What should selecting each topic list field do?

(Jeff Atwood) #1

Continuing the discussion from Consolidating Activity field:

Since @probus brought it up, this does deserve some consideration, now that we’ve more or less stabilized the default set of topic list fields. What should selecting / activating each one of these fields do?

For logged in users:

  1. Title → your last read position, if no read position, top
  2. Category → category topic listing
  3. Avatars → that user’s profile page
  4. Posts → same as title
  5. Views → (no action)
  6. Activity → popup, choose last or first post dates

For anonymous users:

  1. Title → first post
  2. Category → category topic listing
  3. Avatars → that user’s profile page
  4. Posts → same as title
  5. Views → (no action)
  6. Activity → popup, choose last or first post dates

I think it makes more sense for the Posts field (the one bolded) to always jump to the last post, rather than being a carbon copy of the title behavior.

This seems a bit more logical to me (why would post count link to the top?), and also helps anons who have easy first and last post links now. It’s not hugely different for logged in users, though it would help them when they haven’t set a read position in the given topic, as it effectively gives them the same benefit as anons – they can explicitly choose to enter at the top or bottom with 1 less click.

I also wonder if clicking the avatars should produce the user card, rather than jumping directly to the user’s profile page?

(Dave McClure) #2

Yes please!!!

How strongly do you feel about keeping the views column visible by default? Seems unnecessary to me now…

Why not just also put this popup on the posts column so the user can choose?

Eventually, I could see having a fancier popup with these choices and more of the metrics now removed.

(Jeff Atwood) #3

Views represents anonymous and lurker popularity. It’s quite important, and isn’t captured any other way – anons and lurkers don’t reply, don’t (generally) like, and there are a ton of them.

(Mittineague) #4

It does seem to be Legacy from traditional forums.

I don’t use views myself, and I have never heard anyone say they use it when deciding what to view.

  • I have seen a few members make bump posts like

What! ### views and nobody help me?

Maybe views are more beneficial as Admin stats than they are as member UI info?

(Jeff Atwood) #5

Also, this topic is not about removing views, create another topic about the lack of merit of a views column (good luck, you’re gonna need it), this topic is about

What should selecting each topic list field do?

Should views column be removed?
(Dave McClure) #6

For what its worth, you can still see the stat in the topic page.

And perhaps it could be in the popup if it were removed from the default list view.

Back on topic:

(probus) #7

I don’t like the popup. From an interaction point of view it blows because you introduce an extra click on the most important interaction(!) for zero gain.

Like codinghorror pointed out, most of the traffic is from anonymous users. Most of them aren’t visiting the site for the first time either, they might be regulars who just aren’t bothered to log in on that device. They might be long time lurkers who never post anything and hence feel no need to sign up. They represent a big part of the traffic and it’s just as important for the ui to work for them as it is to work for the logged in users.

The longer threads a forum has, the more frequently anons use the link to last post. You only want to open the first post once, but every time you come back you generally want to open the last post and possibly scroll back a little (to the last post you’ve read or just a little to get up to date on the discussion). That’s why I believe the last post link should be prominent and not hidden behind two clicks.

The most natural place for it is the last post date/time, which literally gives you info about that same post where the link takes you. It is also most frequently viewed stat by the anon users because it tells you which topics have received new posts since their last visit. This leaves the posts column for the first post link, which it can provide for both logged in and anonymous users.

My suggestion:
topic title -> last unread post
posts count -> first post
last post date -> last post

(Dave McClure) #8

Slightly off-topic, but if the popup is going to stay, I think the time should be removed from the label for dates that are not today:


instead of this:

(Jeff Atwood) #9

Agreed with the exception of topics that happened all on the same day.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #10

I do get where you’re coming from. This is standard behaviour in bbPress for instance, where clicking on the timestamp of the latest reply will take you directly to that latest reply.

On the other hand, the pop-up is quite informative.

Would it be too intrusive to show it on hover? I would really like it turned on as an experiment. It’s pretty out of the day, so it’s not gonna accidentally pop up a lot.

(Jeff Atwood) #11

OK so I kind of agree with @probus here, it’s nice to have the immedate last post shortcut in the anon situation particularly. While I think the popup is actually more correct on the posts field – when you click on 80 Posts how can you know whether the user wants the first post or last post? You can’t really, so you should ask. But going to last post is fairly defensible overall, these are social discussions, the latest info is the best info in general.

Changing the link to last post is simpler, and helps anons and registered users without a read position in the topic.

We’ll also try to make the avatars show the user card when clicked since that got 25 exclamation points from @mcwumbly and seems more consistent with the topic page.

(Sam Saffron) #12

This actually makes my “feature request” fit in way better, click on “80 posts”

All below are links vvvvv

First Post: 1 Jan 2012
Jan 2012: 22 posts
Feb 2012: 10 posts
Yesterday: 2 posts
Last Post: 1 March 2012

This fits in perfectly with the expansion being triggered on post count, as its a clear expansion of what that number really means. It breaks it down.

(Jeff Atwood) #13

The post jumper times have been removed unless the first and last posts are within 2 days of each other. Much clearer.

And clicking or tapping posts column will now always take you to the last post.

Avatars showing user card might have to wait until post v1 as the user card makes some assumptions that it is on a topic page.

(Soviut) #14

How would that work on mobile? I think a hover state to show the user card is reasonable on desktop. This can be ignored on mobile since there’s no hover state (or the hover state is on hold). In all cases I think clicking should always go to the profile.

(Jeff Atwood) #15

Aha! @eviltrout was extra awesome today and was able to implement user cards on clicking/tapping the avatars on the topic list. Thanks man!

(Dave McClure) #16

Really, thanks. My enthusiasm for this feature has only heightened since its deployment.

Extra exclamation points for you @eviltrout !!!

(Jeff Atwood) #17

Mobile does things differently (usually in a more simple / basic way due to screen size limitations), it doesn’t show usercards at all. Browse the site on your mobile device and see!

(probus) #18

Could this be changed so the popup is triggered when clicking the posts count and the last post column links directly to last post? You both seem to agree that’s the correct place for the popup.

(Jeff Atwood) #19

Actually, to be completely honest with you, I think both columns should have the popup. So be careful what you ask for :wink:

edit: After thinking about it a bit more deeply, I do see what you mean. The time and post links could be swapped. The time is fairly specific, whereas the post count is not at all. @eviltrout can you switch the click / tap behavior of those two columns tomorrow?

(Soviut) #20

I spend the majority of my time reading meta digest threads on mobile. My day job has me intimately familiar with a lack of consideration for mobile when it comes to feature proposition. Normally, I’d say “don’t do hover states” because they don’t work on mobile, but in the case of mobile, a click-through to the profile page is the better course.

On any platform that supports hover state, show the card. Have the click continue to navigate to the profile as always. This means that desktop users, with added states and more real-estate, get the card as a shortcut. If they click, they go to the profile as expected with the same number of decisions. On mobile, the hover state may not exist, but the click will work the same as always.

My overall point is that clicks = decisions. On the web, clicking usually means you’re going somewhere and this makes most people hesitate; Will clicking your profile in the top corner show a menu, or will it take you away from the place you’re already on. These are the considerations that “non-navigation clicks” present, so they should be considered carefully.