That's really unfortunate. Your way of dealing with you sanity-challenge? . Since we have no suggestions thread about this subject now, is it okay for you guys and girls (devs and mods I mean) if we use this thread for it?
Hmm, well if this thread can be used for this~
I wasn't able to read the thread of oblivion, so I'm not sure if this was already suggested. However, what about just changing the border color around the icon? Lack of a color would indicate that the thread had not been viewed, a red border would indicate that you had replied to it and it contained new posts, an orange border would indicate that you had only replied (and there have been no new posts); perhaps green for threads you've started?
As I said, most likely something like that has been suggested, and I'm sure Kier has a better idea, anyway~ but why not ^.~
I personally think we will find a solution for both an appropriate indicator and placement for the "you've posted". Bare in mind, the little things and certainly placement of features can and are normally the most difficult features to get right. I say right in the way of placement that'll work for everyone and make them happy. I have confidence with the members posting their mockups and suggestions a compromise and solution will be found. Personally, it wouldn't be fun if it all came easy, a challenge suits me right down to the ground and I expect for others that applies to them.
Although Kier has already an improved solution in mind, it wouldn't hurt , to recapture what we thought could be improved in the previous implementation. This implemenation was in the form of a tiny shrunk avatar of yourself, projected over (in the bottom right corner) the larger avatar of the threadstarter. To me, IMHO from an enduser perspective...
These were the cons of using a little avatar on top of the threadstarters-one:
Some people's eye were drawn to the little avatars, because their curiosity was triggered on what image this little avatar represented. The images were shrunk so much, that in some cases (depending on your eyesight/the images themselves) it would be hard to actually see what (of whom) the little avatar was. (note: it is the nature of photograpy images that you are attracted to it, to see what the picture says to you).
The reply of the devs was that it wouldn't really matter if you could not make out the details, because it would always be your own avatar, because it represents the threads you have posted in.
But when you think further on this, I thought: if it doesn't really matter what the images represent, why use a little (often) photograpy image in the first place? I get the idea (and I really like it in theory... it's innovating and keeps in line with the great social aspect of XenForo) behind using a tiny little avatar, because it should be recognizable as you. But it isn't in practice, because of the fact... that the image is too small to be recognized for a lot of people. -
I constructed a comparison between vBulletin and XenForo on this matter, but unfortunately the thread has been deleted due to a bug and I lost my local screenshot. I can't find a screenshot anywhere with the little avatars shown, so this one only shows vBulletin:
This is how vBulletin deals with showing where you have posted in (this little elegant green icon on the avatar) . The point I was making in the original comparison was that when you focus your eyes on the threadtitles only (which is what an end user does in practice when browsing such a list) it is very easy to see in vBulletin in which threads you have posted in. This was not the case in XenForo, because your eyes often (again: depending on your image in your little avatar and your eyesight) needed to search for this little avatar (because... showing little photography images on top of another photography image is harder to recognize, because there is not much contrast) to be able to really see easily and at a glance in which threads you have posted in. When you need to search for an indicator, then it is never good UI design, IMHO.
Since XenForo -with it's great social feel- wants too stimulate it's members to use a real photography image of your face as your personal avatar, the chances are high that most users use a picture of themselves as an avatar. So, when you use a shrunk tiny avatar as an indicator, you will end up most of the time with a little photography projected over yet another -bigger- photography image. In my book, this is not quite handy. The same kind of images projected over each other... in this case especially, it has more cons then pros. So, why just not keep is simple? Just use an icon as an indicator. See how good and useful it looks on vBulletin in the above screenshot.
When you use an universal icon, it not only looks good on a bigger photography image (because the contrast is much better compared to an photo over another photo), it is also recognized much easier and it doesn't have that bit of a 'cluttered' look and feel when you use a tiny little avatar on top of another one. Every single issue solved. I think, sometimes it's better to not innovate 'at all costs' (matter of speaking, I don't mean XenForo does it) and just use proven functionality/design. When you do this in combination with the innovation already available in XenForo... it is Gold.
Just my take on it (and meant as constructive feedback ).
Surely the point of this forum (xf alpha forum) is to show you, the potential customer, what could be achieved with the software.
From a marketing point of view, having the users own avatar show up against threads they have posted in is a USP. Whereas, having an generic indicator/icon is the same as all the rest and therefore the owners lose the impact and marketing value of this innovative idea.
Once you become a licence owner, you can then change it, or keep it the same.
However, within this particular forum, I want to see all of the innovative "what if's" that make the product stand out from the crowd.
I see it a little less heavy... realize: what is the point of innovation if it is in the way of usability? The usability of the product is -in my eyes at least- much more important then any marketing/innovation value. If innovation supports or even improves the usability, I am all for it, obviously. And this is what XenForo does in 95% of this product, I am happy to see.
But I also understand it is not always that easy to come up with something that is both innovate/state of the art and at the same time provides the best possible user experience. For example... vBulletin uses generic big icons in front of the threadtitle which show the status of the thread. So, putting an iconic indicator on top of it suits, because this indicator says something about the thread (because you've posted in it), so it makes sense to put it onto the big thread status icon.
But, on XenForo, the big thread icon (avatar) in front of the threadtitle represents the threadstarter and thus placing a little icon on top of the avatar there, might suggest this icon indicates something about the threadstarter, when it doesn't. Some people felt that way, but for me it's actually not a problem at all. As always, everyone has different viewpoints and I am sure in Gold we will see a solution that is ... Gold .