Notifications, Refreshed

Stuff happens all the time on WordPress.com. You’re blogging, commenting, liking, and following like never before. Every hour a record is broken and someone’s day is made. We’ve always known about your love affair with stats. We like watching numbers grow, too. And we also like to see the events that the numbers represent. We think of Notifications as a magnifier for Stats: you can zoom in to see exactly who did what and then connect with them.

The original Notifications menu first appeared in the WordPress.com toolbar as a small orange button and a stream of activities related to your blogs and comments. It was a good start but we’ve had bigger plans all along. Today we deployed a new toolbar button and, more significantly, a new tab on the WordPress.com home page.

The New Button

The first thing you’ll notice is that there is no number. We axed it out of compassion. It all boils down to how people feel about inboxes. In giving you a notifications stream, the last thing we wanted to do was cause more stress! So we dropped the unread count and now the orange color simply means there are new notes since you last looked. An icon shows the type of your latest notification.  The icon now also refreshes while you’re on a page, no need to reload a page to see new notifications.

You might also notice that unread notes are still white until you open them, which turns them gray. We didn’t entirely remove the concept of read/unread; we just stopped counting them. Feel free to turn them all gray if that’s your thing, or let some notes stay unread. Either way, we won’t pester you with a number.

The New Panel

In case you like to browse back through older notifications, we built a page that lets you do that. Just go to the WordPress.com Notifications panel and scroll to your heart’s content. Are you proud of a certain achievement from last month? Relive old glories as often as you like.

Other than letting you scroll to older notes, the new panel isn’t much different than the one in the toolbar. That will change soon! We have a list of features to add, as well as new notifications to send, that will make the new panel one of your favorite places on WordPress.com.

Today we’re sending one thousand notes every minute (ten million per week) but we want to send more. We have lots of ideas for new notifications. What kind of things would you like to be notified about?

Small Print

These changes are not compatible with Internet Explorer versions earlier than 9. We will devote some time to maintaining backwards compatability as long as it doesn’t delay the development of new features for modern browsers, but we encourage you to upgrade. Meanwhile, the old version of the toolbar will be displayed for older IE browsers.


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Andy Skelton

76 Comments

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  1. Egill

    Reblogged this on Egill and commented:

    Team Data strikes again :)

    Like

  2. Russell Freeman

    Reblogged this on Russell's Rants and Raves and commented:

    Another great feature from our Data Team

    Like

  3. anonymoushedonist

    Love it! Thanks for this :)

    Like

  4. SimplySage

    I noticed the change and figured we’d be hearing from you soon about it.
    I just want to say I love the way your website works, especially the newest changes. It’s like you read our minds.
    As my own blog has grown, ever so slowly, I’ve been impressed with the WordPress bloggers—a group of high integrity and very nice people, and it’s worldwide! Wonderful.
    I also appreciate your response when I’ve had a problem. Such nice customer service.
    It has enriched my life greatly and I just wanted to say thank you.
    Peace,
    Alexandria

    Like

  5. bloodsong

    you made a feature LESS annoying! i applaud!!

    the only thing i still don’t like is how it ‘stacks’ things. for example, when someone new (let’s say ‘bob’) follows my blog, i open the notice thing and i see ‘bob, ray, billy-joe, and 6 other people followed your blog.’ but only bob is new, so i don’t want to hear about the old people on the new notice. ya know? oh well, not a big deal.

    Like

    • Andy Skelton

      Thanks for the kind words! :)

      Some notes do ‘stack’, bringing older notes back to the top rather than sending a new one for each event. When you get a flood of likes on a new post, it’s nice to have them all in one note instead of pushing everything else out of view. So we decided it would be better to group similar things to some degree.

      So I have one note that says “so-and-so and 243 others liked your post Notifications Refreshed” and I can still see other notes. If we didn’t stack, the Likes on this post would choke out all of my other notes, making the feature much less useful during times of much activity.

      Sorry if you weren’t looking for the developer’s rationale. I sort of enjoy explaining it. :-)

      Like

  6. Inge

    Very cool! I like it very much. Thank you. :)

    Like

  7. Val

    Good move, I particularly like the notifications page. So, when are we gonna be able to teleport and time travel from the admin bar? ;)

    Like

  8. wynnegraceappears

    Thank you this is fantastic in everyway.

    Like

  9. timethief

    Hooray! I like the new notifications page. Thanks so much for this improvement. :)

    Like

  10. Oldcat

    Seems like this new version is slower than the old one – I often have to wait for it to update after it turns orange.

    Like

    • Greg

      The previous version was slowing down all page loads. So it was faster to open the menu, but quite a bit slower to load every page. We’ll continue to try and improve the response time of the menu.

      Like

  11. Pointless Paranoia

    Very great changes! I love them all! WordPress is truly amazing!

    Like

  12. thederelictdog

    Love the change. ( Now I’m even /more/ addicted to receiving notifications! )

    Like

  13. Onibe

    I like the direction, as well as details ;-)

    Like

  14. simonrphotography

    I wondered what the new icons were. Great change though!

    Like

  15. jolynproject

    I am not sure if you guys already have this so if so, then my apologies but I would love to know how many unique visitors I have and be notified when a new one shows up. That would be great for stats.

    Like

  16. K

    It’s great to see that the number is gone. Zero notifications are a little heartbreaking. Haha. Anyway, great job; it looks neat. :)

    Like

  17. Baku Kadampa

    Good move guys :)
    Suggestion – I don’t always get notified when someone else replies to a comment I’ve made on another WP blog (I get some – not sure why I don’t get others.) So a ‘Somebody replied to your comment notification’ would be well handy.
    This post, for example, will get many more comments. I don’t want them all mailed to me, so I’m not ticking that box; but I don’t want to miss any relevant replies.

    Like

    • Greg

      The current comment notification gets sent to the author of a post for all comments on a post, and to a commenter when someone directly replies the person.

      So you should get a comment notification for my reply to you, but if someone else replied to me, you would not get a notification for that comment. We may change that behavior in the future, but also don’t want to inundate people with too many notifications.

      Like

  18. emmycooks

    I would like to be notified when someone is a new visitor to my site. Oh, hey, like the last person said! (Of course, stats about unique visitors and loyal visitors would be VERY HELPFUL as well). :)

    Like

  19. molly98

    Thank you I really liked being able to see the notifications list.

    Like

  20. emmycooks

    p.s. It would be great if the notifications page separated out “comments” from “likes” so I could be sure I wasn’t missing them and respond to them from the notifications page. Replying to comments via notifications is much faster for me than going to the manage comments section–although of course I like having that option too. (On that topic, it would be nice if there was some kind of visual marker on comments that showed whether or not they had been replied to yet.) Thanks for asking and making so many improvements!

    Like

    • Greg

      > it would be nice if there was some kind of visual marker on comments that showed whether or not they had been replied to yet.
      In this release there is now an indicator showing an arrow to mark comments that have been replied to. Also shows [Spam], [Trash], and [Pending] when appropriate.

      Hopefully you just haven’t seen this new feature yet. If these aren’t showing up for you its a bug, please give me a link to the comment that is incorrect and I’ll fix it. :) Thanks for the help.

      And thanks for the other suggestions. Those are things we are considering.

      Like

      • emmycooks

        Right on! I just hadn’t answered any comments yet today–just did a test one and there’s the arrow telling me I’ve replied. Brilliant. It’s like you read my mind. :) Thanks!

        Like

  21. guen

    I like this new update. Thank You! :)

    Like

  22. Brittany

    Love the change! Thanks WP ^.^

    Like

  23. Torsten

    What kind of things would you like to be notified about?

    It would be great if Mentions in P2-Blogs (like @zodiac1978) would generate notifications.

    Like

  24. mistressaella

    Yay! I haven’t been on here long at all and you’ve already improved on something! Coincidence? maybe. And yet, I applaud you :)

    Like

  25. adrian.dakota

    Did I tell you how much I love you guys? No? Well, I love you guys. Every improvement seems to always be awesome and amazing and just plain brilliant.

    Like

  26. Nickie Wang

    Thanks WP team for all the latest additions. Every week, every day, you guys improve. We all love you for that! Big big thanks!

    Like

  27. Moco Scribe

    This has been really useful, thank you!

    Like

  28. Paul Perilli

    Anyone know how to change a blog to a website? Is there an easy way? I erred when I set it up…

    Like

    • Martin Remy

      You might want to read about setting up a static page as your front page. If that’s not what you’re looking for, please contact support (see link at the bottom of this page) with some details about what you are trying to do.

      Like

  29. Val

    Emmycooks said: “it would be nice if there was some kind of visual marker on comments that showed whether or not they had been replied to yet”. I’ second that – that’s a feature I’d find very useful. Especially if it were also available on the comment management page.

    Like

  30. Moonbeam McQueen

    Sometimes, a like button isn’t enough.I wish there was a “love” button for this.

    Like

  31. nelson RN

    This is great!

    Like

  32. SmilingCat01

    Cool so that’s why the notification icon changed recently. Like!

    Like

  33. rigmover

    Nice idea, thanks

    Like

  34. Tejaswi

    Good overall perspective!

    Like

  35. Jacob

    I really like this new system! Well done WordPress. It also seems like I’ve been getting far more notifications since it’s been updated, but that is probably just a coincidence.

    Like

  36. claudiajustsaying

    Thanks for keeping us informed in a short and sweet fashion. How would I know this if you didn’t? Just asking.

    Like

  37. pattyabr

    I have been getting less views on my blog. I hope the Firefox update helps. I’m concerned

    Like

  38. Somesh Mahanty

    This change is absolutely great! :D No wonder WordPress is the best-est best!

    Like

  39. layangan angkasa

    Reblogged this on layanganangkasa.

    Like

  40. thesofisworld

    I love this upgrade!!! It’s much more a visual system of notifications…. thanks!!

    Like

  41. sarahspoutsoff

    As a newbie and fairly non-techy I have found this whole wordpress blogging thing surprisingly easy to manage and all the stats and notifications very intuitive. I agree with those asking for stats on new visitors, although it may be depressing when there aren’t any!

    Like

  42. Anne Camille

    I don’t see how one can scroll back (e.g., a month as your post suggests). Seems as if mine is only showing about 25 notifications and they only go back for my last 3 posts. Given how one of my recent posts has generated 65 likes and 25 comments, something doesn’t seem right about that. A bug or an issue with Safari not allowing scrolling for some reason?

    Like

  43. bloodsong

    thanks, andy! (sorry, i can’t seem to find where to reply to a particular reply to a comment :X )

    well, yes, haveing 243 likes in one day all separate would be pretty horrendous. buuuut, what i’m talking about is really old notices. like you had one ‘like’ notice that said ‘somebody and 242 other people liked your post about notifications, and 300 people liked your post you posted six months ago, and 24 people liked a post you posted 2 years ago…’ when you’ve already read the notifications about those 24 people 2 years ago. they’re just not new. and, in my personal view, not worth stating again.

    if ‘billy-bob and 300 other people followed your blog’ on the same day/week, THEN it would make sense to me. billy-bob following it today, and those other people following it from the past… not so much.

    Like

  44. Tiwie Indt

    In my region where internet is so slow, I have problem to check my notification :'(

    Like

  45. hollyrecommends

    Everyone seems to be happy with the changes to the notifications button so I feel I must be missing something. For me, it is frequently lit up like I have a new comment, like, etc. but when I click on it, there is nothing new to report. Is anyone else experiencing this?

    Like

  46. palassiter

    Off topic, but not sure where else to put this… Just noticed that in the “Clicks” box, y’all have added a hierarchy which is cool, but you’ve removed the ability to see the entire list of file clicks. It’s been truncated to 11, which leaves me no way to watch a new item get clicked on (or ignored) since I have hundreds of files on my site. Please put back the “Other links” option! PAL

    Like

  47. Martin (IQ)

    What kind of things would you like to be notified about?

    How about notifications for replies to your posts/topics in the WordPress.com support forums? Including the international forums of course. :)

    Like

  48. Shivaji varma

    Cool!!

    Like

  49. Val

    Just a quick thank you for putting the little ‘replied’ arrows on the notifications menu and page. In just the last few minutes, I’ve been able to follow up on a few comments I’d have otherwise missed. :)

    Like

  50. bloodsong

    oh!!

    you know what? i was thinking about this last night, and i realized… the notifications thingy is NOT a sort of chronological event queue. it’s more like a tally/total score thing. NOW it all makes sense!

    though… perhaps a bit more sense if it said “billy bob followed your blog, making a total of 8 subscribers.” or, for a bunch of new ones, “billy bob, joe ray, and 6 other people followed your blog, making a total of 184 subscribers.” but that is probably too complicated.

    so. never mind me! :)

    Like

  51. Roly

    I seem to be notified when I reply to a comment on my own post. Is this right?

    Like

  52. adinparadise

    Excellent. I’m most impressed with the continual improvements and also the fact that you listen to us when we have a gripe. ;)

    Like

  53. JHMinecraft

    I love all the improvements which are being rolled out by you guys :)

    Like

  54. Alison

    Thanks! Is there anyway for you to tweak this so I stop getting notified for spam comments? It’s really annoying.

    Like

  55. composerinthegarden

    I like the new notifications tool. However, where did the setting go for “never” getting e-mail notifications from some subscribed blogs. There are some I prefer to preview in the reader but don’t want e-mail from but now I am forced to either get e-mail daily or weekly or unsubscribe. What gives?

    Like

  56. 3whom

    Yeah, this is a great improvement. Keep them coming please.

    Like

  57. Arun

    It’s still buggy. Occasionally I see a new comment notification for the last and already opened noti! This happens when I open my home page for the first time after 1 or 2 days. Please fix.

    Like

  58. Gobetween

    The updated version is annoying. It takes too long to load notifications and I usually have to refresh the page several times before the notifications show. I liked the number, I don’t see what the unhappiness was about a little number?

    Like

  59. Ian Lunt

    This is a great option, but it seems to light up red every time I get a spam comment, so it’s nearly always red. If this is the case, it’d be great if spam could be excluded from the comments notification. Cheers Ian

    Like

  60. leemajors78

    I just love it ! thank you for creating all these for us :-))

    Like

  61. manicmacca

    New to the whole Blogging thing but I’m loving all the feature’s you get from WordPress.. keep up the good work.. ;)

    Like

  62. stevenwadeedinburgh

    Good changes, thanks,

    Steven Wade, Edinburgh and Dundee.

    Like

  63. nerdygirl33

    I guess I’m the only one who didn’t understand this. Although my notification symbol is red I click on it and nothing’s there. I’m on google chrome, and I click on the notification box as shown on the picture. Still nothing any other suggestions? 0_0

    Like

  64. erin198712

    I love the change!

    Like

  65. terriskitchenuk

    I didn’t mind the notification count, I quite liked to see a number in there. Yes, I would be a bit saddened to see a zero, but now I’m seeing letters in the little orange box. Is anyone else seeing letters? Yesterday I had the letter ‘C’ and today I had an ‘F’. What’s up with that and what does it mean??

    Like

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