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Site navigation suggestion

  1. Feb 22, 2005 #1

    hypnagogue

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    At the top of every page, there is a useful set of breadcrumb navigation links, and I use it often. (eg "Physics Help and Math Help - Physics Forums > PF Community > Physics Forum Feedback & Announcements ....... Post New Thread" is the relevant linking structure I see as I write this post.) At the bottom of every thread page, though, there are only two navigation links, and neither seem particularly useful, considering how users are likely to navigate the site. They are "Previous Thread" and "Next Thread." Certainly, in my case at least, I do not scroll through threads in a forum one by one, in a linear fashion. Normally I'll just press the "back" button on my browswer to view the current forum index, but in cases where I view many pages of a thread in succession, the back button is cumbersome to use. However, the links at the bottom of the thread page are not useful either, so I have to scroll back to the top of the page (often this is quite a ways!) to use the breadcrumb links.

    I think it'd be a lot more convenient if we could just reproduce the breadcrumb links at the bottom of every thread page, immediately following the last post of a thread. This would provide users with instant access to most immediately relevant parts of the site that they would be likely to want to view upon finishing a long thread. I don't know if carrying out this suggestion would involve a hack that would be a nuisance in itself to implement, but if it's not too much trouble, I think this modification would make forum browsing easier and more convenient for everyone.
     
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  3. Feb 22, 2005 #2

    hypnagogue

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    To be technically accurate, there is a link to the main PF page, and to the top of the current page, at the very bottom of every page. But to get to these links, one still has to scroll down a ways, past the quick reply box and past the space reserved for posting rules. A more extensive linking structure like the header breadcrumb links, immediately following the last post of a thread (ie before the 'quick reply' box, replacing the "Previous Thread" and "Next Thread" links) would still be a big improvement IMO.
     
  4. Feb 22, 2005 #3
    Thanks for the suggestion hypnagogue. Personally it takes me more time clicking a link than using the scrollbar, especially a mouse with a scroll button. Another thing is the bottom of the site is already kind of a mish mash of things and adding to it will just add to the clutter IMO. :smile:
     
  5. Feb 22, 2005 #4

    hypnagogue

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    How can it take you less time to scroll and then click a link than it does to not scroll and click a link? :tongue2: No matter where you scroll to, you'll have to click a link eventually.

    I hear you about the clutter, but IMO whatever clutter would be added would be justified by the improved navigation design. Besides, it wouldn't be all that much clutter anyway. The breadcrumb links would just replace the already existing 'previous' and 'next' links, taking up significantly more horizontal screen space, but only one or (at most) two extra lines of vertical space. Additionally, the components that accompany the breadcrumb links at the top of the page-- toolbar, PM link, etc.-- need not be reproduced, which would cut down considerably on any potential clutter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  6. Feb 22, 2005 #5

    Moonbear

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    Hmm...on the one hand, I don't usually have much of a problem just quickly dragging the scroll bar back to the top to get to those breadcrumbs. (Is that what they're really called, or is that a hypnagogue-ism? Either way, I like the term.) On the other hand, I have been blissfully ignorant of the "<<Previous Thread | Next Thread>>" links until getting to the bottom of this thread, so I know I haven't been using them, or even noticing them. I agree, I don't typically read the forum in any particular order, but am more inclined to pick and choose threads.

    Using the back button on my browser isn't the best option, though I use it often when I get to the bottom of a thread with lots of long posts (like those found in Philosophy where it seems everyone feels obligated to use up the maximum number of characters allowed per post). When I use the back button, I don't get a refreshed page to quickly identify titles of threads with new posts (bold text) from those I've already read (plain text).

    If you don't want to add more breadcrumbs under the last post on a page, another alternative would be to make the link in the "Forum Jump" dropdown menu active for the current forum to bring you back to the index for that forum. I use the drop down menu often, but it doesn't work to get to the index of the forum you're already in, even though the forum name is automatically listed as the selected menu choice, so all one would need to do is click "Go."

    I'm not sure if hypnagogue is interested in getting elsewhere using breadcrumbs. For my own uses, just getting back to the index page makes me happy.
     
  7. Feb 23, 2005 #6
    The Home key brings one to the top of a page in IE. [ALT] left-arrow can be pressed rapidly in succession to navigate back as many pages. If you use your pointing device to navigate more than you use your keyboard to navigate, hypnagogue, I would suggest that you may be relying on your pointing device too much.
     
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