Undesired Outcome of Images in Summarized Category Topics


Continuing the discussion from Edit Category > Images > Logo & Background Image Issue (1.4.3 and 1.5):

Please refer to this topic as a reference for what I will describe in more detail below.

How it Works Now

  • “About this category” topics are automatically ‘summarized’, as shown below, as soon as a category logo image is added.
  • Any content near the top of the “about this category” topic gets automatically summarized when a logo image is present.
  • Images near the top of such a topic also get included in this summary and, in all cases I’ve tested, take up the entire summary space so no text will be included.

Why I think this is not desirable.

  • It does not appear that images at the top of these category summarized topics get scaled down or made into thumbnails, as other images are. This can result in larger images taking up a massive amount of space, to the point where they may even appear to take up the whole background. Hence my prior misconception in the topmost linked topic.
  • This certainly causes an undesirable warping of the normal forum layout.
  • Images will, in all cases I’ve tested (not many), take up the entire summary, excluding any valuable informative text.
  • Depending upon the image and contents of the “about this category” topic, such summarization functionality could result in confusion, especially in limited use cases or those unfamiliar with the mechanic.
  • An image does not always add anything constructive to the summary area. It is meant to be seen only in the topic itself. Admittedly, there are times where an image could provide constructive info in a summary.

Why not just remove the image or move the image to the bottom?

Actually, I did try the second option, but I’m not a fan at all. Images are often shown as a sort of introduction to a topic. They ease you into the discussion, provide some eye candy, and ground those visually centric folks like myself. All of this is especially true for “about this category” topics. They present an entire subject matter. In my mind, it makes sense to start such an endeavor with some kind of imagery representative of the topic. So having the image anywhere below the top of the topic is a no no in my book. And let’s keep in mind, this is only a potential issue for “about this category” topics which are summarized via the inclusion of a category logo image.

My Proposed Changes

  • Default Behavior: Images added to the top of summarized “about this category” topics appear as
  • [image] Insert summarized text following the image here.
  • This ensures that text summaries take precedence. The presence of the image is still portrayed (as text) without being obstructive or obtrusive to the user’s view.
    • In fact, IIRC, this is how images in summaries used to be handled by default.
  • But how do we accommodate users who prefer alternate functionality, such as those who do want images to appear in full in the summary?
  • I do understand that too many settings, especially those cluttery type ones with little effectual change are not not desirable. However, perhaps a per category setting specifically for “about this category” topics and how they handle images could be included? Or is this something that could simply be handled via formatting?
    • I can see instances where a global setting lacks flexibility.
  • Some users may want some categories to display images in full for summaries, while others would not.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #2

I think this makes sense, but it’s very hard to properly grasp UX stuff without mockups. Basic photoshop edits or Moqups wireframes go a really long way in getting the message across.


I agree, visualization of these proposed changes would be far superior to my wall of text. However, I simply lack the skill necessary to pull something off that would be worth looking at.

As of now, based on my suggestions, there’d be 3 different mockups.

  • Default behavior I proposed.
  • I don’t think this needs to be in opposition to bullet 2 by the way.
  • Per category setting determining how an image in the “about” topic is displayed.
  • Possibly some sort of formatting text which would alter the way an image is displayed (from the default) in an “about” category topic.

I have GIMP but I’m a complete novice with it.

(Kane York) #4

I think there was something you could do, something like <span class=excerpt>summary goes here</span> to change what gets pulled out.

(Sam Saffron) #5

Yes that still works.


Thanks, that’s good to know. I’ll check that out just as soon as I’ve got some free time, probably tomorrow.

I’m glad there is an option. However, I still think that allowing images (especially since there’s no size limit) to be automatically summarized, thereby excluding any following text, is less than ideal. Then there’s also an issue of the formatting tag that’s been mentioned is likely not going to be intuitive for the wider audience. I have nothing against using a formatting tag of course but I wonder if there’s a way to make this more visible to users as an option.

I’ll test this on our forums ASAP.