for different sections of the DOM to be worked with via “widgets”

I think if other areas of Discourse, such as the Category page could be “widget friendly” it could help.
Even if not fully widgetized, if there was (is?) a way for plugins to get a foot-in-the-door it would be a lot better than over-riding templates.

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We gotta do something here, I think our current category page design is … punishing. The NodeBB default is not bad:

It’s a little odd in that the right column is the last post in each category, whereas I think the right column should be a chronological list of updated topics. I guess they have the four most recent topics at the top, which seems… too prominent.


I’d love to use a “Hybrid” view as the default homepage. Latest is best for old hands, but we have Categories by default so that newbies can orient themselves.

Of course, Categories shows the most recent posts in each category, but it’s completely evenly spread. A single quiet category shows just as many posts as a busy multi-subcategorised category.

The two column solution seems obvious.

(I’m sure this can be improved)

It’s not a bad idea to use only colors there since the “key” to the colors is literally on the same screen. I don’t know that I’d include avatars on this page though.


Heck, why not go all the way :slight_smile:

(I can think of some reasons)


@zogstrip will work on revamping the default categories page this week. So far here’s what we have:

  • stick to one date range for topic count in the category (week, or month, depending on which has enough data)

  • use the category color chip in the latest column to identify which category each topic is

  • possibly show the date of last reply in a category, under the 9/week or 12/month?

  • try to re-use one of our existing topic list renderers for the Latest column (maybe mobile topic list would fit there?) – this is literally the same logic as the /latest page in this column


Might it be wise to call this a new “Home” page so that people can continue using the “Legacy” categories page if that’s what they like?

I really don’t like it.

For new users that line have no-sense and I saw a lot of forums that are using the same color for the category and sub-categories or only for sub-categories

See: (colors are similar for most categories)
Codecademy Forums

For old users in those forums is impossible understand the subcategories (for iunctis forum I think that they can’t distinguish most of the categories too).

I prefer if the categories and sub-categories are displayed like the tags are in Latest (under the title) with some size adjustment
ONLY for the category page:

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I agree with trash here, I feel the chip add lots of visual noise and confusion especially if it shows up on two columns, would far prefer to use the proper category styling on latest list there.


Probably fine, I am saying we should re-use a renderer there rather than creating a new one.

###Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning

  • The use of color can enhance comprehension, but do not use color alone to convey information. Be especially cautious of red/green color combinations.
  • Make sure that color contrast is strong, especially between text and background.


Ok, the first pass is now live. Let me know what you think!


<3 at first sight :slight_smile:

PS: that should so be a shortcut for :heart:

perhaps in the end of latest a link to “more latest topics”

also … can you do a few screens on how the looks if you only have 3 categories and how it looks if you have 200 ?


There’s a new site setting categories topics which you can use to tweak the number of topics you want to show on this page.


Oh yes this is a great idea!

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The list should end with Show More, which just goes to the Latest view (autoscrolled to that point in the list, of course!) - EDIT, I see we are surrounded by Great Minds :smiley:


This is great though, regardless of any bikeshedding.

I think this is important. The legacy view is useful in its own way and I suspect you’ll get some backlash if this new hybrid view replaces it.


Will there be a setting to switch the left/right columns? For instance, I’d try them vice-versa.

(just an idea) Also, when the “Latest” column is shown on the left, the auto-paging could be added as well, so that users can just keep scrolling down until they get interested in something. In this case, I’d say the page would look like a list of the Latest topics with a “table of content” floated to the right-top corner, e.g. like in some wikis.

Not a bad idea, but some sites have large images for their category definitions.

@zogstrip should the “Latest” column show new, unread, etc indicators that are specific to the current logged in user?


Really good, I like it very much :+1:

Is it possible make avatars a little smaller, something like 32x32 instead 45x45? When I see the new category page my eyes go to avatars immediately.
I think the categories and the titles are the most important things in that page.

(Can’t stop to fix avatars. It’s a new drug!)