How can we improve the default home page of Discourse?

Recently, I was browsing through another Discourse site and saw a layout like this:

I thought this was a much more neat way of separating out conversations. You can clearly see broad categories for a mix of things, and you also get a list of the threads with most recent posts (like what we have now).

It would be really cool to do something similar here. As the site is growing, I am frequently using the category selectors more often, but sometimes it feels more tedious than it should be to filter like this. After I saw the above Discourse site layout, I thought doing something similar here would be super helpful.

What do you think? Any idea how we could replicate something like this? Our existing top-level categories would probably be fine to show on a left sidebar like the one shown above.

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Indeed, I’d also like this. Mozilla e.g. has a similar nice layout, which looks much more like “traditional” forum software with many categories:

Not sure this would fit here, because we do have not so strictly separated categories, I guess.

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@sanja @mattdm Any idea on how we can move forward here? I am guessing this requires administrative privileges to dig into.

There is the desktop category page style setting — see this thread. But that seems to only affect the Categories page, not the front home page.

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Ahh. I made the leftmost item in the top menu be Categories, and that did it. Let me know if anyone hates it. :slight_smile:

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Awesome!! This is great. Thanks @mattdm!

I’m wondering now – would an “Announcements” category make sense to add there too? Sort of like announce@lists.fp.o list, except… on Discourse. :slightly_smiling_face: A read-only section like that would be awesome for sharing project news more widely.

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Could we change the default view to categories on the left with latest threads on the right?

I’ve thought about this for the last week or two. I see the same threads for the last month on the right sidebar that Discourse categorized as “top threads”. I’m not sure we are active enough yet for posts to regularly churn. I feel like I’m missing out on new conversations in other parts of the forum and I would notice more if latest replies and topics appeared in the sidebar.

What do you all think? Could we make this change?

@sanja @mattdm What do you think about this?

This cross-post explains my motivation for this change to the default view:

@mattdm @sanja This is how I have another Discourse site set up. It would be great to see this change. It took me two minutes to make on another site:

This seems fine to me. I’ll go ahead and do it.

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And I went ahead and did that. I did leave Bookmarks on the far right — any opinions on that?

The homepage still shows the Top view for me. Is the desktop category page style setting the same?

@mattdm Were you able to look again at this? I am happy to help with this if I have sufficient privileges.

This would still be nice, I cannot find a way to change it in my personal user-specific preferences

@jwf Sorry, I missed that this wasn’t resolved. Changed to Categories and Latest Topics now. (They’re not next to each other in the admin interface here.)

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Thank you, I really appreciate this one! :heart:

@jwf I also suggested this in a recent post, but looks like you thought of it first. :laughing: Great idea!