TL;DR. We would love Asana to help facilitate communication better within the platform with an ‘always-on’ sidebar that shows mentions in comments on tasks.
Context. At my business, we are always trying to find ways to reduce or completely avoid using email. As a result, we are trying to encourage everyone to use the comments in Asana when we need to talk about something specific to a task or project that is already chalked up in Asana - rather than taking comms out of the context in Asana and into an email chain or IM chat thread.
The thing is, we’re currently very limited in ways to be notified of a new comment. In general - the inbox is very much a separate page of its own which you have to remember to navigate to every now and then. You can get email notifications when you’re mentioned, but they are sometimes delayed, and can actually be quite high in volume and intensive if it’s a busy thread or if there are lots of threads going on at once (or if you also get emails about other updates like date changes or completions - swamping your inbox). It’s also counter-intuitive to our whole aim to move away from email comms for day-to-day workflows, saving our email inboxes for critical messages from our clients. What’s more, we feel that the notification blip on the Inbox button is quite small and can easily go unnoticed. Another downside here is is that any update triggers the blip - like a completed task, or a new task being added - not just a mention.
I put together a rough wireframe to help illustrate a way I have reimagined this looking. Full transparency, this takes a lot of inspiration from Trello, with some twists of my own.
In a nutshell, it’s the inbox but snapped to the right-hand side in an ‘always on’ sidebar - no matter what screen you’re looking at in Asana (e.g. a project or task). Moreover, we would be able to filter by the type of notification that is - be it comments, updates (date changes, tag changes, completed tasks etc) and New Tasks - for example. The latter two filters are just ideas, it’s really the Comment filter that drove the idea.
Items would appear chronologically in a ‘card’ format (like trello), which summarises key information like the name of the task, the project the task resides in, when the comment was posted, who posted it, and the comment. We’d have the option to like the comment, or to reply. I imagine clicking ‘reply’ would navigate us to the task and then auto-focus on the reply box - rather than being able to reply in-line via the sidebar.
Caveat - My wireframe shows that the sidebar is collapsable. However, if I am mentioned and have not seen/replied/liked the comment, the sidebar would EITHER auto-expand, or there would be a more eye-catching visual prompt on the right-hand side showing me that I had unread mentions. I put two options there because, on reflection, I can imagine how disruptive an auto-expanding sidebar might be.
It’d be great to hear what everyone else thinks? Apologies if this has already been raised on the forum - I did try finding a similar post first.