Design Changes Part 1

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

lithosphere_newlogo.jpgThe new Lithosphere design is just weeks away!


This will be the first major change to the Lithosphere design since we launched the community less than a year ago, and we all know how much everybody loves change. Smiley Wink So I want to give everyone a brief orientation to things you should expect to see that are different.


First, let me tell everyone that a lot of thought and effort was spent really trying to push the envelope of community design and demonstrate what can be done with the new tools available in the platform. But by no means should we consider this a finished product! Our vision has always been that the Lithosphere should shift over time as we achieve some of our of objectives and start to focus on others. In many ways, a big part of the new platform introduced in the Winter '09 release is increased flexibility in what can be done, and we fully intent to take advantage of that over time! But as we experiment, we will be looking to all of you Lithospherians to provide us with the feedback we need so we can improve!


So with that in mind, here is the first few in a series on the upcoming changes to the site:


New main page & tabs

Today we have 3 main areas of the community: Learn (blogs), Discuss (forums) and Suggest (ideas). On the new site, each of these will be highlighted on the front page carousel, and have their own site tabs with a unique look and feel. We also will be doing more to highlight these areas throughout the site, so they are visible no matter how you arrive at the community.


Board structure consolidation

As we discussed previously, we will be doing some board consolidation to concentrate activity - after the move there will be 2 public boards and one private one:



  • Growing Successful Communities: all ongoing posts in the Managing, Developing and Square Pegs boards will be moved here for ease of location and discussion.
  • Lithosphere Feedback: The existing board will remain, with a simplified name. This board is for feedback on the Lithosphere community itself (not Lithium products, that's still Ideas). So examples would be feedback on all these changes we're planning right here.



  • Customer Connection:  Existing private customer content will be moved to a single board to consolidate activity and make it easier to find. As a private board, it will only be visible if you have been granted access (in other words, you have to be a customer).


Other categories:

  • Events: will remain unchanged and accessible as before.
  • Archive: will remain unchanged and accessible as before.



That's enough to chew on for now - more to come in the next few days. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, let me know in the comments or via private message!


Coming up next time:


New blogs

New avatars

RSS everywhere


Message Edited by ScottD on 04-17-2009 06:17 PM
Frequent Advisor

Looking Good! 


How customizable can we expect the Main Page to be??  For instance, can we include feeds and links to non-Lithium elements (other blogs, discussions, etc.)  and other social media tools (Flickr, YouTube, Twitter)? Does the ability to do that go beyond the current option to put html in the announcements widget?  Can we make it more than the two columns??



  -- Mike

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

Extremely customizable. Placement is much more grid like than column-like, with the ability to place content in many configurations across the page - you can have three column format of equal widths, a 3-4-2 format of proportional dimensions, or 24 separate boxes of varying shape and size. Smiley Wink  Of course, we would recommend against some of those on user experience grounds, but the limitations are now about the design objectives not the tool, which is as it should be.


Custom widgets are also much easier now - the one caveat is that not all of that customization is accessible to the admininstrator at this time. The focus was of the last release was on expanding the capabilities first, then providing easier and easier tools to take advantge of that capability as we go along. But it is definitely on our roadmap to do so in such a way that you won't need html skills to make those changes.