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Thread: Advice on Flags

  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Advice on Flags

    I could use some advice on how I use Flags on my website.


    Background:
    A year or two ago, I added the ability for people to "flag" a User's Profile or a User's Post, similar to how it works on SitePoint. (This was to report inappropriate content to an Admin.)

    Here is an example...
    Attachment 63709
    (The assumption was that a User would know that clicking on the "Flag" is a way to report an issue... And if not, there is <TITLE> text...)


    Then last year, I added the ability for people to "flag" Private Messages in their Inbox, similar to how most E-mail Apps work.

    Here is an example of that...
    Attachment 63710
    (In this scenario, a User is using the Flag to personally mark some PM that is important or whatever.)


    Now in January 2014, I have re-written how a Private Message appears when it is viewed, and am thinking I need to address this "Flagging" thing in individual Private Messages.


    Here is a crude mockup of what a Private Message might look like...
    Attachment 63711

    I am not sure *where* is the most intuitive place to locate the Flag...

    (*Note: The Blue Top Bar will have Command Buttons in it, so that would NOT be a good location...)



    Some Issues:
    1.) In the first sample above, I use the Red Flag as an "actionable icon" to allow a User to report something inappropriate to the Admin. But then in the User's Inbox, I am using the exact same Red Flag to allow the User to "flag" some Message as a reminder or whatever.

    Does this lack of symmetry cause great chaos on my website, or are Users smart enough to figure out what the Red Flag icon means in each situation?


    2.) I allow a User to "flag" PM's in his/her Inbox, but when a User opens up a "flagged" Private Message, at this time they wouldn't see anything *inside* the PM to denote this flagging.

    Is this an issue??

    Presumably you would want the Red Flag to appear *inside* the Private Message, and maybe even go a step farther and allow the User to "flag" or "de-flag" a PM while viewing it?

    But this depends on how you answer these other questions.


    3.) If I decide I want Users to be able to "flag"/"de-flag" a Private message while viewing it, then would it be intuitive enough if I have a Grey Flag - as a "placeholder" - and then the assumption is that a User would know to *CLICK* on the Grey Flag to turn on flagging and switch the Grey Flag to a Red Flag?


    4.) I am not sure where is the best place to place a Flag *inside* the Private Message.


    5.) Do I want to add an additional Icon into my website?

    Maybe I should leave the Red Flag purely for flagging a Profile or Message, and then maybe use a drastically different icon (e.g. Yellow Star) to denote "Flagging if a PM"??


    ------
    And as you can see above, I feel conflicted how to tie these "loose ends" together on my website, while not introducing an extra layer of complexity that my very behind-schedule website cannot afford!!

    Oh SitePoint Design Gods, please help enlighten me!!!

    Sincerely,


    Debbie

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist silver trophybronze trophy
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    Aha, I was already wondering if the title="flag private message" in your other post should mean that there was something wrong with the PM.

    Issue 1
    Does this lack of symmetry cause great chaos on my website, or are Users smart enough to figure out what the Red Flag icon means in each situation?
    IMHO: chaos, if the functionality of the same icon is depending on the context.
    Maybe some users are smart enough (but for them it is not user friendly), but I guess most visitors will not click on the red flag to memorize that it is "important", afraid to report something to the admin.
    The star for "important" or "to do" or "to remember" is much better.
    All gmail-users are common with it (a yellow star over there).


    the gmail way

    I should not use a red star, because of the association "red must be something wrong". In traffic lights: red=stop, green=ok, orange="attention". To avoid that a user can think that a green star is "already done", I should go for an orange or yellowish color.

    Issue 2
    when a User opens up a "flagged" Private Message, at this time they wouldn't see anything *inside* the PM to denote this flagging. Is this an issue??
    I should say: no issue. - As gmail user I've never missed the star inside a message, nor the option to "star" a message while I'm reading it. When I close the message, I come to my INbox where the stars are listed: you can easily star the message, and see which other ones are starred. There is the overview: the stars are to distinguish the messages. You don't see that inside a message.
    So I think you can sleep without the stars inside.

    Issue 3
    If I decide I want Users to be able to "flag"/"de-flag" a Private message while viewing it, ...
    For me that's N/A, is saving lots of work too.

    Issue 4
    I am not sure where is the best place to place a Flag *inside* the Private Message.
    Not!

    Issue 5
    Do I want to add an additional Icon into my website?
    Maybe I should leave the Red Flag purely for flagging a Profile or Message, and then maybe use a drastically different icon (e.g. Yellow Star) to denote "Flagging if a PM" ??
    Yes!
    I should not use the word "Flag" for description of the stars, while "Flag" is associating with the other "negative" flag (which is also well-known for all visitors of any forum).
    Google is using "Without star" and "With star" in the tooltip, and I think that's not bad: then a visitor can give his/her own meaning to what a star for her/him has to say.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Franckly,

    Thanks for the detailed response!


    Quote Originally Posted by Francky View Post
    Aha, I was already wondering if the title="flag private message" in your other post should mean that there was something wrong with the PM.
    Yeah, now I can see using the expression "flag" and having an icon called a "Flag" to mark a PM as "Important" is not a very smart move!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Francky View Post
    Issue 1

    IMHO: chaos, if the functionality of the same icon is depending on the context.
    Maybe some users are smart enough (but for them it is not user friendly), but I guess most visitors will not click on the red flag to memorize that it is "important", afraid to report something to the admin.
    The star for "important" or "to do" or "to remember" is much better.
    All gmail-users are common with it (a yellow star over there).


    the gmail way

    I should not use a red star, because of the association "red must be something wrong". In traffic lights: red=stop, green=ok, orange="attention". To avoid that a user can think that a green star is "already done", I should go for an orange or yellowish color.
    Yep, my bad!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Francky View Post
    Issue 2

    I should say: no issue. - As gmail user I've never missed the star inside a message, nor the option to "star" a message while I'm reading it. When I close the message, I come to my INbox where the stars are listed: you can easily star the message, and see which other ones are starred. There is the overview: the stars are to distinguish the messages. You don't see that inside a message.
    So I think you can sleep without the stars inside.
    I was with you until the end. Maybe I misunderstood your last few sentences, but there IS a Star on the *inside* of each Gmail Email.

    See screenshot...
    Attachment 63712


    Quote Originally Posted by Francky View Post
    Issue 3

    For me that's N/A, is saving lots of work too.
    Okay.


    Quote Originally Posted by Francky View Post
    Issue 4

    Not!
    Okay.


    Quote Originally Posted by Francky View Post
    Issue 5

    Yes!
    I should not use the word "Flag" for description of the stars, while "Flag" is associating with the other "negative" flag (which is also well-known for all visitors of any forum).

    Google is using "Without star" and "With star" in the tooltip, and I think that's not bad: then a visitor can give his/her own meaning to what a star for her/him has to say.
    Point well taken.

    Thanks again.


    I guess that helps clear up some issues, although I'm still torn on how helpful it is to be able to "Star" a PM both from the Inbox as well as when you are reading it??

    For me personally, I think it would be nice to have it both ways. (Although it is extra work for me...)


    What does everyone else think??

    Sincerely,


    Debbie


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