solarbird: (Default)
solarbird ([personal profile] solarbird) wrote in [site community profile] dw_suggestions2017-04-08 07:40 pm

"Activity"-like view of 1st page of Inbox, in a dropdown, from Navigation Strip

"Activity"-like view of 1st page of Inbox, in a dropdown, from Navigation Strip

navigation strip, messaging

It is currently very easy to configure your Inbox to serve as an activity notification hub. It would be very useful to have a shorted version of the first page of that Inbox be accessible via a dropdown on the Navigation Strip, and allow some manipulation of your Inbox via that dropdown.

Each line of the proposed dropdown would contain a one line description of the activity. (N replied to [your post|comment], N messaged you, subject "", N posted to group X, and so on). Each entry would contain an "x" dismissal button which would delete the notification from both the Inbox and the dropdown. Clicking on an individual entry outside of the dismissal button would take you to the item about which you are being notified - the message, the comment made, etc - and mark it as read. A "see all" entry at the bottom of the dropdown could take you to the current Inbox view. Currently, using the Inbox as a notification centre results in large numbers of page swaps and reloads, as you go from Inbox to post to Inbox to reply form to Inbox etc., etc., etc., with mark-as-read and delete-item as separate actions across separate pages. Further, it is difficult to maintain (de-clutter, etc) without engaging in that maintenance as a separate task. As a result, those of us who have this issue end up with over-full Inboxes that we tend to bulk-delete. This suggested feature would allow us both to use our Inbox more easily and maintain it more effectively, resulting in improved usability of the service and - hopefully - fewer notifications being stored on the servers.

Poll #18205 "Activity"-like view of 1st page of Inbox, in a dropdown, from Navigation Strip
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 31

This suggestion:

View Answers

Should be implemented as-is.
6 (19.4%)

Should be implemented with changes. (please comment)
5 (16.1%)

Shouldn't be implemented.
5 (16.1%)

(I have no opinion)
15 (48.4%)

(Other: please comment)
0 (0.0%)

denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)

Re: also, i must note that it's part of a bigger problem

[staff profile] denise 2017-04-17 09:09 am (UTC)(link)
Oh man, I'm trying so fucking hard not to make fierce grabby hands at you right now, you have no idea. We don't have a lot of graphic design experience in our core team, and it definitely shows! (We're a little better at UI/UX design, but even with that, a lot of times we're winging it.) I'd love it if you put together mockups of a few potential options you think would work better -- from "minor tweaks to make it look better/present information better but not change things massively" all the way to "completely redesign everything from the ground up", even, if you wanted. We're not proud; we're happy to consider improvements on just about anything. :)

(If you have style fixes for text overlap and block problems and the like, meanwhile -- for any of our styles, I mean, not just for the one you're using -- I will make grabby hands over those, too! Overflow display bugs are always annoying, because no matter how good your test-case journal is during development, there will always be stuff cropping up once a style hits the Real World with Real World Data. Ditto if you have suggestions or redesigns for other pages. LOOK, WE JUST MAKE GRABBY HANDS AT ANYONE WHO SO MUCH AS SAYS THE WORD 'DESIGN' NEAR US OKAY)

There are a few caveats:

* The thing that does the navstrip on journals and the thing that does the menus/top quicklinks on site-skinned pages are generated in totally different places, so they can't be merged. (And not every site skin has the action links in the same places -- for instance, Celerity puts it on the left side, as do Gradation Horizontal and Gradation Vertical. Tropo Red/Purple are actually the only ones that put the quick action links on the right, in fact.) We are totally up for considering a new site skin or changes to the existing ones! But that all runs through a different system.

* We use Foundation as a framework on site pages -- like, the site skins themselves are not done in Foundation, and neither are journals, but the individual page layouts are. We try to standardize as much as possible and use everything entirely out-of-the-box with minimal customization, because the more you fuck with things, the more you run the risk of introducing bugs. So we can't always match a wireframe or a mock exactly: it all depends on what you can coax Foundation into doing.

* Sometimes, things are less optimal than they could be, design and display-wise, because in a contest between "does this look good" and "is this accessible to people who use screenreaders, have low vision, navigate entirely by keyboard and can't use the mouse, etc", accessible wins every time. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's definitely possible to do both; accessibility and aesthetics aren't mutually exclusive. But in the event of a conflict, accessibility always wins.

* Our users (and I say this with great affection and the acknowledgement that I am totally also one of those people) are exceptionally persnickety about both how things look in general and about things they're used to changing. This doesn't mean that we can't/won't change or redesign things, but it does mean that when we're dealing with heavily used/frequently visited pages, or with things like the site skin that display on so many pages or the navstrip that displays on so many journals, we usually try to run things through a few rounds of opinions/feedback. Sometimes the feedback that we get can be really demoralizing for the person/people who designed the first version, because people aren't always restrained about how they deliver their feedback! So just be aware of that, heh.

* We don't have a super great process for design discussion/work (mostly because we don't have a lot of people wanting to do design) -- we used to use [site community profile] dw_design, but usage kind of trailed off. (People weren't using it because people weren't using it, yadda.) If you're interested, though, I could figure something out.

(Oh, also, I forgot to mention: the reason the text isn't vertical-align consistent in the navbar is because it's done with tables and the different elements in the leftmost and rightmost table cells (logout button, mini-icon, search box) nudge the text down a bit differently. Not unfixable, with a bit of tinkering, but the perpetual line of thought goes something like "it would be better to redo the code so it doesn't involve tables, and if we're doing that we might as well spruce it up a little or improve what links/modules are in it, and if we do that we're going to have to find someone to redesign the thing, ugh, let's just go do something else on the priority list instead". That line of thought happens a lot with shit that needs redesigning, heh.)
Edited 2017-04-17 09:13 (UTC)
fiddlingfrog: (Default)

Re: also, i must note that it's part of a bigger problem

[personal profile] fiddlingfrog 2017-04-18 02:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I think it might even be worth considering a navbar which can also serve as the display engine for all of these cases

This was the best part (in fact, I think it was the main goal) of the new LiveJournal site scheme introduced a few years ago. Having a consistent UI that tracks across the site, and can be adaptable both to the relationship you have with the page you're viewing and the size screen you're using would do a lot to improve the general DW experience.

Edit: Hmm. Okay, looking closer I see that the top banner and the navigation strip are still separate parts, but that they've been designed to fit together better with no repetition of links between them. Also, the top banner has taken the place of the navigation strip as the element that floats at the top of all page views.
Edited 2017-04-18 14:25 (UTC)