Page MenuHomePhabricator

Adjust notification badge prominence for cross-wiki notifications
Open, Needs TriagePublic

Description

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.

Background

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.

Problem description

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.

Proposed approach

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.

Event Timeline

Pginer-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)
Pginer-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Mar 18 2016, 12:41 PM
Pginer-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Mar 18 2016, 12:48 PM
Pginer-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Mar 18 2016, 12:55 PM
Restricted Application added a project: Collaboration-Team-Triage. · View Herald TranscriptMar 29 2016, 4:55 PM

We classified this for Q4 consideration but not necessarily action. The issue still needs to be thought through. While it sounds like there is support for the goal of distinguishing x-wiki notifications, we need to determine whether there is a solution that will clarify the situation.

Pginer-WMF added a comment.EditedMar 29 2016, 6:02 PM

While it sounds like there is support for the goal of distinguishing x-wiki notifications, we need to determine whether there is a solution that will clarify the situation.

Just to clarify, what was proposed in the ticket was to skip the highlighting of the badge in some of the cases when new cross-wiki notifications arrive, to avoid distractions from the work on the current wiki. For example making the badge turn blue for the first cross-wiki notification you get but not for the upcoming ones. There are details to figure out but the intent is not to highlight cross-wiki notifications more prominently (which I'm not sure is what you refer with "distinguishing x-wiki notifications").

jmatazzoni added a comment.EditedMar 29 2016, 9:45 PM

Thanks Pau for clarifying the proposal. And yes, that's what I meant. The idea you describe has pros and cons, I think. It achieves the goal you're pursuing with minimal changes to our system, which is good. But my fear is that it would also create a perception of inconsistency ("I have new notifications; why didn't the badge highlight?"). Short of making a separate indicator or badge for x-wiki, which may be overkill for this problem, I don't know how to solve that....

Thanks Pau for clarifying the proposal. And yes, that's what I meant. The idea you describe has pros and cons, I think. It achieves the goal you're pursuing with minimal changes to our system, which is good. But my fear is that it would also create a perception of inconsistency ("I have new notifications; why didn't the badge highlight?"). Short of making a separate indicator or badge for x-wiki, which may be overkill for this problem, I don't know how to solve that....

To keep the ticket more clear, I moved the exploration of solutions to a closed sub-tiket, and tried to illustrate the intended change in the mental model:

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).

The intent is that the whole cross-wiki bundle is what is perceived as being highlighted not when it grows internally. I think this can be perceived as consistent-enough. But I agree we need to both (a) give time to understand the impact of the current issue and (b) check that the proposed solution works as intended.

In reading this over, I think this is something we can save for next quarter. It's possible, for example, that the re-sorting of the panels will reduce users' sense of being distracted for no good reason. Let's consider this again after we've had a chance to get a sense of user response.

In reading this over, I think this is something we can save for next quarter. It's possible, for example, that the re-sorting of the panels will reduce users' sense of being distracted for no good reason. Let's consider this again after we've had a chance to get a sense of user response.

Makes total sense.

Now that cross-wiki notifications have been deployed, we want to give some time and collect feedback on stable use (i.e., after people get those very old notifications that got forgotten in time).

Also, bugs like T134854 (in the process of fixing) were contributting to draw unnecessarily extra attention to external notifications.

Quiddity added subscribers: Danny_B, Zppix.
Quiddity added a subscriber: Quiddity.

From the merged task:
@Danny_B wrote:

If user has the preference to display notifications from other wikis, the number in both indicators should be in form of <#local>/<#total> or <#local>/<#other>, so it would be for the first sight obvious, if there is some local notification.