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Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

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Q&A Taking our design to the next level: feedback wanted

20 answers  ·  posted over 1 year ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity over 1 year ago by General Sebast1an‭

Question discussion design
#1: Initial revision by user avatar Monica Cellio‭ · 2021-06-09T00:23:40Z (over 1 year ago)
Taking our design to the next level: feedback wanted
Our team has been exploring some ideas to improve Codidact's design.  We've wanted to improve the visual design for a while, and we also have a lot of other usability changes we'd like to make.  We want visual design and function to complement each other, creating a more intuitive and pleasant experience for our community members and visitors.  Everything's interconnected, which has made it hard to *just do that one thing now*, so our design team has been working on a mockup that shows several ideas together.  We'd like your feedback.

We're starting with the "post list", the list of (usually) questions on the main page of a community or any of its categories.  By moving a few things around and changing the visual emphasis of certain elements, we think this new design is easier to scan and easier to interact with, whether you're looking at a list of questions or a list of recipes or a community's blog.  **[Please check out a live mockup](https://mattjbrent.github.io/#).**  Note that the *design* is live but *data* is static, not all buttons do something (but they hint at what you'd see), and you can't really go to other pages.

![screenshot](https://meta.codidact.com/uploads/PjLTEcY6Wuuo7SAsSYzvVEmY)

**Color** is used more sparingly in this design, with the eye drawn to unanswered questions and the "ask" button (which is now in line with the list of questions rather than all the way to the right).  The design supports **header banners** beyond just the logo, which we think will allow communities to express more of their identity.  That orange stripe is a placeholder, to be replaced with whatever each community wants to use to convey itself visually.

The structure of **categories** -- a row showing the categories, description and category-specific controls below those tabs, post list below that -- is preserved with some tweaks.  As you can see, we've moved the voting information to the right and decreased the size of the numbers.  Both the numbers (raw data) and the score scale are shown, supporting different modes of taking in information.  For some people, the "temperature" bar is the best way to convey information.  For those who want a closer look, the raw numbers are still there.  We'll keep the tooltips we have now (or improve them); we're not taking away guidance.

**Tags** are styled differently in an effort to *be present and visible* without necessarily being *in your face*.   We've given titles a little more breathing room, but we think this still allows for a reasonable number of questions to be shown together. 

The **"expand" control** is new; it allows you to see a quick summary of the page (in a pop-out modal) from right there on the post list.  It'll show you the opening lines of the question and a summary of answers, sort of like the table of contents that's available on question pages.  (That TOC part isn't there in the mockup now.)  For posts that aren't questions, like blog posts, it'll still show the opening lines.

**Sorts, filters, and search** move into the right column to be "closer" to the things being sorted/filtered/searched.  Eventually we envision real user-defined filters, so you can define something that shows you only questions in these tags with fewer than N answers, or posts in all categories meeting some other criteria, or only unanswered questions, or other things yet to be thought of.  We haven't designed this filtering system yet (and we'll be asking for your input on what you'd like to have before we do so), but this is where it would plug in and what it could look like.  Filters are kind of like named searches, so it made sense to us for search and filters to be together on the page.  We think the current sorts (Activity, Votes, etc) probably fit in here too, though we grant that filters (restrict what you show) and sorts (show the same things in different orders) are not quite the same thing.

This design doesn't show the rest of the right column, which we'd like to review separately.  For communities that have an important notice (particularly relevant for certain professions), this notice will remain prominent at the top of the column.  Other stuff, like featured posts, ads, selected questions, the chat and advertising links, and so on -- that stuff's all subject to more review later, and ultimately we think **communities should decide what shows up there**.  We're also hoping to use that space sometimes for **contextual information** -- for example, formatting help when you're creating or editing a post.

The design is responsive; try changing your window size to see how it looks for different form factors.

We've been tossing around low-end sketches (Paintbrush is my friend...) with circles and arrows and comments like "clicking here does X".  We'd like to thank [Matt Brent](https://meta.codidact.com/users/53073) for turning those vague ideas and his own design experience into a real design that we can now bring to the community for feedback before writing code.

Why are we spending effort on a new design when we have a design that works fine now?  Partly to visually distinguish ourselves even more, partly to have a solid foundation for all the things we want to add that were never thought of when the original QPixel code was being written, and partly to empower our communities to customize their presentation along with their content.  We think this design helps to highlight the things that are different (we think better) about Codidact.  We want communities to be able to build their dreams and we want visitors to see what is possible, what makes it worth looking around.

Please check out the mockup and use answers here to tell us what you like and where you see issues or have suggestions.  We want your feedback and constructive criticism so we can all work together to build an even better Codidact.