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Maxxius

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  1. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.3: Engagement Improvements   
    As we come close to wrapping up development of Invision Community 4.3, we wanted to let you know of a few smaller improvements we've made to increase engagement to your community.
    Email
    Despite fancy new things like social media and push notifications, trusty old email has been proven to be highly effective at getting repeat visitors to your website.
    It's one of the reasons Invision Community has built in email support for notifications that can be sent instantly, or via daily or weekly digests.
    Email should form a part of every community marketing strategy but curating content and building newsletters can often be a labor intensive task.
    With Invision Community 4.3 we have added some additional automated email tools to help your users discover more of your carefully crafted content.
    Highlight the best content from throughout your community
    In 4.2 we introduced the concept of curated content with promotions and “Our Picks”. With 4.3 we’ve taken this a step further and these promoted items will now appear directly in your content related emails. 
    This allows for your audience to be enticed back to your community with items that they may not have read but holds interest.

    Capture return visits with interesting content
    Social media links in email footers
    If you look closely in the image above you will also see that you can now optionally include links to all of your social media sites within the footer of all of your outgoing emails.
    Both of these new features are enabled by default but can be disabled in the email settings section of your admin control panel.
    Email may be as old as the web itself, but it is a very powerful medium to get your audience coming back for more.
    Respond to Reviews
    We added the ability to leave a review to Pages articles, download files, calendar events and in other areas early on in Invision Community 4. The concept was to allow your members to engage in new ways with your content. Reviews on Commerce store items and purchasable downloadable goods is a great way to inspire others to purchase.
    New to Invision Community 4.3 is the ability for the content creator (be that a download file, store owner, etc) to respond to a review. This is a great way to address reviews that may be considered unfair or extreme.

    Matt is talking to himself again
    One more thing...
    Not content with resurrecting the Subscriptions manager from 2009, we've brought back a small detail from previous versions of Invision Community. The famous "this person is typing a reply" indicator in the online list.

     
    We can't wait to release this latest update. With new ways to monetise your community, new ways to engage your audience and better promotion tools, we're excited to see how it's going to benefit your community.
     
  2. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Promote to Facebook Pages and Groups   
    Social media promotion should be a part of any marketing strategy. Curating interesting content from your community and sharing to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter is a great way to drive traffic to your site.
    Invision Community 4.2 introduced Social Media Promotions to allow this. 
    You hit the promote button, fill out the text to share with each service, click which photos to include and schedule the promotion or send it immediately.
    We use this feature almost every single day to share highlights to our Invision Community Facebook page and Twitter.
    This feature has had a significant impact in attracting visitors to our blog. This is now a core part of our marketing strategy.
    So what's new in Invision Community 4.3?
    Facebook Groups and Pages
    A  popular feature request was to allow sharing to Facebook groups that you are an administrator of, as well as Pages you own.
    Not only that, but we now allow you to share to many places at once.
    When setting up Facebook, you can choose which Facebook properties to be used when promoting.

     
    When sharing content, you can choose where to share it to right on the dialog.

     
    Here you can see that we're sharing to two of three possible places. "It's a secret" is a Facebook Group (which makes it a pretty poor secret).
    The "Lindy Throgmartin Fan Club" is my favourite page on all of Facebook. What it lacks in members, it makes up for in enthusiasm.
    You may also notice that the Facebook box is empty. Facebook have very strict guidelines on sharing content. They prefer that you do not auto-populate the content.
    You can always access the item's original content on the promote dialog, so you can refer to it.
    Setting a custom page title
    When you share to social media channels, you also have the opportunity to add to the 'Our Picks' page.
    We've made it possible to add a custom title for the Our Picks page so you don't have to use the content item title, although this is still the default.

     
    Editing an Our Pick
    When editing an item shared to 'Our Picks', you now have the option of editing all the data, including the title and the images attached.

     

    The Our Picks page showing the custom title
    Thanks to your feedback, we saw several places that we can improve this already popular feature.
    We hope you enjoy these changes which makes your social promotion strategy even easier to execute.
    I know we'll be making good use of them!
     
  3. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Better Analytics Integration   
    We are improving our integration options with analytics tracking services to better track and credit all page views. Our focus here was to add the ability for IPS Community Suite to communicate with your analytics tracking provider of choice when it does page change events that do not otherwise get tracked.
    Some tracking providers do not understand that an inline AJAX page load (one that loads new content without a full page refresh) should still count as a new page. Even though your browser did not do a full reload, all your content is different so it should count in your metrics.
    To solve this issue, IPS Community Suite can now automatically put in custom code to execute on pagination. We include Google Analytics and Piwik code by default and there is also an option to include your own custom pagination event code for other services.

    Analytics in AdminCP
    If you already have your Google Analytics code in our existing (basic) analytics system then the Suite will detect this on upgrade and automatically enable the new pagination tracking. The screenshot above shows the "Other" option if you do not use Google Analytics or Piwik. If you have other providers you want us to consider just post a feedback topic.
    Note: be sure that you embed Google Analytics into your Suite using the built-in analytics system. If you simply pasted the code into your theme templates then we cannot automatically enable the new tracking.
    We hope this new feature allows for easier integration with analytics tracking providers and also gives you much better insight into your traffic by properly counting all the page views you may currently be missing out on!
     
    This change will be in version 4.1.17 which is scheduled to be released in early December 2016.
  4. Thanks
    Maxxius reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.5: Zapier Brings Integration with Over 2,000 Web Apps   
    Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 2,000 web apps. In Invision Community 4.5 we are launching a beta service of Zapier integration for Invision Community in the Cloud.
    What does Zapier do?
    Zapier acts as a bridge between Invision Community and other apps, such as Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more. Zapier has over 2000 apps registered currently, and that number grows every single day.
    Let us look at a real life example.
    Right now, if you wanted to add a member to a Google Sheets document each time a new registration was completed, you'd need some fairly complex code to be written that was "triggered" by this registration event. This would take days to write at some cost.
    Zapier simplifies this by allowing you to connect Invision Community with Google Sheets without needing a single line of code. Zapier allows you to streamline your workflows in minutes.
    Zapier has two types of events, triggers and actions.
    Triggers
    When a certain thing happens on Invision Community, like a member registering or a topic being posted, a trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps. For example, you might create a zaps to...
    When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators.
    Invision Community Integration with Mailchimp through Zapier
    Actions
    You can also set up Zaps so that when something happens in an external application, it triggers an action in your Invision Community. For example, you might create a zaps to...
    When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community.
    Invision Community Integration with Google Calendar through Zapier
    Self-Integration
    In addition to using Zapier to integrate with third party services, you can also connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum.

    Self-Integration through Zapier
    Frequently Asked Questions
    What integrations are available?
    In the beta launching with Invision Community 4.5, Zapier will be able receive a trigger when a member account or content (forum post, gallery image, etc.) is created and send actions to create the same. More triggers and actions will be added over time. Why is this only available to Community in the Cloud and not on-premise licenses?
    While we assess the needs during this beta period we are limiting it to Community in the Cloud only so that we can have more control over the communication happening between each community and Zapier. When will this integration be out of beta?
    Later this year. Will third party applications and plugins be able to create Zapier triggers and actions?
    Because the integration requires an app hosted with Zapier (which is written in Node.js) and this has to be submitted directly by the vendor, it will be difficult for third party applications and plugins to integrate with Zapier through Invision Community's integration. In the future we may be able to provide basic abstracted integrations for third party applications and plugins through an extension API. In the meantime, third party authors can of course write their own Zapier Apps if desired.
  5. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, Launching a new community needs purpose, value and emotion   
    One of the most commonly asked questions we get is how to ensure your new community launch is successful.
    You may think that if you have the right features with the correct configuration, success is guaranteed, but it requires more than that.
    Way back in the early 2000s when the internet was in its infancy, there was an explosion of new communities. If you had some webspace, a little technical knowledge and a forum script you were almost guaranteed to attract people into your community.
    These days it takes a little more work to get your new community off the ground. There’s a lot of books and resources out there to help, but focusing on your purpose, value, and emotion will give you a bright star to sail by.
    Purpose
    The purpose of your community should be very clear from the first visit. You want your new visitors to instantly understand the reason your community exists and the benefit they will get from it.
    This can be implicit with a short written mission statement at the top, or it can be through robust visual design and structure.
    When launching a new community, aim to be as specific as possible with your purpose. You can always broaden when it grows. This may go against your instinct to cast a wide net to catch as many people as possible, but resist that temptation!
    For example, a community focused on fitness has a vague purpose. Fitness is a broad topic, and there are many niches inside of it. This could be anything from losing weight, to running faster to increasing the weight on a barbell. Narrowing the focus to running helps a little, but there’s a lot of space in that field. You have marathon runners, ultra runners, Sunday park joggers and everything in between.
    A better starting point for a community may be “Run your first 5k”. This instantly makes it very clear to your audience that you intend to help new runners develop their ability enough to finish a short race. The sense of purpose is clear, and it is easy to know what to ask of this new community and the benefit you may get.
    Asperger Experts has a strong design and mission statement above the fold, which makes its purpose clear from the first visit.

    Asperger Experts
    Make your purpose very clear and don’t be afraid to niche down to a specific area, to begin with.
    Value
    The earliest communities allowed people from all around the world to gather and talk. Anyone who had the technical skill to host a community could be virtually guaranteed members and just being able to meet was all the value needed.
    We now live in more sophisticated times and crave more than facilitation. Your community needs to add value beyond companionship and knowledge.
    One of the simplest ways to give value to your members is through sharing your expertise. A steady flow of written articles or videos gives your members a reason to come back.
    IG, a fintech company use their expert articles to draw their audience back to their community to contribute. IG is a known leader in their field, so their blog is a real draw for those investing in the markets.

    IG.com
    Never post for the sake of it, always inform, educate or entertain your community.
    Emotion
    At the heart of every conversation is emotion. We pride ourselves on being logical and thoughtful creatures, yet our emotional brain responds first and makes a judgement often subconsciously.
    Setting the pitch and tone of your community is critical from its earliest days. As the community manager, you get to define the tone by modelling the behaviour you want to see in your own content. Some communities do well with dark humour and snark; while others require positivity and fun.
    “Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn respect and approval of our peers. Such inclinations are essential to our survival. For most of our evolutionary history, our ancestors lived in tribes. Becoming separated from the tribe—or worse, being cast out—was a death sentence.” - James Clear
    Hang out where your audience hangs out and develop your tone so that it resonates with your community.
    Starting a community is a rewarding experience, but you need to do more than just open your doors to ensure a successful launch.
    Checking to make sure your site has a strong purpose, that you offer value to your members and the emotional pitch is right will set you on the right course. 
  6. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, Community is your competitive advantage   
    Moats have been used for centuries as a way to defend a building from potential attack.
    A flooded ditch around a castle is a great way to make it harder to be taken. You can't push battering rams against walls, and neither can you dig under the castle. Quite frankly, a moat is a pretty decent deterrent when there are plenty of other castles to pillage.
    What does this mean for your business?
    A community can be an economic moat, or in more simple terms, your competitive advantage.
    When your product or service is surrounded by an engaged community that feels invested in your brand, you'll be able to resist challenges from competitors looking to tempt your customers away.
    Humans are social creatures, and we love seeking out and joining a tribe that aligns with our values. The intangible value of belonging creates a sense of momentum for your brand and helps champion it to others.
    The statistics back this strategy; 88% of community professionals said in a recent survey that community is critical to their company's mission and 85% said that their community has had a positive impact to their business.[1]
    Your competitive advantage
    One of the cheapest ways to create momentum for your product is to build a community around your startup. A community is much more than a one-time marketing campaign and can help you throughout your company's life cycle if you take the time to grow it right. [2]
    Creating a buzz around a product can take a lot of time, effort and money. 
    Traditionally, this buzz would be created with a mixture of videos, websites, influencer reviews, and heavy advertisement spends across multiple channels, including social media.
     Your community can create a shortcut and reach an audience without those costs and increase the chance of your product being shared virally. 
    Your community creates a bond over a shared interest that continually re-enforces loyalty to your brand. This creates a personal investment which makes it less likely your customers will try a competitor.
    Put simply, if a company can move from just shipping a product to building a community, it can benefit from several competitive advantages such as:
    Engaged members help acquire new members, lowering the cost for customer acquisition. Increased customer retention through community loyalty. Members won't want to abandon the community they enjoy. Reduced support costs as members support each other. This benefit forms a loop that generates more value as the community grows.

    Brand building 
    Another area of opportunity for social marketing is "brand building" - connecting enthusiastic online brand advocates with the company's product development cycle. Here, research becomes marketing; product developers are now using social forums to spot reactions after they modify an offer, a price, or a feature in a product or service. Such brand-managed communities can have real success. One well-documented example is IdeaStorm, Dell's community discussion and "brainstorming" website, which saw a measurable increase in sales following its launch, by providing a forum for meaningful dialogue and "to gauge which ideas are most important and most relevant to" the public. [3]
    By creating a community around your product or service, not only do you create brand advocates, but you also gain powerful insights into what your customers want through research which drives marketing. 
    Consumers today crave a stronger bond with brands. It's no longer enough to give them a customer support email address and a monthly newsletter. They want a much more in-depth interaction with the company and other users of the product or service.
    One tactic for success is for brands to move away from the hard-sell to instead embrace the notion of "co-creation". This means moving beyond "old-school" approaches to website advertising to embrace the principles of relationship marketing - building virtual environments in which customers can connect with each other to share insights and relevant information.
    To capitalise on currently available opportunities, marketers need to find or establish real brand communities, listen to them, and then create special programs and tools that will empower potential and existing community members, rewarding existing consumers and eliciting behavioural change from potential consumers. [3]
    Evernote, the note-taking app, is a great example. Their lively community encourages customers to interact directly with staff, post their wish-lists for future versions and learn more about what happens behind the scenes.
    The community creates evangelists for Evernote and makes it harder for competitors to gain a foothold with a potent mix of dialogue, access to other customers, transparency from the brand and many opportunities for co-creation of content.
    Co-creation fundamentally challenges the traditional roles of the firm and the consumer. The tension manifests itself at points of interaction between the consumer and the company where the co-creation experience occurs, where individuals exercise choice, and where value is co-created. Points of interaction provide opportunities for collaboration and negotiation, explicit or implicit, between the consumer and the company.
    In the emergent economy, competition will center on personalized co-creation experiences, resulting in value that is truly unique to each individual. [4]
    In simple terms, a community allows your customers to feel closer to your brand and the products you sell.

     
    What are you waiting for?
    Nearly 80% of founders reported building a community of users as important to their business, with 28% describing their moat as critical to their success.[1]
    Our team at Invision Community has over two decades of community building experience and are trusted by brands of all sizes.
    Whether you have an existing community, or you're taking your first steps to create your own, our experience and expertise will guide your success.

    [1] https://cmxhub.com/community-industry-trends-report-2020
    [2] https://viral-loops.com/blog/your-company-needs-a-pre-launch-campaign/
    [3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268200746_Social_media_and_its_implications_for_viral_marketing#read
    [4] https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jhm/Readings/Co-creating unique value with customers.pdf
  7. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.5: Sign in with Apple   
    Since the feature was announced at last year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) we have received lots of requests to implement Sign in with Apple in Invision Community. We’re pleased to announce that as of 4.5 this is now available.
    You will need a paid Apple developer account to use it but once enabled users will be able to sign in using their Apple ID and all the convenience that brings. Touch ID and Face ID is supported natively where available and works across all your devices.

    Choose to share or hide your email address
    Isn’t it just another login button?
    Sign in with Apple is built on similar technologies as other login buttons such as those already available in Invision Community from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The difference is Apple’s unique focus on privacy. On certain community types users can be reluctant to sign up when they fear they need to disclose lots of personal details. Every community is different so allowing your users to share as little or as much info as they like could be important to your success. Apple have stated that no user tracking will take place in contrast to other services where this forms a part of their business model.
    When signing in with their Apple ID the user can choose whether or not to share their real email address with your community. If the user chooses to hide their email address then your community will receive a relay email address that will forward to their real address. The email address used is unique to your community so the user can retain control.
    Can users link their existing Invision Community accounts?
    Yes! If a user signs in using the Apple button and shares their real email address, then providing they already have an account on your community they will be prompted to link their account in the same way as other social login buttons. They can also link an existing account from their account settings. If linking from account settings then the email addresses used do not need to match.
    Sign in with Apple is already enabled here on our community and is available in the 4.5 beta available to download now.
  8. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.5: Sign in with Apple   
    Since the feature was announced at last year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) we have received lots of requests to implement Sign in with Apple in Invision Community. We’re pleased to announce that as of 4.5 this is now available.
    You will need a paid Apple developer account to use it but once enabled users will be able to sign in using their Apple ID and all the convenience that brings. Touch ID and Face ID is supported natively where available and works across all your devices.

    Choose to share or hide your email address
    Isn’t it just another login button?
    Sign in with Apple is built on similar technologies as other login buttons such as those already available in Invision Community from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The difference is Apple’s unique focus on privacy. On certain community types users can be reluctant to sign up when they fear they need to disclose lots of personal details. Every community is different so allowing your users to share as little or as much info as they like could be important to your success. Apple have stated that no user tracking will take place in contrast to other services where this forms a part of their business model.
    When signing in with their Apple ID the user can choose whether or not to share their real email address with your community. If the user chooses to hide their email address then your community will receive a relay email address that will forward to their real address. The email address used is unique to your community so the user can retain control.
    Can users link their existing Invision Community accounts?
    Yes! If a user signs in using the Apple button and shares their real email address, then providing they already have an account on your community they will be prompted to link their account in the same way as other social login buttons. They can also link an existing account from their account settings. If linking from account settings then the email addresses used do not need to match.
    Sign in with Apple is already enabled here on our community and is available in the 4.5 beta available to download now.
  9. Thanks
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, Welcome to Invision Community 4.5   
    We've been on a little journey together since we announced the first Invision Community 4.5 feature way back in November 2019.
    The first feature we announced was a revamped Admin Control Panel interface which created more visual space and brightened it up. Actually, we made it so bright that the first feature request was to add a dark mode (which we did).
    In the space of three short months, we had spoken about Club improvements, invites and referrals, RSS feed improvements, blog categories, the simple stock photo picker, search insights, security enhancements, user interface updates, new statistic views, and notification improvements.
    Most will agree that March and April seemed to last months, thanks to a global pandemic. We used these extra days to talk about marking posts as a solution, topic view summary, Zapier integration, forum view updates, post-installation onboarding, private staff notes, page builder widgets, theme designer improvements, a new default theme, language system updates and everything else we missed.
    We have also revamped the front end user interface to modernise the look and feel but also to introduce new CSS frameworks, variables and other time-saving features our design team have been eager to implement.

    On the subject of modernisation, we've deprecated some legacy functionality. We've given up trying to make anything look good with IE11 which last saw an update in 2013. We've also deprecated older caching engines like Memcache, APC and Wincache and recommend using Redis instead. The web hosting and domain management features of Commerce are also deprecated as is BBCode. BBCode has its roots in the earliest bulletin-board systems long before rich text editors were common use. It's 2020; we should no longer be asked to type in special codes in square brackets to format text. BBCode is still functional in Invision Community 4.5, but it is likely to be removed in a future version.
    Now that primary development has finished, we move onto the beta testing stage. This is where you get to try it out and evaluate the new features before scheduling your own upgrades.
    As always, we do recommend that you only test early betas on staging sites or simple test sites. Many a weekend has been ruined by over-enthusiastic upgrading of live sites; so we don't recommend that.
    You'll also notice that we're running Invision Community 4.5 on our own site. If you do spot an issue, please let us know in the bug tracker.
    I've been creating and releasing products for close to twenty years now, and I still get a real buzz out of hitting the release button. It's always a pleasure to see the result of hundreds of hours of coding, dozens of meetings and numerous passionate exchanges among the team.

    You can access the beta in your client area.
    We hope you enjoy Invision Community 4.5!
  10. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 4.5: One More Thing...   
    Almost ten years ago we launched the Marketplace; a place to connect Invision Community owners with talented developers creating new functionality.
    Over the decade, the Marketplace has grown to hold thousands of applications, large and small. For many Invision Community owners, the Marketplace has become an essential resource.
    Our aim was always to have the Marketplace available inside your Admin Control Panel to make it even easier to purchase and install extra functionality.

    I'm pleased to say that as of Invision Community 4.5, this is now a reality. You can browse the Marketplace and install new add-ons without leaving the Admin Control Panel.

    Obtaining Resources
    Paid resources can be purchased directly from the Marketplace and are available to install immediately after the payment is complete. You no longer need to download and install the files yourself.
    You may also notice some additional information with the resource listing, we'll be introducing a new 'tab' to marketplace resources to allow the authors to provide more useful information such as answers to frequently asked questions, or configuration instructions etc.

    The video below takes you through the purchase and installation of a Marketplace application.
    marketplace-install.mp4
    Installing an Application
    Updates
    Some of the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed in the first screenshot that there are more 'bubbles' showing in the menu on the left. These are supported for Applications, Plugins, Themes and Languages.
    In Invision Community 4.5 every resource available via the AdminCP is automatically versioned, you will see update notifications for everything you have installed (previously, you would only see update notices if the resource author supports them).
    Installing an update is as simple as clicking on the update notice, then clicking 'update' on the Marketplace listing.

    Installing Updates
    Downloads Changes
    Our Marketplace is built on our Downloads application, during development of this feature we needed to add new functionality. We have included as many of these improvements as possible in our software for the benefit of our customers, some of these are:
    Custom Fields can now be set to only show to members that have purchased a file. Files can now be set to accept a single file upload instead of multiple. New file versions can now be moderated without hiding the current version from view. Downloads REST API Performance Improvements New /download endpoint that counts the download Added more data to the /downloads/file/{id} response Ability to sort file results by last updated date We hope you're as excited about this feature as we are.
  11. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Two feature additions   
    As the deadline slowly comes down, two last feature additions race towards the descending door and slide in underneath with seconds to spare. 
    If you've never seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark", then you probably think this is a weird way to start a blog.
    As we wrap up development for Invision Community 4.5, we squeezed in two extra features that I want to talk about today.
    Per Topic Post Approval
    The first is a way to cool down a heated topic without locking it. Right now you can put an entire forum on post-approval. This means that moderators must review and approve all new posts before they are allowed to be publicly displayed.
    As of Invision Community 4.5, you can now choose to set a single topic to post-approval regardless of the forum setting.

    This is a great way to let a topic cool off but still receive new replies to review before adding to the topic.
    Club Terms and Conditions
    The ways that clubs are used throughout the many communities that run Invision Community are becoming increasingly varied.
    A popular request is to allow members to agree to a set of club-specific terms and conditions before they can contribute to the club.

    Invision Community 4.5 now allows the club owner to set up its own terms and conditions. You can optionally enforce that members agree to them before continuing.
    That's it for feature announcements. We're excited to be closing development on Invision Community 4.5 and move towards a beta in the coming weeks.
  12. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.5: Commerce Trials   
    One of the most popular requests we get for Commerce is for a free trial period for subscriptions. We've heard from many clients that wish to allow their members a free, or reduced cost trial period before auto-renewing the full price.
    I'm pleased to say that we've now added this functionality into Invision Community 4.5. Let us take a look at how it works.
    Initial Terms
    In 4.5 you can now specify an initial term that is different to the normal renewal term for any subscription plan or product. For example, you could make the initial term $0 for 1 week and the normal renewal term $10 per month which will allow you to create 1 week free trial. The initial term doesn't have to be $0, you can use any special price for the initial term you like.

    Subscription Plans showing Free Trials
    For developers creating their own applications with Commerce integration, this functionality is also available to you simply by passing a DateInterval object representing the initial term when creating the invoice.
    Collecting Payment Details for Free Trials
    Previously, if you were buying something that is free, the entire of the last step of the checkout would just be skipped and the invoice marked as paid.
    In 4.5, if:
    The user is purchasing something which has a free initial period, but also has a renewal term (i.e. is a free trial), and You have a payment method which can collect card details (Stripe, Braintree, etc) The user will be prompted to provide payment details that will not be charged until after the free trial. If the user already has a card on file they will not be prompted to provide the details again but will see a confirmation screen rather than the order just being marked paid immediately.

    Checkout Process for a Free Trial
    As you can see, allowing a free or reduced cost trial period has never been easier. We hope that you enjoy using this new feature of Invision Community 4.5.
     
  13. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, Test drive Invision Community 4.5   
    We started talking about Invision Community 4.5 way back in November of last year. Now, less than six months later, it's ready for you to test.
    While we put the finishing touches to a few features, we have set up a preview site so you can test out the new features, leave your feedback and make a note of any bugs you spot.
    Head over now to the Invision Community Alpha test site.
    Please be aware that this test site is running in 'development mode' so it is automatically updated with the latest fixes throughout the day. This means it has to work extra hard on each click as there are no caches, pre-built languages or templates to use, so it will be a lot slower than a production version. So please don't worry about it being a touch slow, and definitely don't try and run Page Speed analysis tools on the alpha site!
    You can read about the headline features over in our product updates blog.
    Let us know what you think!
  14. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Everything else   
    We have announced a lot of new things coming soon with Invision Community 4.5. Most of these are pretty big new features worth a blog on their own.
    However, we've made a lot of smaller changes that may not deserve their own blog but still have a significant impact.
    Let's run through some of those.
    Performance Improvements
    For every major release, we take some time to run through the code and look at ways to make Invision Community run more efficiently.
    For Invision Community 4.5, we've made node forms, sitemaps and commonly run SQL queries more efficient, which is excellent news for you and your users who get reduced server load and a snappier community.
    TikTok Embed
    Although it confuses me greatly, TikTok has taken the internet by storm. We have added it to the embed list so pasting a TikTok share link automatically shows the video ready to play in the comment.

    A TikTok
    Upload Chunking
    Uploading large files can be tricky. Typically trying to push a large file to a server results in timeouts, memory issues and eventually frustration. We have added chunked uploading when using S3. Put simply; this uploads part of the file at a time to prevent memory issues and the server timing out waiting for the upload to finish.
    View Members by Rank
    Very recently, we were asked how you can view all members in the ACP of a specific rank. It turned out you couldn't. This quick change was added into Invision Community 4.5.

    Showing members with a specific rank in the AdminCP
    Download Statistics
    While Invision Community 4.5 has new and improved statistic displays, a common request was to be able to download the raw data. This is now possible.

    Export stats as a CSV
    Downloads
    In Invision Community 4.5, when you require approval of new versions of files submitted to Downloads, the original version will no longer be hidden from view. We've added a new flow for moderators to approve these new versions.
    Live Meta Tag Editor
    Invision Community 4.5 seemed like a great time to run through this feature and tweak the functionality to make it more useful. Now it's possible to remove default meta tags, and it's easier to remove custom tags.
    Closed Tag Autocomplete
    When using the closed tag system where a user can select from one of your preset tags, we have added a search box to make it easier to find a single tag from a list of potentially hundreds.
    EU Tax Support in Commerce
    Tax doesn't have to be taxing! But it generally is. Countries within the EU often have complex tax rates. Commerce now supports multiple tax rates for consumers, businesses and EU VAT-registered businesses.
    That concludes our mini round-up of all the things we've not talked about yet. Let me know which one you're looking forward to most!
  15. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Rikki for an entry, 4.5: Improvements for theme designers   
    If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2.
    With the upcoming release of 4.5, we wanted to revisit the default theme and give it a facelift for 2020, as well as make incremental improvements to the underlying codebase as a stepping stone to a bigger re-engineering in a future version. Keep an eye out for our next blog for more on the facelift.
    In this entry, I want to go over some of the design and code-level changes we've implemented that will be of particular interest to third-party theme designers, or those building a custom theme for their community.
    IE11 Support
    Until now, we've supported IE11 as a 'B' browser - meaning we didn't aim for perfect support (especially visually), but did aim to make all functionality work, and we fixed IE11-specific issues if possible.
    As of 4.5, we no longer support IE11 in any way and Invision Community will not work well in that browser. By removing support for IE11, we are able to make use of newer CSS technologies which significantly eases development for us and third-party designers. I'll discuss some of those below.
    Combined theme settings
    We've combined a number of existing theme settings into one new setting. We've found that settings like poll_bar, step_background, rating_hover and so on are nearly always set to the same color - typically the site's main brand color. These settings have therefore been replaced with one new brand_color setting, which is used throughout the CSS in places where this primary color would be needed. This will simplify the early stages of theme development and make it easier to match branding in Invision Community.

    Front end colors
    Removing hardcoded colors
    While our theme settings have allowed community owners to change most colors, there were still many hardcoded in our CSS framework. These were typically neutral colors used for things like 'close' links, semi-transparent backgrounds and so on, but it was enough to make creating a dark theme an unrealistic prospect without an awful lot of effort (and kudos to those designers who have offered dark themes up until now!).
    In 4.5, we've removed hardcoded colors from our framework, and instead rely on colors already defined by theme settings. You can now, finally, create a dark theme just by editing the built-in theme settings.
    Type scale & {fontsize} tag
    While we've had fixed type-size classes (e.g. ipsType_normal) for a long time, in practice many elements had their own font sizes set. This leads to inconsistency and poor visual rhythm too. Another side effect is it was also tough to globally change the font size (such as for branding purposes, or to create a theme for visually-impaired users).
    To solve these problems, we first created a type scale; that is, a fixed number of sizes to choose from. A product the size of Invision Community does have need for a flexibility, so we settled on the following scale:
    x_small: 12; small: 13; medium: 14; base: 16; large: 18; x_large: 20; 2x_large: 24; 3x_large: 30; 4x_large: 36.
    All of these values are editable as theme settings, so each theme can adjust the type scale used. Our default CSS in 4.5 has been fully updated to put all type on this scale.
    To actually make use of these settings, we have added a new {fontsize} tag which accepts either a scale key, or a specific pixel size (for those occasional situations where a specific size is absolutely needed, e.g. icons).
    Why couldn't we just use {theme="x_small"}, or even CSS variables? To solve the problem of globally scaling text, we have also added a percentage-based scale setting that will save you from having to create your own type scale. The {fontsize} tag automatically applies the global scale to any values passed into it. Want text in your theme to be twice as big as default? Simply set the global type scale to 200% and the entire theme will reflect the change immediately. 

    The new font size options
    Spacing scale
    The lack of a consistent spacing scale has led to some arbitrary values being used in any given situation, which again has had a negative impact on the visual harmony of our design. We've therefore implemented a 4px spacing scale (using CSS variables rather than theme settings this time) and applied across almost all padding/margin values. In time, we anticipate fully switching all measurement values to the scale.
    New CSS class families
    We have added a range of new spacing classes for padding and margins, allowing far more control over how these are applied, especially on different device sizes. Previously, ipsPad (15px) was simply halved on small screens - with no 'opt-out' short of adding specific CSS. We've felt this has been imprecise for some time, especially since mobile devices typically have larger screens in 2020 and don't need to be so tightly-spaced.
    ipsPad_all now replaces the existing ipsPad, and does not halve itself on small screens. Instead, there's a new responsive naming convention that allows you to apply specific padding on specific device sizes:
    ipsPad_all:double md:ipsPad_all sm:ipsPad_all:half
    In this arbitrary example, desktop size (the default) get double padding, medium (tablets) get regular padding and small (phones) get half padding.
    We've added similar classes for top, bottom, left and right padding, as well as horizontal, vertical and none (to removing all padding) shortcuts.
    For margins, the old ipsSpacer_* classes have been replaced with a new ipsMargin family that work exactly the same as the padding classes above, with the same range of flexibility.
    The old ipsPad/ipsSpacer classes will continue working as they did before for backwards compatibility, but should be considered deprecated from 4.5 onwards.
    We've also added a whole range of new ipsFlex classes, also with responsive controls (making it easy to have horizontal layouts on desktop and vertical layouts on mobile, for example), as well as a new ipsGap utility that automatically adds spacing between elements, without requiring manual :first-child/:last-child exclusions.
    CSS variables & calc()
    In 4.5, thanks to IE11 support ending, we're finally making use of CSS variables and calc() to make CSS more maintainable and easier to customize. A lot of repeating or often-customized styles - such as form field styles, message colors, card styles, border radii etc. - are now created as CSS variables, allowing theme designers to easily change styling in one place. Instead of magic numbers, we either stick to our spacing scale, or use calc() to avoid hardcoded numbers.
    The future
    The work we've done so far is just a 'first-pass'. We'll be pressing forward with modernization throughout the 4.5.* series and beyond with a view to reducing our footprint, improving our ability to maintain our CSS and, of course, making theming easier for our customers.
  16. Thanks
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Page Builder Widgets   
    Invision Community introduced drag and drop widgets many years ago. These widgets allowed anyone to add blocks to existing views, and to build up entirely new pages.
    These widgets were great for quickly adding content to a page, but they weren't incredibly customizable. 
    For Invision Community 4.5, we've added three new Page Builder widgets which allow you a little more control.
    For an overview of this new feature, please take a look at the video below.
    As you can see, these new widgets offer a lot of customization without the need to code any CSS or HTML. You can add background colours and images, adjust padding and borders and even add colour overlays right from the widget menu.

    The new Page Builder widget options
    Blandness be gone! Now you can let your creativity loose on your pages and all other views that have the drag and drop zones.
    I'd love to know what you think of this new feature; please let me know below!
  17. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Private staff notes   
    Managing a community as a team makes internal communication an essential part of its successful management.
    There are times where you want to leave notes for other staff on specific topics that you're watching. Perhaps a member is close to breaking the rules, or it might be that you want to keep the topic focused and on point so wish to split off-topic posts into a different area.
    Whatever the reason, Invision Community 4.5 adds the ability to leave private staff notes on topics.

    For some time, Invision Community has had the ability for staff to leave public notes. Now, in 4.5, staff can choose between public and private notes.

    This change was made based on customer feedback, so thank you! We do read and listen to all the feedback you leave.
    Who is looking forward to Invision Community 4.5? Let us know below!
  18. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Forum View Updates   
    Invision Community has had different view modes for a good number of years.
    Forum grid view was added to create some visual interest when listing forums, and we've had expanded and condensed view modes in streams since they were introduced.
    We've taken both of these views a step further in Invision Community 4.5
    Forum Grid View
    To create even more visual interest, the grid view now allows you to upload, or choose a stock image for the header. This instantly makes for a more dynamic and inviting forum list.

    The new grid view image headers
    You can choose an image from the Admin CP when creating or editing a forum.

    Choose a stock photo, or upload your own
    Topic List View
    For the topic list view, we have taken inspiration from our stream view options to introduce a new 'expanded' view mode, which displays a snippet of the first post.

    The new expanded topic list mode
    This immediately entices you to engage with the topic because you can read part of the post without having to click inside to see if it interests you.
    This is controlled via the Admin CP, where you can choose the default view, or turn off the new view completely.
    Other Changes
    You may notice a few other subtle changes in these screenshots. The first is that we now included the follower count as a metric on both the forum grid view and the topic expanded view modes. The number of followers is usually a good indicator of how others perceive the value of the content. A higher follower count generally means a more engaging topic or forum.
    You can also see that we've switched to a short number format to keep the displays clean. Instead of say, "2,483 posts", it will merely say "2.5k posts". Reducing visual clutter is always crucial to maintaining a clean user interface.
    We hope that you find these new view modes useful and that they make your community even more vibrant!
  19. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Topic view summary and more   
    A topic is more than a collection of posts; it's a living entity that ebbs and flows over time.
    Evergreen topics can see month-long gaps between posts and longer topics spanning numerous pages can end up hard to navigate through to find useful content.
    With this in mind, we've added numerous improvements to the topic view to bring context and summaries key areas within the topic.

    Topic view updates
    Topic Activity
    The first thing you likely spotted in the above screenshot is the new sidebar. This acts much like a summary of activity within the topic. It very quickly lets you know how old the topic is and how long it has been since the last reply. This context is essential if you are unwittingly replying to an older topic.
    Most topics are driven by a handful of key members. The topic activity section shows you who have been most active, which may influence which posters you give greater authority to.
    Likewise, popular days lets you dig into the 'meat' of the topic which may have evolved quickly over several days.
    More often than not, a single post attracts more reactions if it is particularly helpful or insightful, and this is shown too.
    Finally, a mini gallery of all upload images allows you to review media that has been attached to posts.

    The topic activity summary under the first post
    This activity bar can be shown either as a sidebar or underneath the first post in a topic. If you enable it for mobile devices, then it will show under the first post automatically.

    The topic activity summary on mobile
    As with many new features in Invision Community, you have several controls in the Admin CP to fine-tune this to your communities needs.

    AdminCP settings
    Other improvements
    The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a few other changes to the topic view.
    The first is the badge underneath the user's photo. The shield icon notes that this poster is part of the moderation team. Of course, this badge can be hidden for communities that do not like to draw attention to all their moderators.

    You will also notice that when the topic starter makes a reply to a topic, they get an "author" badge as their reply may carry more authority.
    When you scroll down a topic, it's not often apparent that there has been a significant time gap between replies. For some topical topics (see what I did there) this may alter the context of the conversation.
    We have added a little identifier between posts when a period of time has passed between posts.

    These changes add a little context to the topic to give you more insight into how the replies direct the conversation.
    The new topic activity summary gives you an at-a-glance overview of key moments and posters to help you navigate longer topics.
    We hope that you and your members enjoy these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5!
  20. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, Make working from home work for you   
    The news is currently filled with anxiety over coronavirus and workers are being encouraged to work from home where possible to limit or delay its spread.
    For many people used to commuting daily and working in shared offices, this is a huge upheaval which will take a while to adjust.
    How do you stay motivated and productive when you're not at your desk and held accountable by your colleagues next to you?
    Remote working has become popular over the last few years. The internet has transformed how we work, and improvements to connection speeds, authentication systems and cloud architecture make working home a viable alternative for many office workers.
    Working from home certainly doesn't suffer the same stigma it did years ago when it was synonymous with sleeping in late, daytime TV binges and excessive time in pyjamas.
    A good number of years ago, I was getting my hair cut. It was about 11 am on a weekday, and we had the usual small talk as she attempted to tame my unruly mop. The question I was waiting for dropped a moment later "so, is this your day off?" My reply was that I work from home so have some flexibility in my day. Usually, this gets a nod, and we move onto the weather. I'd not met this hairdresser before. She processed my reply, stopped snipping and locked eyes with me via the mirror. "Do you really work from home, or is that you don't have a job?"
    Fears over reduced productivity from remote workers have proved to be unfounded. A large-scale experiment was conducted with 16,000 employees of a Chinese call centre. Workers were randomly assigned to either work from home or at the office for nine months. The home workers enjoyed a 13% performance increase due to fewer breaks and sick days.
    At Invision Community we not only make a product designed to bring people together online, but a good number of us also work remotely. Our HQ is in Virginia, USA but we have team members in the UK, Europe and Australia. Remote working allows us to hire the best people we can find, and not just those who are within a few miles of our HQ.
    I spoke with our team to get their tips and strategies for working from home and still getting work done.
    Rikki, lead UI designer
    Get out of the house every day
    It's easy to fall into the trap of being a hermit for days on end. Particularly in the summer, I like to take a walk to get lunch every single day. It gives me a chance to get some fresh air, a little exercise and most importantly get away from my office properly (instead of just being in the next room, which doesn't feel like it's really taking a break).
    Don't take your work home downstairs with you
    Another easy trap to fall into is working every waking hour because you're always 'at work'. Set fixed work start/end times and stick to them. Leave your office at the end of the day and consider the work finished. If you do need to hop back to work later because something cropped up, go back to your desk to put yourself in work mode - don't be tempted to start working from the sofa.
    Olivia, Customer Success Manager
    Organize your workspace
    You may not be lucky enough to be able to repurpose a dedicated room in the house, but that doesn't mean you can't find a good spot to work from. Choose a place that is free of clutter and well lit.
    Organize your work
    I'm a big fan of to-do lists. Keeping my lists organized helps me stay on track and prevents me from drifting too far from what's important. I like the "To Do versus To Get Done concept."
    Organize yourself
    Plan in breaks away from your screen. There's always one more email to write, but setting times to take a break is vital to keeping your energy and focus. Working from home means that you cannot rely on others to remind you!
    Check-in often with teammates
    At Invision Community, we use Slack to keep in touch and recreate the 'water cooler' moments where we discuss our favourite TV shows, movies and more.
    Reframe "my office is always open" to "I'm always available for a call". Remind your colleagues often that they can start a voice call if they need to talk.
    Stuart, developer and migration specialist
    Minimize human distractions
    When you're working from home, it's easy to get distracted, especially by other people! Remind your family and friends that during your work hours you're working. As much as you'd love to spend the day drinking tea (or beverage of your choice) and chatting, you do have a job.

    Stuart's work area
    How we do it
    There's no doubt that we're fortunate to have a team that is self-motivated and responsible. Remote working can allow individuals to drift, and productivity suffers.
    We use a combination of software platforms and a few simple strategies to keep us all informed, organized and feeling part of a greater team.
    We use Slack to not only onboard new clients, but also to organize product development, feedback and support. These channels are well used, but without a doubt, our 'general' channel is used the most. This is where we hang out socially and chat during our breaks. It's easy to see this as unproductive or distracting, but I feel that it helps build us as a team and helps forge relationships with each other.
    We use a private Invision Community as an intranet hub which does the heavy lifting for organizing releases. It also acts as a repository for feedback, new feature ideas and development discussions.
    We encourage breakout groups to voice call to resolve hot topics and pressing issues. It's amazing what you can get done in a few minutes by voice.
    We hold a stand up voice meeting weekly where we organize the week, discuss anything pressing and run through development tasks. This call is developer-focused, but it's held company-wide, so it is inclusive. We try and avoid human information silos where possible.

    Daniel's workstation
    Above all, just keep talking
    It's just as important to share your personality as it is your work. Make sure you check in on quiet colleagues to make sure they're OK. Not everyone is super-chatty, and some prefer to switch off and focus. However, it's easy to feel a real sense of loneliness and isolation if you don't have a partner or family living with you.
    It's essential to put effort into maintaining relationships online. Working remotely means less interaction with your colleagues, and it's easy for multifaceted personalities to become a flattened disembodied persona online. Without the office 'vibe' and body language cues we often take for granted, it's easy to lose that personal connection.
    Build depth by asking how your colleagues weekends were. Ask about their hobbies and pets. Work at keeping a connection with the person behind the computer.

    In our team we have little sub-groups that focus on our hobbies. There's the running/workout club where we share our training plans and give each other virtual high-fives. I've actually found it easier to stick to a running plan knowing that my colleague is running too (and beating my times!).
    If you only take one thing away from this, maintaining strong relationships with your team is key! If your team isn't keen on video calling, then make sure you voice call regularly. I can't stress how important it is to verbally talk to your colleagues. We start each call off with some light hearted chat and listening to the inflections in other's voices and have them laugh at your silly jokes recharges your soul.
    Take advantage of technology
    Apart from using Invision Community as a hub and company-wide information repository, there's a lot of apps you can use to make your work time more productive and avoid the constant distractions partners and children rattling about the house can cause.
    I work from home and have two young children. School holidays can be challenging when the house comes alive during the day, and there's a constant stream of potential distractions.
    I use "focus music" with noise-cancelling headphones when I want to knuckle down and write code or blog articles. Right now, my kids are at school, and I'm listening to Metallica at an unreasonable volume through my Homepod speaker. For some reason, loud metal music helps me concentrate.
    There are only so many power chords you can take, and I've found Brain.fm to be very useful. Brain.fm uses "neural phase-locking" via music to help you focus. I have no idea what that means, but it does help me get into the zone on days where I struggle with productivity.
    I have the attention span of an anxious squirrel. It can take me a long while to get into the zone and mere seconds to pop back out.
    When I'm writing code, it's less of a problem. I just put on Brain.fm or some music, and I get lost in time and space as I build complex constructs in my mind before bringing it together in my code editor.
    However, when I'm writing articles, helping support, hopping between tasks, or doing general administration work, I rely on a Pomodoro timer. The idea is that you work in sprints of 25 minutes, followed by a short break, usually 5 minutes. You repeat this cycle four times and take a longer break.
    Many apps can track your time in this way, including web-based tools such as the amusingly named Tomato Timer.
    Using this technique helps me get into the flow by giving me "permission" to take breaks but only once the work block has finished. I might pop out of focus and think about checking up on our community or Facebook and get back to work when I realize I've still got 12 minutes of work left.

    Where I work. Can you guess my favourite TV show?
    Work/life balance doesn't exist
    You'll often hear people talk about their work/life balance. You are better off thinking in terms of work/life integration.
    Now, I'm not suggesting that you work all day and night. I'm not one of those "sleep when you're dead" people. I like to sleep. I have a partner and two kids I want to enjoy and passions outside of my computer (although my guitars are gathering dust again).
    The reality is that when your workstation is just a door away from the rest of your life, you're going to work outside of the traditional 9-5 routine despite how rigorous you may want to define a working day.
    This might be because you took the morning off to watch your kid's school play or you may have booked a haircut during the day as it's much quieter. My advice would be to look for pockets of time that won't impact the rest of your family or free time. I tend to earmark an hour once the kids have gone to bed as potential "work overflow" time. This allows me to integrate my work schedule with my home schedule without it taking over my life.
    Avoid Coffeeshops
    Working with your laptop in a coffeeshop is a massive cliché. Every single time I've walked into Starbucks, there have been dozens of people at tables squinting at laptop screens.
    It's an attractive idea. You get to mingle with fellow humans. You get a change of scenery and a decent cup of coffee.
    You also get a constant source of distractions, poor quality and insecure Wi-Fi and sideways glances from staff who'd love to free up your table. 
    Also, what do you do with your laptop when you need a restroom break? Do you take it with you? What if someone sits at your table while you're gone?
    It's just not for me.

    Jim's work area
    Exercise and movement
    I won't lecture you about health and fitness, but I do want to highlight one downside of having no commute and office building to move through: being super-sedentary.
    If you used to clock up 10,000 steps walking to the train station, walking to your office and then clocking up steps as you moved between meeting rooms and social areas, then expect that number to drop sharply.
    There are days where my Apple Watch tells me I've done less than 1500 steps during the day. To combat this, I make time during the day to go for a walk or to exercise. I'm fortunate that I have a treadmill in the garage along with some weight lifting equipment. If you don't have any equipment, then a short walk is better than nothing. As a bonus, you'll get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.
    I also have a standing desk so that I can get on my feet during the day and an exercise bike I can use while working with the desk at its highest position.
    Find ways to incorporate movement into your day for your own mental and physical health.
    Conclusion
    Despite the many challenges working remotely can cause and the learning curve of taking your work home, the vast majority prefer to work from home. In a study of 100 remote workers, only six said they'd return to the office if given a chance.
    If you're new to working remotely, then there will be mistakes. There will be days when you feel that you've achieved very little and probably yearn for some human interaction and be told what to do next. It's all part of the process.
    Keep lines of communication open, check in on your colleagues and embrace the freedom working remotely gives.
  21. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Marking as solved   
    Invision Community has had a question and answer mode for a good few years now.
    This mode transforms a forum into a formalized way to handle your member's questions. Members can upvote answers, and the topic starter and your community management team can mark a reply as the "best answer".
    This is great when you want to add rigour to specific forums which encourage your members to find solutions.

    The existing "QA" mode
    But how about a way to mark a topic as solved without transforming the look and feel of the forum?
    We get asked this a lot.
    Happily, it's now a feature just added to Invision Community 4.5! Those with a long memory will recall we had something very similar way back in Invision Community 3.

    The new "mark as solved" feature
    This new feature allows the topic starter or your community management team to mark a post as the solution. This highlights the post within the topic as well as adding an icon to the listing views. 

    The green tick notes that the topic has a solution
    In addition, it also increases the member's solved count, which is displayed under their name in the post and even in a draggable widget that shows members with the most solutions. We have also added a new filter to the existing post and topic feed widgets to allow only items with a solution to be shown, so you can create a "Recently solved" feed.

    The new widget
    Finally, a notification is sent to the author of the post that is selected as the best answer, so they're made aware that their helpful content has been spotted.

    Let your members know their content was useful
    We hope you enjoy these changes and look forward to allowing your community to find answers quickly, and to reward the members that provide them.
  22. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Identify Statistical Trends   
    One of the benefits of using Invision Community as your community platform is that you control and own your data.
    There are several ways to review this data. One of which is via the Admin Control Panel which offers a suite of statistic views which helps to convert the raw data into something easily understood.
    However, it's not always easy to determine trends and community sentiment from these singular views.
    Invision Community 4.5 adds two new interactive views for user and activity statistics.
    This new 'overview' view not only shows you a snapshot of your community but also allows you to compare time periods. In the video, you can see that I select different date ranges, such as "three months". This shows you the data of that time period, and also compares it against the previous three months.

    In this example, you can clearly see that we have 50% more registrations and 33% more contributors compared to the previous three month period.

    Likewise, in this example, you can clearly see that we have a 1200% increase in reactions given with a clear breakdown of the type of reaction given to help understand community sentiment.
    These interactive displays automatically update, so if you are so inclined, you could leave the statistic pages open and watch as the data changes live.
    We hope that you find these new views useful in identifying trends and help to inform strategic decisions within your community.
  23. Thanks
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: User Interface Improvements   
    Invision Community has certainly changed a lot over the years as we've moved through major updates and large user interface changes. 
    While large scale changes offer a dramatic difference, it is sometimes the smaller changes that bring the most satisfaction when using your community daily.
    This blog entry rounds up some of the UI improvements Invision Community 4.5 brings.
    Content View Behavior
    What do you want to happen when you click a topic link? Are you taken to the first comment, the last comment or the first comment you've not read? If you speak to 100 people, I'm pretty sure you'll get a good spread of votes for each.
    Invision Community has always offered subtle ways to get right to the first unread comment. Our infamous dot or star allows you to do this, but it is so subtle almost no one knows this.
    Invision Community 4.5 now allows each member to choose (with the AdminCP offering a default).

    Now everyone wins!
    Who Reacted?
    Invision Community has had reactions for a long while now. Although finding out who exactly reacted without clicking the counts has proved irksome.
    We've fixed that in Invision Community so simply mousing over the reaction icon reveals who reacted.

    Sign In Anonymously
    For as long as I can remember, Invision Community has offered an option to sign in anonymously via a checkbox on the login form.
    However, as we've added faster ways to log in via Facebook, Twitter, Google and more it's become less straight forward to ensure your anonymity.
    Invision Community 4.5 removes this login preference and moves it to your members' settings.

    Now your members can resume hiding as they move around your community across multiple logins.
    Resize Before Uploading
    One of the most popular requests we've had in recent times is to resize large images before uploading. It's quite likely that your giant full resolution image will be denied when attempting to upload, and it's a bit of a faff to resize it in a photo editor.
    Invision Community leverages the uploader's ability to resize before uploading, which makes it a much happier experience.
    Switch Off Automatic Language Detection
    Invision Community attempts to map your browser's user-agent to a specific language pack.
    When you visit a site, your browser lets the site know which language our browser is set to (often dictated by your operating system) and we use that to show you the correct language if the community you're visiting has multiple languages installed.
    However, it might be that you don't want this to happen because although your computer's OS is set to a specific language, it doesn't always follow that is the one you wish to use on a website.
    Invision Community 4.5 allows this automatic detection to be switched off.

    Quote Collapse
    We will finish with another popular feature request; the ability for long quotes to be collapsed, reducing the amount of scrolling one has to do.
    Quite simply, Invision Community collapses long quotes with an option to expand them to read the entire quote.

    Thank you to all our customers who have taken the time to leave feedback. As you can see, we do listen and action your feedback.
    Which change are you looking forward to the most? Let us know below!
  24. Like
    Maxxius reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.5: Club Statistics   
    Statistics can help you manage and monitor the direction of your community, giving you valuable insight into how your visitors are interacting with your site and what areas of your community deserve the most of your attention. With the popularity of Clubs in Invision Community, we determined that some statistics aimed at helping administrators review how this feature is being received by their end users was warranted.


    Club activity statistics overview
    When accessing the "Club Activity" statistics page in the AdminCP, you will be able to quickly see at a glance which club types are the most popular, see which clubs are gaining the most traction with new signups, and see trends in club creations over time. With the signups chart, you can further filter by one or more specific clubs, and save these filter preferences as new tabs on the chart.

    See activity across all clubs
    The "All Club Activity" tab on this page shows you which types of content (topics, images, files, etc.) are most popular across all clubs as an aggregate. If you find that Calendar or Downloads is especially popular throughout clubs then you may wish to promote these features further. Conversely if you find that a certain type of content is not being leveraged, you may wish to promote it, or retire its functionality on your community.

    Activity by club shows you which clubs are most active
    You can also view activity per-club, allowing you to identify which of your clubs are the most popular and have the most activity. As with the "Club signups" chart, you can use filters to view just the clubs you are interested in comparing, and save these filters for easy review later on.
     
    We hope you find value in these new statistics pages, and that they help you manage the Clubs feature on your site more effectively.
  25. Like
    Maxxius reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Security Enhancements   
    Although we continuously review security within Invision Community, a major release such as 4.5 allows us to be especially proactive when it comes to keeping your community safe.
    This blog entry outlines several enhancements to improve security in Invision Community 4.5.
    Password Handling
    Keeping your member's passwords secure is the simplest way to keep accounts safe and out of the wrong hands, so it makes sense to look at ways to ensure this doesn't happen.
    Invision Community already uses strong one-way hashing when storing passwords, which means that once the password is stored in the database, there is no way to know the plain text version.
    However, when creating a new member account via the AdminCP, a random password was created, and this was sent in the welcome email to the new member's email address.
    As of Invision Community 4.5, this no longer happens, and the new member is invited to create a new password when visiting the community for the first time.

    Part of your internal security procedures might be to force a reset of all passwords periodically. Invision Community 4.5 allows this on a per-member basis, or via a selection of filters to enforce a reset for many members at once.

    This clears out any stored password hashes and emails the affected members to remind them to set up a new password.

    AdminCP Security
    The Admin Control Panel contains the most powerful tools available to Invision Community. This is already a very secure area with a separate login with an option to add two-factor authentication to the login flow.
    Part of the session authentication has been a special key in the URL. While we have protection in place to prevent this special key being discoverable by a malicious user, there remains an incredibly remote theoretical chance that this could happen with a series of complicated steps. There was an additional annoyance that you are unable to share links within the AdminCP to members of your team due to the increased protection to keep URLs safe.
    As of Invision Community 4.5, we have removed the special key from the URL and moved it elsewhere in the session authentication flow. This means that it's impossible to fetch the special key via the URL and links can now be shared and will survive a login action.
    Text Encryption
    There are a few areas within Invision Community that we use text encryption to allow us to save data in the database in a format that is encrypted when saved and decrypted when read. This protects you in the incredibly remote event of your own hosting being compromised and your database downloaded (of course, our Community in the Cloud customers do not need to worry about this!)
    Invision Community 4.5 improves on this encryption by using PHP's built-in methods which give "bank-level" security to our encryption.
    Security is critical to the success of your community, and we are always proactive in improving security throughout Invision Community.
    Do you have any comments on this entry? Let us know below!
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