First of all, thanks for playing along, Jeff… wherever this lands, I think it is nice to try out these experiments in vivo and see how folks react vs. just discussing mockups.
One concern I have with this idea is that because this would be such a rare event, it might even be less clear what the hell that blue glow means. It’s kinda like those grey circles that you rarely see… Sure, they mean something specific, but you don’t see them often enough to learn it easily.
At the moment, I’m in favor of the no-styling version. I think it removes a lot of unnecessary visual clutter.
Sam makes a valid point that it becomes more difficult to guess whether the last poster is the OP or not. And you make a valid response that you have better than 90% odds just guessing the last avatar is the last poster.
In other conversations, we’ve discussed that its more important to know who the last poster is than it is to know who the OP is though. In sam’s minimal design, you see the last poster very clearly - the OP is only listed as text (and I still question how much value that has).
But here’s another idea for the default design:
- no special styling for OP or last poster in default design
- keep special classes on the avatar for last poster so people can add styling as they see fit.
- add a class on the OP avatar so people can style that one too if they want.
always show the last poster on the right, even if its the OP
- always show the OP once (either on the left or on the right if the OP is also the last poster).
Then your odds of knowing who the last poster is are 100%
You odds of knowing who the OP is are > 90%.
But, you still always see the OP as an involved party in the conversation.