Jump to content
You're invited! Join our 4.6 Live Event on ZOOM 6/24 ×

Invision Community Blog


Managing successful online communities

Rikki

Web push notifications, native sharing & offline support

As we approach the release of Invision Community 4.6, I wanted to take you through some improvements for using Invision Community on a mobile device.

Web push notifications

For some time, we've used the local browser notification API to show users notifications. There's a big drawback though: users had to have the site open in a tab for these to work. This is particularly problematic for mobile devices.

In 4.6, we've added support for the WebPush API, which allows sites to push notifications to users' browsers & devices even if the site isn't open - or even if the device is asleep.

We already have support baked in for push notifications via our beta mobile app, so we've piggy-backed on that system and expanded it to support browser-based push notifications.

push_options.jpg

Choosing push notifications

For users, it's a simple process. A little while after joining a community they will prompted to accept notifications from the site when they open the notification list dropdown (or they can opt-in any time from the notification settings screen). After accepting, they will be able to choose a "Notification List + Push" option for any of the available notification types.

stop_push_correct.jpg

Push notifications enabled

Existing users, who may have already granted permission to the site in the past, will be re-prompted to accept push notifications upon logging in after the 4.6 upgrade.

Push notifications typically show on the homescreen of a phone or in the notification tray of a desktop computer, so receiving dozens of notifications could be overwhelming. For that reason, Invision Community will automatically merge related notifications - for example, multiple mentions from the same topic, or multiple new topics from the same forum.

Notifications_Badge.jpg

Grouped push notifications

And, of course, users can stop push notifications across all of their devices with a single click if they want to opt out.

We're excited about the engagement potential of push notifications, since they allow you to immediately reach users who aren't currently on your site - a job previously left to email alone.

On the subject of notifications, one more thing: we've heard your feedback about notifications for new replies/mentions being merged with notifications for likes/quotes, and will be separating these two types into their own permissions in 4.6. We're acutely aware that making notifications annoying results in users turning them off, so we're always looking to ensure there is a reasonable balance.

Splash Screen Images

When you add a website to your phone's desktop, it appears like a native app. Tapping to launch the site can show a blank screen for a few seconds while the website is loaded. Fortunately, you can now set a 'splash' image in the Admin CP which is shown when launching the app.
 

PWA Splash screen.gif

Sharing using native share options

Another enhancement coming in 4.6 is the addition of the device share sheet when sharing content from within Invision Community. Users will now see a "More Sharing Options" button (providing their device/browser supports the underlying API) which, when tapped, will open the device share sheet. The options available depend on the device, but typically include actions like sharing links in WhatsApp, posting to Facebook or creating a note.

Webshare.gif

Offline support

With a larger share of users now using mobile devices for most of their browsing comes the problem of patchy phone signal and internet connections dropping out. For a dynamic web-based platform like Invision Community, it's difficult to offer much in the way of full offline support, but starting in 4.6 we will present a branded offline page to users when they have no internet connection and try to access the community.

offline.jpg

 

We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!

Comments

Recommended Comments



Some questions:

  • Will community owners be able to select the default push notification for new members, similar to default notifications? 
  • When users login and are prompted to accept notifications, I'd like to recommend that IPS adds a 'recommended' tag to the default selection.  This will give communities the greatest chance of engagement (or no engagement, whatever floats your boat). 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, LaCollision said:

Fantastic work. Thank you! 😍

For push notifications, how will it work for self-hosted installations?

Do we need to create an Apple developer account, and do all the heavy stuff?

Thank you again! 

It will "just work" on self-hosted, but only for users who have supported browsers/devices. That's basically all of them except Safari/iOS. Apple has its own web push notification system for desktop Safari but we have decided not to support that right now, and of course iOS doesn't support web push at all.

30 minutes ago, jair101 said:

Any option to bulk send push or it is only tied to notifications?

It's only tied to existing notification types for the time being, but a 'bulk' option sounds like a useful tool to me, so we might be open to that in future.

23 minutes ago, Joel R said:

Some questions:

  • Will community owners be able to select the default push notification for new members, similar to default notifications? 
  • When users login and are prompted to accept notifications, I'd like to recommend that IPS adds a 'recommended' tag to the default selection.  This will give communities the greatest chance of engagement (or no engagement, whatever floats your boat). 

You cannot make Push enabled by default because users must subscribe to them in an opt-in fashion. You can allow/disallow push for any notification type though.

The banner that shows up explains the benefits of accepting, but you can of course adjust if you like. It's the same banner (with some updated copy) that shows in the 4.5 notification list for new users.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management
2 hours ago, ahc said:

Just so I'm clear on this, the push notifications will not work on iPhones and iPads?

Correct, or Safari on MacOS.

Apple prohibit push notifications on iOS via PWA (regardless of browser you use), and they require you to register with Apple and go through their development onboarding to allow to push to MacOS.

That's why we have a mobile app.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Matt said:

Correct, or Safari on MacOS.

Apple prohibit push notifications on iOS via PWA (regardless of browser you use), and they require you to register with Apple and go through their development onboarding to allow to push to MacOS.

That's why we have a mobile app.

I thought it meant for iPhone 😞

Edited by marklcfc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Matt said:

Correct, or Safari on MacOS.

Apple prohibit push notifications on iOS via PWA (regardless of browser you use), and they require you to register with Apple and go through their development onboarding to allow to push to MacOS.

That's why we have a mobile app.

Well that’s unfortunate on their part. A large portion of my members use Apple based systems for creative purposes with their Retina display, pen, and file syncing with iCloud between devices.

The app doesn’t work for our community. Gallery and Downloads are broken in the app, so I disabled it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management
2 hours ago, Maxxius said:

Petition Apple so they come to their senses 😄 They're the ones slowing the rest of us down this time on this particular question.

I don't think it's really good sense for them to allow it. They tightly control the experience, so letting any random website spam you with notifications wouldn't sit well, and forcing people to make apps means they get to retain control over more of the experience from third party apps via their audit and approval process.

It is what it is.

From a technical POV, it would be an afternoons work on their behalf to enable it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps so, but why not leave it for example for a mac user to manually take some extra steps in order to activate push notifications? and I mean not allow websites to pop up and ask to be accepted by a single tap. No I mean user has himself to go to some settings and explicitly allow pwa. if user chooses so I see no harm in it. but oh well..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, AlexJ said:

Will Stop All Email notifications work without me having to unfollow all topics? Can you please confirm that? OR I still need to go in each topic and click on unfollow to stop email notifications? Thanks

The link should do as it says and stop all email notifications. Having said that, it's not a new feature; it's available in the current release.

https://invisioncommunity.com/notifications/options/

image.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites




Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

Important Information

We use technologies, such as cookies, to customise content and advertising, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic to the site. We also share information about your use of our site with our trusted social media, advertising and analytics partners. See more about cookies and our Privacy Policy

×