UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Discuss general development subjects that are not specific to a particular version like the versioning control system we use or other infrastructure.
Post Reply
Peeagepeebeebee
Registered User
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:31 pm

UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by Peeagepeebeebee »

I see a serious UI/UX conflict/contradiction in the way the checkbox icon is used with regards to subscribing to a topic:
Checked, yet not subscribed.png
Checked, yet not subscribed.png (12.35 KiB) Viewed 7074 times
Subscribed, yet not checked.png
Subscribed, yet not checked.png (12.07 KiB) Viewed 7074 times
At first glimpse on seeing the checkmark, the user thinks that he is already subscribed to the topic, while the opposite is the case.

Checkboxes are clearly not meant to be used with altering texts. Try to find that in any OS and serious app. (The checkbox items on the options when making a phpBB post are also not text altering). If you want to use altering texts in a pull-down menu, you either leave away the checkbox symbolic, or neither use pull-down and checkmarks/checkboxes at all, and instead use radio buttons. That’s a GUI rule chiseled in stone since decades. Checkmarks in pull-down or drop-down menu are solely used with non-altering text.

It does work in the english version to a certain degree, due to the fact that the actions/nouns Subscribe and Unsubscribe are at the very beginning of this menu item. But in other languages, such as german, it’s far less obvious, as one has to read through the entire line:
Checked, yet not subscribed (German).png
Checked, yet not subscribed (German).png (13.48 KiB) Viewed 7074 times
Subscribed, yet not checked (German).png
Subscribed, yet not checked (German).png (15.25 KiB) Viewed 7074 times
What I'll do now is modify my code here is to reverse the checkmark visibility, so that the checkmark is visible when you are actually subscribed, and not when you are not. Makes much more sense and is less confusing. Perhaps I'll make the german text/translation of the two states more congruent (unfortunately there is no german word for unsubscribe).
Last edited by Peeagepeebeebee on Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Peeagepeebeebee
Registered User
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:31 pm

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by Peeagepeebeebee »

I've now switched the checkbox with and without mark, as well as tweaked the german text. It feels much more intuitive, natural and consistent now. See here:
Not subscribed, thus not checked (German).png
Not subscribed, thus not checked (German).png (12.98 KiB) Viewed 7064 times
Subscribed, thus checked (German).png
Subscribed, thus checked (German).png (12.99 KiB) Viewed 7064 times

English:
Not subscribed, thus not checked.png
Not subscribed, thus not checked.png (11.73 KiB) Viewed 7064 times
Subscribed, thus checked.png
Subscribed, thus checked.png (12.34 KiB) Viewed 7064 times
(Changing „Unsubscribe topic“ to „Subscribed to topic“ would be analogue to my improved German translation above, and make the current state more obvious in English as well).
Last edited by Peeagepeebeebee on Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
pierredu
Registered User
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:21 am

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by pierredu »

You're right. But it is like this since the dawn of phpBB...

Peeagepeebeebee
Registered User
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:31 pm

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by Peeagepeebeebee »

pierredu wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:19 am
You're right. But it is like this since the dawn of phpBB...
Well, all I can say is that I'm a phpBB newbie admin/board founder, who wondered (and searched for half an hour) why the heck all those subscribed topics didn't receive the promised email notification (despite email notification being enable in the UCP), until that further, closer look revealed that the check mark does actually NOT mean you are subscribed.

It’s subconscious, at least in the German translation: One’s focus is more on the check mark, whereas the visual recognition of ”...subscribe..." is blurry, and the brain says checkmark + somewhat ”...subscribe..." = oh yeah, I'm subscribed.

It’s never too late IMO to fix mis-designs like that. Silly, not quite matching example: Remember that the Apple logo on the back of MacBook displays has been upside down for years? Initially Apple had the perspective in mind the user has before opening the display, before they realized that once opened, everyone else sees the Apple upside down.

User avatar
canonknipser
Registered User
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:42 am
Location: Germany

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by canonknipser »

For the german translations, your are welcome to participate in the official translation error topic on the german support board.

I agree that using a checked checkbox for a unsubscribed item and vice versa is not very intuitive - maybe in 3.3 there will be a different way to mark the action in the default style.
Peeagepeebeebee wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:02 am
Apple logo on the back of MacBook displays
I guess they are glad the apple logo was not a 👍 :mrgreen:
Greetings
Frank
phpbb.de support team member - no support via PM or mail
English is not my native language
Extensions and scripts for phpBB

User avatar
hanakin
Front-End Dev Team Lead
Front-End Dev Team Lead
Posts: 906
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:02 pm
Contact:

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by hanakin »

this has come up several times and been debate several times. the link is not a toggle which is what you are refering to, it is an action to perform which is what the icon and text is describing. It will not be change in the current theme as that is how it was/is implimented. In order to work the way you describe, it would need to be always visible and not hidden behind a dropdown and the text used would also need to be changed.

it should be changed to subscribed/not subscribed for english.
Donations welcome via Paypal Image

Peeagepeebeebee
Registered User
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:31 pm

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by Peeagepeebeebee »

hanakin wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:22 pm
the link is not a toggle which is what you are refering to, it is an action to perform which is what the icon and text is describing.
If you call those two actions, the checkmark makes even less sense. I mean there’s a reason why you can't find this combination of opposing state/action description PLUS checkmark anywhere else. It reminds me of bad, contradicting UI/UX designs found in Windows apps of the early 90s.One must not see it from an engineering/coding point of view, but has to see it from a (dumb) user’s perspective.

User avatar
DavidIQ
Customisations Team Leader
Customisations Team Leader
Posts: 1831
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:29 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by DavidIQ »

I think if you're actually trying to go with a more proper UX interaction you would actually not change the text at all and only change the icon. After all that's how checkboxes normally work, right?
Image

Peeagepeebeebee
Registered User
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:31 pm

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by Peeagepeebeebee »

... which is kind of true. Problem is that whether you go for „Subscribe“ or „Subscribed“, neither is unambiguous with check mark on/off. Furthermore the other icons do somehow distract from the checkmark purpose (no, I'm not saying that they must go).

I also thought about that toggle vs. action thing again, and disagree: Subscribe/Unsubscribe as well as Bookmark/Un-Bookmark are clearly toggles (at least from the way the user interacts with those menu items —> toggling between two opposing states), whereas Email topic and Print view are actions (—> do that one thing).

User avatar
hanakin
Front-End Dev Team Lead
Front-End Dev Team Lead
Posts: 906
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:02 pm
Contact:

Re: UX issue/conflict with topic subscription icon/menu

Post by hanakin »

Peeagepeebeebee wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:43 pm
hanakin wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:22 pm
the link is not a toggle which is what you are referring to, it is an action to perform which is what the icon and text is describing.
If you call those two actions, the checkmark makes even less sense. I mean there’s a reason why you can't find this combination of opposing state/action description PLUS checkmark anywhere else. It reminds me of bad, contradicting UI/UX designs found in Windows apps of the early 90s. One must not see it from an engineering/coding point of view, but has to see it from a (dumb) user’s perspective.
yes exactly what it is, causes that is where it came from when it was originally designed. they copied it off windows in 2007.

All I can say is it was a large long debate previously. All I can say is that it will be fixed in the new theme. I have no desire to attempt it with prosilver as too many are invested in it as it is.
Donations welcome via Paypal Image

Post Reply