Getting A Community Redesign Right

January 9, 2020 ,,Comments Off on Getting A Community Redesign Right

I’ve seen too many community redesigns backfire.

This usually happens when it becomes harder for members to scan the latest activity and find what they need.

In the design phase, it’s easy to overlook the impact of a single extra click. It only takes another second after all. But when it’s a single extra click for members who visit a thousand times a year, that’s a thousand more clicks they need to make.

For example, imagine your members are used to seeing a long list of new discussions when they visit the homepage. But now those discussions are behind seemingly-neat categories. Those extra clicks get annoying fast.

Likewise, if you add a large banner above those discussions, include large category icons members must scroll past, force members to complete their login details more frequently, prevent members replying by email, change how search works, or otherwise interrupt their usual flow, members will be upset.

Part of the problem is there are simply too many things your platform can do.

It’s tempting to try and squeeze them all above the fold. But this always does more harm than good.

The better-designed communities (i.e. DataRobot, Kony, ServiceNow, Atlassian, etc..), aren’t the ones with the most features crammed above the fold.

They’re the ones that appreciate the homepage is for scanning and make it easy to search for content and browse the community without interrupting the scanning.

Even well-intentioned additions (i.e. a pop-up onboarding journey) can frustrate newcomers who want to ask a question right now.

Stop thinking about what you can add to your next community redesign and begin thinking about what you can remove (or hide and downsize).

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