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author's profile photo Michael Appleby

Notifications List changed! My thoughts after testing.

Sometime last night or this morning changes were apparently implemented in the Notifications. My observations so far:

I am working in Chrome and have 12 items in my Notifications queue that are unread. The layout is screwed up with the empty circle to the far left and the words Mark As Read on the far right. However, clicking on the circle or the words do nothing. Opening the item also does nothing as far as changing the status. The Mark All as Read button/link appears briefly when the page starts loading then disappears to a darker portion of the thin divider line (under the header?). However, it still shows as a link since my mouse pointer turns into a grabby hand if I very carefully position it.

Working in IE, the layout looks fine but what is it with hiding stuff? Please unhide the Mark as Read text and circle. It is silly to waste developer time on such functionality and it just makes it less intuitive to use. There is absolutely no value in hiding it from the users.

It is also illogical to have the words change after the circle is switched. Mark as Read with a check circle when dark indicates it is so marked (as if the graying out of the item were not enough?). Unchecked means it is not enabled. If you have limited Developer resources, let those resources work on more important stuff.

IE obviously has a column under the Mark all Read button which does not allow use of the full width of the ~30% of which is not locked up in wasted white space. Chrome actually has a lot less wasted white space with about half the width containing actual information as well as consuming fewer lines to display. In fact, if you shrink the icons by about 50% height and width (or remove them completely), you would probably present 2-4 more line items than the 6, which are presently visible.

Working in both Chrome and IE, “SAPUI5 – Force Layout with D3.js” in the Notifications as a Moderator Queue item does not show as Read after opening the item (not the Moderator Queue link) which is what should happen. Same with Veselina Peykova’s comment on “Just what was the Track in Communications functionality and why is Mike constantly harping on it?”. Refreshing the page does nothing. Shift F5 also does nothing.

So I am now confused. Were all the layout changes and modified functionality due solely to add the Mark all Read button? If so, please change it back until it works properly in all the standard browsers. Mind you that button is low hanging fruit and I would definitely prefer the status of UnRead to change to Read after I have opened the item. It would be far more efficient to users to do that change first.

Regards, Mike (Moderator)

SAP Technology RIG

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  • Dec 22, 2016 at 03:51 PM

    Firefox 50.1.0 seems to show a further variant:

    The "Mark as Read" button and text only appear when hovering over an item.

    While pressing "Mark as Unread" does immediately display the text as not read (i.e. as not-grayed text), the opposite seems to do nothing, i.e. even although I marked the text as "read" it is still displayed as unread, and the button is still named "Mark as Read". But when you re-visit the page, the display is correct.

    Weird, and no improvement, apparently.

    • Dec 22, 2016 at 09:34 PM

      Well, 5 hours later, it seems to work with FF, both "Mark as Read" and "Mark as Unread" and the global "Mark all Read" have immediate effect. And the (still hidden) button appears at the right hand side with the text immediately in front of that. (I guess that fits to Jelena's description.)

      I'm not sure whether I consider that an improvement – but at least it does work (currently, that is) .

  • Dec 22, 2016 at 03:57 PM

    but what is it with hiding stuff?.... It is silly to waste developer time on such functionality and it just makes it less intuitive to use. There is absolutely no value in hiding it from the users.

    This was my thinking too. I have as well no understanding for such ideas and their immediate implementation, not sure if this based on some new studies, if they were game developers, from a totally different culture or just because they never had any experience with the old platform or worked themselves in any forum, or they just want built new examples and future standards for the industry

    • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:24 PM

      For a company that espouses Run Simple! , we sure do complicate things sometimes...

    • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:32 PM

      Ah, so you suspect the "gamification" approach is focussed on the developers, not on the users of this UI?

      • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:50 PM

        Hi Volker,

        I had not thought of it in those terms, but you might be right. If there is a "gamification" aspect to this, then the rules are certainly unclear to me.

        Cheers, Mike

      • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:53 PM

        I am not a game player at all. Sometimes I try one, just last week I tried a virtual reality game, I see no logic to click any pixel on the screen just to open some hidden door to get into the next room. Pressing the bell or klicking the handle would be logic.

        And I had several times this experience with the new community. It started by clicking the avatar to get the context menu. For me is just no logic to click a picture with my face to get a context menu with all actions that I can perform, I associate such activities with gaming (not gamification). However I found it rather quick, and once you know it you get used to it, but why not just saying "click here to start" for those who can read.

        I find it rather contra-productive to make the white space bigger by hiding options while the entire community argues against too much white space. If it would be like this then I would certainly see a need for hiding

        • Dec 22, 2016 at 09:29 PM

          I'm no game player at all, neither (and have never been, so no such stories to tell on that nice other discussion...). So I feel I should have been clearer: My hint at a possible "gamification approach for 1DX developers" was meant ironically (or even sarcastically). – As usually, it feels bad to have to state that:)

        • Jan 03, 2017 at 09:33 AM

          I'm a gamer. Makes no sense to me either. ;)

  • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:23 PM

    I think they just updated it again. At least in Chrome, the buttons are now functional, but now we have the wasted space under the Mark all Read button same as IE. The use of the entire available width is now down to the same as IE (i.e.(had to do that), with a lot of wasted space even in that which is available). Sigh...

    • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:27 PM

      Haha, so you ask for a notification when the notification list logic has been changed? :)


      The behaviour in FF seems unchanged so far.

  • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:43 PM

    Some minor changes in notifications UI...

    But NO changes in notification logic! Like here:

    Just a waste of time!

    • Dec 23, 2016 at 03:22 PM

      There were a lot of requests to add the Mark all as read functionality in Notifications Vadim. And there were also requests for UI changes. I hope you will remain patient as we roll out all of these changes first.

      • Dec 23, 2016 at 04:56 PM

        Today I can't use notifications for the primary purpose - to be notified about all content changes in the questions where I participated (same as OP). And UI changes or Mark all as read will not help!

        • Dec 23, 2016 at 05:26 PM

          Thanks for your response! I will consult IT on adding "Accept_answer" for the publisher of the answer, and other "publish_answer" as Notifications if the user has participated in a question. I am happy to update you on the matter when I have more information.



          • Dec 23, 2016 at 06:21 PM

            Accept - absolutely low priority!

            But al other things are critical!

            It's not about only "publish_answer" it's about ALL changes in the content:

            - edit of question

            - adding/editing/deleting/converting answers by any user

            - adding/editing/deleting/converting comments by any user

            All the mentioned things will change the discussion logic, and the notification will indicate that new or corrected info is available for the person who will finally answer the question...

            • Jan 03, 2017 at 09:36 AM

              You come across pretty aggressive and demanding. Maybe turn it down a bit? No need to jump at Sajid (or any other person) like this. :)

  • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:53 PM

    Testing on Firefox 50.1.0, Linux.
    The button Mark all read was a nice addition, but why would they shrink the text even more? I have screen resolution 1920x1080, I don't need more white space, thank you.
    I was planning to play a bit with the new web developer tools in FF (RIP, Firebig, you will be missed), so I took the opportunity.
    Div id = "main" class = "container activities" - removed max-width = 1240 px
    Div class = "content-wrapper": max width 960px? Erm... no. Disabled that. Changed the padding a bit.
    Div class = "list-group-item_content ng-scope" ng switch-when="formatted" - changed the width to 100%.
    Div ng-show="showMarkRead". There was something saying display: none !important. Removed that.

    Now it looks better, but I need to move the content to the right (and it is time that I figure out how to take non-black screenshots from my Mint VM:

    There was another place, where I saw an intriguing display: none, which I disabled, and I got something cool - another tab, named settings... nice, huh?

    *** I had to re-post... the annoying disappearing comments bug is still here***

    • Dec 22, 2016 at 04:56 PM

      pssst- this is for later - with a bigger announcement

      • Dec 23, 2016 at 06:03 AM

        Hiding information with CSS in a website, visited by IT people and/or gamers, was doomed to fail. And I wouldn't have looked at the source, if the page was well designed and easy to use. :)

  • Dec 22, 2016 at 08:49 PM

    For full disclosure - I don't really care to manage Notifications online and am just patiently waiting for the emails to come back. For me in Chrome it looks same as Volker mentioned: it's blank at first but when I hover the mouse over the empty space the 'Mark as Read' appears.

    I agree it is indeed an odd decision to hide this. Not sure what difference it makes. Mark all Read is OK but in absence of read/unread filter it is of limited value IMHO. But again, I really don't care for any online management tools, "show me the emails!". :)

    P.S. On a bright side - it looks like the author's info shift bug was resolved. Yippie!

    image2.jpg (18.9 kB)
    • Dec 25, 2016 at 06:44 AM

      Hi Jelena,

      Thank you for your feedback. At first I thought that there is a bug with the hiding box:).

      The idea was to give a cleaner look to the notification interface and it is a common practice in other sites. Let's see how the community reacts to it.



  • Dec 23, 2016 at 03:27 PM

    Hello Mike,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I have taken two points from this thread that should be considered for further changes in Notifications:

    -Automatically mark as read if a link in a Notification is clicked

    -Make the option of "Mark as Read" visible

    As for the word changing from "Mark as Read" to "Mark as Unread" I do not think that is an issue for our users. It can only help users understand better as opposed to expecting them to get it. And I believe you were testing when they were still not done rolling out all the tickets (and before any official announcement) and thus had trouble seeing the "Mark all as read" button. Glad to see that it was not an issue.

    • Dec 23, 2016 at 05:01 PM

      "Automatically mark as read if a link in a Notification is clicked" - as far as I remember it's not the same as it was in SCN - you can visit the answer page using any link and the notification will be cleared...

    • Dec 23, 2016 at 05:26 PM

      What I really need is the ability to filter notifications. Adding a mark all read is nice but more important for me is the ability to hide things I have already read! If I skip a post to come back later I now have to keep hitting more over and over because something think only showing 10 at a time was a good idea (please fix this as well and hope I eventually find it.

      • Dec 23, 2016 at 05:49 PM

        Hello Bill, I am afraid many would argue that is not how the Notifications are supposed to be used! What you are really asking for is something like a bookmark - a functionality we lack. I am afraid implementing filters is out of scope for Notifications currently.

        • Dec 24, 2016 at 05:00 AM

          I guess I just don't get it.

          Bookmarks are something else entirely (and also sorely missing). I would set a bookmark for a post I may want to come back and refer to in the future and is something I would do after reading the post not to highlight something I haven't read yet.

          I have no interest in email notifications. I don't need more email in my inbox. What I really want is the old communication page from SCN where I can see the list of posts, mark them read, filter for only unread posts and easliy view the post without having to constantly open new tabs or move back and forth. As it is, it is entirely too much effort to quickly read posts. I only have limited time and the new site is forcing me to waste most of it just trying to see if there is something new I haven't read.

          Maybe I just don't understand what a notification is but there just doesn't seem to be an equivalent to what we had previously in SCN. While it wasn't perfect, it was light years ahead of what we have now.

        • Jan 03, 2017 at 09:42 AM

          As Bill wrote, in old SCN you could choose between seeing all content in Notifications or only the non-read (and some other filters, too, like only PNs etc).

          I think it would help to get at least the unread-only filter back. It was the default setting back then. :)

      • Dec 23, 2016 at 05:50 PM

        However, I believe that the upcoming feature of Email Notifications may help you solve this issue to a certain extent.

  • Dec 25, 2016 at 06:38 AM

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks a lot for your feedback. We will review the bugs that need to be fixed and work on them.

    As for showing the mark as read just when you hover over, it is a common feature that gives a cleaner look.

    Let's see how the community reacts to it and follow-up accordingly.



    • Dec 26, 2016 at 05:30 PM

      This hidden "read/unread" mark is really downright silly. (sorry). Who would even know its there unless you happen to move your mouse over it? That's not intuitive for new users, just plan confusing. You have so much white space now it's not making it look any cleaner. So many people have made comments that there is way to much white space everywhere. And yet nothing has been done along those lines except now you give us even more white space with these disappearing marks.

      Personally I would have preferred if that development effort had been put into making sure the notifications take up only 1-2 lines instead of the current 6,7,8+ lines and allow me to have more than ten items before having to click "more".

      Also, now you fade out items that are read. That's a good idea. But again, the colors being used are all so similiar, that fading out a read item makes it even more strenuous on the eyes to see it if I want to go back and find it in my activity list.

      • Jan 02, 2017 at 11:39 AM

        Hi Craig,

        Thank you for your feedback (any feedback is welcome). Notifications' usually require your action and it's enough that you click on a notification once to notice this 'mark as read' (not like the activity stream). We will watch community's behavior/feedback and react accordingly.

        Thank you,


        • Jan 02, 2017 at 05:41 PM

          I noticed that this dynamic hiding for read/unread is implemented for screen size > 1024 px (at least this is what I can see in developer tools - responsive design mode) - in my opinion, such functionality does not add real value to the user experience - even if you were using different devices.

          The web developer really needs to start looking at how the pages are displayed at different screen sizes - it is not logical to have this:

          And then, adding one more pixel for width, to get that (I know, this is not a standard combination, it is only to illustrate the problem):

          At 1980 the screen looks even worse. Considering that 1980x1020 is the third most popular combination according to netmarketshare, it deserves to be included in the tests.

          Looking at the huge number of rules, I wonder - how would something that complicated be supported in the future? We have already seen cases, where the screen elements got displaced, when even a small change is introduced. Technically, the site is in beta phase and changes will be done. Adding additional complexity, which was not really needed, will make the future changes harder to implement. #justsaying

          980x1280.jpg (32.5 kB)
          981x1280.jpg (32.1 kB)
          • Jan 03, 2017 at 04:27 AM

            Interesting, my Mac Notebook looks like your second screenshot. And it is similar to my work Windows desktop.

            Unfortunately for some reason, I'm missing all my notifications and activities tonight. Maybe they'll be back by morning.


            • Jan 03, 2017 at 08:01 AM

              Are you getting a blank screen instead of the list?

              If yes, I've found out that this is related to cookies settings in the browser (somebody changed it.... yikes!). Now, if you wish to see activities and notifications, you have to allow third party cookies - at least this is the case for IE, Pale Moon and Firefox (I have no Safari installation to check with).

              Activity stream and notifications were displayed without allowing 3rd party cookies until recently :(

            • Jan 03, 2017 at 04:18 PM

              I am having exactly this same problem myself this morning. It was working fine last week (as of Thursday), but this morning my Activities and Notifications pages look exactly like Craig's screenshots -- totally blank except for the page headers. And yet my profile icon shows that I should have 8 unread notifications.

              I am using Firefox. I haven't changed any settings between last week and today. I see that Third-Party Cookies are turned off, but I'm pretty sure it was this way before as well. I'll experiment and see if allowing them changes anything. Unfortunately, such a change may not "stick" as this browser is managed via corporate policies, and anything I do could be overwritten with my next logon.

          • Jan 03, 2017 at 03:30 PM

            I was just looking at the latest rendition of the Notifications and Activities tabs on my iPhone 6 and Safari was showing blank lists for both tabs...Chrome seemed to load (after manually logging in) the tabs, and the Notifications seem to do a decent job of using the full screen width, but when rotating to landscape mode I see the similar problem where the 'Mark as Unread O' it consuming more than it should from the width of the screen.

            Activities seemed to work well in both iPhone portrait and landscape (again, using Chrome since Safari is out to lunch), but one thing that is super annoying is the alternate hover text for the redundant blog title. IMO, this should be disabled totally when viewed on a smart phone - as I used my thumb to scroll and scroll and scroll through the list of items (pressing the More button way too many times) I kept getting too close to the title and the hover text kept appearing on top of the summary below.

            • Jan 03, 2017 at 05:42 PM

              I would say, that the tool-tip is not needed also on desktop - there is no point in duplicating that on any device. On desktops they can simply make a better use of the horizontal screen estate and show the complete title, similar to what I did by editing the page in my first set of screenshots.

      • Jan 03, 2017 at 09:46 AM

        I'm with you on the "why hide it in the first place?", but doesn't it appear for you, if you hover over the notification itself?

        • Jan 03, 2017 at 02:19 PM
          Who would even know its there unless you happen to move your mouse over it?

          In my understanding, Craig S did mean that it only appears when you hover over "it" meaning the notification itself - at least, it does for me with FF:)

          • Jan 03, 2017 at 02:57 PM

            I understood it as "over the read/unread circle". ^^ Craig?

            • Jan 03, 2017 at 04:33 PM

              Yes. I see it there when I hover over the notifcation. I can't remember now if before it was just when I go over the circle area.

              I just didn't see the reason to remove it to start with. It just seemed to not be a high priority thing to start with when we have other items to deal with. I'd rather have the space used more efficently. This doesn't help any cause it doesn't change the layout, the control is still there.

              Also, it reminds me of a kids game where you have to scroll over areas to find hidden prizes. It's not like it uses any less space because it's not there... it's still taking up that screen area. So I guess I just don't get it.

  • Jan 04, 2017 at 01:54 PM

    Even if you get the notification finding posts is in a discussion is a problem. I know it's really only on coffee corner posts as they are the only discussions that get any real view counts/activity, but it's a little infuriating scrolling through trying to find the latest post in a discussion.

    • Jan 04, 2017 at 01:58 PM

      I use Ctrl+F and enter "ago" to find the replies of today

      • Jan 04, 2017 at 02:24 PM

        I was trying that out today too :) It was working until I came across a case where I needed to hit "Show more comments" before the post was viewable.

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