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4.0 - Profiles

Profiles are one of the key sections of a community, as everyone knows. They are what represent your users; where their information is shown and their content is gathered. When users contribute quality content to your community, their profile is where other users go to find it in one place. In short, it's an important area.

In IPS4, profiles have had a complete makeover. There's a lot to cover, so I'll start with a numbered screenshot, and address each section individually (please note this is a large image; if you're on mobile, you may wish to wait to view it full-size).



1 - Header images

In 3.x, users could customize their profiles by uploading a background image. In practice, this didn't work well when the software was integrated into an existing website design, and the options presented often ended up with a garish profile. In addition, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have adjusted user expectations on how profiles are customized.

In IPS4, instead of page backgrounds, users instead get to customize their profile header image. This provides the best of both worlds - ample space to choose something creative, but it's contained and won't mess up a website design.

2 - Reputation

The user's current reputation count is shown prominently in the info column, letting other users know if this member is an asset to the community.

3 - Warnings

For moderators/staff, the profile now provides quick access to warning tools. By expanding the panel, they can see a brief history of recent warnings:



And clicking one of these pops up the warning details:



New warnings can also be issued inline, of course.

4 - Followers

Followers replace friends in IPS4, and the user's followers are shown in this block. Instead of requiring mutual acknowledgement as with the traditional friends system (an approach that isn't entirely useful in a community of anonymous users), in IPS4 you follow users whom you find interesting in order to be updated when they contribute to the community. Users can of course prevent others from following them, if that is a concern to them. We'll have more details on how followers works in a later entry.

5 - About the user

Traditional information about the user is shown in the next block, including custom profile fields.

6 - Recent visitors

Recent visitors to this user's profile are shown next. As with 3.x, this can be toggled on and off by the profile owner. In 4.x, this is done by clicking the X in the corner of the block.

7 - Follow/Message member

These primary buttons enable others to follow the user (if enabled), and send a new message inline, without leaving the page.

8 - User's content

In 3.x, browsing a user's content was handled by the search area of the community (though links were available in the user's profile and hovercard). We felt this wasn't the best place for it, though. After all, a user's content should be available in their profile.

That's what this button does. It switches the profile view to 'content browsing' mode, where you can see everything the user has done. It's smooth and buttery, and because it all loads dynamically, it feels like a true part of the profile. Here's a video of it in action (14MB)



9 - Long-form custom profile fields

IPS4 supports various kinds of custom profile fields, including rich-text editors for long, styled content. Those custom profile fields will be shown in the main section of the profile where they get the space they need to be effective. About Me is a default field, but you can of course add your own too for your users to fill in.

10 - User's 'Nodes'

A node is a fancy developer term for content containers that a user creates themselves, like gallery albums and blogs (as opposed to forum categories, which are created by the admin). In IPS4, a user's 'nodes' are shown right on their profile page, making it easy to find more interesting content from the user. In this screenshot, you can see my profile is showing my albums, my blogs, and other blogs to which I contribute.

For developers, supporting your application in this section is easy too.

11 - Status feed

The status feed from 3.x is of course still present, and the interaction is all inline without leaving the page.


Conclusion

That's profiles in 4.0. We hope the new focus on content and streamlined design provides a better experience for your users!


As always, screenshots are from pre-release software and are subject to change before release.

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Finally...something that interests me, haha :)

 

While I have been excited for the blog updates, most of the stuff shown has been more of a "Oh that's cool, but not for me" thing and this has truly got me excited.

 

I like the concept of making the profiles feel more social and thus making a FORUM feel more like a social network of its own and i love what you guys are doing.

 

Truly it looks amazing and i am excited!

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Yes. Signature in the profile, please.

 

I always find it frustrating that I have to go to their profile and then go to something they've posted to see it. 

 

PS: I really like the "Browse My Content"! =D

 

...But I know some members on some of the forums will ask for this.... Can it be turned off? So other people can't easily find all their content. 

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Well, this looks good :smile:

 

 

A few points after reading it:

 

8) I don't really like the wording "Browse MY content" but I can just change it so no big deal here (I always prefer something like "Browse User/Member Content") :tongue:

 

9) As TSP asked just above me it looks like the signature won't show just like in 3.x, could you confirm? @TSP: I agree with you about it being frustrating, if they confirm it's not included I'll add a mod for that in my todo list ;)

 

10) I hope there is a per-user option to disable this? And I also hope there is a way to limit the "nodes" loaded? If a user has 20 albums, 3 blogs, and contributes to another 10 blogs that place would get quite messy.

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Has the handling of user profile fields with multiple picklist options been enhanced?

 

I've got users who choose from a long list of skills & instruments they can play (music site), and currently all of this gets persisted to a single row, as opposed to multiple rows for each option selected, which is normalized and much easier to query/report on...

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Signature does not show at present; users can't disable their albums/blogs or the browse my content page. 

 

I guess it would make for an easy hook to do though? 

 

Some communities I host have really paranoid members and some of them don't like the thought about people "stalking" all of their previously submitted content (or other things like which topics they currently read).

 

I've tried to tell them that technically the stalkers can still find and search their content by using Google for instance, but that argument doesn't seem to help at all :tongue:

 

I don't mind it one bit personally, so for me doesn't really matter, personally. But I have to think about the users on the communities I host, where the users seems a bit more paranoid than others. 

 

 

9) As TSP asked just above me it looks like the signature won't show just like in 3.x, could you confirm? @TSP: I agree with you about it being frustrating, if they confirm it's not included I'll add a mod for that in my todo list ;)

 

There is a mod, actually: http://community.invisionpower.com/files/file/5854-signature-in-profile/

 

The problem is the communities where I'm not an admin so I can't fix it :tongue:

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I was wondering if it were possible to post images in the Status Feed comments. And might links be given thumbnail images like on social networking sites? I know that might be too much to ask for considering the limited usage of the feature compared to sites like Facebook using it as the backbone of their operations, but it might be something interesting to think about for the future.

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I guess it would make for an easy hook to do though? 

 

Some communities I host have really paranoid members and some of them don't like the thought about people "stalking" all of their previously submitted content (or other things like which topics they currently read).

 

I've tried to tell them that technically the stalkers can still find and search their content by using Google for instance, but that argument doesn't seem to help at all :tongue:

 

And in the search box, and by hovering over a users username LOL Other than that, completely invisible

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8) It's nice to move the user's content to the profile page, but it still LOOKS like the same search engine-type results.  In order to see the user's content you have to click each category on the left one at a time. I'd like to see a combined results page.  If that's not possible, what about putting a little icon next to each content type with the number of items of that type the user has submitted.  That way, you wouldn't waste your time clicking on categories of content that don't have any results.

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List of items

This behaves the same as in 3.x right now

 

Articles from IP.Content

These aren't 'nodes', so they don't show on the main profile page but do show when you click 'browse my content'. Incidentally, we obviously don't use the term 'nodes' in the interface since it's technical. I use it here just for clarification.

 

Images in status feed

It's not exactly like facebook, but it's the same as putting an image in a forum post. You can upload, choose from existing images, embed links to gallery images and so on. Basically, the full RTE features.

 

Leaving messages

Yes you can still do that

 

Microdata

Yes we're using microdata extensively throughout IPS4

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In order to see the user's content you have to click each category on the left one at a time. I'd like to see a combined results page.  If that's not possible, what about putting a little icon next to each content type with the number of items of that type the user has submitted.  That way, you wouldn't waste your time clicking on categories of content that don't have any results.

 

I agree. That huge list of options, which all could give empty results when clicked will just be annoying to use. 

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8) It's nice to move the user's content to the profile page, but it still LOOKS like the same search engine-type results.  In order to see the user's content you have to click each category on the left one at a time. I'd like to see a combined results page.  If that's not possible, what about putting a little icon next to each content type with the number of items of that type the user has submitted.  That way, you wouldn't waste your time clicking on categories of content that don't have any results.

 

It's simply not possible to do efficiently while meeting our minimum system requirements unfortunately.

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