GROUP DESCRIPTION page vs Conversations
Keep the GROUP DESCRIPTION on top of page and place new Conversation below it or leave Conversation off the Description page completely. New members need to know what the Description is without it getting lost in Conversations. Thank You!
David A commented
I agree, Shal, that the folks at Yahoo haven't thought this through.
1) New users need to see the information page to find out about the group's purpose and what kind of activities are allowed.
2) Old users need to see this information when it has changed.
In both cases, the summary of new message is not what they should see first. And in any case they can always reach the conversation page to see the new messages in a single click.
The lowest cost solution both in terms of money and the strain on the designers' brains would be to move the new message below the description. But it would be great if they could have a mechanism that call's the user's attention to changes in the group description that they have not seen yet. That would, perhaps, be best done if the default page was not the About page. Who will read it if something does not call people's attention to it? And how is anyone's attention called to something way down the page?
I vote for strict separation of description and messages. If you're a person who needs a description, you don't need to see messages. If you're a person he wants to see messages, the description takes up way too much real estate.
So seldom do any given 3-4 messages give any real idea of what a group's purpose is... why on earth would you put them ABOVE the description? If you feel it is essental to have some messages on the About page, move them below everything else, please.
Yahoo's logic on this may be that the New Messages section isn't shown to non-members* anyway, and for members a highlight of a few new messages is more informative than the (generally static) Group Description.
That logic misses the case of new members, who may have recently joined by way of an invitation. For them the Group Description section, and especially any group rules it may contain, is more important. It also misses the case of groups with very active managers who go to the trouble of updating the group description frequently. Some highlight noteworthy or upcoming events, "member of the month", or other fresh information that their members expect to see.
*The exception being groups whose Conversations are viewable by non-members. In that case especially the potential member would benefit most from seeing the group description and information before the messages.
Also, inserting New Messages at the top is just plain ugly. From a design standpoint it increases the "sameness" of Yahoo Groups while diminishing the effort the group management may have put into making their group stand out.
Screen shot of a classic Yahoo Group home page:
So for both cases (public or members-only Conversations) I agree - the New Messages section on the Info/About page should go after the Group Email Addresses and either before or after the Message History table, if it goes anywhere at all.
There is a user experience (UX) argument for leaving the New Messages off the Info/About page altogether. A frequent FAQ in the moderator tips and tricks groups, back in the classic groups days, was moderators asking how to hide those messages from non-members.
The concern was needless because messages were (and are) in fact hidden from non-members, but the concern was based on a natural moderator expectation that everything on the group's Home page is shown to the public, to inform (and hopefully entice) people who might want to become members.
I agree with this. The About page or section if you want to call it that should be about the group. Any new messages should be below the About section. With the previous version of Groups, the group photo and info were above any new messages. The calendar was below the new messages. For that design, it worked. For this current design, it seems totally unnecessary to include new messages/photos in the About section.