Adopt mobile styling for post-reply button

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #1

Continuing the discussion from Minimal Discourse:

I think the primary reason why people have trouble understanding the distinction between “Reply to post” and “Reply to topic” (or just being privy to the existence of such a distinction) is quite simply because the buttons look exactly the same. I started making some mockups to differentiate the two, but when the time came to look at the mobile design, I felt like the problem was already solved.

This looks way less confusing to me.

The reply icon is a fairly universal button, and when you see that identical icon in the end-of-topic Reply you can see they’re related, but not the same. Why not make that the default for desktop as well?

One tiny addition I’d make though would be to spell it out for the bottom reply button:

(Alessio Fattorini) #2

I’m not sure that’s better. The icon is quite small and not much visible

(Gerhard Schlager) #3

I’d leave the reply button for posts as it is right now. But I like the idea of renaming the button at the bottom to “Reply to topic”.

(Alessio Fattorini) #4

This could be a good solution from my point of view

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #5

That would be a fine compromise as far as I’m concerned :wink:

Just one more iteration for the road:

Moving the N-replies counter / expansion closer to the Reply button
Custom scrollbar with sticky sidebar (necessitates slight UX rethink)
(Jeff Atwood) #6

Kind of like it, but it would de-emphasize replying to an individual post (in favor of replying to the topic) which I think @downey and others would object to.

Remember these are the guys who were manually adding avatars to the reply buttons to make it more clear that you are replying to a person!

(Michael Downey) #7

And we took them off after a long experiment, and people still get confused (and reply to the wrong posts) unless it’s super obvious.

(Jeff Atwood) #8

I changed my mind and decided we should try this @erlend_sh

Let’s give it a whirl. I think the post reply button stands out enough by virtue of being darker, without the whole blue primary button thing which becomes a little oppressive over time, particularly when scrolling through lots of short replies in sequence…

(Michael Downey) #9

Keep in mind that the strength of the OP’s argument for styling on mobile comes by virtue of it being physically separate (right side) from all the other post actions which are left-aligned on mobile.

Are you suggesting to left-align the post actions on desktop, too?

(Jeff Atwood) #10

I think it has quite a bit different about it:

  • It’s the only button with a word
  • It’s always rightmost and thus default by position
  • It has substantial spacing between it and the other buttons
  • It (often) comes after a visual “separator” button in

After thinking about it for a while, the users that are getting confused about replying in your case are getting confused because there are simply (n) reply buttons to choose from on the screen, not at all based on the styling of said reply buttons.

Even super heavy handed styling things you tried did not work, which indicates to me, this problem is not styling related at all, but unavoidable simply based on the number of reply buttons visible. The only way to solve it is to remove all other reply buttons so they only have “one” to choose from.

The question is, which one and where…

Moving post-specific reply indicator into the editor
(Michael Downey) #11

Well, I’m happy to help test this … there’s got to be a good solution. :stuck_out_tongue:

Two thoughts:

  1. I may not have been clear enough above. We removed the user icons from the buttons mostly because the JS was causing some weird bugs, and we also thought it may have been long enough to “train” most of our users. The replying-to-the-wrong-post issue returned. (It had improved somewhat.)

  2. I wonder if there’s any sane and non-annoying way to have the reply button “fade in” only when a post has focus, so to speak. (Mouseover or keyboard highlight.) Kind of like the Quote Reply or the Reply As Linked Topic buttons.

(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #12

Very good!!!

We have a website with threaded comments (reddit/HN style) and after 3 years, users can`t use the correct reply to this day. And we done a ton of UI changes to fix this, but they aren’t techinical and overall older (30~40y) financial people.

I know Discourse is linear style (with optional click thread to see) but was worried the same thing would still happen.

The removal of the blue make me optimistic that will help our users.

(Mittineague) #13


Hey! Watch the Ageism!

I didn’t get deep into coding until I was 40

True, I’ve been retired most of the years since, so desktop only
And I am technical and have been most of my life.
And I’m much more a developer than a designer.

Anyway, maybe style alone isn’t enough for people in general ?

Maybe a better “on boarding” / “learning” type of thing would be a better approach?

(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #14

Sorry if I sounded offensive, english isn’t my first language, and I never studied it, everything I know comes from games (mostly) and internet browsing. And they don’ t teach this on 3rd world public education system :joy:

I was saying that your average joe, won’t be a reddit user, and the most community-stuff people do on the internet are facebook, and whatsapp.

Facebook threading is very underwelming, so mostly users NEVER saw a threaded discussion software while linear is e-mail, sms and everything.

The reply button being the only colored button was like asking to have a lot of false replies on our community and this new way I think will be better for everyone.

(Mittineague) #15

Now I see your point.
I guess I’m not very good at UI either other than understanding my own experience.and have trouble understanding how others are.

You’re correct the “⤺ Reply to” being a non-button makes things “calmer”

I’m happy the “⤺ Reply to Topic” is sill "loud"
A key part of a forum depends on replies so I like having it somewhere.

(Jeff Atwood) #16

I kind of agree with this. (edit: by agree, I mean, there is a fundamental, unavoidable UI problem of having more than one reply button on screen at any given time.) And since we are a hybrid system, replying to the topic plus quotes and @name mentions should make it clear what people were replying to even if they only ever reply to the topic…

It is an explicit goal of Discourse to get people to the bottom of the topic so they have read the whole thing before replying, too.