Following the recent announcements about operational changes happening behind the scenes with the Community, I’m excited to share a preview of the site redesign coming later this year. The Community team, in collaboration with our developer and user experience colleagues, has been working on this redesign to address major issues that have contributed to the broken site experience we have today.
This redesign is the culmination of months of work: processing member feedback, building requirements, multiple rounds of revisions, prototyping, and usability testing to ensure that we are putting our best foot forward.
View this brief video to get a first glimpse of the new design:
At 2017 SAP TechEd events in both Las Vegas and Barcelona, Oliver Kohl and I presented a prototype of the redesigned site. While the new UI was not fully functional yet, the prototype allowed us to demonstrate the four core experiential changes that users can expect:
- Simplified content structure
- Easier content discovery
- Personalized experience
- Better community feel
One of the major challenges that the current site faces is a very flat, wide content structure. With over 4,000 tags on the community, our members have struggled to find the right place to put their content, which, of course makes finding the content nearly impossible.
Not only have we been working on significantly reducing and consolidating tags (See Oliver’s post on the subject), but the new design is built around a much more logical content structure that is ten times smaller than our original tag structure, with the remaining tags rolled up into higher level topics. This change will help you to create a better mental model of where you are in the site at any given time. It will also make it easier to find and create content, and give you a more centralized place to gather with other members who share your interests and follow the same topics as you.
In this new structure, each topic will have its own dedicated topic page. The topic page will have smart content feed with search, filter, and sort capabilities that will help you stay up to date with the activity in that topic area. In addition, you’ll find a list of topic moderators, related resources, featured content, and other related topics that you might be interested in. You’ll also get a quick, at-a-glance view of how many other members are following that topic. Think of this solution as the “spaces” of the future, including all the benefits of gathering together in one place, combined with the ability to cross-tag content to appear in multiple relevant topics.
Users will more easily find other community members who share their interests, due to not only the simplified site structure but also because of our new browse and search community tools. Users who have not yet logged in will immediately see these discovery tools, front and center on the page. Click one of the seven main topic category icons to begin exploring the available topic pages. From there, you can either browse the entire list or begin typing into the search field to reduce the results until you find what you are looking for. On the anonymous homepage, you’ll also find recommended topics and content, Community news, featured content, and more.
Remember, at this point, you’re not even logged in yet! Once you log into the new site, you’ll notice a major difference in how you interact with the Community. You will now have one personalized homepage, tailored to show you the content and activity that is relevant to you and the topics and people you’ve followed.
The first thing you’ll notice is a quick view of your profile information, welcoming you to your own special page. Your new activity and notifications streams will be the centerpiece of this page, with new filtering and sorting capabilities and better content grouping to help you get the most value from these tools. You’ll also see links to the topic pages and people whom you’ve followed, as well as suggestions for other topics and people to follow. Plus, you’ll get all the same great features as the anonymous homepage, including trending content and recent activity, Community news, and featured content.
I want to highlight a few additional features that will appear on every Community page:
- Persistent, complete breadcrumbs to make it easier to navigate throughout the site
- Easy access to common tasks, such as Write a Blog Post and Ask a Question
- One-click access to the new Browse All Topics tool
This is just a taste of the major changes you’ll see in the new site redesign. I know your first question is: “when will this be available?” We haven’t announced a launch date yet, but you can expect to see more details, resources, and communications coming soon to help you prepare and get excited about this change.