Isn’t it kind of hard to figure out that there is a mail/messaging system?

Well, we could mirror this element from notifications, the button at the bottom of the notifications pane, which is “show me more notifications!” → “show me more messages!”

What do you think @awesomerobot ?


the  v ? it should already be there!


Is there a reason to send people to the messages page on their profile? or is this more about making it clear to people they can initiate messages at all?


Well doy, :man_facepalming: yes, we do already have that. So I’m not entirely sure what to make of this topic… on top of that, the message button is on every user card…


Okay, PBKAC I guess. Thanks for the discussion.


Well, I definitely hear where you’re coming from. One thing we’ve noticed is that PMs and regular topics are awfully similar looking, so we might add a one-time education panel for new users when they enter their first PM (that isn’t from discobot).


:point_up: I agree, I’ve had problems with this. But is this issue really a matter of education? I am a site admin and I am familiar with the concept of PMs. What I miss is just a clearer visual indication that makes things obvious… even when I am going back and forth through different browser tabs.

Education is fine for new users, but I believe there’s room for improvement beyond that. Thanks. BTW, I am loving :heart: Discourse!


I like this discussion. Thanks for raising it, @amundo!

Personally, I don’t think the message system should be more prominent than it is - in most cases we want people to join public discussions, but in the event they get a message or need to reach someone directly (esp staff) they should be able to access it directly.

Some takeaways for me:

  • the ‘shortcut’ links across the top of the user menu are a useful and quick way to get to user pages, but are not easily discovered. So exposing it to the user is needed either built into the UI or in just in time user education education messages. In the UI, we could display a small text link just below the menu with an arrow to e.g. " → All Messages"
  • the v at the bottom of user menus likewise is not immediately discoverable, either, but go to the same places as the links at the top instead of just loading more as I would expect. I’ve stopped using these links. If we made the links at the top more obvious and self-explanatory, we could save space and simplify the UI by just removing the v links at bottom.
  • messages and forum topics do look very similar, which leads to some confusion. I’ve heard reports about this before. I think the bubbles theme component is a bit much but we could do something to make messages and message lists more obviously different from public topics and topic lists.

I agree too, especially to new users.

I don’t think this should be done from a UX perspective, because it’s not only about it being a link to the messages page, but also to make it explicit that may be more messages than the ones displayed.


I don’t really agree with this? I think “and there’s a lot more, the list continues…” is a logical place to put things at the bottom. However, it is at the bottom, so not super prominent in the UI, but that’s OK because…

I also agree with the overall sentiment that it’s a bit weird to make the messaging system extremely prominent; the focus should be on public discussions.

I think one-time user education panels make the most sense for this minor issue, e.g.

Both for “this is your first (non-discobot) PM”, and “this is the first time you’ve looked at this panel”.


An education panel for PMs would be great, but if it’s only one time the message may be forgotten. What about showing it for every first message in the PM topic for TL 0 & 1 and periodically for TL 2 & 3?

“If your message could be useful for other community members, please consider making a public post instead of a private message.”

There are some styling options that can help.


Before making more education panels and demonstrations, a necessary prestep is subtle but always available UI hints that you’re looking at a PM. The envelope icon is evidently not enough, given the complaints.

I remember some sites describing styling changes they made to PMs to make it more obvious, perhaps we can review these and see if one is suitable for core.


There are 2 theme components, one for more subtle color changes, another for a more involved “bubble” change.


I think this is true for all the tabs in the notifications window. It’s counter-intuitive and an uncommon UI pattern for a button to change behavior after you clicked it once - especially if it doesn’t change at all. Once you know it, it’s great! But it’s hard to discover.


We had a style difference early on but it was extreme, so we abandoned it. (I think the background color was changed; it’s been a long time.)

I think “bubble” is way too extreme. If anyone has ideas of minor styling things we could do to make PMs stand out more, post a screenshot.

I’m still in favor of a just-in-time education panel for your first non-discobot PM.


It would be useful to have more distinct styling in the email notifications too.


The ‘speech’ bubbles can be more subtle depending on styling. It’s the shape that helps signifies it a personal chat rather than a forum post. The colours are optional. It’s good to give users and administrators a range of options - the Discourse themes and components work well for that :+1:




Ah maybe. Let’s see what @Johani and @awesomerobot and @jordan-vidrine think?


If we had speech bubbles we’d need to alternate sides, because that’s generally the standard on other apps… seems doable.

We do a lot when it comes to image resizing and ensuring there’s no page shift, among other embedded content types… so there’s a lot of potential overhead for an entirely different topic style.

This is a bit of a tangent and doesn’t make PMs any more discoverable though!


The different sides would also help distinguish PMs I like that :+1:

Eh, I don’t view that (if we do bubbles, they must alternate sides) as a hard and fast rule, because it turns a light reskin into a giant layout problem. :confounded: Why not try a very “light” version of speech bubbles with everything on the same side?