How to navigate around Forum Box on desktops

This guide is for navigating around this site using the traditional "desktop view" on computers, laptops and tablets.

A separate guide will be be available shortly for those using small mobile devices such as smart phones. The way this site looks and functions on small devices is a little bit different to using this site on desktops.

1. Main Menu

The above picture shows you the Main Menu which consists of seven words. When these words are clicked, you will be taken to separate pages on this site. On the right hand side of the menu are four icons. When these are clicked, various functions and settings and available to members through these icons.

The Main Menu is permanently located at the top of the page regardless of where in the site you are, allowing easy easy to the seven different areas of the site and the four functions.

Here's a description of each Main Menu item:

  • Home - this is the homepage of the site and this is the page you should bookmark in your browser. The purpose of this page is two-fold:

    1 - To act as a welcoming page to guests by displaying a greetings message to them and a invitation to join up.

    2. After the greetings message (which is only displayed to guests) is a Twitter like feed of activity from across the site. Items such as forum posts, new pictures posted in the Gallery, or comments made about a Blog article are displayed here. Various other info is displayed like stats about the site and who has liked what also shows here. Think of the lower part of the home page as a bit like your car dashboard. If something is happening on the site, wherever it maybe, it will display here.
  • Help and Info - Contains all the help guides for this site. You're reading one of them now!
  • Forums - contains the Forum List page which contains all the discussion topics on this site.
  • Blogs - members can post their own blogs here which is a bit like having their own mini-sites on Forum Box with the benefit that their blog articles are totally separate from forum discussions.
  • Gallery - Members can create their own albums here and post their own pictures, a bit like Instagram or Snapchat, but on Forum Box instead.
  • Calendar - See who's birthday it is today or see if there is a upcoming event such as a political conference, as but two uses of the calendar.
  • Members - want to find a list of members on Forum Box, or who our staff are? Here's the place to do it, as well as find out which members are online at this site.

To the right of the Members main menu item are the 4 functions as displayed by four icons. Here is a close up picture of them:

If you place your cursor over each icon, its label will pop up reminding you what each icon is. They are, from the left:

  • Control Panel - this is where members can alter the settings for the site, including uploading their avatar/profile picture, adjusting which notifications they wish to see, setting their signature and following or blocking other members, to name just a few of the functions that can be done here.
  • Notifications - this icon looks like a ringing bell and is where your notifications are displayed after setting which ones you want in the Control Panel.
  • Conversations - this icon, which looks like speech bubbles, allows you to access the conversations function so that you can send messages to other members (a bit like email) and engage in conversation with them.
  • Search - this icon, looking like a magnifying glass, is where you search for content on this site.


2. Sub Menus

The above picture shows the sub menu of the Forums main menu item.

Currently on Forum Box, there are sub menus for four of the main menu items, they are: Forums, Blogs, Gallery, Calendar and Members.

To access the sub menus, hover your cursor above one of the main menu items as mentioned above, but don't click on that item, otherwise you will enter the main page for that item. Keep your mouse cursor hovered over the main menu item and a drop down menu will appear, this is the sub menu.

Sub Menus contain different information and can change depending on how you use the site. As an example, if you create a album in the Gallery, a "My Albums" item will appear in the sub menu for Gallery. If you have not created any albums, you will not see this option in the Gallery sub menu.

3. Forum List page

To access the Forum List page which is the heart of this site and contains all the discussions, click on the word Forums in the Main Menu. We may also refer to this page as the Forum Index page, Index Page and Main Index Page.

The above picture shows part of the Forum List page which is split into two areas, the main Content area where all the forums and sub-forums are located and the Sidebar, which is on the right hand side of the page. All pages on Forum Box are similarly split into these two areas. Lets look at these two areas in more detail:

A - Content area

This area is arranged into sections (or categories, the terms are used interchangeably), forums and sub-forums.

Currently on Forum Box, there are five sections on the Forum List page, they are Current Affairs and Chit-Chat Forums, Politics Forums, Media and Entertainment Forums, Specialist Forums and Site Stuff. These sections contain the forums and sub-forums.

Taking the second section as an example which is called Politics Forums, this section contains two forums: UK Politics and World Politics. These forums also contain Sub-forums. As you can see from the above picture, the UK Politics forum contains four Sub-forums: Brexit; Defence Policing and Justice; Health, Education and Welfare and General Election 2017.

The Forums and sub-Forums are the places that contain all the discussion topics or threads, the terms are used interchangeably on this site.

Forum and Sub-forum information

Using the Politics Forums section as an example, lets take a closer look at the information being displayed here:

Forum Icons

This icon means the forum contains unread posts. Double-click the icon to clear all unread posts.

This shows that the forum has no unread posts.

Sub-forum Icons

Like the Forum icons, these icons indicate whether there are unread posts or not.

The icons may change in look in the future, but the functionality of them will remain the same.

Forum links, descriptions and notifications

After the forum icon, is the actual link into the forum itself which is in orange writing. Currently, all links on Forum Box are in orange coloured writing. So, looking at the picture above, to access the discussions in the UK Politics forum, click on the orange word "UK Politics" which will take you into the Thread List page for the UK Politics forum.

As you can also see, all the sub-forums are located underneath the main forum and all of these contain discussion pages too, Again, simply click on the orange links to access them.

To the right of the forum and sub-forum links are the red notification boxes. These show how many unread topics there are. If there are no unread topics in a forum or sub-forum, the red boxes will not appear.

Number of Threads and Posts in the forum

Scrolling further over to the right and you be shown how many threads and posts are in the forum, as you can see from the above picture.

If you move your mouse cursor away from this area, the information about the number of threads will disappear and you will just see one number, which is the number of posts in the forum. Move the cursor back over the area to see the full information being displayed again.

Last posts area

Scrolling further to the right of the page and the last section of information, as shown in the above picture, relates to the last post made in the forum.

Starting from the right hand side, the avatar of the last member to make a post in the forum is displayed. Click on the avatar to quickly jump to the last unread post for that thread.

Next to the avatar picture, is the title of the last thread which is a clickable link (all links on Forum Box are in orange coloured writing). Clicking the thread title link also takes you into the thread. However, if you wish to see a preview of the post without actually entering the thread, hover your mouse cursor over the thread title and a preview box will appear.

Finally, underneath the thread title link is the name of the member who made the last post in that thread and the date and time when they did it. If you hover your mouse cursor over the name, a small mini-profile box will appear showing you some information about the member. To see their full profile, click on their name.

B - Sidebar

The other main area on the Forum List page, or any other page for that matter, is the Sidebar.

The Sidebar is usually on the right hand side of pages and contains boxes which show various information depending on the page. Lets take a look at one of these boxes now.

The above picture shows the first box in the Sidebar on the Forum List page. It displays the last 5 threads which have had new posts. As with the last posts area in the main content section, this area works the same way with clickable thread title links, being able to click on member names to bring up mini profiles of them and hovering over the thread title links to get a preview of the posts.

There are various boxes all over Forum Box which show different information, so go ahead and explore them!

4. Thread List page

To post messages onto Forum Box you need to post them within existing threads (also called Topics, the terms are used interchangeably)) or create new topics yourself. To access the threads, you need to go into a Thread List page. You get to these pages by clicking on the forums in the Forum List Page, as described earlier in this guide.

Like the Forum Index page, the Thread List page is split into the same two areas. The main Content area on the right containing the threads/topics and the Sidebar on the right. Lets go into the Hobbies forum now and have a closer look around.

In the above picture, the first topic on this page is Horizon's Gardening Topic. To enter the topic and view the discussion and join in the discussion too, if you wish, simply click on the orange words. Remember, all orange writing on this site are links. If you have never entered that topic before, you will be be taken to the first post in the topic.

If there are unread posts in the topic, then the orange words will be in bold

To the left of the orange words are the avatars/profile pictures of the member who created the topic.

(rest of help article coming soon)


A help guide detailing all the other pages and various functions of this site will be published in the future.