Then there is the "New Posts" section. This will require the most work, and I'll be developing an algorithm to handle the content that is there. I'm still working on that algorithm, but it will take the "Friends and Foes" section of the User Control Panel into consideration when it chooses what to display. The main issue this remake will solve is the apparent lack of activity when someone comes to the site and nothing has been posted since their last visit. There will always be something displayed in this area in the next version, and it will have two methods of sorting (Most Recent, and My Spot). This is the reason for the rename. I want to tailor this page's contents to be about the user's relationship with the people on the site via the "My Spot" sorting, with the option to show it chronologically as the Most Recent sorting. Details about these methods of sorting will be available when the algorithm is complete, but rest assured, both methods of sorting will place things in chronological order - their difference will be based on the Friends and Foes ranking.
This image specifically addresses what will be called the "My Spot" section. This section will display a feed of comments and threads, focused primarily on the first post, last post, and any unread posts in a thread.
There are two methods of sorting the information in this section: My Spot and Most Recent.
In both cases, the order will be with regard to time (newest first, always) at the day-level (all the posts in a given day will display before any posts happening on the previous day).
With the My Spot
sorting method, some priority will be given to those marked as "Friend" and less priority given to those marked as "Foe". A neutral priority will be given to those who are unmarked. This would bring Friends to the beginning of the day, and Foes toward the end of the posts for that day.
The Most Recent
sorting method would be the same as if someone did not bother to mark any other members as friend or foe. Everyone would be given a neutral priority, and they would be sorted chronologically.
This My Spot area will work similarly to how Google Inbox functions, in conjunction with how our current New Posts area works. This area was the hardest to figure out how it would make sense to incorporate a consolidated informational design like Google Inbox with the concept of a threaded forum conversation. But really, it's no different than an email thread when you get down to it, which is why forums spawned from newsgroup and bulletin boards.
Initially the view will be of the "newest post" in a thread, sorted by the user's preference. The poster's avatar, the thread title, an excerpt, and the "metadata" (i.e. the poster by-line, post time, and forum) will all be contained within each row.
When a post is clicked, the row expands to show the first post and poster in the thread along with the post's metadata. This first post will be separated with an indication of how many post occurred between the first post and the first unread post. Following the separator, [this part is not in the image] the unread posts will display collapsed (as the other last post rows do) and stacked one after the other until the last post. The last post will be fully expanded to show the full text. All unread posts will be marked with an indicator along the left side border to assist in knowing what has been seen and not. At the bottom of the last post there will be another separator and the ability to post a Quick Reply, or option to open up the full Post a Reply editor.
The strategy for this concept is to make replying to posts easier, especially for the mobile experience, and to bring posts to the forefront that are made by other users of interest, and sink the posters who are less interesting to a given user. I also wanted to stylize this whole page experience so that it wasn't a barrage of stats, information, and useless content surrounding the thing people are most interested in: what's happening on the forums.
Some of these details may change as I investigate the capabilities of the system. Currently the "Foe" indication is used to actually *hide* posts made by a user considered to be a Foe, and not sink it in priority. I may have to adjust the sorting algorithm to only have a positive and neutral - no negative - if this Foe status prevents the user from seeing the post when they click through.
I will have a full design mockup available in the near future.