Move the new/unread counters to the first column in topic list

(probus) #1

Continuing the discussion from Gray and blue unread counters on topics:

I propose we do this. Aligning the notifications on the left makes it so much easier to scan the topic list. In comparison, stars mainly add clutter and are rarely used for anything.

New vs. Asterisk as new indicators: Fight!
Gray and blue unread counters on topics
(Sam Saffron) #2

Amusingly this is something that phpBB (there I said it) does and I think it is a more correct UI. Clearly we can’t be moving cheese like this prior to v1 but I prefer this.

I have voiced my issue with :star: in many spots, I want it merged with :bookmark:

However there somewhat of a full circle here, the word “new” is too long there, we would have to move it to a glyph if we moved to this UI. I do think it is way tidier.

(Jens Maier) #3

If is supposedly too big, I can already see the folks at TDWTF complain about a topic with >100 new posts in it breaking the topic list. :wink:

(Anton) #4

Oh, and in Russian it’s новая, which is +2 symbols.
BUT it can well be shortened to нов. (with dot), which is quite recognizable as a short version of новая.

(Kris) #5

I’d suggest rounding to the nearest thousand (1k, 2k, etc) - then they’d have to hit at 100k to break it.

That’s a good point and probably a good reason to move back to a glyph if we made this change (isn’t it nouveau in French!?). Maybe this thing?

or maybe the asterisk comes back :scream:

(Jens Maier) #6

I quite like the asterisk in that mockup. At least it’s clearly distinguishable from the circle, unlike the… what is that even? A badge symbol?

(Dave McClure) #7

Just wanted to point out that I don’t think this is a prerequisite for this change. The star feature could continue to exist, even if it can’t be toggled from the list.

(Rikki Tooley) #8

Agree, I don’t know if it’s reasonable to be starring topics from list views… I tend to only star something after at least going into the topic and reading the first post.

If the counters do get moved, starring could be represented in the same way as :pushpin: and :lock:, i.e. at the start of the topic name. The feature could even behave in the same way and allow for list view toggling only from already starred topics?

(Bill Ayakatubby) #9

I see the usefulness of having the star on the topic list mainly in seeing the topics I have already starred, not so much for actually starring topics. That said, I don’t have any starred topics, so the change wouldn’t really affect me.

(Dave McClure) #10

I do have starred topics, and when I want to see that, I click the ‘starred’ tab:

(probus) #11

How about the empty circle symbol? That way it would be somewhat consistent with the tracking level (empty circle for regular, filled circle for notifications) and it’s easier to distinguish from filled circle than those symbols.


Wasn’t there a white-on-blue asterisk before, or am I just imagining things now?

It’s not uncommon to see 1000 in our likes thread, if you’re not there frequently. We’ll have another case of “we broke the scrollbar” thing :wink:

(Jeff Atwood) #13

I strongly disagree with this for two reasons:

  • the idea that “everything must be in a column” is not correct IMO, for example, where the hell would this go in suggested topics? It is correct and fine to put a dab of metadata (new marker, unread count) at the end of titles, forcing it into a column just because OCD is a bad reason to do anything. (I also think it is debatable whether category should even be in a column, we originally did not have it in a column, compare your user page, to me that reads a lot better). And how does 100+ fit in a leading column? The word “new” which we already switched to as clearer, we now have to switch back to asterisk? This is a bad, bad idea.

  • placing the new and unread counters before the title imply they are more important than the title. This is not true. Nothing is more important than the title of a topic, that is why it is first.

We do need a defined selection area when multi-selecting topics so if nothing else, star gives us that. I’m only moderately a fan of stars-in-front, but I am strongly opposed to putting new and unread counts in front. That would be a regression on many fronts.

(Sam Saffron) #14

We could move this to “activity” it seems to be the correct spot philosophically speaking.

(Dave McClure) #15

I don’t think that would be a good idea… I think the topic list is a little too wide for that to work well.

You want to be able to scan the topic list and see the title and this counter easily without moving your eyes back and forth across the whole page.

Activity isn’t too important to look at in general since things are normally sorted that way.

Then I think what would be the next thing to explore is a more subtle indicator. The challenge is to make it subtle, but make the different indicators easily distinguishable.

Perhaps the outline style tried earlier may have been a step in the right direction, but it just didn’t quite hit the mark. Maybe the next round of experiments should just be constrained to that type of change.

The little blue dots we have in the topic page now or very nice touches. Maybe its a little blue dot with grey or black text next to it? I don’t know. I think it’d be worth kicking some more ideas around though along those lines…

(Sam Saffron) #16

My issue with the current state-of-affairs is alignment, and it will not be resolved with any change of styling.

(Dave McClure) #17

Just to illustrate the concept:


more subtle:

New vs. Asterisk as new indicators: Fight!
(Jeff Atwood) #18

I think the complaint with the previous round was that it was too subtle. But perhaps a blue dot with word nearby is more akin to the really quite standard ascii way of

This is my topic please read it! (5)


This is my topic please read it! (*)

Essentially trading less colored area for more plain ascii text. But how much colored area is “enough”?

(Dave McClure) #19

Also still depends if you want to keep your blue and grey indicators side by side… If they can be collapsed (as illustrated above), I actually think it could work pretty well and having a little color still seems helpful to pop out what’s new.

(Anton) #20

Personally, I think that just the same as stars are visually not important and do not interfere with topic titles, putting a new/unread indicator in front of titles won’t grab importance from the topic title either. Still, I do not use that “star” feature while in the topic list - I would only star a topic after reading it, i.e. from the topic page, not from a topics list. So it seems to me that the stars column just grabs space (but someone might be using star feature as is intensively, anyone?). I’d prefer to see that stars column in the “Starred by me” dedicated list - in order to easily remove stars if I want to.

GMail style - I personally like that mockup with bold unread titles as in Gmail (just to share my opinion for statistics), but yes, it can be too noisy.

Just an idea for a mockup to try and see: join the category and users columns because both have pictures and are both of the same height.

Hm this is debatable as, for example, to me it looks all stuffed and categories are much more dominant - they dominate with their clear colored rectangular area compared to a thin text of topic titles, and I think they dominate especially because they’re placed just just after topic titles (i.e. when placed in a separate column, they are visually separated and do not contrast with thin topic titles anymore).