Looking at the Lotus e-learning forum tonight I found some interesting ways to navigate messages within the forum. The forum had three navigation tabs, views, search and forum news.
The views navigation tab enables users to view threads in the following ways:
- Date (threaded) - a linear display of threads.
- With excerpt - shows a short excerpt to the message. I liked this navigation feature, as the view enables visitors to scan messages quickly.
- Category - messages are sorted by category.
- Release - messages are sorted by the release of IBM software.
- Date (Flat)
- Author - a list of authors on forum, and their messages.
- Platform - topics sorted by platform.
While the search tab gives the user the ability to conduct a search using
- Sort by
- Word variants
- Fuzzy search
I found the release and platform view feature extremely relevant and useful for a forum about software. While the ability to sort messages by author means you can quickly determine what people have written on the forum.