UX feedback for Discourse


Some specific feedback on design: a calm-tech improvement would help people focus.
I’m sure there is a better place to put that feedback than this thread :wink: let me know where.

On the overview of threads, let them focus on the thread titles.

  • Make titles 90% of the view, rather than 40%.
  • Compress icons together (overlap?), limit the variation in repeated information like ‘views’ and ‘activity’ (e.g.: clustering to the nearest day or order-of-magnitude)
  • Offer slight variation in background color for the thread titles, to break up a long page.
  • Use color where you expect eyes to goe. Don’t have most of the color variation in the user-icons, unless the page is mostly about viewing and clicking on those icons.

On categories: by default don’t let any category take up more than one line in the drop-down menu! That led to us deleting all category-description posts, since they make the dropdown less convenient to use.

Additionally, the bright blue New! that pops up when a thread has new posts is pretty intrusive.
What would you recommend instead?

You want the notification to be visibe once someone is looking for it, but not otherwise. So it shouldn’t show up in the title column at all – it interferes with alignment and linespacing. You could put the blue “{n}” indicator for new posts next to the existing count of the # of replies. You might replace an actual number with one, two, or three tiny dots, for “1-2”, “3-5”, “many” – again on the principle that you don’t want to overwhelm w/ detail.

Finally, the notifications list can be less distracting. Right now it is an undifferentiated stream that is always messy once it is full: things never disappear from it, they simply become unhighlighted. You want to let people keep notifs clear, and for them to be clustered so that a single round of interactions doesn’t take up an entire screen. Possibly a few small clusters which expand on mouseover, or one cluster per thread [showing all updates once you visit that thread]. You can keep the full chronological list of notifs on its own page, while simplifying the dropdown version.
More work: automatically unflag changes whose pages you have visited / read directly. And have two different palettes for the colorful reminders there are unviewed notifs: one if there are new notifs since you last looked at the list, and a less glaring set if you’ve already reviewed them.

Discourse mods and site testers

Hi Erlend,

I have some feedback and I apologize if this is a bit general in nature. Many people here in Humane Tech have complained about likes in general as being addictive. Personally I think they are shallow and create the problem that we are gamifying forums with addictive elements in the place of deeper conversation.

One big idea, I don’t know if its been done before. Give people the change to “react” to a post by typing say 3-10 words instead of doing a full reply. This would be used instead of likes. People would have a chance to react in a meaningful way by typing “reactions” such as “Wonderful way you think”, “I agree in principle”, “Such beautiful colors in your photo” which is much more meaningful than a simple “like”. What do you think?


Thank you kindly for the feedback. @metasj could you please re-post this to https://meta.discourse.org/c/feature? You can call it something like “Design feedback from the perspective of Humane Tech”.

I can respond in full there. Include @anon76657042’s comment in > a quote and I’ll respond to that as well.


Yes, here you are! : Design Feedback



I like the UX of showing one’s full name + username, if the full name is filled in in the user’s profile, like the Meta discourse forum does. See example in this post (bug report on Pinning): https://meta.discourse.org/t/pinned-topic-does-not-stay-pinned-consistently/83638

Edit: See my bug report above. There is an administrative option to allow pinned topics to stay pinned.


Hi @anon76657042! While I am in general sympathetic with your idea on Likes - and yes they are addictive - in this case I think they serve a good cause:

  • Showing the user made a valuable contribution and ‘is on the right track’
  • Avoiding cluttering the discussion thread with exactly the kind of short replies you suggest. On Github for instance on long-lived issues you often see explicit requests not to give these kinds of responses because they distract from the topic of the discussion


I was about to post the below text to meta.discourse.org, but don’t know if this actually was a forum config issue instead. Now testing because this is in reply to UX feedback for Discourse

Since a number of days I can no longer reply to a specific post. When selecting the ‘Reply’ link on a user post, a reply in the topic is created, but there is no longer a reference to the other user’s post (i.e. it is a reply as if I clicked the blue general Reply link at the bottom of the topic).
AFAIK this is not due to a forum setting, as other users are still replying to their heart’s content :slight_smile:

This occurs both on Ubuntu laptop and on Android mobile, both using Firefox 58.0

Edit: Hmm strange, this time it worked. I’ll continue to monitor this behaviour.


Some additional remarks to my previous post on having Full Names displayed (if they were provided):

  • Showing names would be really good to give attribution to anyone writing thoughtful, valuable contributions for the community, and would also allow this content to be found by search engine, when searching on someone’s name.

  • While in general it would be good practice to have users be pseudonymous, in the case of CHT it could arguably be better to have people provide their real names (maybe even as a required field on their profile). This would discourage trolls and spammers and have people be more thoughtful before posting.

Regarding the first point: It should be mentioned somewhere (footer) that all contributions are public and published under a public domain license (e.g. creativecommons).

The second point would be hard to enforce, but there may be (new) ways to do this.