New vs. Asterisk as new indicators: Fight!


(Jeff Atwood) #1

It’s a long story, but some contend that the full “new” indicator we currently use on new topics is too heavy / strong.

We originally had a plain blue asterisk there to denote new

but this was deemed “inconsistent” with the white numbers in blue circles that denote unread, so we moved to a white asterisk in a blue circle.

That’s the way it was for a long time until we switched to

Which is how it is now. I was considering just reverting back to the white asterisk tonight because

  • it’s shorter than “new”
  • it’s easier to translate since we don’t have to, it’s a glyph

But when comparing some mockups I’m not sure if the white asterisk is really any better than new. It’s really strong, too. You tell me which works best here:

Looking at this, to my eye, the plain blue asterisk at the bottom works best. But that goes back on two previous decisions we made:

  1. To use white-on-blue circle for consistency with unread numbers
  2. To use the word “new” so it’s clearer what this means.

So I’m uncertain. What do you think?


Tone down the new indicator and change it to mean 'never opened'
(Erick Guan) #2

I prefer the first because of its consistency.

white-on-blue circle is a smooth transition. The beginning of the indicator is blue which turns to gray after seeing the posts and it works just like the indicator for the posts.

The con is obvious. It’s confusing when you see it at first time. You can’t understand its meaning without seeing the tooltip, and nobody sees the tooltip.
In my memory, the widely used forum I saw in the old days keep a new sign which becomes localized version of new, and gone finally. It’s not the first thing people need to know. So let the user learn it.


(Anton) #3

You should probably make this a poll.

My vote is for a plain blue asterisk.

And for the counter I would also try something like +12 with the same blue color as the asterisk and not in a circle.


(Tomo Vukasović) #4

Keep the new because it makes more sense no need complicating things when something makes perfect sense. Asterisk is not telling me that something is new as much as the word new does.

http://tothepc.com/img/2013/05/gmail-new-look-inbox-tabs.png


(Anton) #5

Correct. It’s just that it’s not so short in all languages.


(Christopher Corbettis) #6

Just glancing at it, the asterisk is too similar to the topic star.

I would favour just using ‘new’, and looking over some Google image results for ‘new icon’ there’s a lot of just that – ‘new!’ in either a flash icon or ribbon.

Or, how about a simple blue exclamation mark?


(Tomo Vukasović) #7

I disagree. The word new is actually very short in many languages. 5 characters maximum size at least the ones I checked. Plus there should be enough space right of the topic title. They could add plus/asterisk sign if word is too long.


(Alessio Fattorini) #8

I’m for “new” too. It’s quite short and widely used


(Jens Maier) #9

French: 7 characters, "nouveau"
Russian: 6 characters, “новый”

Then again, I agree. It’s a good thing that the new topic indicator is stronger then the new post indicator, after all a new topic may contain more interesting things then a topic with the n+1st new post.

And regarding localisation, Unicode offers a range of suitable glyphs one could use instead of the rather bold font-awesome asterisk icon, e.g. U+2736 , U+2217 or U+273b (rendered by Chrome on Windows 8).


(Anton) #10

It is actually 5 since Ы is a single letter :smile:


(Jens Maier) #11

Suddenly I don’t regret learning Latin, English and French instead of English, French and Russian in school… :sweat_smile:


(Dave McClure) #12

Out of the choices above I like the plain blue asterisk the best. Perhaps with the word ‘new’ to the right of it:


New indicator far too visually strong
(Tomo Vukasović) #13

Comic book style :slight_smile:


(Anton) #14

An excellent idea to use the same asterisk and then either new or 7 unread. I’m for it.


(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #15

I like this subtle text style.

Perhaps it could even stop showing after a while, same as JIT pop-ups only showing up the first 2 times they’re relevant.


(Manthan Mallikarjun) #16

+1 for new! It simply blends with the numbers better!


(Nathan Rijksen) #17

Is there a difference between posts that show the “new” symbol and posts that show a number, besides that the latter have more than 1 new posts in them?

If not then why not just show a “1”? That would be the most consistent. The only argument I could see for showing “new” (the text) is that it educates visitors on what the indicator is for (ie. when it just shows a number).

The plain blue asterisk is in my opinion most visually pleasing but also likely to be the most confusing.


(Dave McClure) #18

Yes, there is a difference:


(Nathan Rijksen) #19

In that case I’m in favour of the blue asterisk, it shows there is a difference and it makes “unread” posts stand out more compared to “new” posts which seems relevant.


(Gerhard Schlager) #20

I vote for because I can clearly distinguish it from the unread counters at first glance.
I don’t even have to read the “new”. The simple fact, that it is larger (well at least as long as the counter has only 2 digits) helps a lot.

So, in my opinion the unread counter and the new indicator should look as different as possible. The simple is quite good, but I fear it visually get’s lost when there are lots of unread counters. Their blue background attracts much more attention.

looks too much like the unread counter. There’s now way I can differentiate them without taking a closer look.