This week, TechRepublic rolled out a change to the forums that is aimed at making discussion threads much faster and easier to navigate. We like to call this "dynamic navigation" and the easiest way to notice it is to look at a thread in "Expanded" view and then notice the two little up and down arrows on the right side, above and below the voting box (see image below).
You can click the arrows to instantly flip to the next message in the thread, or flip back to the previous message. This doesn't do a full page-load, so it is very fast. You can also skip to another message by just clicking the title of message. Again, this no longer does a full page-load either so it should load almost instantaneously.
A quick tip: if you place your mouse over the down arrow and leave it there then the page will skip you to the next discussion and automatically put your pointer over the next down arrow. So, you can click the down arrow, read a discussion post, click the down arrow, read the next discussion post, and so on, without having to scroll at all (unless there's a really long discussion post that goes past the length of your screen).
Also, a lot of TechRepublic members aren't aware of the keyboard shortcuts that you can use to help navigate the forums. Take note:
- T for toggle - You can press the "T" key to toggle between the "Expanded" (threaded) and "Collapsed" (flat) views in TechRepublic forums.
- J and K - In "Expanded" view you can press the "J" key to jump to the next discussion post and the "K" key to jump to the previous discussion post
- Left and right arrow keys - In "Expanded" view you can also use the Right Arrow key to jump to the next discussion post and the Left Arrow key to jump to the previous discussion post.
As always, I have to give a shout-out to our Top 100 community members for their persistent feedback on the things we need to do to improve the user experience of our forums.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).