Need feedback on forum categorization

chris

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#1
One of the changes implemented over the past few months was to create a logical tree of topics. This meant that a number of categories were no longer at the top level of the forum. For example, you have to click on iPhone to reveal iPhone 5, iPhone 4, etc. We also moved the General Discussion into Archives. The hope was that we'd direct traffic to the appropriate categories. In theory, I think this works. However, it also makes it a bit cumbersome due to the digging.

I'm reconsidering the move and wanted your feedback? Do you want your categories to be top-level? Don't mind the vertical scrolling when compared to the sub-categories that require drilling down?

Let me know your feedback.
 

acosmichippo

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#2
It is really difficult to locate a particular forum anymore (the iTunes one comes to mind). In my opinion, there are just too many forums and sub-forums and sub-sub-forums.

It would be nice to at least have a list of sub-sub-forums for each group on the index page.
 

acosmichippo

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#3
Honestly, if it were up to me, I'd just combine all iPhone forums together, all iPod forums together, all iPad forums together, all Mac forums together, etc. Or maybe have a separate one for the rumors of next-gen models.

I mean eventually you'll have to unless you want 10 different iPhone forums in a few years.

I'm sure you don't really want to copy another forum, but the MacRumors forum seems much better organized to me. It's just a good reference for how I'd personally do it.
 

Kadelic

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#5
I tend to use the app a lot and typically check the Favorites tab (subscribed) then browse through the Latest tab (What's New). Sometimes I'll want to track down a thread I saw in the app when I get home to my Mac but can't find the sub-forum. For instance, where are the @ AT&T and @ Bluetooth sub-forums that show up as categories in the app?
 

chris

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#6
I tend to use the app a lot and typically check the Favorites tab (subscribed) then browse through the Latest tab (What's New). Sometimes I'll want to track down a thread I saw in the app when I get home to my Mac but can't find the sub-forum. For instance, where are the @ AT&T and @ Bluetooth sub-forums that show up as categories in the app?
A lot of things that were either low traffic categories or featured topics that could be discussed in other categories were dropped in the Archives, aka the dead zone.
 

chris

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#9
I've gone through the layout like a bull in a china shop. There are a few things that I'm going to condense and will give consideration to Hippo's singular iPhone forum.

Right now, the iPhone and iPad forum categories are one stop shops for those platforms. Hardware, Apps, Wallpapers -- all accessible when entering the root category.
 

iphonewarrior

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#11
I'm going to guess No. I think people prefer scrolling vs digging. I also think the tree-like layout makes it more difficult to navigate on the iPhone.
Digging makes no sense at all when a user(s), 99% of the time wants a fast answer. The quick navigation menu gives you an overview of every forum and sub-forum within eiC. Another suggestion might be to make this not so obvious search feature more visible. I wasn't aware of it at first, but I was pleasantly impressed when I discovered it.
 

chris

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#12
Digging makes no sense at all when a user(s), 99% of the time wants a fast answer. The quick navigation menu gives you an overview of every forum and sub-forum within eiC. Another suggestion might be to make this not so obvious search feature more visible. I wasn't aware of it at first, but I was pleasantly impressed when I discovered it.
I'll certainly consider how I can make it more accessible.

I've done some breaking out of sub-categories, to avoid some of the drilling down. I've also condensed some of the repetitive 'cases' and 'accessories' forums. Sites are awfuly aggressive when trying to game Google, thus part of the reason we have a laundry list of categories. Visitors and members are the lifeblood of any forum, but they are also served up by search engines. Makes for a delicate balance. It's similar to ads. I hate them, but they keep the site running. I remove them for members, which helps keep that balance.

As for the big change of migrating all the iPhone models into one, that's still something I'm considering. The addition of forum prefixes might just be the tool I need to make that happen. This way, people could post the model relative to the question.

The forum developers have offered up this preview to give you an idea.

Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 10.18.33.png
 

acosmichippo

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#15
That prefix thing could help. I just think it's unnecessary to have one forum dedicated to each iPhone model, iPad model, etc. they all pretty much work the same way. But I guess I understand if your goal is to get "iPhone 3GS" google hits.
 

chris

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#16
That prefix thing could help. I just think it's unnecessary to have one forum dedicated to each iPhone model, iPad model, etc. they all pretty much work the same way. But I guess I understand if your goal is to get "iPhone 3GS" google hits.
I'm doing some research into how valuable that may or may not be... When I combine my findings with the new thread prefix stuff coming by the end of the summer (as per the dev), this would be a nice move. I've always wanted it that way, but fighting to keep eiC at the top of the search engines too. People are ruthless when it comes to domains and keyword gaming.
 

Zanthe

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#18
Not a fan of so many sub forums (Xenforo makes it kind of cumbersome) where you have to click, click and click to find a forum you're actually looking for.

Not a big deal though. Whatever works for the masses is works for me.
 

chris

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#19
Following up on this discussion, I wanted to discuss and gather feedback on "thread prefixes".

I'm still mulling over the idea of moving iPhone/iPad devices to their own central forum. For example, that would mean the removal of iPad 2, iPad 3 and and future iPad model forums. With the introduction of thread prefixes, my thought was to outfit those with the model name. If you were in the iPad forum, you could use the thread prefix for iPad 2 if your question was related to the iPad 2.

Here's where I'd like your feedback.

Is there a better way to utilize these thread prefixes?

People can use the thread title to include the model, if they feel it's specifically relative to that model. I wonder what percentage of iPad discussions relate to all models? If that's the case, then how can we use thread prefixes to better equip both readers, those looking to help out and the OP?

All feedback is greatly appreciated.

 

acosmichippo

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#20
My guess is most people won't bother to use them. But that's without seeing how it's implemented on the thread creation page.