There've been a lot of people who just post saying "NEW UPDATE SHIT BAD BAD STINKY", and while that certainly gets a message across... It's really unhelpful in the long run. Discord is looking for detailed constructive criticism in order to make changes, and I'd like to make a post that will hopefully provide that.
Arguably the most irritating part of this update for many is the message highlighting. While I do agree it was sometimes difficult to find where messages were when various ones were sent by the same user, the fact of the matter is that adding a highlight was a terrible solution. Not only is it distracting, due to people moving their mouse constantly and seeing the screen flash, but these flashes are literally rendering the app unusable for those with epilepsy, ADHD, and various forms of autism. I myself am incredibly bothered by it, and I don't even have any of these conditions.
Instead of a highlight that appears when Scrolling, you could easily have a highlight appear upon right-clicking the message. This solves the issue of being unable to find which message you're selecting, and also makes sure no one has to strain their eyes scrolling across messages too quickly. A solution that allows people to selectively turn this feature on would appeal to both sides.
The toolbar was another recent addition that a lot of people dislike. For those use Compact mode, the bar renders messages that take up a full line of text partially unreadable, and its constant popup with colorful emojis tends to be distracting to a lot of users for reasons similar to the highlighting. Users don't really need to react that absurdly fast to anything, and I rarely see people react at all unless it's for a vote, a bot, or a channel they can't actively type in.
I feel as though this bar could be removed altogether, as it's essentially unneeded. Right clicking allows you to react in a slightly slower yet less intrusive manner, and I believe that's all that is needed. This would also allow you to essentially still implement the highlight and toolbar "together", as both would be in a right click if the highlight solution is used.
NEW Message Line
This is one I've also seen a fair amount of criticism for, though it's not as intrusive as the other two. The NEW arrow replacing the "New Messages" bar is criticized because of its placement and color focus. The bright red, especially on the Dark background, is almost painfully bright. Additionally, the placement of the NEW arrow draws the eye towards the opposite side of the screen from where messages begin, meaning your eyes are drawn slightly away from where they should be. This is just poor design in my opinion, and there was nothing even remotely wrong with the old new message alert, minus the (unfixed) issue some people have of it never going away unless you switch to a new channel or send a message. I'd also like to point out that your toolbar will actually cover up the entire NEW arrow if you highlight the message below it. This just makes no sense.
This one is simple. While I know the code has been reworked and you're unable to revert, I still believe you should be able to replace this with the original bar without much difficulty. Also, could you please make the new message bar fade away after a few seconds at the very least? It's irritating not wanting to or being able to type something in order to make it go away, since it just stays there forever otherwise.
(Edit) Divider Lines
I hadn't realized how much of an issue this was, but I'll be adding it in as well. The divider lines were removed in this update, and this has left a strange murky space between people talking that can make it nearly impossible to tell who's saying what on compact mode, especially with people who have similar colored names or similar nicknames. Divider lines also made reading easier for those with reading or visual disorders, and removing them feels like an unneeded change. Please just re-add them if possible.
In total, the new design has been (rightfully) described as intrusive, noisy, and far too distracting. Users find themselves unable to use it due to the lack of empty space, the constant flashing, and unnecessary clutter. I do understand that your engineers put a lot of work into this update, however it was poorly thought out and I feel as though you didn't let people test it enough. People are struggling because of these changes. This is not merely a dislike of change, these are changes many people didn't ask for, and many people are suffering because of it. I wouldn't be surprised if people legitimately stop using Discord, at least on the desktop version, because of how many seem to be affected by this. Options to go back and forth may be impossible, however I feel as though repeatedly saying you have no plans to fix any of these issues is insulting to your userbase. Many of the people I've talked to have been losing faith in Discord for months, or even years now. You constantly add updates that are either unannounced or unwarranted, and people are beginning to grow weary of the changes you assume are best for us.
Please, Discord, fix the things you have broken. Instead of focusing on things that hurt your platform, focus on things that people have been saying for ages. There are countless bugs that you've stated you're aware of but have no ETA for fixing. Countless things such as message encryption, server issues, and other larger-scale concerns have been floating around for years now. Focus on the issues you know will make people happy once fixed, not on fixing things that weren't broken in a flawed attempt to modernize.
For those of you reading this, I hope this addresses the concerns you have, and if you enjoyed the update, I hope I've helped explain why so many people are against it. Discord, if you are reading this, I sincerely plead with you to listen to these complaints and correct your mistakes.
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