Updates to the Also Viewing tool

Sure has been a while, no?

The tool we use frequently on the support side of things has been trotting along nicely for some time, but it felt like it was time to give it a little bit of attention (with some more attention planned for the future!)

This sees the release of version 0.9.0 of the UserScript, with the following changes.

AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)
This is something that should have been implemented much sooner. The script now makes use of the `wp.a11y.speak` tools in WordPress, and will announce when users start/stop viewing the same page as you.

I don’t personally know how many of the users have assistive technologyAssistive technology Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology, but no matter the number, it’s good to set a standard for inclusivity here.

Always the hot topic, maybe you just don’t feel comfortable having it be known that you looked at that one topic. There may be many reasons for this, we’ll not dig into the why, that’s your business, not ours.

This release accommodate this, a new options section has been added, when viewing a topic, you’ll see it in the sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. near the top, where you can change your privacy options (you will need to refresh the page after saving these settings).

If you choose to be anonymous, instead of your name, you will show up as `{anonymous_###}`, where the last three signs is generated on page load, so it is non-unique to you as a person. That way it’s possible to know how many, but not who, are watching a topic at that moment.

Once you reload the page, your tag will change, this way it’s not possible to identify one anonymous user from another.

Better username identification
Some users have made it easier to identify them, but including their name, and username, in the displayname.

The Also-Viewing script appended a users username in parenthesis for easy recognition up until now. This made for some funky and, sometimes, long names listed in the viewing bar.

Pet-peeve of yours truly, the new version will check if your username is included, if it is, it will no longer be appended. Hooray!

Someone else has been typing
The previous release introduced the concept of typing to the mix, by adding a note to the username that they are currently typing on this topic.

That’s great, but after they’ve posted a reply, this goes away, or maybe you weren’t watching while they were typing?

Now, if a user is typing, that’s remembered, and if you try to post a reply after this, you’ll get a warning that other users may have typed replies, and the option to load in any new replies, or just post your reply any way.

Future updates
Currently looking into adding internationalization to the tools, this isn’t super straight forward, as userscripts don’t include multiple files, and it would be beneficial to not have to do a brand new release every time someone does a translation, but it’s planned, and will eventually be pushed in.

Anything else?
Do you feel like there’s something missing, either from the Also Viewing tool, or the other tools the support team maintains? Or maybe there’s a tool you feel should exist in the first place?

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