Feedback on the new category column appearance

This new format is really grating to me. If I was only seeing one or two lines of it at a time, it might be more tolerable but ugh. I didn’t have any particular feelings about the old column but I guess I wasn’t appreciating what I had when I had it.

They also don’t seem to be evenly spaced but I think that’s a consequence of differing line heights depending on how long the thread title is.

I would just question what this is supposed to add?

As an amateur designer, I would guess it’s an interpretation of the direction Material Design (Android Lollipop and other Google products) and some of Apple’s tweaks in Yosemite.

While I do like the general thrust of Material Design, I feel like this is not working here.

If you mean the category column being there at all, I suspect it is there to indicate that you can sort (or select at any rate) by it as opposed to other all-topics view implementations where it shows to the left of the title (often as part of the title as opposed to being a proper column at all) where it might not be sortable.

I mean this specific change. I don’t really care what Android or Apple are doing, this just makes the categories less apparent and less easy to see. It adds nothing to the BBS and I can’t understand why such a change was made.

And before anyone gets their knickers in a twist about “OH YOURE JUST AFRAID OF CAHNGE!!1!!11ELEVEN!” - No. Just no. If you can justify this change, please, go ahead. I’ll listen to you, I promise. but I’m still unlikely to agree with you.

The old category style (white text in a colored box) had some problems:

  • too much color at once – particularly in places where you see a bunch of topics together and that is a lot of places like the homepage, all topic lists, and the suggested topics at the bottom of every page – making the pages noisy

  • visually fought a lot with buttons which are also colored squares with text

  • also visually fought with avatars which we view as more important

  • did not properly keep the focus on the word in the category rather than the accessory color

  • we had already moved away from the color box style on the /category page and the scrolled down category display on a topic, because a bunch of categories together in this style was just ridiculously bad

We think the color chip category style looks a lot cleaner than the color boxes and avoids the “clown wig” problem of a bunch of large multi-color boxes close together.

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BBS hamburger ‘Categories’ are less than informative:

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Yeah I will fix that later; probably old CSS overrides here.

Personally, I feel a better solution would have been less intense colours rather that 255 values. Magenta always looks tacky to me, regardless of context.

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(Preface: While I was sober at the time I submitted the feedback, I am not now.)

While I can appreciate that y’all wanted the “color all over the place, frightening clown color scheme” thing to go away, this new design as currently implemented is physically painful. I’m not saying you can’t get rid of the old design without making me displeased but the design as currently implemented is unignorably pain-inducing.

I think the reason is that it involves equally sized blocks that are horizontally aligned but vertically spaced in proximal randomness but I am not certain this is the case.

One possible way to fix this: make the vertical space between the blocks even. I can appreciate why this might result in terrible things but at least it would be less painful than what’s currently going on every time I look at the all-topics view.

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It’s the wide lanes that are disorienting me


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Never mind the quality, feel the width.


Well there’s your problem right there :beers:

Ehh, it has been tried. Not so much, still Clown Wig.

In related news:

  • I turned off the bold category suppression, I believe we did that because of the old font used at the original launch of BBS? Anyway, categories are now bold text which is the Discourse default.

  • I fixed the hamburger drop-down. The BBS design is custom CSS override, and predates our E-Z color themer, so some of the work you’d now do by selecting colors in the web-based color picker are done by CSS rules here.

  • I tightened up spacing of category column on Suggested Topics (in master CSS, this will take time to be deployed). Why was it so damn wide there? Look, here is a banana. :banana: :eyes:

Here’s the old and new defaults side by side for reference.

The new way is cuter, but harder to read. The old pink rectangle was very noticeable.


Well, the bold distracts a bit from the uneven spacing at least. :laughing: Is Dizzy the only category with the first letter capped? Has it always been this way and I just didn’t notice?

I’m still struggling to see what making the categories less obvious adds to usability other than “I think it looks a bit less goofy”.


Agreed, it’s much more difficult to visually scan down the column and spot all “wrath” or “dizzy” or whatever.


Why’d you think I picked magenta for WRATH? Because everyone HATES it.

(Discourse does most of the design for BBS, I just fuck around with it unhelpfully now again again. For example: the logo.)

EDIT: We’ve now lost the black dickbar at BB, so I would imagine the one here has a very short lifespan. In fact, the basic defaults at might be in order to start afresh.


Magenta always looks tacky to me, regardless of context.

should have gone with Marsala?


Yeah. It’s not really working for me.

The circles are really inefficient way to package graphics for an inline column. The text flow around the circles is awkward and looks to be wrapping around squares not circles… It’s a big enough pain to crop every graphic to a square but a circle even more so.