[RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

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Louis7777
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[RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

Post by Louis7777 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:55 pm

We shouldn't be using the same icons for topics and private messages.

The icons give us a hint about the content. I've seen forums where seeing the topic icon was enough for a user to decide whether or not to visit the specific topic.

However, the topic icons may not make sense for private messages and vice versa.

So instead of creating 2-3 rows of icons to cover the needs for both, it would be better to have a nice small selection of icons for each one separately. It will be aesthetically better that way and easier for the user to select an icon.

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tmbackoff
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Re: [RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

Post by tmbackoff » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Louis7777 wrote:We shouldn't be using the same icons for topics and private messages.
Why?
Louis7777 wrote:The icons give us a hint about the content.
The icons indicate read/unread messages (whether it be directly to you via PM or a post in a topic). I see no benefit of creating a different set of icons just to display the same information.
Louis7777 wrote:However, the topic icons may not make sense for private messages and vice versa.
Again, why? All it does is indicate read/unread messages.

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Louis7777
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Re: [RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

Post by Louis7777 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:51 pm

tmbackoff wrote: The icons indicate read/unread messages (whether it be directly to you via PM or a post in a topic).
I'm talking about these icons:
topic-icons.png
(80.36 KiB) Downloaded 2317 times

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tmbackoff
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Re: [RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

Post by tmbackoff » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:04 pm

Ah, OK. Still not sure why we should separate them.

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Louis7777
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Re: [RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

Post by Louis7777 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:52 am

tmbackoff wrote:Ah, OK. Still not sure why we should separate them.
To begin with, topic icons is not a feature that's frequently used. You don't see every day a forum where you have to select an icon before you post a new topic. With that in mind, we shouldn't neglect it because after all it's a core feature and sometimes it is needed.

I'll present you a use case scenario where it would make sense to have PM icons and topic icons separated:

- Consider a forum that has links to files that are hosted by various filehosts (rapidshare, rapidgator, sendspace etc.).

- When users create new topics, they may select a topic icon from 15 filehost icons so that people can see their preferred downloading service before visiting the topic.

- However, all those icons appear during the creation of new private messages too. In our example it doesn't make any sense to use a filehost icon for a private message. It would make more sense to use a video icon, an image icon, a heart icon, an info icon... to say: hey I'm sending you an embdedded video, an image, my love or a kiss, some information etc.

- Furthermore, admins cannot add any PM icons because those would appear in the forums among the topic icons and it wouldn't make any sense for the community to have topics with heart or kiss icons. Not to mention that the topic icons are 15 already and they may require more than one row to be displayed. Thus, PM icons will not be used and this community will miss them. Which is a shame because it'd make private messaging more intuitive to use.

I've had a similar problem with a forum of a client of mine. We had a phpbb forum of "diet tips" where the user selected topic icons such as bread (for breakfast), a glass of wine (for beverages) etc. My client wanted his forum to be social and members to chat in public and in private as well, but it didn't make any sense to have bread or omelette icons for private messages. He wanted hearts and kisses instead :P

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Pony99CA
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Re: [RFC] Separate topic icons and PM icons

Post by Pony99CA » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:51 am

Louis7777 wrote:I'll present you a use case scenario where it would make sense to have PM icons and topic icons separated:

- Consider a forum that has links to files that are hosted by various filehosts (rapidshare, rapidgator, sendspace etc.).

- When users create new topics, they may select a topic icon from 15 filehost icons so that people can see their preferred downloading service before visiting the topic.

- However, all those icons appear during the creation of new private messages too. In our example it doesn't make any sense to use a filehost icon for a private message. It would make more sense to use a video icon, an image icon, a heart icon, an info icon... to say: hey I'm sending you an embdedded video, an image, my love or a kiss, some information etc.
What if I'm sending him a file? Then the file host may be relevant because the recipient may trust different hosts differently.

I understand why you're suggesting this, but I've never really used icons much for topics or PMs, so it wouldn't really matter to me.

However, I just checked the PM icons here at Area 51, and I'm more concerned that no tooltip is displayed describing what the icon is. There should almost always be Alt text for images. So before separating PM and Topic icons, allow specifying Alt text.

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