We have been building some prototypes for improving the usability of the XPage discussion template based on feedback we received on this site and direct from users.

Its really important to get feedback on this, so we know if we are heading in the right or wrong direction. Its a prototype right now and no guarantees it will be adopted, and I will put up a demo soon. So if you have anything negative or positive on these approaches - we really really want to hear. I will be adding a second post with some videos.

So one of the first things was to increase what the user can see in the main discussion/topic view.

Basically we have collapsed the responses to show more topics in one go, together with reclaiming some of the space the previous "high" topic rows used up. We then have the ability to expand / collapse on individual topics and a sticky Expand/Collapse all button.

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The second area we looked at was when responding to topics. It was felt that as soon as you respond you need to be reminded to what you are responding to. So we created a topic page that shows every response which you will see no matter which response you view, and it also indicates where you entered the response hierachy. In addition, you can reply to any part of the conversation and the reply box (rich text editor) is positioned inline to that entry for easy responding.

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