Hello user group! When we started our discovery for updating Discussions these reply navigation issues and feature requests quickly surfaced:
Modern digital conversation tools follow a vertical format vs. horizontal
Discussions with many replies sometimes took too long to load or timed out
You cannot tag another person with an @mention
You cannot quote the person you are replying to
There were too many clicks to see and respond to unread replies from the Discussion index page
To address items 1 and 2, we decided to introduce the Thread tray. This feature will be available behind the Discussions/Announcements Feature Preview flag starting Sep 15th. This release will also include items 3 and 4, @mentions and quoting a reply!
We know this is a huge change in how you have used Discussions in the past. After Sep 15th, please test this navigation out and provide feedback by commenting below. This is only the beginning of the improvements we are exploring for the Topic page and Thread tray. Your feedback and feature requests will help shape our direction. Canvas Discussion Topic Thread Tray
Direct Replies Tab
To address item 5, we are hoping to improve your workflow with an actionable drawer in the Discussions index page. The Direct Replies tab will surface your unread replies when:
you receive an @mention
someone replies to your Topic
someone replies to your parent reply
someone quotes your reply
someone replies to a Topic you have subscribed to
You will be able to see all of your unread replies, as well as, be able to reply without leaving the page. We are still in discovery so these designs may change.
Canvas Discussion Index Page, Direct Replies Tab
Of course, this tab might get super noisy for topic authors (hello, teachers!) so you will be able to modify which replies you would like to see in this tab, as well as, mute individual topics.
Canvas Discussion Index Page, Direct Replies Settings
Our team is committed to improving Discussions and we look forward to your feedback and feature requests!