We’re still finding that people don’t always realise they’ve received a new message in MSG (I’m guilty too!), and I think this is because the only notification they get – when they’re just on one of the OpenLearn sites, so don’t have MSG Client or MSGAlert running – is a change in the presence status icon in the banner. Even if users notice it’s changed, unless they mouse over, they’re not really going to know what it means – especially new MSG users.
So here are some options we’ve come up with to make the receipt of a new message more obvious… and I’ve included a few mockup screen shots of how it might look…
Option 1: leave as-is
Basically don’t do anything to what we’ve already got.
Pros: no work involved!
Cons: doesn’t solve the problem!
Option 2: pop up layer
This would have a pop up layer (not a browser window!) which appeared in top right when a new message arrives. This is similar to how GTalk works and the actual design & text etc of the layer can be changed, along with the actual position – could be in bottom right instead.
Pros: makes it very noticable and fits with how other web-based IM systems work (well, GTalk!)
Cons: covers over existing text etc (though it disappears when layer clicked on to open the MSG chat window)
Option 3: Text next to presence icon
When a new message arrives text would appear just next to the presence icon in the banner, clicking on the text would bring up the chat window. The actual text that appears can easily be altered.
Pros: doesn’t cover over any existing text
Cons: might get lost in all the other text in the banner (esp the new my learningSpace link etc)
Option 4: Blinking presence icon
When a new message arrives the presence icon in the banner would blink (between say green/red or green/gray). Clicking on the blinking icon brings up the chat window and stops the blinking.
Pros: doesn’t take up any more precious space on the page!
Cons: users still might not realise what a blinking icon means so would still need to rely on the mouse over. Also some users might not like blinking icons (well I know I don’t!)
So, those are most of the options we’ve got, so I’d like some feedback on which might be the most likely to work and would be acceptable to appear on the OpenLearn websites. Please bear in mind that the exact design/position/layout of each can be changed easily enough, and we could combine two or more – eg text appearing & blinking icon.
Comments or other suggestions welcome 🙂