Show similar or related questions as a user types or asks a new question

One feature I've found amazingly cool with forums like StackExhange is the ability for the forum to suggest and find potentially similar or the same questions as the user is asking a question. If you're not familiar with StackExhange, I can create a screencast with how it works.

The goal/reason for this feature is that it helps prevent the same questions from being asked over and over for users who don't perform a search first. It provides more immediate satisfaction to the user and helps relieve moderators.

Looking at how your current "ask a new question" interface looks, there is no sidebar. My ui/design suggestion would be to add the computer-generated suggested questions/topics/answers in the sidebar as the user types.

Hope you think it's cool :)

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  • Hi Jeff, great idea! The sidebar area would be a perfect place to show suggestions as the user types. We'll investigate adding this feature. Thanks for your input.

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  • Just wondering if you had any further thoughts on developing this feature?

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  • Yes, we have been discussing this. We found that having the suggestions come in on the side of the new topic screen poses some challenges. If you in the middle of composing a new topic, and suggestions appear on the side, clicking a link takes you off the page which would cause you to loose your work. If we open a new window that poses its own usability challenges. Another issue is presenting this capability on a mobile device, which does not have room for a second column. For these reasons, we were leaning toward the idea of improving search in the forum itself, and going for an instant-search style result there. Let us know if you have any additional thoughts or ideas on this?

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  • I appreciate the response. Just curious, why does opening in a new window/tab pose a usability issue? This is how StackExhange does it and I find it to work quite well.

    For mobile, why not have the suggested/similiar questions appear below the typed title. Here is an example of StackExhange: http://screencast.com/t/xKuxA8os6x

    Sorry to keep using them as an example, but I think this is a big reason why they are so successful (no duplicate questions and instant access to content if it's already been asked)

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  • Thanks for example, that is helpful! We'll update here when we have more information on our plans for this feature.

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  • Hello Forumbee Support,

    Is there any news on this topic? we are currently using Desk and are thinking of transferring to Forumbee, and this feature is very important for us. The Desk solution is to let the user write the question and when the button 'Send' is hit, the suggestions window pops up.

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    •  Hi Kat , it's not a feature, however we can provide a customization through our service group. We'll follow up with you directly.

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