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Advice for users of the new forums on "Responsive Design" and it effects.

The “Responsive Design” of the new forums – things you may like to notice.

The new design of the forums means that they are intended to adapt to take account of the device you are using to view them. This has considerable advantages but may have some features you that you did not expect. So this note is intended to help explain what the changes can be and how they may effect you.

The main way that the forum software works out how to best display for your device is the width of the viewing area. So for example if you log on to the new community home page with a “widescreen” device you should see something like this:

If you log on using say a “mobile” device such as a phone, it is more likely to look like this:


You will notice that for the narrower screen the navigation buttons at the top right of the “widescreen” display have gone. They are replaced by a drop-down display which is activated by taping the down arrow at the top right of the screen under “Norton.com”. 

As you will see, some of the bars on this drop down have further drop downs of their own.

These differences (buttons versus dropdown bars) are carried across most community pages.

What users may not immediately realise is that if you are viewing the forums on say a laptop which naturally has a wide screen, the forums may still think they should display in narrow screen mode if you view them in a “window”. Both the “widescreen” and “mobile” home screen displays above were generated on my machine by merely varying the size of the window. So, while most users of mobile devices will be always presented with the “mobile” display, users of desktops, laptops and probably some tablet devices may have the choice of how they see the forums displayed. If you find that you seem to have the “mobile” display on your device and would like to have the “wide screen” version then just try widening the window you are viewing it in (you may need to refresh your browser for the changes to take effect).

The other main consequence of the two types of display, “wide screen” or “mobile” is the options offered when you are entering text in a new post or in a response to an existing thread. Because of the physical limitations of small screens, “mobile” users can only input plain text and have no ability to change the font, insert images, quotes, etc.. So when a “widescreen” user goes to comment on a thread they will see an edit box which looks like:


Note all the edit options above the text entry box. While a “mobile” user will see:


With none of the buttons the other users have.

For some reason the width of display that triggers the change from “widescreen” to “mobile” in places like the home screen, and the edit screens can be slightly different. So it can be possible to have a “widescreen” display with navigation buttons, on the home screen and then go to enter text in a new post, only to discover that you have no editing buttons. Provided that your display is not already at the maximum for your device the solution is simple, just widen the display window slightly, and refresh the page. If the first widening was not enough do it a bit more and refresh again. Then the buttons will appear and you will have all the functionality available to you. Be warned however that if you have started to enter text before you note the problem, then refreshing the window will erase the text. In this case you have three options – continue without the edit boxes; start again; or you could just post the text as it stands (which will preserve the text on the forum), widen your screen until the edit boxes appear and then go back in and edit the post you just made (you currently have a 60 minute window to edit your posts). The best thing is to check for the buttons before you start entering text.