Microsoft Answers Post Page Optimizations

Product design, User experience, Illustration

Project Overview

At times, clients ask us to focus ideation within specific areas instead of completely redesigning a page or feature. One such project involved revisions to the post pages for the Microsoft Answers community forum. The team came to us with several ideas for additional elements to help address some challenges with bounce rate, ease in finding similar posts within the forum, and increasing the number of posts users see during each visit. Redesigning the layout of user generated content and replies was out of scope for this effort, but our team provided guidance on how to incorporate new elements into the existing page. We created multiple options, reviewed the pros and cons of each design, and landed on an approach the team was excited to build and test.

Graphic shows two devices, a phone and a desktop, displaying the same content.

Exploring options

By imitating a specific post, our team did a content analysis to determine how we should scope searches. We produced multiple variations showing ways to present the new search field, increase viability of which forum and category the post resides in, highlight key metadata like the post type, and bring related and recent posts to the surface.

Graphic shows four thumbnails depicting various layout options of the same content.

Icon sourcing

Microsoft maintains an icon library with over 5,400 glyphs. Our team presented several options to represent each of three post types on Answers. When there are multiple choices for each icon, we walk through the visual metaphor, discuss potential challenges, and review the icons within the context of the user interface to help the team make an informed decision.

Image of three icons; questions, discussions, and articles.

Developer documentation

To support the engineering team in building the design, we provided detailed redline specifications to illustrate the sizes, spacing, color, and typography of the new elements in the desktop and mobile site designs. We also provided feedback on early coded implementations to ensure the intended design was delivered to customers.

Image shows redlined desktop layout.

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