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Invision Community Blog


Our take on managing successful online communities

Matt
 

New: Fluid Forum View

This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.

When you have a diverse range of topics within your community, it makes good sense to separate topics within forums and categories. This will ensure that the viewer can find relevant content by scanning the list of forums first.

If you have a more focused community with fewer forums, presenting your community with a list of them can be daunting. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media.

Fluid forum view allows your visitors to get right to the meat of your community; the topics.

A fan site for a band is a good example of a community that will benefit with fluid view. There will likely be forums for album reviews, tour dates, general discussion and so on. Even though there are many forums, the common topic is the band. This makes fluid view ideal as your members can see all those related topics in one view. If your members wanted more specific topics, they could select a single forum to view.

Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.

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The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.

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Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working.

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You will notice a "grid" option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for your members to choose, if the administrator permits it.

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You have full control over the display options. This screenshot shows that the control panel option to choose the default view. There is also an option to control which views your members can select. You may also decide to not allow your members to switch views at all. This will ensure that they all use the view you choose.

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You may have spotted that forum names have a colored background in some screenshots. We added the ability to define a feature color per forum. This feature color helps the forum stand out in a more visual way. This is especially useful when you select many forums in a single view.

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This feature color also works on the table view.

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We added a feature color hint to topic view to enforce the association between the forum and its color.

 

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This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don't lose your place when you go back to the listing.

The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for your audience. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. Your members will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page.

We hope that fluid view is an asset to your community and your members enjoy this new functionality.

Technical notes.
The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.

 


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This is actually a really interesting feature. However,

Quote

Guests are not permitted to change between views.

I do think it would be good to allow them to change views, and have it stored in a cookie, just like guests can change theme, language and activity stream view.

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51 minutes ago, Janiszewski said:

Theme designers will have one more thing to customization :rofl:

I feel that the prices of the custom themes will increase :ph34r:

I do not think that's a concern as the Fluid view, though a new way of browsing, is showing the standard topic list view when doing so. The Grid view already existed in 4.0 - we just moved the setting to enable it.

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5 minutes ago, Charles said:

I do not think that's a concern as the Fluid view, though a new way of browsing, is showing the standard topic list view when doing so. The Grid view already existed in 4.0 - we just moved the setting to enable it.

I'm talking about projects with advanced graphics :sorcerer:

like this I created:

ss.thumb.jpg.17d49b2955229c5b55144c3fc0c26274.jpg

when I created a Custom IPS 4 Theme for customer

I didn't to act on the grid mode because customers didn't need it

but now this option will be available for users and I will need to adjust in the next works >_< and it will be extra work

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9 minutes ago, Charles said:

Only if you choose to :) You can shut if off in AdminCP. It's covered in the article.

ofcourse I know that, I read the whole article. I provide only themes and I don't interfere to client ACP and Community 

but when customer found that options in 4.2, in this case I will need to customize that 

Edited by Janiszewski

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Ok this seems like exactly what I wanted. Blown away. But also concerned about how many changes are coming now :o I have a lot of custom stuff hehe... this could take time....

Shame I can not get wamp set up with ips... I fail every time.... bah something link me a way to set up a testing server / localhost with instructions if yall have one. Least then I might have a chance :thumbsup:

Also you say:

Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working.

So if I can permit then I can also choose not too right?

MORE IMPORTANTLY! HOW WILL SELECTION BE DONE VIA MOBILE?? I would suggest if it is not this way already that the forum view show a dropdown above forums similar to when tabs are condensed? to give somewhat same functionality as sidebar to mobile?

or is that too much?

Edited by Netherlord

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56 minutes ago, Netherlord said:

Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working.

So if I can permit then I can also choose not too right?

Yes, read the article above and you will see settings explained.

44 minutes ago, Netherlord said:

As well as how will adding a topic work now?

Same as it does now but with a selector if you have more than one forum.

54 minutes ago, Donkerrood said:

Could you set the fluid view as your homepage?

Yes, if you set it as default.

54 minutes ago, Donkerrood said:

And can you show adverts after every x topics?

Not now but not a bad idea :)

10 minutes ago, Edward Shephard said:

What happens if you don't have the sidebar enabled on the default view.  Will it appear with the filters if you you switch to the new fluid view and then disappear again if you switch back?

Yes

2 hours ago, Joel R said:

Pinned topics still appear at top of list?

Changing forums count as new page for Google Analytics?

Do prefix tags still show in fluid view? 

Forum color works well with custom icon? 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Icon replaces the color on the table view.

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This is a great feature!  As someone who is preparing a couple of graphics-rich themes purchased from @ehren. at IPSFocus, I think the fluid view could make a site experience much nicer for someone browsing a graphics-rich homepage on weaker hardware.  That, and it's sexy as.

Awesome idea!

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So about the custom forum colours.  If you have a custom forums icon, and, as @Charles said,

11 hours ago, Charles said:

Icon replaces the color on the table view.

it isn't clear to me how the custom colour would work.  I have custom forum icons for all my forums, and it looks like in that case it would be useless to set colours, because then a specific post in forum X would have a colour bar which tags it as a post in forum X, but when viewing forum X in a category listing you wouldn't actually see a forums colour.  Or am I missing something?

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