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4.0 - Messenger

I can distinctly remember 5 years ago reading a blog entry on this site about the "personal conversations" feature in IP.Board 3.0, which we were working on at the time. Up until then, the messenger system in community software and other websites was much like email - you sent one message at a time, with little continuity between messages. We were one of the first, on the entire of the web, to introduce what we called "personal conversations" - a sort of "private topic" between invited members - it was a really exciting idea back then.

For 4.0, we wanted to really focus on the experience of using the messenger - making it super fast and easy to compose, navigate and participate in conversations.

Starting a conversation

When browsing the site, you'll see a messenger icon at the top of every screen just like you do now. When hitting the "Compose Now" button inside though, the form to send your message will appear as a modal window, and when you send, it will disappear again with no page reload. This makes it incredibly fast and easy to send a message from wherever you are, without interrupting your flow. You can also send a message to a specific member by hovering over their name wherever you see it on the site and clicking the "Send Message" button in the hover card that shows.

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Browsing conversations

We've completely redesigned the main messenger pages. You now see a (infinitely scrolling) list of all your messages on the left-side. Clicking on any message opens it up in the main pane. All the common actions are enhanced with AJAX so you can open a conversation, add a user and reply all really quickly.

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Mobile

We've not forgotten about mobile devices! The new responsive design in IPS 4.0 means the whole messenger works and looks great whether you're on a desktop or on your phone.

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Summary

We recognise that when members send a new message, it is often as a response to content read in all areas of the suite. You can now send messages in place without disrupting your flow. We have improved all aspects of sending, receiving and managing messages and are confident these changes will make communicating with other members in private simpler and faster.

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I really like it! The only thing I would like to see changed is to see the name of the message starter (or those in the conversation) under each message in some way, otherwise the only way to identify who the message is from when scrolling through the message list is by their avatar/personal photo. Which is fine as you will probably recognize it, but for times when a member may recently change it, it's a new member, etc. it wouldn't be so easy to quickly scroll through and find a message from someone without searching.

 

I suspect it may be accessible via a hover which would be "ok" too, but it would still make things a lot easier if it was in plain view.

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Will there be something like a "Discuss with" button in the future? It would be like "Sharing in private message" in facebook.  Now that we can send a message without disturbing the current page load, it would be really nice to offer to link the current page to the discussion we're starting....

 

perhaps similar to "Blog this" but for private messaging

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I would really like to know if notifications by email from a message will allow you to respond by email and have it pipe back into the suite?

I know nexus has something of this and there was some hook that provide that.

 

I seem to get half of conversations because the forums e-mails them the message but they reply in their email program and i end up getting it.

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What prevents the person you are messaging with in a private conversation from adding someone else you do not approve of being added? I appreciate the effort you have put into this, and I know this is how email works, but email is not called private email, whereas this is called personal/private messages/conversations.

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Will be possible to receive messages in real time with no page reload? I mean notifications and fully-ajaxed conversations without page reloads during the entire conversation.

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Starting a conversation
 
When browsing the site, you'll see a messenger icon at the top of every screen just like you do now. When hitting the "Compose Now" button inside though, the form to send your message will appear as a modal window, and when you send, it will disappear again with no page reload. This makes it incredibly fast and easy to send a message from wherever you are, without interrupting your flow. You can also send a message to a specific member by hovering over their name wherever you see it on the site and clicking the "Send Message" button in the hover card that shows.

I have an idea that might not be feasible, but could be a real kick in the pants if it were available.  When starting a new conversation with someone, check to see if there are any existing (and active) conversations with the recipient and if so, offer to list them so that the member could choose to continue with one rather than start a new one.  Perhaps with the option to list existing conversations, warn the member that it will load a new page.

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Logan: You mean in the list when viewing messages? Yeah, when you hover over the photo, the hover card comes up.

 

CheersnGears: Not as such. Though as you see in the "Starting a conversation" section - composing is done in a modal which disappears after submitting without you loosing your page. The "Send Message" button which appears in each member's hover card behaves the same way.

 

Ocean West: This is probably not going to be in 4.0, though is something I'm really interested in for the future. It looks exactly the same in iOS7.

 

bikedorkseattle: It's the same as how it works now.

 

Mr 13: No. The PM system is not designed to be realtime chat.

 

RObiN-HoOD: You can change the sort order :)

 

Wolfie: That's a good idea, but not something we're going to do for 4.0.

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I just hope this is not the only Messanger blog entry....

 

I really don't know what else to tell about Messenger. VIdeos shows all: index, sending form, etc. It seems pretty exacly the same of how it is now, except for the ajax (full) form on sending PM and the new overview.

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I'm worried that the ease of use from anywhere on the site will have a negative impact on content indexed by search engines. If it's too easy for a member to reply in private to another about a forum discussion or blog/article/gallery comments, they may do that rather than add their content to the the public discussion.

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