The three different category dropdowns

(Dave McClure) #1

I like the recent changes discussed here very much.

I noticed now that there a 3 very different presentations for the categories in 3 different dropdowns.

(1) On the topic page:

good: its nice looking
bad: its a little short and scrolling a bit awkard

(2) In the hamburger menu

good: you can see all categories always
bad: its not as pretty as the topic page dropdown

(3) In the create topic dialog

good: you can type to autofind/autocomplete
good: summaries are helpful to direct poster to choose the right one if they read it
bad: summaries take a lot of space, only 3 topics shown at a time, scrolling is awkward
bad: its not as pretty as the topic page dropdown (variable width badges)

Some ideas:

Here are some not completely baked observations and suggestions for discussion regarding the three different category dropdowns

  • use one control or similar style for all 3:
    • use a minimum width for bagdes everywhere (like latest on topic page)
    • allow typing to find category by autocomplete
    • do not show summary by default
      • show summary while typing to find category
      • show summary of selected category in the create new topic window
  • move the hamburger menu category list to the search box.
    • when search is blank, show full list of categories underneath
    • as searching begins, show matching topics, users and categories

Category selection menu design suggestion
(Jeff Atwood) #2

For sure we have some consistency problems with the three category areas. However, I’m not sure I agree that the top left category list should behave like the editor category selector.

As for the categories in the hamburger. It is interesting that since we switched to the blue new/unread numbers next to each category (as you can see in the screenshot above, it used to be just a black number, the count of all the topics in the category) I found them much more useful.

I only think a count of topics in a category is useful during topic creation time, so you can tell if you are putting a topic in the correct (read: populated) category. Categories with few topics are rare for a reason; most topics should go in common categories unless there is a very good reason they need to go elsewhere.

But since we are de-styling the new/unread counts on the /categories page to reduce noise, I think that’s doubly true here on the hamburger…

… so I am de-styling the new/unread counters here on the hamburger, too. A bunch of blue numbers in a circle next to a bunch of colored square is just… noise.

Before and after.

(Also I just noticed, when you are logged out you get topic counts there next to each category. Which I guess is OK.)