What do you think about the upcoming Discourse right gutter change?


(Nick Ivanter) #1

I’m worried that the incoming links seem to be much less visible now and I’m not sure that the sleek timeline is worth it.

What do others here think?


(christopher w) #2

Agree with you. I don’t think it’s been thought through very well.

Although as was it wasn’t perfect in that the interface couldn’t elegantly display a huge number of ins and outs, it was very prominent. Now it almost seems like an afterthought.

IMO UI design (and the lack of a documented client side APi) is not Discourse’s strong point.


(Sarah Hawk) #3

Hey Nick, great to hear from you. This is a question close to my heart too.

Do you mean the ‘Reply as linked topic’ links? I was concerned about that at first but I’m not sure how frequently they are used. I’d be interested to hear whether people utilise those.

I think the UI is an improvement in general. What is your specific concern around the links? Time spent onsite?


(Travis King) #4

Hmm don’t know what to think about that yet. There’s still some mystery UX going on there that I don’t really like. And it’s a bit distracting.


(Nick Ivanter) #5

Not the ‘Reply as linked topic’ command links but rather the links that are created as a result and shown in the right gutter when multiple topics are linked together:

I believe these links, especially the incoming ones, help to keep the visitors onsite longer and generally make the content more organized and accessible.

That, and personally I just don’t see any benefit in the sliding timeline and another ‘Reply’ button.

Distracting when reading topics – that’s my feeling too.


(Sarah Hawk) #6

It might be worth measuring how much those links ARE used.

I’ll set up a heatmap on the NodeBB vs Discourse post that you refer to above (which, incidentally, is our top referred topic by a mile) and see how often people click the sidebar links.

I suspect the distracting aspect of the UX is something that we won’t notice after a couple of weeks.


(Sarah Hawk) #7

And… it’s here. I miss those links already!


(Stephen Gates) #8

Those links are very hidden now and I think it’s a big loss. The scroll bar may be useful for sites like Meta.discourse.org that can 100’s of replies to a topic but for most sites I think the links would be more valuable.

13 Hidden post links

Click to show the links

I wonder if you could use Data Explorer to measure to number of times these links are used (or would Google Analytics help here?)

I’ve suggested the links be made more prominent on meta.discourse.org

Edit: Just discovered that links will be making a minor come back.


(Sarah Hawk) #9

Yeah, the more I spend time with this change the less I like it. I miss the links and don’t gain anything from the scrolling indicator that I didn’t get from the post counter that was at the bottom before. In fact, that was less distracting so arguably better.

I had hoped to heat-map the links but couldn’t due to limitations of putting code into our hosted pages.

Now that the links are gone I can’t measure them here.


(Sarah Hawk) #10

How are you finding it now that you’ve had time to get used to it @Nick_Ivanter?

A couple of times I’ve been in situations where I can see the value of the change. One that springs to mind is when a CTA links to a long topic (perhaps an intro or welcome topic) and there is no obvious way for unfamiliar viewers to find the bottom of the topic.

I’d love it if there was a compromise so that we don’t lose the links though.


(Nick Ivanter) #11

I wasn’t actually getting used to it because we decided to stay with the old interface. We are maintaining our own customized Discourse source tree and had an engineer exclude the right-gutter change from it.