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a new approach to notifications?


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If any of you are like me, you follow a lot of content on this board, have a few or many friends, and you get your fair share of pm's. If your notification options are enabled, like mine, for status updates, pm's, forums, blogs, and marketplace, then your notification count can go off the charts in hours if not days. In just the past 3 hours, several people have weighed in on the Facebook or Die topic, and lots of people hammer Robert on his Pro Menu, plus some other content so that my notifications number jumped to 25. What if I went away for several days? Whoah!!!

Is there a better way? It seems to me there should be. The PM icon makes perfect sense. But the logic for how the notification icon and its count works, and the dropdown menu for notifications is still up for discussion, in my view. There has got to be a better way.

My suggestion:

Instead of a number next to the notification icon, simply show a flashing red notification icon, or a yellow ! triangle seems far better. When you click on it, the drop down menu shows the following:

1. You have X notifications for Forum Content or maybe better as Forum Content [X]
2. You have X notifications for Status Updates or maybe better as Status Updates [X]
3. You have X notifications for Profiles & Friends or maybe better as Profiles & Friends [X]
4. You have X notifications for Private Messages or ... you get the picture ...
5. You have X notifications for Blogs
6. You have X notifications for Marketplace
7. You have X notifications for Calendar

[aside: I have no idea what the Other Notifications: notify me of new comments is used for but I check it anyway in Notification Options]

Okay, before you start throwing old pieces of board wax at me, hear me out. I know it is great to click on the notification and instantly be able to click through to the latest post in a topic ... but I really don't need to click through to all 6 of Robert's Pro Menu post notifications, do I?

So here is my suggestion: clicking on the link in the drop down instantly takes you to a screen similar to Content You Follow but it would have a different layout, call it Notifications For You, and feature the same kind of tabs as the user profile, and the layout would change depending on which of the 1 - 7 links I listed above that I clicked on.

Here's an example:

If I click on Status Updates, the Notifications For You screen would show the left sidebar with Status Updates listed as the second item, highlighted in white, similar to the User Profile tabs, and the right, larger area featuring a dark blue header bar with a list of the Status Updates listed below, with the same darker shade of blue overlay for unread. If then I click on Forum Content tab above the Status Updates tab, I would then see a listing of topics I follow with a red circle showing the number of unread responses next to each topic. Click on one of those topics to read the earliest unread and then scroll down. (Personally, I like to read backwards so I read the last post and then move up but hey, we're all different). So on it goes ... and ... you can click a mark all as read for the list of notifications items on the rigth, or leave them as a darker shade of blue if you want to go back to it later as a reminder to look at something ...

Also, you would still have a view all notifications in the drop down menu from the notification icon which would show a default listing of the first tab on the left highlighted in white with the unread responses and so on below.

To conclude, the notification drop down from the notification icon is essentially a floating sidebar that when clicked on jumps you to a full screen with the same sidebar (a table of contents) on the left with numbers of unviewed notifications (unread?) for each of the 1 - 7 items (chapters), and a list of the items in that Chapter appears on the right, depending on which chapter is clicked. ajax?

We need to tame this notification beast. It is turning into a monster!!!!

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