It's been almost three months since I launched the new version of my site. Many visitors have asked for more community capabilities and a place where they can ask questions, post answers, and keep on top of what's going on in the industry.
I'm happy to announce that the BrianMadden.com user forum community is now open to the public. You can access it directly via www.brianmadden.com/forum, or via the "User Forums" link in the yellow navigation bar on the top of each page.
I spent a lot of time thinking about whether I wanted to create yet "another" tech support forum, but I ultimately decided to do it since none of the existing forums met 100% of my needs.
In my mind, the problem with email distribution list-based forums is that there is no good way to search the archives, and specific subject threads often get lost in the shuffle.
There are also several web-based support forums, but the problem with them is that you have to keep checking back to see if there has been any activity and they're often difficult to navigate through.
The BrianMadden.com support forums offer the best of both worlds.
- As a visitor, you can select whether you want a flat thread interface or a tree-based interface. The tree-based interface uses DHTML, so you can expand and collapse posts without reloading the page.
- A clean, simple interface without extra "fluff" ensures you'll be able to quickly find what you need.
- Anonymous / guests can view the forums and post questions and answers. There is no need to register to use the forums.
- Those who do choose to register, can access advanced options, such as email subscriptions to specific threads or entire forums.
There are a few more features that are around the corner for BrianMadden.com.
- I'm getting ready to implement a new Google-like search interface that will make searching the site much easier and produce better results.
- The user accounts you create for the forum will ultimately be used for other areas, such as downloads and seminar scheduling.
- The "comments" section at the end of each article will tie back to discussion threads in the forums.
Thanks so much for your support. Feel free to email me if you have any other ideas or suggestions.