updated 12:38 am EDT, Fri June 20, 2014
User forum for reporting issues, solutions gets dynamic search box, more
On Thursday, Apple updated its user-forum Support Communities, making the front page simpler to navigate but again neglecting to create a mobile version for access from smaller iOS devices. The redesign offers a central text-entry box that doubles as both a search field (with dynamic suggestions) as well as a question input box (for existing members) that tries to match a user inquiry to existing discussions. At the bottom of the front page are areas for user tips, developer forums and tutorials.
Sub-forums now may have "carousel" hot topics or popular questions on their main page, and users may find it easier to narrow down the forum relevant to the question or solution they have. From the main page, users can search "new" discussions, use the "Activity" selection to begin tracking discussions of interest to them (there is even an option for email notification when new comments are posted in a tracked topic) and a "People" search to quickly find posts from a forum regular or friend.
While the new, more visually-oriented main pages could be seen as somewhat more mobile-friendly, Apple has yet to implement a solution that makes the text link-heavy forums themselves easily accessible to those on mobile devices. While users with full-size iPads may have less difficulty than those on iPhones, Apple has not yet offered any "mobile version" of the support forums oriented to touch devices, unlike many other online forums. The company would seem to prefer that users work with desktop or notebook computers on the forums, as they are very text-oriented.