Currently when you visit an article page you can only see if any discussion was started or not. It would be more efficient if I could see whether any new replays or topics where made since my last visit to the talk page (if I'm logged in) and it could be indicated with a star or something. Note that this is something most reasonable dashboard has.
As I'm aware the above might be very resource consuming and maybe not the most import thing... The main thing I'm proposing here is an indicator of how many unanswered topics are there on the talk page. This info could be easily cached and update upon creation of a new topic and reply to the topic. It could be displayed as a number in brackets on the talk tab (with a span title saying what this number mean).