Feedback on our simplified topic map experiment

Previously we asked for some feedback about our topic map in Request for feedback: how do you use the topic map?

Today we’re rolling out an experimental topic map here on Meta that dramatically simplifies this layout, while keeping much of the useful information available behind a click.

Before:

After:

What’s changed:

  • Removed created, last reply, and reply count. This information is also available in the topic timeline.
  • Showing 5 of the most frequent posters, with others behind a click on the user count
  • Popular links are now behind a click on the total link count
  • No longer showing both “Summarize” and “Show top replies” and focusing on one summarization strategy at a time
  • Simplified estimated read time
  • Always appears, even without replies

What’s new:

  • Clicking on the like count now shows the most liked replies to the topic
  • For topics with more than 4 posts, the topic map will also appear at the bottom

What hasn’t changed:

  • Topic maps in PMs include adding/removing users, so this is a little more complicated to redesign and out of scope for this experiment.

This is still experimental and isn’t necessarily the final implementation. What we’re looking for now is some feedback. If you experience any bugs, let us know. If you love it or hate it, tell us why!

32 Likes

This is awesome Kris! I have only seen this in tests on an existing topic with lots of data to populate this topic map.

I wonder if we could render this only when we have enough metrics to populate the map? Without it, it feels a little empty.

10 Likes

That’s the default topic map behavior — it doesn’t appear without replies.

I’m not opposed to keeping that behavior, but we’ve had a little bit of feedback from admins who say they’d still like to see the view count even in cases without replies, so I figured it’s worth trying!

It can also feel more empty when AI summaries aren’t enabled, which further supports hiding it:

image

12 Likes

Seems like it appears at the bottom in all topics (or at least 3 replies), and vanishes from the top?


8 Likes

oh yes good catch, I did forget to mention this — it’s currently set to only show once, at the bottom, if there are <4 posts.

It might be better to always show it under the first post for consistency and not show it at the bottom if there are only a few posts, but it feels more useful to me at the bottom of short topics, so I gave it a try this way.

9 Likes

Tiny one

On mobile (iOS) you get an extra flash when you return to the forum from the dmenu

Overall loving this

6 Likes

So far, I love it. Fantastic job :+1:
Works great on mobile.
The topic map at the end of a topic is quite nice.

Very minor subjective UX feedback:

The topic map seems too close to the second post in some context. I would increase the padding to keep spaces consistent with the posts. It feels a little more natural, IMO.

5 Likes

If you mean the header is flashing, yes sadly that’s a limit of the current solution to lock the body on iOS. It’s on my list to improve it, but it’s tricky due to how our header is implemented.

5 Likes

This is how the mobile version of a long topic looks for me.


Even if the wrap probably cannot be prevented (especially not with German text [1]) it would be nice if the text size and height were the same.


  1. maybe icons could help with that ↩︎

7 Likes

Good work! This does look a lot cleaner like the old design and removes one of the major areas of visual clutter in Discourse’s design.

Small thing: I’m wondering if it would look better when aligned with the visual axis of user name, text, and link(s). It’s currently sticking out a bit.

6 Likes

Yes, this is a great solution. It’s more organized now thank you

6 Likes

Looks good. Less clutter

4 Likes

This is a huge questionmark. Linklist is now hidden as an easter egg and users must now where to go.

4 Likes

This could possibly just be a theme thing, but it really blends in (not in a good way, IMO) to the rest of the topic. It took a few glances to understand what was your post, what was the topic map, and what was the next post:

I really like how visually separated the topic map looks on our site between the original post, and the next post:

I do like the idea of the topic map also being at the bottom of a longer topic, though!

13 Likes

Please make the cursor a pointer on hover! Such a simple thing that was overlooked IMO.

Also, why are these inconsistent?

image

image

image

5 Likes

I’m not fully sold in either direction but my initial response to seeing it below the last post is that it should be lower. Right now it feels like a part of the last post and not representing the full topic

7 Likes

Loving it so far, looks amazing! Great work :tada:

In my opinion views should be a more prominent part of the UI, they are still hidden unless there’s at least one reply (i think). Would something like this not hurt?


v

5 Likes

Who is interesting in views, except admin? It is just piece of another pseudo data.

I mean is there real world users who make decision to read, answer or believe using view count?

7 Likes

I get that, but in our case we run an ambassador program in our community, and they’re very interested in views.

We also run an open-source marketplace where users can share solutions they’ve built on our platform, so they’re very interested in views.

Our product management team (and indirectly but by association our CSMs) have announcements that go out through our Discourse platform, so they’re also interested.

Just as a few examples!

10 Likes

I am with you on “mobile” being the toughest nut to crack, but I don’t want to rush proposing solutions, here are some of the challenges I am seeing:

  • Summarize button is “smaller” than the button bellow it (timeline) this causes some optical issues with the design.

  • Bottom line of panel then feels “cut in half” cause it is so close to timeline

  • Text below “Tracking” is just taking up very precious real estate imo pointlessly

  • “Topic controls” is a challenging component and it is not a d-menu which is a shame and it just looks totally off

  • Double Wrench feels like too much, they are only a few pixels apart

  • Do we just normalize all topic controls now into a cohesive design or make piecemeal fixes?

  • Do we dock a summary button to the timeline on mobile or not?


Even with all these challenges I keep feeling that a small iteration on mobile may resolve the largest issues and we can get away landing this prior to fully refactoring topic controls

Overall I love this though, I love it on mobile and desktop even with all the challenges.

8 Likes