Over the weekend, I had a few hours to spend and finally added comment watching to RSS Bandit. The feature is pretty straightforward, users have the ability to mark an item as 'Watched'. Once in this state, an indication is made when there are new comments for that item. Determining whether there are new comments uses a number of mechanisms including polling the comment feed and checking the values of RSS/Atom extensions such as slash:comments and thr:count. I'm already getting a lot of use out of the feature to passively notify me of new comments to my blog

The only issue now is that there is a disagreement between Torsten and I as to what the menu interaction should be for the feature. I've currently implemented the menu option a submenu where you can select 'Watch Comments->On' or 'Watch Comments->Off' depending on whether comments are currently being watched for that item or not. See the screenshot below.

Torsten would prefer a menu option more like what Outlook Express where the menu option is a checkbox as shown in the OE screenshot below.

If you're an RSS Bandit user can you chime in with your opinion?


Categories: RSS Bandit
Tracked by:
"RSS Bandit [Jubilee Release] Status Update" (Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life) [Trackback]
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Thursday, July 6, 2006 7:45:23 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Torsten is right. This is precisely what checkboxes in menus are useful for. Adding a submenu here forces the user to perform an extra mouse action to trigger the command and even forces the user to perform the extra mouse action to see whether comment watching is enabled on the thread or not.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 7:56:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Definitely checkboxes, for the reasons cited by Anthony Mills.
Anthony Cowley
Thursday, July 6, 2006 8:01:09 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Without comments/support from each of you ... the use of the checkbox is my preference for similar reasons: I prefer to select "Ingnore Converstion" vs. click "On" to turn it off.

The checkbox is clearer as to the current state and what action will be taken upon clicking the item.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 8:05:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox. A submenu is overkill and is not intuitive in this case.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 8:08:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Instead of doing this as a menu item, why not have an extra column in the Headline listview, which would contain a checkbox to set/unset Watch Comments for an item? Sort of like the Flag column in Outlook.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 8:55:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I like the checked approach as well for all the reasons stated. An optional toobar button (toggle button) would be appreciated too.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 9:07:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Not to derail, but can we get the scroll behavior fixed eventually? I have links set to render in new tabs in RSS Bandit, and if I switch back to the main window while the new link renders the new tab often steals the focus of my scroll wheel upon completion even though I'm still looking at the main RSS page. It's tres annoying. While I'm at it, a 'launch new tabs in background' option would be nice too.
RSSBandit User
Thursday, July 6, 2006 9:17:43 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox please. Much less confusing ... Either way RSS Bandito rocks!
Thursday, July 6, 2006 9:22:40 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox PLUS a keyboard shortcut please!
Thursday, July 6, 2006 9:43:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
My vote: Checkbox.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 10:06:08 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
How about combining the ideas? I don't use OE, so I'm a little confused about how the menu checkbox option works; by turning it on, am I watching comments on all articles or only the highlighted one? The flyout menu is more intuitive as to which articles I'm actually setting a watch on. Instead of nesting the option, could it just be on the main right-click menu? If I'm on an article, that's two clicks, same as going to a menu.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 10:16:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I vote for Torsten's proposition of using a check.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 10:51:52 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Yes, checkbox with keyboard shortcut.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 10:53:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Check box is definitely the base way to go. A menu with On or Off usually confuses me, as I don't know if it says On, that clicking it will turn it on, or it is currently on and click will turn it off.

I have seen both of these implementation used, but thankfully in different applications
slaneyrw@hotmail.com (Robert Slaney)
Thursday, July 6, 2006 11:35:08 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Another vote for the Checkbox. Opening a submenu is just too much work.
Thursday, July 6, 2006 11:35:45 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Robert Slaney nailed the reason I am voting for it to be a check.
Scott Bailey
Thursday, July 6, 2006 11:40:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I'd like to see Torsten's checkbox version. The submenu isn't really useful if there's just one sub-item.
Friday, July 7, 2006 12:29:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree completely with Robert Slaney above: if the submenu says on, is it on already or will clicking it turn it on? The checkbox is much clearer. I don't know why you wanted a submenu exactly, you could still have that, with 2 entries: one 'on', the other 'off' and a checkmark before the one that is currently set:

* on

Not sure if there is much use to that over Tortsten's proposal however. And the others are right about introducingan unnessacary extra click/mouse move here.
Friday, July 7, 2006 4:54:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Prefer the OE type checkbox. Will there be indication (icon) and a way to bulk clear watched topics?
Friday, July 7, 2006 5:59:23 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checked menu item please - more intuitive and the sub menu is an overkill.
Friday, July 7, 2006 8:09:31 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
RSS Bandit - long-time user, first-time caller.

Torsten is right. Avoid the sub-menu, it just adds clutter and forces extra mouse-moves or clicks in the flow.
Friday, July 7, 2006 8:21:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Friday, July 7, 2006 1:25:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
In addition to the checkbox you have provided, how about a new flag in the Reading Pane to 1) Show that there are comments, and 2) to toggle viewing them and 3) to toggle watching them.
rilling@rogers.com (CrashR)
Friday, July 7, 2006 2:33:02 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Sorry Dare, I think Torsten's right in this case.

Thanks to both of you for all the work on this!
Jim Stanton
Friday, July 7, 2006 3:27:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I would also prefer the checkbox.
Friday, July 7, 2006 3:29:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
+1 for checkbox
Friday, July 7, 2006 3:34:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Another vote for the checkbox.

Friday, July 7, 2006 4:23:13 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Less is more - if you want to add more features at a later date, having fewer options on the menu would be the way to go. As an option to the checkbox, you could dynamically change the text = when it's not on "Watch" when it is "Ignore."
Friday, July 7, 2006 5:04:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with Torsten. The ON/OFF can be confusing in that it is difficult to understand whether the ON means it is already ON, or that you should click to turn it ON. The checkmark is very intuitive.
Friday, July 7, 2006 8:16:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox is better, and is the intended controlfor this use.
Saturday, July 8, 2006 12:33:36 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Sorry Dare, Torsten is right.

Also agree with comments regarding keyboard shortcut...

How's the work coming for version that'll work with Vista?
Saturday, July 8, 2006 4:28:13 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I have to agree with Torsten. It just seems to make more sense to me that way.
Saturday, July 8, 2006 12:31:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox, definitely!
Saturday, July 8, 2006 3:38:15 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I'd recommend the more intuitive "Watch Conversation" to enable, and "Stop Watching Conversation" to disable. That will also require a visible indication that a conversation is currently 'watched' or 'not watched'. A lot of people have problems with nested menus as in your suggestion, and the check mark on/off feature totally blindsides new users.
Saturday, July 8, 2006 4:31:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Mark Dormer
Saturday, July 8, 2006 9:12:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox here. The submenu with a single item is a big no-no. The context sensitive option ("Start watching conversation" / "Stop watching conversation" is not entirely intuitive in a context menu, because it's not visible all the time, so it's hard to see that it's turn-on-and-off-able, but would be perfect as a link in the message pane along with the header.
Sunday, July 9, 2006 1:44:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I am casting my vote for Torsten's checkbox.
Sunday, July 9, 2006 10:02:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The checkbox is simple and intuitive whereas I find the flyout menu to be very confusing. It's hard to determine whether I should click ON to turn it on or click ON to turn it off, and it's hard to determine whether the flyout indicates the option is on or off. If I click ON to turn the feature off, you've effectively implemented negative logic and negative logic is (according to some studies) far more prone to error.
Monday, July 10, 2006 11:48:56 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Why would you have a sub menu for only one item? Check box shows the current state and is simpler to alter.

Really seems a no-brainer; what is the reasoning for a sub menu?
Monday, July 10, 2006 4:05:24 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Gotta go with Torsten and the check box.
Monday, July 10, 2006 4:55:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Either way is fine. Can we expect a new test binary package any time soon?

Thanks! RSS Bandit is the best!
Dave Venus
Monday, July 10, 2006 10:47:37 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dave Venus,
We should have a new test binary in probably sometime next month.

The next version will install on Vista correctly.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006 8:02:23 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with several other comments here. A checkbox would do a better job than a flying menu. Just my 2 cents.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 8:16:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Checkbox - for sure.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006 9:53:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Sorry Dare, checkboxes!
paul@pduggan.net (Paul Duggan)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:12:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Torsten I'm afraid - I dislike fly-out sub-menus quite a lot as it seems a whole different part of my brain has to become engaged as opposed to the eminently glanceable "tick".
Saturday, July 15, 2006 3:10:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Monday, July 17, 2006 9:27:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Check box and keyboard shortcut please. No need for a submenu for a single option.
Saturday, July 22, 2006 6:50:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I vote for checkboxes, they are a better approach.
Sunday, July 23, 2006 7:23:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Context sensitive menu checkbox, PLUS keyboard shortcut, PLUS column to click toggle on and off and see the current state. (pair of glasses icon pops into my head, an old news-reader used that....)

"Instead of doing this as a menu item, why not have an extra column in the Headline listview, which would contain a checkbox to set/unset Watch Comments for an item? Sort of like the Flag column in Outlook."
Monday, February 5, 2007 5:41:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I vote for Checkbox as well.
Comments are closed.