I could use some advice on how I use Flags on my website.
A year or two ago, I added the ability for people to "flag" a User's Profile or a User's Post, similar to how it works on SitePoint. (This was to report inappropriate content to an Admin.)
Here is an example...
(The assumption was that a User would know that clicking on the "Flag" is a way to report an issue... And if not, there is <TITLE> text...)
Then last year, I added the ability for people to "flag" Private Messages in their Inbox, similar to how most E-mail Apps work.
Here is an example of that...
(In this scenario, a User is using the Flag to personally mark some PM that is important or whatever.)
Now in January 2014, I have re-written how a Private Message appears when it is viewed, and am thinking I need to address this "Flagging" thing in individual Private Messages.
Here is a crude mockup of what a Private Message might look like...
I am not sure where is the most intuitive place to locate the Flag...
(*Note: The Blue Top Bar will have Command Buttons in it, so that would NOT be a good location...)
1.) In the first sample above, I use the Red Flag as an "actionable icon" to allow a User to report something inappropriate to the Admin. But then in the User's Inbox, I am using the exact same Red Flag to allow the User to "flag" some Message as a reminder or whatever.
Does this lack of symmetry cause great chaos on my website, or are Users smart enough to figure out what the Red Flag icon means in each situation?
2.) I allow a User to "flag" PM's in his/her Inbox, but when a User opens up a "flagged" Private Message, at this time they wouldn't see anything inside the PM to denote this flagging.
Is this an issue??
Presumably you would want the Red Flag to appear inside the Private Message, and maybe even go a step farther and allow the User to "flag" or "de-flag" a PM while viewing it?
But this depends on how you answer these other questions.
3.) If I decide I want Users to be able to "flag"/"de-flag" a Private message while viewing it, then would it be intuitive enough if I have a Grey Flag - as a "placeholder" - and then the assumption is that a User would know to CLICK on the Grey Flag to turn on flagging and switch the Grey Flag to a Red Flag?
4.) I am not sure where is the best place to place a Flag inside the Private Message.
5.) Do I want to add an additional Icon into my website?
Maybe I should leave the Red Flag purely for flagging a Profile or Message, and then maybe use a drastically different icon (e.g. Yellow Star) to denote "Flagging if a PM"?? :-/
And as you can see above, I feel conflicted how to tie these "loose ends" together on my website, while not introducing an extra layer of complexity that my very behind-schedule website cannot afford!!
Oh SitePoint Design Gods, please help enlighten me!!! :o