Imagine a subforum with more than 2 new topics.
When I read the newest of the new topics and navigate back to the forum index, the yellow bulb goes off (incorrect).
When I don't read the newest of the new topics but one of the older ones and navigate back to the forum index, the yellow bulb still stays (correct).
It look like that the bulb only intercepts on the first topic of the listing instead of all the topics. That doesn't seem right. I would expect that the bulb stays still on when at least one unread topic is present in the subforum.
IMO, it is also debatable on what the "right" way should be... Should it be that every post must be read? Should it be that ever post on the first page should be read? Should it be that the user loaded the page, and may have decided that none of the topics look interesting.
Well, if I read the first topic, navigate back to index, notice that the bulb is off and navigate to forum again then I still see topics with active bulbs.
This is simply not intuitive. It is confusing and misleading towards the user. If you're not interested in the topics and want to get that bulb off, you just click 'mark topics read' link in top of the listing. That's also how an average forum on the Internet behaves.
Intuition is subjective. IMO, I find it confusing that I have to "mark all read" when I don't feel like answering anymore. The purpose of the icon is to inform me that new topics has appeared since the last time I was in the forum. Just because I didn't answer all the topics, or "marked all read" doesn't mean I wasn't in the forum.
BTW, I don't have a strong opinion here. This is more like playing devil's advocate -- but hopefully, you get the point.
Bauke Scholtz wrote:Fine. I was just talking from webdeveloper's perspective. I keep the experience of an average end user in the mind. You're apparently not an average end user :)
No offense, but I think it might be more accurate to say that you do not find Henry's use case fits your standard use case. I think that since this is a site frequented by software developers, it would not surprise me if most of the visitors were not average end users. :)
Now whether anyone wants Henry's alternate use case is a different subject. It is something I could see a use for.
Just brainstorming on both options because I can, not because I want or expect it to happen....
We could have two icons - yellow bulbs indicating that a topic has been posted to since last time I visited the forum, closed envelopes indicating a topic that has not been read since the last post. Combine the concept - closed and open envelopes that are either white or yellow.
Alternatively, solid line at the point where I last visited the forum, with yellow bulbs indicating what has not been read.
I have to say that since we got the new forum software, I'm always a bit surprised when I sign on and see almost all the lights off next to almost all the forums. Surely I haven't looked at all those forums, I think to myself. Which I haven't.
So what do I expect to happen? Not sure. I don't really care for the way the Sun forums work, where the flag is displayed if there's even one thread in the forum which you haven't looked at. I clicked "Mark All As Read" there once and it took five minutes to do that, so now I don't bother. So the flags there are useless to me.
But it seems to me that if I sign on in the morning, let's say, then most of the lights are on. I might look at a few forums but I don't look at all 50 (or whatever number we have). Then I go off and do something else (like work). When I come back, most of the lights are off. Even next to forums which I didn't look at in the previous session. At least I'm pretty sure that's the way it's working. That doesn't seem right to me.
However I do frequently click on the "Recent Topics" link, and that displays links to posts in forums which I haven't gone into and hardly ever go into. Does that cause the lights next to those forums to go out for me? No, I haven't done the experiments. And after typing all this, I find I don't have a good idea of what I expect those lights to be telling me, or even what I would like them to tell me. I guess I would like a forum's light to stay on if I don't look at any posts in that forum, and especially if I don't even go into it, but beyond that I don't really know what I would like.
Okay... I just did the experiment. My JSF light was on, and when I looked at Recent Topics there was a JSF post there. I didn't look at that post, but went back to the Forums page, and the JSF light was still on. When I went to Recent Topics again and looked at that JSF post, that made the light go off.