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Messy 'new messages' pages
Closed, InvalidPublic

Description

Special:Newmessages

I was just testing at the Usability Initiative's prototype wiki, and by accident I got a new message notification on a thread I had contributed to - very nice feature!

Clicking the link brought me to Special:NewMessages and I had some trouble decoding what I saw there. This needs some improvement, although I have no concrete suggestions at the moment. Adding screenshot of the current layout in a Dutch locale.


Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement

Attached:

Details

Reference
bz20644

Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Medium.Nov 21 2014, 10:50 PM
bzimport set Reference to bz20644.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).

Sticking Trevor and Parul on the CC list, see what we can come up with to streamline and improve the new messages page.

Some ideas (not thinking outside the box, though):

  • get the buttons in the margin to the topic top, so it does not take horizontal space
  • add a ToC of topics at the top of NewMessages, like on the regular lqt talk pages, for both quick overview and quick navigation - probably also need a 'top' link below every topic
  • if I haven't 'mark all mesages read', the new messages link will keep appearing. That's going to annoy many. Once NewMessages was visited, this should disappear, or get less intrusive (do something with 'my talk'?).
  • only when a change on the 'lqt watchlist' (because that's what it is, i guess) happens, I would want to see the 'new messages' bar again

Just shoot if you don't like it :)

(In reply to comment #2)

  • if I haven't 'mark all mesages read', the new messages link will keep

appearing. That's going to annoy many. Once NewMessages was visited, this
should disappear, or get less intrusive (do something with 'my talk'?).

  • only when a change on the 'lqt watchlist' (because that's what it is, i

guess) happens, I would want to see the 'new messages' bar again

I want to change the "you have new messages" to something less intrusive (icon in p-personal?) for this sort of case (see bug 20663)

I tried adding a TOC, and it looked terrible.

Created attachment 6815
NewMessages with TOC

Attached:

I'm going to take this, since it's still got to get its redesign.

Brandon:
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I would resolve this as INVALID, encouraging the reporter to open new repots with speficic requests.

Siebrand, I like you :) but the first post was vague and then in a comment you started listing suggestions that (after having gone through only 20% of the open reports) feel familiar.

(In reply to comment #8)

Siebrand, I like you :) but the first post was vague and then in a comment
you
started listing suggestions that (after having gone through only 20% of the
open reports) feel familiar.

On the other hand, it's been over three years since that comment, so it stands to reason there would be more specific/targeted bugs at this point. If there isn't one, perhaps this should be converted into a tracking bug?

The attachment of the initial post doesn't reflect the current UI. That *was* messy. The current UI can definitely be improved but is structured and usable.

(In reply to comment #2)

Some ideas (not thinking outside the box, though):

  • get the buttons in the margin to the topic top, so it does not take

horizontal space

Arguable. There is plenty of horizontal space and having the big button "Mark as read" there never bothered me.

  • add a ToC of topics at the top of NewMessages, like on the regular lqt talk

pages, for both quick overview and quick navigation - probably also need a
'top' link below every topic

Bug 26892

  • if I haven't 'mark all mesages read', the new messages link will keep

appearing. That's going to annoy many. Once NewMessages was visited, this
should disappear, or get less intrusive (do something with 'my talk'?).

Arguable. I mark some posts as read and leave some other there as reminder.

In any case: Bug 23031

  • only when a change on the 'lqt watchlist' (because that's what it is, i

guess) happens, I would want to see the 'new messages' bar again

Yes, agreed. I don't think there is a bug report open about this one?

I am closing this bug as its no longer valid. I stared at the attachments in vain for a few seconds to understand this bug. "Messy" doesn't indicate much even.

Please make new bugs for individual problems that you see.

It surprises me that it escapes at least two people commenting in this issue that there is something severely wrong with the usability of Special:NewMessages of the extension LiquidThreads. It's one of the most important pages of the extension, too, i.e. the page where someone goes to read up on active talk threads.

I'm not a designer, not an interaction expert, so apologies if I lack the vocabulary to eloquently dissect what is wrong exactly. As a participant in discussions using LiquidThreads, I saw a sub-optimally designed workflow years ago when I reported this issue, and still see it to this day, and actually today.

This issue isn't solved by applying patches, figuratively speaking, to the current special page, as is suggested by way of "mak[ing] new bugs for individual problems that you see". It is solved by properly redesigning the workflow of digesting active LiquidThreads discussion, as is suggested in comment 6. Work on this was actually started, but never communicated widely (a presentation by at Wikimania 2010 - http://www.slideshare.net/werdnum/liquid-threads-wikimania-2010), but never completed in detail. Some work may have been done as part of "LiquidThreads 3.0", but it's unlikely that will ever see completion (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/LiquidThreads_3.0 ) as Wikimedia Foundation cancelled it mid 2012.

Anyway, let's just close the bigger issues as invalid, especially if the wrong words are used[1]. That leaves us with work items that's much easier to understand.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/messy

(In reply to comment #12)

Yeah, I am something of a designer and such and I don't know the words for this either - the new messages thing is just not good.

That said, I'm not sure I disagree with the close, though not reasons - the solution here ain't separate bugs on individual issues, it's chucking the entire current new messages thing and redesigning and reimplementing it properly. This could certainly be done, but given how problems for which similar solutions would make sense are rampant within LQT in general, I think a lot of the resources that might otherwise be applied to LQT are probably skirting around it in light of Flow.

I know it's a ways off, but ideally Flow should resolve this stuff and serve as a replacement for LQT (and I should certainly hope the old conversations and such would be compatible, even if it does require running a script or something to transition), and poking for progress on that might help more in the long run than trying to fix up LQT now - especially when designer and developer resources are already stretched thin and trying to deal with both would only attenuate that further.

I suggested new bugs because comment #2 and #10 suggest a few changes to make 'new messages' better. If we want a redesign than that is not a bug according to me, bugs are typically things that an individual developer takes a shot and fixes in a day or another.

This an issue much bigger and should be answered by the team who worked on LT 3.0.
We already know that ""Further deployments of LiquidThreads are indefinitely on hold because we don't have the resources to support it." – Andrew Garrett (2012-03-19)" http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/LiquidThreads_3.0#Timeline

Another option would be to make this as a tracking bug; but really we need a redesign or an alternative.

Besides that, the first comment and the attachment really is old and made some confusion.