Try out the new sidebar and notification menus!

It would be good if the new menu icons were optional, so that the old system could be recreated (notifications, bookmarks, messages, preferences). Then the exact meaning of the three squares and a diamond would change according to what other icons were present.


For me, the sidebar is a big positive step.

One consistent complaint we had with users who were not too tech savvy was that the discourse interface was hard to fathom. While there was so much functionality, users did not know what to do after landing on the home page. The sidebar is something we have been looking for, is practical and so much in the face for users to click and explore. It exposes several functions that should be regularly tracked but are normally tucked away.

The new hamburger behavior however seems non standard - hiding the sidebar on click when one would normally expect it to open a drop down menu.


Agree. Whilst not as pretty or as ‘iconic’ (ahem!), the icon could be a … ‘sidebar’ icon?


It appears that there is no free “sidebar” icon in font awesome 6 :thinking:

(though there are probably valid alternatives, like arrow-down-wide-short…)

Also maybe I misunderstood your talk about the icon. :upside_down_face:


No you didn’t. My point is the hamburger menu might as well be a Discourse trademark :slight_smile:


Hamburger Links Theme Component Integration

I’m still not sure where I stand on the new sidebar. My techie self loves it, my user-empathy self thinks it might be confusing.

I will enable it for some and get some real-world user feedback but there is one area that I feel needs a bit more thought.

The new sidebar honours the settings in the Hamburger links theme component. Links added to the Hamburger Links Component do appear in the new sidebar, however, the links are hard-coded in the COMMUNITY section and within that section, they appear behind the More… teaser.

Perhaps my logic and use-case are different to others, but if someone installs the Hamburger Links Theme Component because they believe the user needs to see these links, then I feel they probably deserve a more prominent position - and certainly not hidden behind an extra More… click.

I feel the ideal behaviour would be to allow links that are added in the Hamburger Links Component to specify the section of the sidebar they should appear in. i.e, COMMUNITY, CATEGORIES, TAGS, or MESSAGES.

Perhaps they could specify a different category that would be automatically created in the sidebar?

Perhaps a link could specify no category which would make the link appear outside and below the categories?

Anyway, great work!


Settings From the Hamburger Links Component

Non-expanded Sidebar

Expanded Sidebar - The User has Clicked More…


We do plan to make the sidebar more extensible for plugins and theme components, but aren’t aiming for full backward compatibility with things that had targeted the existing hamburger. It’s a little too early for us to dive deep into this ourselves, but we’ll kick off a discussion about it at some point in the not too distant future. (If there are enough folks who want to talk more about it now, that’s fine too - feel free to start a topic and we’ll join in later).

Separately, we do plan to add some built in ability for folks to add custom links themselves. I’ve started a topic that outlines our initial plans for that feature here: Ability to add a custom section of links to the sidebar


Overall I like the new side bar (reminds me of 1990’s websites with the navigation menu on the left side and ads/other stuff on the right :slightly_smiling_face:) … except when trying to see the Latest. It’s just a small hoop to jump through, clicking All categories and then at the top clicking Latest. Couldn’t the Latest just be added to the side bar along with New and Unread?


Some related discussion going on here if you want to pile on :wink: Sidebar topic list links prefer unread and new over latest - #24 by ncaming215


Latest is reachable via Everything. If there are unread topics, those are shown first. So it is indeed one more click away which I don’t especially like myself. Here on meta I don’t want to read everything necessarily or (dismiss it all as read) but do want to know what’s going on Right Now!


Thanks, I’ll check that out.

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Great to see a re-design of the menus! :sparkles:

One ux aspect I’d love to see implemented more is a clearer distinction between

  • navigating the forum conversations
  • and accessing other features, settings and user actions

This was mixed on the hamburger menu so far. I think the sidebar offers a good opportunity to only use it for navigating the forum conversations.

E.g. the Admin and the More… section. They are on the sidebar now as they have been on the hamburger before. To me they introduce too much information and disrupt browsing the forum structure on the sidebar:

I think these would have a more intuitive place on the user menu. I’d also love to see an option to adjust the icons on the user menu. In my experience more than 3 or 4 icons are overkill for a casual user. E.g. that’s a view I’d like to implement with the new user-menu:

user-menu bell

Then have a site-navigation tab that collects the links from More…

user-menu site

And when a staff member is logged in add a staff tab (with additional links and review posts…)

user-menu staff


The trouble though is that we are already struggling with too many icons on the user menu, adding another bunch of icons and mixing in even more functionality would add confusion. This change would heavily prioritise super casual users over power users. (Eg: you get 5 notifications a month, who needs all this fancy?)

I do get that the burial of groups/badges and other links is a bit surprising, but clutter is minimised now


Personally, I think it makes total sense that all other links within Community take me to a list of topics or posts, while Admin and the More... links break this mental model. There’s also the plus icon when hovering over Community to create a topic, reinforcing this concept.

I’d love a different default but, at least, being able to customize it (via a TC) to take these 2 options out of that section and put them inside the sidebar footer instead. I think there’s enough room and they are important enough to be there.


I think you have too many icons because you heavily prioritise power users over regular members. There’s 6 detailed notification tabs on the new menu right now. If I don’t spend hours every day on a high traffic community I don’t make use of that:

user-menu icons

I’d also assume that the default expectation when clicking the user avatar is not to open a complex notification cockpit. But just a standard user menu: accessing settings, personal pages and other site features. When I just remove the detailed notifications, move bookmarks to the sidebar, and instead add a tab for the More… links, I’d get such a menu that looks like a pretty plain default:

user-menu plain

I can see how the detailed notifications make sense for very heavy users. But why not offer these through a setting to enable expert notifications? This could extend the menu, offer a sub-menu, or a dedicated notification menu…



A lot of this can be managed automatically via a heuristic, unlock richer filtering as your notification count ramps up

That said, I am uncomfortable with a solution that penalises power users, we need to also allow for them and this logical regrouping does not scale

Are non power users going to struggle so much getting to these sections? The sidebar imo is a fine home for both groups of people.

Keep in mind the vision for sidebar is for it to be the place end user controls, when custom sections are added plenty of non topic lists will be added


Yes they are. And majority of users world wide are common ones, not power anything.

There is another point too. This whole system is done for big screens. Mobile users get zero andvance, unless you guys let an user decided what he/she will see.

If a forum uses hundreds of categories even a power user has muted most of thse and is alreade following some important one. But those forums don’t use tags. A bit like here where is minimun amount of tags in use.

And opposite situation — minimun amount categories, but system works with tags.

First situation doesn’t need tag section unless an user wants that.

Second one, category section is just noise and eating space unless an user wants that.

Either way an mobile user must open sidebar, click and close sidebar. And again, and again, and again until everything is red.

Well, in real world that same user goes to latest pages and never uses sidebar. Or will be lost in the jungle called notifications :wink:


Not really following, we are talking about this

How often is a user navigating to the user list, or groups, or badges?

@nolo is concerned this is in the wrong spot, but the long term plan for sidebar has always been to always show things that are not topic lists as well


It would be good if hovering over an icon would explain it.

E.g. hovering over the bell icon might explain that it’s every notification, the arrow icon might be “replies to your posts”, the bell with the exclamation mark might be “things you are watching [or tracking?]”, the three squares and a diamond might be “everything else, including moved topics, edited first posts, links to topics you are watching or tracking”.


When adding tags using Preferences - Sidebar, only about half a dozen appear in the dropdown.

I don’t know the ideal solution, but it would be good somehow to see all of them and tick the ones you want.