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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 am simply impressed. :o

 

I like enormously how messages are opened (with an arrow indicating the Messenger icon). :smile:

 

I am really very happy with the work done, IPS developers. :smile:

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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 :smile:

 

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

 

Sounds like you got a good list of 4.1 feature suggestions here.... though I admit mine is more appropriate as a third party hook. 

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Wish it displayed new messages from the inbox view without refreshing. I saw Mark's comment about it not being a "chat", but realistically we're in the era of Facebook, not email, and their message system supports instantaneous updates.

 

I think that in some respects the IP team needs to think forward about what younger and modern Internet users have come to expect out of the social sites they visit, including ones powered by the IPS suite.

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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.

 

I think that is highly dependent on the culture of your forum rather than the design of the software.... if your users are more inclined to reply in private, I don't think a software design difference is going to change that. 

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Wish it displayed new messages from the inbox view without refreshing. I saw Mark's comment about it not being a "chat", but realistically we're in the era of Facebook, not email, and their message system supports instantaneous updates.

 

I think that in some respects the IP team needs to think forward about what younger and modern Internet users have come to expect out of the social sites they visit, including ones powered by the IPS suite.

 

Doing it instantly like Facebook is a resource issue for us - we're working with different constraints than Facebook. However, I certainly won't rule out a periodic update :)

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Looks good. After watching the video, my only observation is the visibility of the reply box.  If the active PM is very long, and you have a first time or rare user, will they know where to go to add a reply or could the reply be visible higher up, as a button, and link to the reply box lower?

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Doing it instantly like Facebook is a resource issue for us - we're working with different constraints than Facebook. However, I certainly won't rule out a periodic update :smile:

 

Yeah, I would think it would be rather heavy on many people's servers. Still, it would be a nice add on to offer as long as minimum server specs were indicated. 

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Doing it instantly like Facebook is a resource issue for us - we're working with different constraints than Facebook. However, I certainly won't rule out a periodic update :smile:

 

 

i know it only affects a small percentage of browsers - 

 

but for instant notifications couldn't you add code to add push notification to the browser?

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i know it only affects a small percentage of browsers - 

 

but for instant notifications couldn't you add code to add push notification to the browser?

 

Yes although to know whether to show the notification, you still have to check with the server constantly.

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So I finally got to watch the videos. I'm not really liking the mobile view right now, but I guess I'll wait to try it out myself before I hate on it.

 

What are those sort by and filter by options? Does messenger even have a search anymore?

 

Most importantly though, does logging in as anonymous prevent it from showing that you've read the PM? >_>

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

It's a pity that we still living in the Stone Age  :sad:

 

Thanks for the job, but to be honest, In the PM system i expected more improvements.

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Still no option to only receive messages from friends or certain groups?

If you have a large forum and have a support system, some users will still send private messages to administrators and that's annoying. 

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You complain too... It is just an impressive progression!

PM splitting is not complain, it's a feature I need since a lot of my members don't open new PM but continue writing in existing ones. This is bad and I know it's comming from facebook where Conversation is all one, but that's the truth.

 

Also I expected new and/or improved functionality which I haven't seen yet IIRC

 

Contemporary design is good and really welcome but it's now going to refresh our sites just like that.

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PM splitting is not complain, it's a feature I need since a lot of my members don't open new PM but continue writing in existing ones. 

 

 I also get a fair amount of this.

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PM splitting is not complain, it's a feature I need since a lot of my members don't open new PM but continue writing in existing ones. This is bad and I know it's comming from facebook where Conversation is all one, but that's the truth.

 

Also I expected new and/or improved functionality which I haven't seen yet IIRC

 

Contemporary design is good and really welcome but it's now going to refresh our sites just like that.

In a comment, you said you still hope to see other blog entries about it. I think that most things have been said. I have the impression that you are not happy with the current progress.

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Was hoping PMs would be more chat-like, being able to instantly respond to people without delving into the PM page would have been a welcome improvement.

+1

Still no option to only receive messages from friends or certain groups?

If you have a large forum and have a support system, some users will still send private messages to administrators and that's annoying. 

+1. Really important issue.

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