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IP.Board 3.2.0: Notification Enhancements

We added a notifications system in IP.Board 3.1.0 and it's been a very popular addition allowing your members to select the type of notification they receive for specific events like a new personal message, quoted post, etc.

However, we've received a lot of feedback since and we wanted to make some enhancements to address some common issues. I'm happy to say that we've completed a lot of interface work in this area and we feel we have a much better system.

The actual functionality hasn't changed. You can still elect to receive and/or a personal message, email or inline notification for certain events and you can still elect to receive an inline 'pop-up' (it's actually an inline javascript modal box but we've retained the familiar phrasing) when you receive a new inline notification. Many members set their notifications up so they receive an inline notification with pop-up when they get a new personal message, for example.

As IP.Board 3.2.0 has a completely revamped skin, the actual "PM count" and "Notification" boxes have been removed from the drop down icons and placed with a high visibility count.

Please keep in mind that IP.Board 3.2.0 is still in heavy development so this interface may change between now and the first release.

Here's what you'll see with some new personal messages and new notifications:

And here's what you'll see without any notifications:

Regardless of if you have any new messages or not, clicking the inbox link will bring up a list of recent personal messages:

Likewise, regardless of if you have any new notifications or not, clicking the notifications link will bring up a list of recent notifications:

The inline 'pop-up' has been re-styled:

The eagle eyed among you may notice that the new inline pop-up contains the proper personal message text and not simply a copy of an email that could be sent out. We've made it so each notification can have 'meta data' attached to link the notification to the piece of content. This means that the pop-up can correctly fetch the live data without any additional mark-up or text.

More excitingly, we now mark the notification as read when the personal message has been read. This was a long standing complaint about the system and I'm pleased to say that we've now addressed this.

We've also changed how the 'red alert' counts work. In the old system, when you viewed the notification drop down, the count and the menu contents were removed so that on the next click, it would tell you that there were no notifications to view. We've now changed that so the count will disappear when you click the link, but the actual contents will remain so you can go back after a page reload and view it again.

Likewise, previously the 'new' personal message counter didn't vanish when you viewed your inbox. Now, when you click the inbox link the alert count will disappear but the drop down will show you the recent messages still. They are highlighted with a blue background in the screenshots above.

We feel this makes the alert system much more useful as you truly only get alerted when there is new content you've not acknowledged without losing the read/unread status of each item.

To recap the new functionality:
- Redesigned inline pop-up window
- Inbox link available at the top of the page at all times
- Notification link available at the top of the page at all times
- 'Alert count' for each only shows content you've not acknowledged.
- Once you've viewed the drop down list the alert count is removed until fresh content arrives.
- Reading a personal message will mark any associated notification as read.

We really hope you enjoy these enhancements and that you find them very useful to keep track of new content or items requiring your attention.

Feel free to comment on this blog entry below or, if you have feedback unrelated to this blog entry, start a new topic in our feedback forum. Be sure to check the What's New in IP.Board 3.2 topic for a running list of announced changes!

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