Continuing the discussion from Alternate Styling for Discourse:
A quick commentary after two weeks of Discoursing… I am quite used to the system now, and I think I have experienced most of its advantages, disadvantages, quirks and weaknesses…
The essential issue for me is the difference between the completely serial aspect of Discourse (and for that matter most other web forums) as compared to the massively parallel experience of a nntp newsreader.
In a nntp newsreader you can see everything all at once, and there is no need to scroll or change views or screens. That is what I miss the most, and I feel that a web format is a definite step backwards in efficiency.
In Discourse, I have to read all the way to the bottom of a topic to get it marked read (after waiting a couple of secs and crossing my fingers), then go on to the next topic via either the links at the bottom, top or back up to category view. So you are in a constant scrolling experience, and you only have a tunnel vision view of things for the most part. This is exactly in line with the smartphone/tablet mentality where you can only see/use one app/one screen at a time, and where you’re constantly finger swiping through stuff. And that does appear to be the direction we’re heading…
OK, I know I can’t change the way our communications culture is evolving, so I need to learn to live with all this. The advantage of Discourse as I see it is that it CAN be modified - hopefully with the help of its creators as well as people like Steve and Brian - and I think it can be bent into something that will be a good compromise for all concerned. That’s not going to happen by itself, and @brian @stevebaer although I know you guys both would rather be typing on V6, I feel this is sufficiently important to warrant some work, and probably sooner than later…
All that being said - repeated, actually, many others have stated similar things - I have one other suggestion… In analyzing the Topics page as to why it’s so “spaced out” I came to one simple conclusion: it’s the avatars that are the main problem.
- The category title (text) is only 10 pixels high (and the type is big)
- The category title button (like “Rhino for Windows”), is 20 pixels high
- The avatars are 25 pixels square
- There are 6 pixels of space around the avatars
- Total for a topic header: 37 pixels
In the attached mockup I reduced the 37 pixels to 24 - you’d be able to see 50% more topics on one page. Of course, if you make the avatars smaller, they’re going to become unreadable. So maybe in that case you need to eliminate them… The second image does that…
Well those are my entries for a “compact view.”