Design Ideas: Discussions
Brian D Sheehan
April 06 2011
Discussions List Screen: “Started by” column
Include a “Started by” column
on Discussions screen
Topic Screen: Treatment of Replies (1/2)
• Remove all indentations
• Left-align all messages
Topic Screen: Treatment of Replies (2/2)
• Replies should not be directed
specifically towards a poster (e.g., “Reply
to Stuart,” “Reply to Mark,” etc.) — rather,
all replies should be directed to the
discussion thread in general.
• When a reply is posted, it should
automatically be assigned as the last
message in the thread.
• Meaning, by default, all messages should
appear in ascending order of date (original
post first and most recent post last).
• To address navigation issues that arise
from long threads, I propose a “Top”
button (see slide 6) and a page navigation
system (see slide 7).
Topic Screen: Navigation (1/3)
New buttons at the top and bottom of each discussion thread:
At the top of a thread:
Static buttons bookending all threads
At the bottom of a thread:
See next slide for description
Breadcrumb discussion navigation
Topic Screen: Navigation (2/3)
At the bottom of each message, include the following buttons:
• Top: User directed to top of the screen (so that he/she can view either original post [if on page 1] or
first post on active page).
• Reply: Adds a reply to the thread – same as “Add reply” button at top and bottom of thread.
• Edit: Edits the message — enabled for 15 minutes after a new post/reply.
• Delete: Deletes the message — only enabled for message owner and moderator.
Topic Screen: Navigation (3/3)
Presently (and to my knowledge) there is no system
in place to handle extremely long threads. This may
not be a problem now, but down the road
Discussions could feasibly contain 100+ posts.
In order to address this, I suggest that we set a
maximum number of posts per page and implement
a page navigation feature similar to the graphic
shown here.
Note that the total number of pages is conveyed and
the drop-down arrow enables a user to jump to a
specific page.

Design Ideas: Discussions - Documentation Samples: Brian D