When surfacing notifications from other wikis there is a balance to keep between (a) letting users know what is going on elsewhere and (b) not distracting users from the activities those users are making on a particular wiki. This ticket is intended to discuss options to adjust the behaviour of the notification badges for cross-wiki notifications in order to better achieve such balance.
Currently the notification panel supports this balance by grouping cross-wiki notifications in a single item placed at the end of the unread notifications (T114350): reachable but giving priority to pending work from the local wiki. However, notification badge reacts in the same way to all notifications regardless of their origin: the number shows the total count and the badge becomes highlighted as new notifications arrive.
Some initial feedback suggests that the badge behaviour regarding cross-wiki notifications may be distracting.
An example scenario to illustrate the problem (we can add more cases and details as we get a better understanding of the issue):
- Adriana is creating an article about a music band in Spanish Wikipedia. While working on it, she notices a notification badge being highlighted and calling her attention just to discover that it was produced by a notification about a discussion on a project from Mediawiki.org. She provided some feedback about this project in the past, but is not interested in following the conversation right now. As she edits the music band article in Spanish Wikipedia, similar notifications appear causing unnecessary distraction.
Based on the initial exploration (T131234), a good step to reduce distractions by cross-wiki notifications would be to count notifications globally but don't highlight on new cross-wiki notifications. It seems that the main distraction is produced by the highlighting of the notification badge (which is the aspect aimed at attracting the user attention). In this way, the badge will react to the notification bundle as if it was a single notification (while still providing the global count of notifications).
In order to make cross-wiki notifications more noticeable when they are more relevant we can consider some exceptions that avoid them to go completely unnoticed. Some ideas:
- Highlight the badge when a single cross-wiki notification arrives. The first time a cross-wiki notification arrives it will demand the user attention but if the user ignores it, other cross-wiki notifications won't highlight the badge.
- Highlighting the badge for cross-wiki notifications if there are no other unread notifications from the current wiki. In that way, local notifications are given priority in highlighting.
This is an initial proposal for discussion based on the information we have.
It may be good to keep collecting feedback while the tool is n beta and observe how it is used by users, before moving forward.