Public Lab Research note

The new Questions page design is ready to be reviewed :)

by edie_blues | January 07, 2019 20:37 07 Jan 20:37 | #18073 | #18073

Hello all,

As you might already know, I've been working with the team on simplifying the overall design of Public Lab - making it a more accessible and effective website for everyone :)

We are putting a special focus on organising all the information that is constantly added to the page.

We want to enable you to contribute to the website as conveniently as possible (and in a way that your work won't get lost!) and at the same time, stay up to date - especially on topics of your interest.

The design for the Questions Page is a work in progress. If you have any ideas on how to make it better, I would love to hear from you! (you can answer this post)

The design can be found here:

If you scroll down you will also see the Dashboard design. This is so you can see how the two pages connect to each other :)

Thank you for reading this.




Chiming in to add a screenshot here for reference! Thanks!

(i'll edit @edie_blues post so it appears as the lead image)

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On this one, I've been mulling over it for some time. I'm wondering a bit about whether we really need a page which, while well designed, focuses on reaching out and inviting people to post. Something that may be more about the feeling it gives people, and the explicit invitation. It might be more step-by-step, and even illustrated, than just a tight visual design.

I like the basic elements in the design here, and I think they're super clean and readable, so I'm not looking to change that aspect of it. I'm thinking about if we might adapt some ideas from some very welcoming guides to open source contribution, however. Like:


I also like how mixes testimonials with pictures of people, guidance, and calls to action:


OK, here's a stab at a page oriented around this idea of "really encouraging and guiding people to ask a question":

Screen_Shot_2019-02-15_at_6.03.05_PM.png Screen_Shot_2019-02-15_at_6.03.21_PM.png

Here, we feature a few questions that are especially well phrased. We forefront the people (and profile pics) of who asked them and we show that they can get good answers.

We also put the asking form right on the same page, instead of the awkward 2-step type your question, then it opens in a form. We also simplify the form itself dramatically and focus on asking for more context and detail later -- low initial barrier with good follow-up.

The biggest issue with this page is that it pushes the big list of questions down the page. But I want to note that if we do a good job on the dashboard and the front page, people may largely be /asking/ questions on this page, but not necessarily using it as a primary means to find questions.

Still, I think we could do better on the listings. Could we split the page into half for asking and half for listing existing questions? This may need some more thought if we're going to add this kind of 'welcoming' feature at the top.

What do folks think of this?

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Hmm, i wonder if we could somehow use the space where i put the illustration (just a stand-in, of course) to display featured questions? Just a thought...

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Some more refinement with input from @sylvan!


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I like the bigger question box! That's going to be good :)

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Oh! I love the scrolling design, looks more familiar and intuitive 👍

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