You might have noticed the search bar integration in the Harmony theme. Similar to Persona, the search bar is omni-present, although it is in a sidebar configuration unlike Persona's top bar (there is no top bar in Harmony as per design spec) 👇
@vladstudio and @baris recently turned their attention to the search page as another potential improvement. The main complaint was that it was difficult to use effectively, as we had a large form hidden via an expanding drawer. The ability to filter through search results was functionally complete, but the user experience was lacking.
The main interface issue I wanted to fix in Search page is that:
the advanced controls are hidden by default;
when opened, they jump at me all at once and occupy the entire screen.
I wanted to make the following changes:
make all controls visible by default;
make them more “gradual”, so that each individual filter takes as little space as possible.
My assumptions were that:
majority of users will glance through the controls and discover them, but not use;
those who do use advanced controls, will not use all of them, only a couple.
So I tried to optimize for these assumptions.
Harmony was updated with a completely re-designed search results page, that puts the content front-and-center while ensuring that you can see each filter applied, at-a-glance.
While the content creation and consumption aspects of forums are our primary aims with NodeBB (and the Harmony theme as well), archival is an oft-overlooked benefit as well.
The ability to retain and later find relevant content is paramount to the continued existence of forum-based communities, and it is one that is minimized or outright hidden from the end user on social media.
Do a web search on any topic under the sun, and more often than not, you'll find a forum topic with a detailed discussion about it — not a Facebook post, not a Twitter thread, not an Instagram reel.
Social media is ephemeral, forums are not. Let's keep it that way 😉
What an Admin specifies as home page (site wide)
What a user specifies as home page
With respect to my user experience here:
The Home icon button and categories button are no longer doing the same thing.
Thus my suggestion to add in a dedicated HOME button (with bells and whistles) to carrying out the same duty as the brand/anchor and give it more features.
Another why is because again the harmony theme brand/anchor get's disappeared too fast and the user loses their home button based on their preference, btw I've only looked up the element name in inspector, so maybe anchors my point better! ⚓
Anchor / Home button... we're almost there! ⚓
This nav has needed more rigorous consideration, and so this topic! 🛫
The navigation experience has IMHO moved in a more positive direction.
As for whether the top bar needs to be floating, that I think @baris and I are of two minds about 😄
I think there doesn't even need to be a floating top bar at all...
Right, grand so let's find a way to get rid of it (more back to this point will follow), here is one reason why:
That's a whole topic listing used up by the toolbar!
... but I have a heavy emphasis on promoting the "reading" aspect of Harmony/NodeBB. This is why Baris added the "sticky toolbar" theme option 😉
I need to test out that stick y tool bar, bu on the other point, I'm not totally following how this manifests, exactly what do you mean about the "reading emphasis" - I will say the font and formatting is much improved, some feedback on that later, but is that what you mean?