Improving the discoverability of notification preferences

I love how Discourse allows for fine-tuning notification preferences for certain topics, tags, categories and users without having to visit /preferences/interface. I use this feature all the time; I just wish all users knew they could do the same! I find myself educating and re-educating users about the “small circle button” that they can find somewhere on the right-hand side or bottom of the page that will allow them to configure their preferences.

What have others done to increase the discoverability of this feature? I see that some admins have opted to change the icon to something more intuitive. I’m thinking we may want to do that plus more. Some possibilities, but again looking for other ideas:

  • Move the button to the upper right corner on topics pages (rather than lower right or lower left, as seen below), more or less where it is on categories and tags.

  • Create an overlay on first login to explain this feature.
  • Integrate this into the Discobot training (although it appears that fewer than half of our users actually go through it).
  • Send a separate inbox message explaining this feature.

Do others have thoughts on this? What have you all done or thought about doing?


I wouldn’t want to overwhelm very new users, but maybe once someone has viewed a dozen topics without interacting with the tracking status a little tooltip could appear…

The icons alone don’t lend much to discoverability… this is a feature most users don’t really need to interact with… but if you’re looking for a way to mute a topic you might not ever think the circle is relevant. That’s where the extra details in the topic footer may come in… but new users viewing long posts might not ever find it.

I wonder if being more literal with the concept of notifications would help? A bell icon would be a stronger “This has something to do with notifications” signal.


Hmm. Maybe we should go with the bell here? The circle is very abstract.


Cool, If a new user joined a discourse then the circle isn’t very self-explanatory. I agree that a bell will look better.


Seems like a good idea to me.

I wonder if we should stick with the bell theme for Watching too? The eye is more literal for Watching, but using the bell to consistently signify notification level is nice. There are a couple good bell options in FontAwesome but they’re unfortunately under the commercial license… but the bell and exclamation point are both in the free set, so I could remake that icon by combining those?

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 10.16.28 AM Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 10.16.32 AM


As a non-decisionmaker here :slight_smile: my personal preference would be for consistency with the bell across the board (in particular because the bell has a strong association with the concept of notifications). The exclamation point one you’ve made is nice! I also love the tooltip idea.


Yeah I think let’s go with the bell @awesomerobot I think it’s a positive change and a clearer glyph. Thanks for bringing this up @Elena_Lappen!


Quite agree there. Good luck - but you don’t need it because your good at this :+1:


New icons are rolling out. You’ll see these on Meta shortly, and they’ll be available if you update your Discourse instance later today.

Thanks again for the suggestion @Elena_Lappen, I think this can definitely increase the discoverability.


Sweet! This is a very positive move.

Goodbye balls and hello bells!