Let’s say you drop in on Ricochet over morning coffee, read a few conversations, add a comment or two, then go on with your day. Later, you come back to see what’s new, and to see how the conversations you read earlier have progressed.
If you’re like us, this involves a test of memory:
“Let’s see, did Duane Oyen’s post have 53 or 57 comments?”
“I did read Claire’s post, ‘Dressing for Turkey’… didn’t I? And was it a recipe or fashion tip?”
“What was the last comment I read on that post by Marybeth Hicks?”
You don’t need more things to remember, do you? Well, we’re here to help.
For starters, we’re working on adding New Comments Indicators to conversations: little, bright orange numbers that appear right after the total number of comments. So if you read a conversation in the morning that has only 23 comments and then in the afternoon it has 35 comments, you’ll see “Comment (35)(12)” at the bottom of the post, with the 12 in bright orange.
Note that we’re not basing these calculations on when you last visited the site, but on when you last opened each conversation. This, I’m told, involves some nifty technical gymnastics. And we have to implement this so it doesn’t delay loading the main information on your page. The net result is that (a) you’ll immediately know if there are any new comments; and, (b) you’ll see which conversations you’ve already read. Eventually, clicking on the New Comments Indicator will take you to the page where the new comments appear, with the new comments highlighted in some manner.
This feature will be restricted to members for mainly technical reasons: we need some way to identify each reader so we can calculate and serve up all these customized numbers, and we see cookies as presenting reliability and performance issues. So, users have to be logged in, and the only mechanism we have for this is through membership.
We have other features planned to help navigation, but I’ll save their discussion for another post.