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Relay Alerts to the top of the view page

Sometimes you get an alert page, like this one:


File has been uploaded with different name

The file has been uploaded and attached properly to the CompPackages topic. However, the filename has been changed from Comp 20060724.png to Comp_20060724.png. Please make a note of it.

Note: In some cases, TWiki changes the name of the uploaded file to make it safe and accessible across all platforms:

  • Spaces are replaced by underscores
  • A .txt extension is appended to some filenames for security reasons
  • Some characters such as ~, $, @, % are removed
You may be able to get your TWiki administrator to change the settings if they are inappropriate for your environment.


  1. This is a long text with details
  2. This breaks the flow
  3. I need to make the decision to continue
  4. I need to find the link to continue

Ruby on Rails has solved this differently. Any note can be put as a temporary notice at the top of the page - this is called a Flash. A Flash is commonly a yellow block that fades to transparency in a few seconds, giving attention to this item.

The fading technique is called the Yellow Fade Technique.


  • Info by the 'inventors' - The YFT makes it super easy to spot edits/changes yet its unobtrusive nature lets people quickly get back to work once a modification is confirmed.

Update: in TaDa list the fading technique works extremely well: video

Proposal summary

I don't find the fading technique the most important aspect. But I do see the added value of a dynamic page top that notifies the user of changes or messages.

What I would like to keep: a block at the top of the topic that is visible when we want to show the user a notification or error message. The message that is normally shown in a separate (oops) page would now be prepended to the topic text. Of course skin authors would be free in the design of that info block. Personally I would be reluctant to fancyfy this.


-- Contributors: ArthurClemens


Isn't that too much FeatureCreep? It's cool, okay, but do we really need it? Guess the one thing TWiki needs most is PerformancePerformancePerformance. Features are great, but performance is better. Just my 2 cents. -- By the way: I'm very impressed with all the cool things that have been proposed lately. Keep on! wink

-- FranzJosefSilli - 24 Jul 2006

I don't see how this would inpact performance. This feature can deliver a better workflow. In 37's speak: less huh? and more ah!

Personally I get irritated every day with the above 'error' screen. We need to do our best to remove irritation factors.

-- ArthurClemens - 24 Jul 2006

I think this is simplifying the user experience. Franz, yes, it is more complex in the implementation, but it makes it easier for users. Hide the complexity is the theme of iTunes and iPod. We can learn from them.

I have seen something similar on other websites, such as LinkedIn. The temporary message remains on the page until you reload or move on & back.

What about this: Show a yellow box embedded at the top of the page, with an 'x' to close the box. Users do not need to close it, but can if they wish.

-- PeterThoeny - 24 Jul 2006

I would take a stab at a shorter info text.

With no renaming (all links are dummy):

File Comp_20060724.png has been uploaded.

With renaming:

File Comp_20060724.png has been uploaded. The filename has been automatically renamed to make it more accessible.

-- ArthurClemens - 25 Jul 2006

Here is another study: (case with renaming)


-- PeterThoeny - 25 Jul 2006

We must be careful to let these messages no look like error messages or dialog windows: these are friendly notifications of a change. Once the mechanism is in place we can do the design exercise in the context of the whole page.

-- ArthurClemens - 25 Jul 2006

Sounds to me like you guys would like JSPopupPlugin - I've made a demo at http://demo.wikiring.com/twiki/bin/view/Demo/JSPopupPluginDemo

-- SvenDowideit - 25 Jul 2006

No, while valuable in other situations I would prefer not to make this a temporary alert. User testing we've done for KLM shows people do not read this before closing the window, and then its gone.

-- ArthurClemens - 25 Jul 2006

Yes, the idea is to show the message inline at the top of the topic. With an option to close it (or just toggle on and off?)

-- PeterThoeny - 26 Jul 2006

The other datapoint, is that users don't seem to read the non-closeable broadcast message either - There are at leasr 4-5 users that register on develop daily.

so its just possible that giving the user information that isn't exactly what they are looking for, isn't truely effective frown

-- SvenDowideit - 26 Jul 2006

I can confirm that users never read pop-up messages. And the more you make the less they read them. People are so used to Windows, browsers, etc etc popping up all these dammed windows. People just click to close them without reading anything because 99% of the messages are something they cannot do anything about or something that is totally irrelevant. So when an important pop-up is shown which they should care about, people will just close the irritating popup window.

The only place pop-ups are useful is when they are invoked by the user. E.g. an acronym which is explained by a small pop-up instead of taking you away to another page to show a one-line explanation. Here the pop-up is initiated by the user and is not a surprise. And the information in the window is (hopefully) what the user was searching for.

In reality we should minimize all those silly messages. Why tell the user that a filename has been renamed when he cannot do a thing about it? It has already happened.

-- KennethLavrsen - 26 Jul 2006

You may be right. But other messages can be useful. For instance after a new topic has been created:

Once you have created the topic, consider adding links in related topics to the new topic so that there are more ways people can discover it.

... instead of putting this message before the topic has been created (in WebTopicCreator). Perhaps with a few links (to the parent topic for instance).

-- ArthurClemens - 26 Jul 2006

See for a design example TagMePlugin in svn (the tag creation page). I think this works very well: and no usage for a close button whatsoever.

A solution like this is also needed for SubscribePluginDev.

I would like to make this a release proposal.

-- ArthurClemens - 26 Apr 2007

I support a generic messaging system to convey a temporary system message to the user at the top of the page. LinkedIn does it very nicely:


-- PeterThoeny - 08 May 2007

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Topic revision: r18 - 2007-05-08 - PeterThoeny
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