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After hearing lots of feedback and comments from customers, I've been thinking about how to redesign this experience and it seems to fall into these categories;
1. New user
When a new user, someone who's not joined any or just a small # (3 or less, or some other reasonable small #) it probably makes sense to give them these default views, first Public and then My...though we could improve this slightly with the addition that When a user is logged in, the default view is indeed My Communities
2. Not so new user
We'd figure this out by something clever, but regardless, in this case, I've been trying to think of why this person would come to the communities page...and I have a few scenarios
a. they want to search or otherwise find a community - so we need to make searching and tag filtering front and center
b. they would love to see a roll up of things that have gone on in their communities, so that they get info at a glance that would help them decide to look further, or not. Today we just have this My Communities page that lists by most recent update
3. Passionate Contributor
This is someone who's interested in one or more topics, in the community (or communities) â€“ they want to get a pulse for what is going on, detailed pulse, in the places they are passionate about. And of course, they especially want to see things going on around contributions they've made.
They need to maintain and manage, as well as encourage their communities. They also want to know how well they are reaching their audience, how well they are serving their members...and they want to seek out new members, find more people that would be interested in their community.
5. Expert advice seeker
This person needs to get content and find people who have useful information around some topic or area this person is seeking.
For each of us, we probably fall into more that one of these categories and I believe that we can do a service to each of these categories with the right kind of landing page experience and actions.
Let's look at the needs in bullet form:
1. list of communities (public ones)
2. abstract info (tags, description, perhaps size) about the community
3. what is hot â€“ where is there a lot of action going on
4. needs to be easy/obvious on how to engage â€“ not just being able to join easily but engage (like respond to a forum topic)
5. what is here that pertains to me, what is here that I care about
So this means we need to emphasize;
Public communities â€“ not my communities
Community business card on hover to give feel for how this all works
better detail in list views;
a. logo (mini logo)
Encourage people to join from this UI
using the work of SaND (things related to me in some way) emphasize those communities
What is my network doing here â€“ or people in my org, show me those communities
Not so new user
Communities I am a member of
Communities I am following
What my network is doing
what's hot/what's going on in these communities
Doesn't want to see so much detail (meta data, desc, tags) about these communities, but rather, show me the latest action (like last 3 things that happened â€“ of interest, not member junk so much (unless it's someone in my network), show me things like forum/files/activity/wiki actions
So similar to the Not so new user, but the top most things need to be around the stuff I am very interested in...so maybe we need to emphasize the forum topics you've created and has been responded to, or files you've added, and not so much the communities per-se â€“ the list views here may be better served to show content and action on that content, and secondarily show you which communities these came from
Top most stuff...the communities I own
What's been happening, maybe more emphasis on the amount of stuff that's gone on recently
Also, are there any pressing actions I need to take (like respond to requests to join? Flagged content? Moderation duties?)
Give me a search query and result roll up that let's me see relevant content, relevant people and relevant communities, each area and of course, the intersection of these three areas...allow me to learn as much as I can here and then, let me dive into an area (pivot) when it seems like it may be well suited to my needs
Let's look at some simple page layouts that meet these needs
For the newbie, we see the list of Public Communities and each community in the list shows the logo, (in a large size), the community name, description and tags, and then if there are any people in the community this person knows...as well as showing any actions they can take (like join).
Also we show recommended communities and what the people in the newbie's network are doing here in the community space.
For the Not so new user and the Passionate contributor, we have;
Here these users would land on â€œMy Communitiesâ€�, and instead of seeing an reiteration of the description, etc for each community they instead would see a few of the most recent things that happened in the community. Also, we show a smaller logo, they just need to identify the community, the logo can be less prominent here. They could even hover over one of these action links to see a little more in this view so they could decide to jump into the community to investigate more. Also, this list of most recent would be weighted to show responses to any particular content that was contributed by the user viewing, (i.e., I would see responses to things I said or did in the community).
Now, for owners, we have;
Here, owners would see My Communities view too..and would have a filter to show, â€œCommunities I ownâ€� - now, we can't default to this view on landing, BUT, we could do something like save that filter setting (â€œshow just communities I ownâ€�) so that when I revisit this page, it remembers that I have that filter checked.
The thing here is we also use the condensed view of the community with smaller logo and just title. Like the previous UI, we show the 3 most recent actions (and weighted to this particular user) â€“ but we also add in two other things. First, some statistics, about membership changes, content contribution and view count. We also let them know if there any outstanding actions they need to address, like membership requests or things like content moderation, or whatever.
Finally, the â€œseekerâ€� needs to see results for their query, but, we should also wrap that in the same kind of experience where they can discover more...
Here we see a list of results for this query, and we also see the community related to the result (where the user can click to go to the community OR hover to get the community business card to pop) and also the relevant people, with their business cards available as well.
So, now it's your turn. I'd love to hear what you think about this kind of landing page experience for communities.