Sidebar topic list links prefer unread and new over latest

I think we still want to stick to the constraint of a single click target per item.

Some things I think we could do to reduce some of the understandable confusion that still exists are to:

  1. Think of a better name than “Everything”
  2. Use a different styling for the unread/new counts that doesn’t look like a link

What if instead of “x new/unread” we simply showed a dot indicating that there’s new activity in categories/tags you follow? similar to chat channels in the sidebar. The color definitely makes it more link-like, but I think the text does too. I suspect no one would expect a dot to be clickable.

As for “everything”… something like “all topics” is more specific but might have a similar issue? What we’re really trying to indicate is that it’s a broader bucket than “tracked”, i.e., “latest activity from all topics, not limited by what you track”

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We’ve been using the CSS tweaks suggested above to correct color and position, it has led to much less confusion.

I think the inbox/unread count analogy works really well here.

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A minor feature suggestion for the sidebar: as a user I expected that clicking on the blue ‘unread’ links would take me to the /unread page.



I’ve slipped your post over to this topic @bartv as there has been some back and forth on this idea here. :+1:

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@awesomerobot and @tgxworld just merged this pull request, which I think should address some of the above feedback:

Now when using the default user preference, you see this:

Screenshot 2022-11-02 at 10.57.25 AM

Screenshot 2022-11-02 at 10.57.29 AM

And when you use the “power user” preference, you see this:

Screenshot 2022-11-02 at 10.57.48 AM

Screenshot 2022-11-02 at 10.57.38 AM

So, casual users have a bit less noise in their sidebar, and for everyone, what you see in the links is now more consistent with what will happen when you click them.


I switched to the “power user” mode but TBH I expected that clicking on the category name would take me to “latest” and clicking on the “unread” link would take me to “unread”. But clicking on the category name is taking me to “unread” as well. This is severely limiting the usefulness of the sidebar since it now costs me (a second of confusion and then) an extra click on “latest”.


I think the separate tap target was already ruled out because they’re so small.

That makes sense on mobile, but on desktop my targeting skills are uncanny (thanks, Fortnite!).


that and

And btw, many thanks for this last PR and listening to the feedback, less noise indeed.


Even for “power users” that enabled their super power preference and when there are blue words that really look like they’re separate links ? :wink: :sob:


Sounds like the simpler fix is to change their color?

Ok, I might have tried to say it in a funny way but that’s not a reason to not take me seriously.

No, that would not be a “fix” for me.
I would really like to have the choice between the entire category (i.e. “latest”) and new/unread directly from the sidebar and I think that would be pretty doable on desktop.


In the past we carried this option, I guess all we can say is that we hear you, but you are going to wait a few months here for dust to settle and new designs and changes to land.

I am mixed on the grey here @awesomerobot due to contrast issues, it is very hard to read. I do totally get the reasoning here and will try to live with the change for a few more days. But my initial reaction is that I miss the blue.


If the grey is too hard to read could we just go for a darker shade? Blue really looks like a link and is confusing. I’ve been delighted with the change, though I agree that the low contrast of grey on grey could be improved.


Yeah it is tricky @awesomerobot: WebAIM: Contrast Checker

#8c8c8c starts passing for large text, maybe that is a good enough compromise? That is still lighter than the item and still fails, but is a bit better.



:100: here. That was the behaviour for discourse for teams until the migration yesterday. I came to really appreciate this mode of navigation over the last year and miss it already. There is already an option to display the counter of unread message, the only thing required is to reintroduce the link that was previously there.


Completely agree, the grey is very difficult to read. As it’s now been two months since this was written and it’s still grey, where in the CSS can individual admins change this?

I’ve been digging around and cannot figure out where to do so; although, there have been a lot of changes to the CSS since I last adjusted it on my instance.

That would seem logical to put in the admin, similar to how one can set colors for categories.


Revisiting this now a few months have passed :wink:

I feel like this will be in the “theme component” department. I just cant get away from the tiny click target.

Our upcoming focus is the “merged” unread/new @osama is working on (what we call the “new new”, where new posts and new topics are in the same feed). This means we get away with a single number and the target is WAY more compelling, it includes everything new in the category / tag.