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Age Indicator

The Design Problem

In a local-first world, peers may or may not be connected to the network at all times, and information left by the users could be out-of-date. When and how is dated information is shown on the network?

The Design Solution

Give a visual indication for the age of a piece of information, for example when a peer was last seen. Fading a tag or a card usually works.


Trello’s Card Aging

Image of Trello

Why Choose Age Indicator?

  • Age indicator shows you information about network participants without taking up too much space.
  • It comes in handy when distinguishing a viral thread in a yet-to-be federated part of the network.

Best Practice: How to Implement Age Indicator

  • Age Indicator is most effective when it comes to time sensitive content, like a ‘best-before-date’ feature. It highlights when something needs to be checked for validity. As such, it enables an assertion of truth as legacy information gets referenced over time.
  • During the sync, prioritizing offline and old content in the network is recommended. In addition, make sure context is always clear so that it won’t affect readers’ perception.
  • Use Age Indicator in combination with a network health indicator to give advanced users more fine-grained detail.

Potential Problems with Age Indicator

  • Content vs. Location. When there are multiple dimensions of aging, it can be difficult to know what is being displayed. Is it when a peer was last seen? The last time this file was updated? Use age indicator coupled with clear visual cues about what has aged.
  • Contrast. Ensure you pick a color contrast that allows for fading.
  • Action. A single visual indication is not enough to accommodate both spectrums of the ‘aging’ quality: Is it becoming irrelevant and out-of-date? Or has it become more valuable with the increased engagement over the course of time? Consider recommending an action (if any) that could be taken based upon the age of the content.

The Take-Away

Age indicator is very important when the age of content affects how a user should interact with it.

References and Where To Learn More