Feedback on our simplified topic map experiment

Yeah, now that you mention it I agree overall that maybe the issue isn’t the topic map but that chaos happening below it

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I know enough about the plugin outlets on Discourse to know this is not a trivial change, but I can’t help but feel like the distinction between the topic map and the other topic-based actions is not warranted.

Even better (imo) you could unify the topic UI with the post UI and simplify it significantly

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My question; why are there 4+ reply buttons on the screen at any given time? Seems a little redundant, no? I’ll give my own take on a redesign in an hour or two when I’m free next.

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There are two types of Reply buttons. One is an actual reply to a post and the other is more of a “new post” button (ie. a “reply” to the topic, not to any specific post). The reply button under every post is necessary. The one on the timeline and the one at the bottom of the topic do the same thing but when you’re in the middle of the topic, you can only see one of those.

So the problem is that it’s only redundant some of the time (ie. at the bottom of a topic). Personally I’m ok that this particular action is omnipresent because you want to encourage people to engage as much as possible. If I were to make any change here, it would be to make a distinction between the two types of replies. Even then, I think that might complicate things more than necessary.

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One thing that came to my mind, not that I look at this a second time:
It’s not immediately clear who the 5 users shown with icons are. It would probably be more consistent if no user icons were shown at all, and frequent posters were only shown on demand (as for links and likes).
Also, views is the only field that’s not clickable. But that’s not evident from the visuals.

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Ended up making a poor mockup for what a redesigned footer could look like, it’s not perfect but it should give a good idea as to what I think it should look like.


image

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Some notes from my end – this is just personal feedback, and apologies if some of these have already been brought up.

  • I can no longer filter posts by any users execpt for the top 5
    I’d like to be able to 1) click on “N users” and then 2) click on any user to see their card, and then 3) click on “N posts in this topic” to filter the topic to their posts
    • I would like to be able to filter by user even if they only have 1 post
      (scope creep… probably not part of this effort. previously requested here)
  • I feel like perhaps the Summary should expand below the topic map rather than be a pop up
    I think I feel this way because of the amount of text and the time it takes when it needs to generate it.
  • I question Views being the leftmost item and the one item that is not clickable
    The first thing I try to click doesn’t do anything. I wonder if that might hurt discoverability that the rest of the things are clickable. Maybe it belongs near “N min read” instead? Maybe those two data should be styled a bit differently / smaller / to help indicate they are not interactive? Could they be stacked one on top of the other?
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Minor:

  • “Most liked replies” is making an ajax call every time, should this just be cached for a minute on the client?

  • Tricky z-index issue, not sure how to resolve.

image


Brainstorming:

I know I pushed back on @piffy here. But a few more days in I wonder if it is worth at least giving it a shot to see how it feels compared to what we have now? It would be trivial to shift the panel below topic controls. There is something about the summarize button being so close to Reply. And information after actions has its appeal.

Another thought here might be just a bit more margin here to give the breathing room the buttons need? Or make summarize button “white” like the reply button above it?

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Views imho would suit to just use the view counter in the upper right of posts like the theme-component does.

If the team want to further unclutter things. With Notification level. Switch it to just the Bell icon with a hover and dropdown option. The dropdown can have the description as per your pic of the dropdown. Maybe hover would be just bling?

1 Like

I agree w/ many points already made:

  1. skipping the component entirely when there’s not enough content to fill it:
  2. Not enough visual distinction:
  3. Popovers appearing to the right or below:
  4. Displaying “trivia” numbers in the already crowded part of the UI
  5. No context (or need…) for the 5-ish user avatars

And to add my own:

  • re: 4. - those numbers, especially at the bottom of a topic, are noise. “10 min read”? I know, I already read the topic. that it has “174 likes”? sure, semi-useful on the topic list, but to show it me right after I read the last post? the avatars? “let’s reminisce all the profile pics you just saw”? why – to all of it.
    • a simpler, clearer topic map in place of the old one - I’m all for it.
  • the left margin is now better but the right side of the component doesn’t align w/ the button directly above it:
    image

After playing with this for a few more days, I think I personally would prefer to always have it at the top of a topic, and have it vanish from the bottom when there’s too few posts instead.

Out of curiosity, how do others feel about it?

When only one of the topic map is shown (posts <= 4), where do you feel it should appear?
  • At the top
  • At the bottom
  • Both should always appear
  • Neither should appear
  • Undecided
0 voters
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Just coming here to day, after using this for a couple days now, I am really enjoying the new topic map. It’s especially nice to have at the bottom of long topics where you are participating intermittently.

Awesome work Kris!

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This should be a little better now, and indeed German always provides a challenge… I’ll take a closer look

Agreed! I’ve made this change. This was something I kept being indecisive about so I’m glad someone else noticed.

I lean towards keeping it simpler and letting “make it stand out more” in the realm of themes… but worth considering.

This is tricky because the menus reposition based on how much content is within them and where they are relative to the window (to ensure nothing is being cut off)… and the amount of content is incredibly variable. I can take a closer look at options for making this more consistent.

Maybe! there’s extra space here because the OP never gets the “in reply to” indicator… and it would nice to have views removed from the map because it’s the only non-interactive element there. I’m only a little hesitant because it means we’re putting stats in two separate locations.

Yes, it’s the kind of thing where most people probably don’t care… but some admins, and users in specific cases, feel strongly about seeing the count.

Yeah agreed, I can look into this some more… I think we prevent user cards from being triggered within other menus?

Yes, will do

Would help with this issue:

align-1
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Thanks for all the feedback so far!

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I am catching up on all the feedback so far so apologies if this has been covered already. I really like the simplified topic map, and agree it should always show at the top, below the first post.

At the bottom I find it distracting. It’s full of valuable, seemingly urgent information that draws my attention and has me forgetting what I want to do next. At that moment I want to reply or add a reaction and then move on to the next topic. I am not in a frame of mind where I am curious about digging into topic statistics or details.

I can see it being useful to somehow have access to it at the bottom or from anywhere really when reading a topic, especially a long one. Maybe it could be tucked away behind an emoji in the topic timeline or topic menu?

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I did notice it got aligned to the topic content… imo looks strange this way, all the way to the left was centered and looked nicer

image

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I would like to see some indicator to the right of “the five” user avatars indicating that there are more than “the five”. Perhaps 3 dots following the avatars (and clickable), and perhaps the total number of contributors/participants who have posted in the Topic to the right of the 5 avatars?

I would/will (on my own sites) also style the Topic Map with a slightly different background color to make it easier to quickly spot.

To me, all of the information presented is very useful as I want to get to know the other members of the community and their particular interests as I comb through Topics and Posts. This is such important and useful information!

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6 posts were split to a new topic: Move summary button to topic footer and other reorganization

Would it be viable to have a background color for “summarize”, or should the focus always be on “reply” ?

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I do hope it graduates to final design/stable release.
I liked it very much.

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I’ve just added some adjustments, one that you won’t see here because AI Summaries are enabled —

If there’s no summary available, and only a small number of likes/posts/users then the view count is on its own. In this state I’ve reformatted it to take up less space.

I’ve also updated the topic map so it always shows under the original post.

I’ve made the clickable stats more apparently links:

image

I’m also trying out some changes that hide low counts:

  • Hide low read estimates (under 3 minutes)
  • Hide participant count if 5 or less
  • Show participant avatars if there are more than 10 posts
  • Hide like count when there are fewer than 5 likes or fewer than 10 posts
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