Redesigning the default category page

There’s been a fair bit of this now and I’m not sure it can all be dismissed as “fear of the new”

The new hybrid view is great, but I think a standalone Categories view is still needed. After all, there’s still a standalone Latest view isn’t there?


I’m thinking rather than redesigning the Category page it might be nice to offer “hybrid” as an optional “home” page.

Granted, I’m familiar with the page’s layout, and to me the horizontal rules tie in each of the category’s Pinned and latest topics to the corresponding category.

Perhaps what might confuse newer members is the use of the word “Latest” as the column header when it more accurately is “a few of the latest topics for the category to its left”.


Sorry for joining the discussion late, but i couldnt seem to find discussion on the mobile view. Currently we use categories view, because we think it provides a great mix of entry to the categories and featured topics. However, on mobile, the interepersing of categories and then 5 topics, starts getting overbore. I wish we could look at optimizing the mobile experience.

Some ideas

  • offer option to choose different default screen for mobile
  • introduce a featured category view for mobile with a link to view all
  • offer option to group featured topics at the end of all categories
  • offer option to show reduced number of topics on mobile vs desktop

This is just brainstorming, and not sure if we should have a separate topic on how to handle the home screen for mobile devices

And I’d still love to see how we can get a loading Image appear on mobile devices the moment they connect with the server :slight_smile:

The current plan is for @zogstrip to urgently add a site setting for “category page style”:

  • Default - the new default with the 50/50 view
  • Classic - for old default
  • Categories Only: for categories only without listing topics.

We are already using different styles on mobile vs desktop so we will have settings to pick your poison for desktop vs mobile.

Longer terms the work on “Themes” becomes very strategic here. Cause my theme would ship my particular quirky view of how this page should look.

The category page is very divisive. Something that seems like an enormous improvement to some is a huge step backwards for others. Part of the issue is that Cheese Shall Never Be Moved. Another part of the issue is that some are looking for a directory and other users want a home page.

We will get there, but our #1 priority is to get a setting in place that allows the sites that want the old look to keep the old look, we are practically blocked from deploying quite a few sites till we have this in place, so it will happen really quick.


To be clear, moving the category counts over to the left as we have already helps a lot in unifying category info, as well as new and unread counts per category which now go in the same place. In retrospect I don’t know why we had the category counts way over on the right!

It also conveniently makes the rightmost column completely independent. So what the site setting will determine is the contents of the rightmost column:

  • default → latest topics
  • classic → latest topics for each category
  • categories only → nothing

The desktop_category_page_style is now in

I changed the name of the style a bit

  • Default → “Categories and Latest Topics”
  • Classic → “Categories with Featured Topics”
  • “Categories Only” stayed the same.

Liking the new default category page very much, as do my colleagues. Nice work! :rocket:


How did you reposition New Unread and Top Near the Latest ?

It’s the Top Menu setting. Here’s mine:

EDIT: Hang on, you mean in my image? It’s just a mockup. I used photoshop :slight_smile:

I meant the image , you have done some great per category view optimization on your forum

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On mobile, the default category page is now pretty boring. Is there a way to display the traditional latest view as homepage on mobile, and the new categories/latest view on desktop?

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You can cancel the display none for the description on mobile :

.category-list-item .category-description {
    display: inline;

or display block.

I did that on my forum, and I think it looks pretty ok on mobile.

That is s regression, we will get it fixed


I love the new 50/50 view. I think it is a huge improvement. Thank you!
It seems as if the latest column shows the person who started the thread. Is it possible to display the top 5 users like the latest view?

Here is a visualization:

Not planned; we re-used the mobile layout there.

Thanks for the quick reply. I like the current look-- I’m just thinking that it could be helpful to display more than just the first first person who posted. I understand these “minor” changes take a huge amount of time so I’ll just leave it at that and say thanks for the big update!

EDIT: Is there a setting that I’m not seeing? On my site the latest user isn’t displayed. . . just the first poster. I’d be good with that.

You will need to update via /admin/upgrade to see the latest 1.7 beta changes.

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I defintely would prefer this option

I really like the new categories/latest view but not willing to give up the traditional latest view as the default because of the impact to mobile users.

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The more time passes the more it becomes apparent this view is very much a user preference.

When I go to a Discourse site, any Discourse site, all I want to see is the latest page, if I really need to orientate myself I will either use the hamburger or dip into the categories page for a moment. But as a landing page “categories” just does not work for me.

If we can wrangle a way to have some user control here I would be more open to opening the door for more obscure site defaults like (latest on mobile and categories on desktop), but would prefer to wait on that till we have some way of allowing user control.


For me, when I go to a new forum I like to go to Categories to see “what do they have” but after that I’m more interested in Latest to see “what is being discussed”

I like how the “been away for a while, redirect to Top” works.

Might it be possible to have a “new, redirect to Categories” type of thing if that might work?

I usually simply add Latest to my browser bookmarks and open from there, but apparently not all members use their browsers bookmarks.