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?
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.