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opentype

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  1. Like
    opentype reacted to Jordan Miller for an entry, Proud to Present: An interview with Invision Community President Charles Warner   
    Nearly two decades ago, Invision Community President, @Charles , set out to make a leading online community platform. 
    Around that time, Charles also met his now-husband of 18-years and hasn't looked back since. Until now. 
    Behind the code, product updates and newsletters are a group of people who share a passion for community building. Considering how volatile and toxic the Internet can be, we want to become more visible, transparent and vulnerable.  To help you familiarize yourself with the masterminds behind Invision Community, starting with Charles, we're kicking off a new series that'll highlight our team.
    I interviewed Charles for the first installment. In it, he commented on the state of the Internet: "I do think some times, for or better or for worse, people forget there are real people on the other end," he said.
    Mr. Warner also touched on Invision Community's evolution over the years. 
    "People don't like change. No one likes change," Charles said, adding "sometimes you say, 'we really need to change something' either in the software, or how you do things, and people push back. It might be we change a feature or maybe internally we change the way we do something. Sometimes you have to move forward. Sometimes it's irritating at first. 'Why did you change that?!' And also you have to recognize that sometimes you're wrong. Sometimes you might change something [and think], 'no, it's not better...' I really find that that's a big thing – to constantly be looking at all those other options and try stuff out. It doesn't harm [anything] to try things."
    And in the spirit of Pride Month, Charles opened up about being part of the LGBTQ community and also President of a successful company. He hopes it'll inspire others.
     

    The full interview is available to watch up top. 
    After watching, please drop us a line in the comments and let us know your thoughts! 🌈 
  2. Like
    opentype reacted to Rikki for an entry, 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
     

    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.

    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.

     
    We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!
  3. Like
    opentype reacted to bfarber for an entry, Solved Content Improvements   
    For a long time, Invision Community has supported a Question and Answer mode within the Forums application which allows a reply to be flagged as the "best answer" to the question posed. With the release of 4.5, we also introduced a way to allow topics to be marked as "solved" which introduces similar functionality without transforming the look and feel or other behavior of the forum itself.
    Based on the popularity of this new addition in 4.5, we have made some further improvements to solved topics and answered questions in our next release.
    Notification to topic/question starter
    While notifications were available to the poster who answered a question or solved a topic with the release of 4.5, this release also adds notifications for the topic or question starter so that they can be made aware that an answer is available to their question.

    Topic and question starters now get notifications for solutions
    AdminCP Statistics
    Solved topics and answered questions provide for measurable statistics that can help you determine the health and direction of your community, particularly for support communities. To that end, we have introduced two new content statistic blocks that can help you measure how well areas of the community that support answers and solutions are faring.

    New AdminCP statistics
    You can now quickly see the percentage of topics/questions that have been solved (relative to the total number posted in areas that support solutions), as well as the average time it has taken for a solution to be marked on a topic or question (relative to the time the topic or question was initially posted). These statistic blocks support time period filter, time period comparisons, and node filtering to narrow down the statistical data for your specific needs.
    User profile enhancements
    User profiles now show the number of solutions the user has posted, and also allows you to view all of those solutions, in a manner very similar to reputation.

    Prolific problem solvers will now be called out boldly

    Answers can be quickly found on user profiles
    These improvements should help reward the most helpful users on your community by giving them more prestige and helping other users find their answers quicker.
    Collectively, we hope that these changes make the question and answer and topic solution features in the Forums application more useful for your community members, and the administrators behind the community.
  4. Like
    opentype 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
  5. Like
    opentype 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.
  6. Like
    opentype 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.
  7. Like
    opentype 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!
  8. Like
    opentype reacted to Joel R for an entry, The Paradox of Choice: Why A Major Retail CEO Spent His First 100 Days Thinking About Can Openers   
    CEO Mark Triggon, previously the chief merchandising officer at Target, laid out his plans to turn around the beleaguered American retailer Bed Bath & Beyond.  Part of that plan was reducing the number of can openers from 12 to 3. 
    Sales rose. 
    In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tritton explained how tests conducted in his first few months at the company showed that less is more when it comes to product assortment.  “The big takeaway: Selling too many items in stores that are overcrowded leads to ‘purchase paralysis,” Mr. Tritton said. 
    Bed Bath & Beyond exploded across the American landscape in the 1990s and 2000’s with its focus on opening new “big box” stores for home merchandise where it was meant to be a category killer – consumers would shop in stores that offered them anything and everything.  It was famous for its floor-to-ceiling options, and a simple trip for a new shower curtain turned into a shopping spree for every room in the home.  In recent years though, that approach has soured on consumers.  A Business Insider reporter commented on her latest trip, “From our first steps in, the store was overwhelming. There was merchandise packed top to bottom on shelves that lined every wall.” 
    The tides have changed.  Consumers are being offered – and overwhelmed – with more choices than ever before.   
    PARADOX OF CHOICE
    One of the great benefits of the modern web is a proliferation of choice: choice in sprawling ideologies, choice in niche interests, and choice in shopping for thousands of products at a click of a button.  All of this, every day.  Unfortunately, that abundance of choice can stress and even paralyze our ability to make decisions. 
    Psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the term Paradox of Choice in a 2004 book by the same name, where he advanced the idea that eliminating consumer choices can reduce anxiety for shoppers.  In other words, instead of offering 12 options for can openers, offer 3 options.   
    What does this mean for online communities?
    LESS IS MORE
    Across the spectrum of communities and forums, some of the biggest critical mistakes are forum creep and feature bloat.  New features are mindlessly added thinking it will lead to higher engagement, new forums are added for every conceivable discussion, and design choices are automatically enabled at the default without aligning to your strategy. 
    Your initial goal is to sweep through your entire community and identify the areas that align with your community strategy.  For categories and boards that are low-value, low traffic, or not aligned with any strategic objectives, you should aggressively consolidate or eliminate. 
    There’s no hard rule when it comes to design choices, although 7 has been touted as a magic number for short-term human memory.  You can use this magic number across a range of design decisions. For example:
    At most 7 Reactions At most 7 Primary Menu options At most 7 major sections or content hubs THE JAM EXPERIMENT
    Choice overload can actually lead to less sales.  In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University and Mark Lepper of Stanford University led a much-recited study where they presented passerbys at a food market with two tables: one with 24 fruit jams, the other with 6 jams. 
    The one with 24 different jams generated more traffic to sample and taste.  But guess which table generated more sales?  The other table with fewer jams, which had ten times more purchases!   
    The moral of the story? At junctures of your member journey where you ask users to make a critical decision such as user information when registering, subscriptions, or selling products, don’t be the table with 24 jams to sample, but never able to sell.      
    BIG BOX & SMALL BOX
    Invision Community offers an interesting approach where you can act like both a “big box” community for your general audience and still offer “small box” cohesiveness for more intimate groups. The feature is called Clubs, which empowers smaller groups to form and split off from the main audience.  This is an especially consequential feature for mature and large communities looking to organically cultivate their next generation of engagement.   
    Indeed, this is a trend happening in a large way among next-gen consumers, who are realizing the perils of broadcasting and oversharing.  In a 2019 white paper “The New Rules of Social” led by youth creative agency ZAK, nearly two-thirds of the under-30 respondents said they prefer to talk in private message rather than open forums and feeds. Facebook themselves launched head-first towards social groups back in 2016 after the US Presidential election.  In a 6,000 word essay called "Building Global Community," Zuckerberg sermonized on the importance of building connections in meaningful groups:
    Forum administrators on Invision Community have been building meaningful communities since day one. When properly deployed, Clubs will allow you to cultivate – and retain – users in a more focused environment without the distractions of your larger community. 
    CONCLUSION
    For community managers and forum administrators who have run their Invision Communities for many years, you know first-hand that the power of community doesn’t come from adding another feature, another board, or another category.  Happiness and fulfillment come from actually connecting with members, through education, enlightenment, problem solving, and teamwork.  Overloading your community with theme options, excess reactions, and overbuilt boards get in the way of your true goal. 
    Become the CEO to reduce the overwhelming options of can openers.  Sell more jam by offering less of it.  And unfetter yourself from unnecessary choices to discover a clearer connection to your members.   
     
    Executive Summary
    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO declutters stores, sales rise Concept of paradox of choice: users can become overwhelmed and stressed when presented with too many options Jam experiment: table with more jams gets more traffic, but table of less jams gets more sales For large and established communities, use Clubs to offer intimate and uncluttered experiences.
  9. Like
    opentype 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!
  10. Like
    opentype reacted to Joel R for an entry, 10 Easy Steps to Successfully Grow Your Online Community   
    The goal of every client here in the Invision peer community, myself included, is to launch and run successful communities. 
    Whether I’m going to be able to achieve that success in the new year depends entirely on trying these 10 steps.  I know if that if I stick to these steps, then my community will grow – and I know if you follow along, your community will too. 
    10. Ignore Google
    Google makes me laugh; Google makes me cry; Google makes me want to pitch myself into the freezing icy waters of the San Francisco bay.  But focusing on Google’s up-and-down volatility isn’t what is going to make my community successful.  It’s a distraction, and at worst, a wrong commitment of attention. 
    9.  Remember My Past Sins
    I’ve made every mistake imaginable – including over-the-top themes, too many customizations, and chasing after dream goals.  The very worst is not making a database backup, then losing everything. Most of us came up through the School of Hard Knocks, and we should learn from those experiences.
    8.   Treat Every Person as Gold
    Members are the beating heart of your community, and are truly what makes your community special.  I’m committed to taking time out every day to message, comment, or reply to 3 new people to cultivate new relationships. 

    7.  Practice x3
    Nobody is perfect the first time they try something.  Thomas Edison famously stated that he found 10,000 ways for a lightbulb to not work, and 1 way that it did.  Whether you’re publishing new content or designing a template, refine it multiple times.   
    6.  Start as a Guest
    I don’t do this enough and I always find something surprising when I do. Either something is missing, something can be improved, or something is wrong.  The guest experience is the very first impression a visitor will have, and it can shape all of his future expectations. 
    5.  Less is More
    It’s easy to get sidetracked and to let your community get bloated with content and features.  It’s better to be amazing in one domain expertise: you offer the most authority, the most trusted content, the latest news, or the most comprehensive overview.  Excite members by being the best at what you do.  De-emphasize, consolidate, or archive everything else as needed.  
    4.  It’s Not the Feature; Its What the Feature Does
    It’s easy to think that because Invision Community ships with a new feature, then you should use it.  You don’t.  You should always pre-qualify the feature by asking how the feature can help you better engage with your community, how does it engage, and how can you customize the feature even better for your members?

    3.  Bring Your Superusers Along
    Even though I invite my superusers into a special private feedback group, I don’t leverage their knowledge, experience, or perspective enough. I recently asked for feedback about a particular feature, and it turns out none of them use it!      
    2.  Experiment & Learn
    There’s always something new to learn, explore, and implement.  It's my personal goal to enrich my personal skillsets in areas like leadership, team building, mentoring, emotional intelligence, organizational behavior, and psychology for more effective community management.  On the promotion side, you can learn about email marketing, digital marketing, social media, creating rich media, and more.  On the content side, you can always improve your content writing skills, emotive writing, keyword research, and the conversion of one content piece into multiple media and formats.  
    1.  Enjoy the Journey
    For any community admin who sticks with his community for several years, you can get burned out.  I know the feeling, and I like to periodically remind myself about what I enjoy running the community.  There’s so much to learn and do that it can feel overwhelming, so it’s important to take every day in 2020 one day at a time. 
  11. Like
    opentype reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.5: Invites and Referrals   
    Invision Community has supported member referrals via the Commerce app since Commerce was called Nexus all those years ago.
    Community owners have been able to see at a glance who is spreading the word and members have received the kudos associated with a growing referral count in return. 
    When planning Invision Community 4.5 we saw that this feature had the potential to be so much more… So what have we done to improve it?
    See Who Was Referred
    In addition to seeing a count of referrals, it’s now possible for both admins and members to see who they referred. If Commerce is enabled admins can also see how much commission (if any) was earned. 

    The new referral settings page shows links, code snippets and who you've referred
    Member Promotion
    Seeing a rising count of who has been referred gives members a great feeling of community involvement but wouldn’t it be great if you could reward your members in other ways too? 
    Referral counts now work as a member filter when using the group promotion feature.
    You can now automatically promote members that have referred more than a specific number of members to another user group and give them access to exclusive content. This still works alongside paid subscriptions so be another method for members not willing or able to pay for subscriptions to get access.
    Integration With Sharing
    If the feature is enabled, any time a link is shared via the built-in share links, referrals will be tracked. This occurs automatically without the member needing to think about it. It’s now easier than ever to see who your superfans are and who is bringing new people to the community.
    Blocks
    As well as the default share links we have added a new sidebar block that can be added anywhere across your community. This prominent call to action can be added on pages you think are most likely to result in recommendations.

    The new "Invite a friend" widget
    Given that referral capabilities have been expanded into many more areas outside of Commerce we decided that this should now be available as a core feature. Earning commission on sales as a result of referrals will still, of course, require Commerce to be installed.
    We hope that these are welcome improvements and they help you encourage more members to participate in your community.
  12. Like
    opentype reacted to Joel R for an entry, Honor and Humiliation: Building Emotional Connection for Community   
    Emotion is energy in motion.
    Today’s article is the last element in our Sense of Community series, and it’s also the most powerful.  It allows new communities to win over legacy ones; niche communities to triumph over generic platforms; and impassioned communities to outlast everyone.  It’s also the hardest element to cultivate. 
    What is it? 
    According to a survey by psychologist Dr. Jenny Fremlin, shared emotional connection accounts for the single largest factor of community-building.  In fact, almost half of all respondents in her research identified shared emotional connection as the factor most important to their community. 
    How do you cultivate the principle of shared emotional connection?  
    New Members
    For new members, your goal is to initiate them in your community’s rituals and connect them with other outstanding members who will help reinforce your community’s spirit.   
    Induction – Joining your community should be the beginning of a member’s community story, which means leaving a part of himself behind and fostering a new selfhood for your community.  Make induction an important part of onboarding a new member.  Honor his new membership with community gifts.  Require him to fulfill rituals that are unique to your community.  Demand that he open himself to the community, the challenges he faces, and what he hopes to receive.  By doing so, you are asking the new member to invest a part of their emotional selves in the community from the very beginning. 
    Greater Contact – The more that people interact, the more likely they are to bond.  Just like in the real world when a new visitor walks into a room and no one talks to him, he’s likely to leave.  But if you can introduce him to other members, invite him to a table with other new members who also recently joined, or connect him with a mentor, then he’s more likely to stay.  You can accomplish the same in your community.  Connect members as much as possible, which spark new friendships. 
    Existing Members
    For existing members, deepen their sense of shared emotional connection with these strategies.
    Community Story – Develop a story for your community, a narrative that is being written by and for members.  It brings all members together in a common sense of history, and even though not all members may have participated the entire time, they identify with the story.  Why was your community founded? Are you tackling a challenge in the world?  Did you undergo a major obstacle? Are you aspiring to improve the world? Where are you going? Write down your past, present, and future and invite members into the living story of your community. 
    Community Projects – All too often, community admins launch projects on their own or with an inner circle of staff.  Launch a project that’s open to everyone, where all members can participate, give feedback, and contribute.  Define a beginning and end to the project, which helps members with closure and remembrance (“Did you remember the time when we helped on XYZ project?”) .
    Industry Changes – What are disruptions that are happening in your field or industry? Is it affecting anyone you know? How do you feel about it?  Is it positive or negative?  How significant is the change? Use these shared events to get people disclosing their emotions about these disruptions, which helps form an emotional connection with others who are experiencing the same.  The strongest bonds are among people who undergo a crisis together.    
    Honor & Humiliation – Finally, the personal growth of members is punctuated by the highs and lows of their membership from rewards that highlight special achievement to penalties that discipline bad behavior.  These moments of recognition and humiliation unlock joy and pain, which emotionally bond the member to your community.  The strongest emotional bonds are experienced by those who traverse the greatest emotional journey – they come to your community as immature or inexperienced, and through rewards and moderation, grow to become a better person through your community. 

    Members visit your community for all sorts of reasons.  But out of all reasons, one stands above all others: shared emotional connection. 
    There’s no one way to cultivating a shared emotional connection.  Every community will be unique. You and your Invision Community must write your own individual story, cultivate your own special volkgeist, and honor and humiliate members in your own extraordinary way. The energy and emotion of your community will be uniquely yours.  
    In the end, you want to foster your own “community of spirit” among members, an exceptional sense of purpose and friendship wrapped in shared emotion that no other community can match.
  13. Like
    opentype reacted to Joel R for an entry, The State of the Internet: Mary Meeker at 2019 Code Conference   
    Mary Meeker delivered a rapid-fire review at the 2019 Code Conference of her latest Internet Trends Report, widely considered to be one of the most influential and comprehensive reports on Internet trends. 
    The report covers 11 broad areas from ecommerce to education, data growth to usage, work to immigration, and China. 
    The report's foreword includes the following statement:
    This is an especially appropriate message for Invision Community admins and managers, who must not only ingest the data firehose but turn it into actionable feedback.  This report is presented to Invision Community clients as a way of understanding the broader trends that shape and influence the digital world around us, and to hopefully spur thoughtful conversation on how to thrive as an online community through 2019 and beyond.  

    Here are highlights from the report, especially selected for clients of Invision Community.
    More International - Global internet penetration surpassed 51% in 2018, which means more than half of the world's population are Internet users.  Certain regions have very different growth patterns.  Asia Pacific already contains more Internet users than the rest of the world combined, yet less than half of its users are on the Internet.  In contrast, North America is virtually saturated.  Growth of new users is getting harder, except for China, India, and Indonesia which show the most promise of new users.  
    More Ecommerce - Ecommerce is a rapidly rising a major portion of retail sales.  Ecommerce growth is a strong 12% year over year.  Physical retail growth is 2% year over year. 
    More Online Advertising on Mobile - Internet advertising is continuing to increase overall at 22% year over year, with all of the new growth dedicated to mobile advertising spending.  Spending on desktop advertising is flatlining.  
    More Hours Online - Online media usage increased by 7% year over year in the USA, with all of the growth on mobile.  Desktop usage flatlined in 2013 and even decreased in the past three years.  Out of online time, Facebook, Youtube, WhatsApp, and WeChat dominate the global time spent online.  Mobile use also surpassed time spent on TV for the first time in 2018.   
    More Short-form Video - Short videos like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and WhatsApp Status are one of the newest trends to explosively grow in the past 3 years.
    More Opportunity for the Underserved - Square is a popular credit card processor and merchant services provider.  The fastest area of growth comes from new users in the lowest-income metropolitans in the USA versus the highest-income metropolitan areas in the USA, with 58% of its businesses from females and 35% from minority-owned businesses.
    More Images - For two decades, users on the Internet have been dramatically ramping up image creation and image sharing.  Image sharing has also evolved, with leading platforms like Instagram adding new features like video stories and collaborative story-telling.  
    More Interactive Gaming - Interactive gaming continues to be a dominant Internet trend with 2.4 Billion users, an increase of 6% year over year.  Interactive gaming is social in nearly all ways, with real-time play + talk, shared environments, collective goals, and in-game social networks.  One of the leading gaming-related platforms is Discord.  
    More Digital Payments - Digital payments continue to be more efficient, now driving 59% of all global payments.  
    More Data Personalization - The amount of data being collected has exploded in the past decade.  Successful companies now deploy data as a core part of their workflow to improve customer satisfaction. Retail customers like sharing data if it gives them a better experience. 
    More Negativity and Polarization - With more people than ever coming online, there continues to be usage concern over problematic content and activity. We will continue to see a world that gets more polarized and divisive due to less filtering, more amplification of extreme content, more vivid live images and videos.
    More Internet Censorship - The early days of a free Internet are over.  We are living in a 'splinternet,' where your online experiences are increasingly determined by local regulation.  Truly free Internet decreased with governments increasing surveillance and censorship.  
    More Trust in an Open Internet - On the other hand, an open Internet and online consumer reviews boost multi-sided accountability that ensure safety of products and services, make companies accountable to consumers, and make consumers feel confident on their purchases.  On AirBNB, a popular online booking platform for short-term rentals, 70% of guests leave a review.  The reviews are fundamental to building trust on AirBNB.  
    More China Internet - China continues to be the world's success story, with global growth that underscore its superpower status.  It is a rapidly rising country with room to grow for most macroeconomic and technical trends including urbanization, disposable income per capita, share of world exports, mobile internet users, and cellular internet growth.  Some of the notable Chinese apps include WeChat, Meituan, and Alipay.  
    CONCLUSION
    Online communities have been a part of the online experience from the beginning through email listservs, chat rooms, bulletin boards, Usenet groups, multiplayer dungeons, and more.  We will always be a part of humanity's need to connect, to share, and to relate with similar people but our methods and technology will evolve.  The world is more mobile, more pictures and videos, more international, more polarized and open to abuse, and also more connected than ever before.  As more people come online, as more methods to communicate flourish, as the technology and infrastructure around the Internet continue to mature,  I hope you find inspiration in the 2019 Internet Trends Report to grasp upon these macro trends and find new opportunities to connect and serve your communities better.  
     
    Download the full deck here: https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/6/11/18651010/mary-meeker-internet-trends-report-slides-2019
  14. Like
    opentype reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: 6 New Micro Features   
    I really enjoy writing about the new features the development team have been slaving over for weeks (and sometimes months.)
    It's a real joy to be able to share the finished product after we've seen it through inception, discussion, planning, assigning to a developer, coding, peer reviewing and final group testing.
    Although sometimes, the features can be explained in a few screenshots, which makes for a pretty thin blog entry.
    With that in mind, I've grouped together 6 of the best new micro-features for Invision Community 4.4.
    Browser notifications
    We introduced browser notifications in a previous version of Invision Community.
    Once you've opted in to receive them, you'll get a fancy browser notification when new content is posted while you're off browsing other sites.
    However, the browser prompt to ask for permission to push notifications isn't subtle, and it attacks you the second you log in for the first time.
    In Invision Community 4.4, we've made it, so you're only asked to opt-in once you open the notification drop down.

    No more being attacked by a permission dialog
    Widget display settings
    One of the most popular features we've added to the front end in recent times is the drag and drop widgets.
    We see these used on almost every site we visit.
    A popular request, though, was to be able to hide them from specific devices. By default, the sidebars appear under the main content when viewed on a smaller device such as a phone.
    There may be times where you wish to show a block for those on tablets and desktops, but remove it for phones, so it doesn't take up precious retail space.
    Happily, you can now do this on each block with 4.4.

    Desktop only?
    Club Navigation
    Clubs are relatively new to Invision Community but they incredibly popular as they allow you to run micro-communities within your main community.
    You're not limited to just forums either; you can add gallery albums and more to each club.
    We've added the ability to re-arrange the club tabs allowing you to prioritise what you members see first.

    Rearranging club tabs
    Announcement URLS
    Announcements have been a core feature for a long time now. We use them whenever we have a holiday so we can notify our customers about reduced support on those days.
    We've made it so you can now link to an item, rather than have to provide new copy for each announcement.

    We may have overdone it a bit
    Time Frame selector
    We noticed that in numerous areas around the Admin CP we had time input boxes. These would sometimes be used for seconds, minutes, hours and even days.
    We've seen customers forced to enter things like 86400 seconds when they want the time frame to last a day. The lack of consistency wasn't great either.
    In Invision Community 4.4, we've added a new Time Frame selector which is used as standard on all areas we ask for a time frame to be entered.
    No more taking your socks off to work out how many seconds in a month.

    Time is no longer relative
    Group Name Styling
    For about as long as I can remember (and as I get older, this is not an impressive amount of time), we've allowed group names to be stylized when shown in the online user list.
    A very popular request is to extend that same group highlighting throughout the suite.
    Finally, Invision Community 4.4 brings this to the suite.

    If the group name is visible, that gets the styling, otherwise the name does
    These features may be micro in nature, but we hope they make a significant improvement to your community.
    Which are you most looking forward to? Drop a comment below and let us know.
  15. Like
    opentype reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: New Email Features   
    It's easy to think that email is a relic from the past; from simpler times long before social media and the rise of phone apps.
    And it's reasonable to think that way. Your phone constantly pings at you, and your laptop OS constantly pings at you, so why bother with email?
    Because it's still a hugely powerful medium to get and retain attention.
    In 2017, over 269 billion emails were sent and received per day. Of those, 3,360,250,000 are opened, read, and a link clicked.
    Email is still very much a critical tool in your quest for retention.
    Invision Community knows this. We have options to notify members of replies by email, weekly or monthly digests by email and members can opt-in for bulk emails sent from your community team.
    Given how important email is, it was only fair that we invested in some love for our email system for 4.4.
    Email Statistics
    Just above, I mention that 269 billion emails are sent, and 3.4 billion are opened, read and clicked.
    How many emails are sent from your Invision Community daily?
    (No cheating and checking with SendGrid)
    You probably have no idea as we didn't record email statistics.
    As of Invision Community 4.4 we do!

    Chart showing the number of emails sent daily
    We now track emails sent, and the number of link clicks inside those emails.
    Email Advertisements
    Email notifications are a powerful way to get your members to revisit your community. The member welcomes these emails as it means they have new replies to topics they are interested in reading.

    While you have your member's attention, you have an opportunity to show them a banner-style advertisement.


    The new email advertisement form
    When creating a new email advert, you can choose to limit the advert to specific areas such as topics, blogs, etc. - and even which forums to limit by.


    Subliminal messages
    This is a new way to reach your audience with your promotions.
    Unfollow without logging in
    Despite spending most of this blog entry shouting the virtues of email, it's inevitable that one or two members may wish to stop receiving notification emails.
    In previous versions, the unfollow link would have taken you to a login page if you were signed out. For members that haven't been back in a while, this may cause some annoyance if they do not recall their login details.
    Invision Community 4.4 allows non-logged in members to unfollow the item they received an email about or all followed items without the need to log in.

    You no longer need to log in to unfollow items
    Respecting your member's inbox is vital to keep on good terms with them and to keep them engaged in your community.
    We'd love to know which of these features you're most keen to try in 4.4. Please drop a comment below and let us know!
  16. Like
    opentype reacted to Matt for an entry, GDPR updates for Invision Community 4.3.3   
    Unless you've been living under a rock, or forgot to opt-in to the memo, GDPR is just around the corner.
    Last week we wrote a blog answering your questions on becoming GDPR compliant with Invision Community.
    We took away a few good points from that discussion and have the following updates coming up for Invision Community 4.3.3 due early next week.
    Downloading Personal Data
    Invision Community already has a method of downloading member data via the member export feature that produces a CSV.
    However, we wanted Invision Community to be more helpful, so we've added a feature that downloads personal data (such as name, email address, known IP addresses, known devices, opt in details and customer data from Nexus if you're using that) in a handy XML format which is very portable and machine readable.
     

    You can access this feature via the ACP member view
    The download itself is in a standard XML format.

    A sample export
    Pruning IP Addresses
    While there is much debate about whether IP addresses are personal information or not, a good number of our customers requested a way to remove IP addresses from older content.
    There are legitimate reasons to store IP addresses for purchase transactions (so fraud can be detected), for security logs (to prevent hackers gaining access) and to prevent spammers registering. However, under the bullet point of not storing information for longer than is required, we have added this feature to remove IP addresses from posted content (reviews, comments, posts, personal messages, etc) after a threshold.

    The default is 'Never', so don't worry. Post upgrade you won't see IP addresses removed unless you enter a value.

    This new setting is under Posting
    Deleting Members
    Invision Community has always had a way to delete a member and retain their content under a "Guest" name.
    We've cleaned this up in 4.3.3. When you delete a member, but want to retain their content, you are offered an option to anonymise this. Choosing this option attributes all posted content to 'Guest' and removes any stored IP addresses.

    Deleting a member
    Privacy Policy
    We've added a neat little feature to automatically list third parties you use on your privacy policy. If you enable Google Analytics, or Facebook Pixel, etc, these are added for you.

    The new setting

     
    Finding Settings Easily
    To make life a little easier, we've added "GDPR" as a live search keyword for the ACP. Simply tap that into the large search bar and Invision Community will list the relevant settings you may want to change.

     
    These changes show our ongoing commitment to helping you with your GDPR compliance. We'll be watching how GDPR in practise unfolds next month and will continue to adapt where required.

    Invision Community 4.3.3 is due out early next week.
  17. Like
    opentype reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Commerce Subscription Manager   
    We've recently spoken about how we've brought our Gallery and Blog apps up to date with interface overhauls to bring them inline with the high standards our customers expect.
    Keeping this in mind, we're thrilled to announce that we've taken Commerce right back to 2009.
    This needs an explanation.
    Way back in 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President. Minecraft was put into beta, Slumdog Millionaire was released to critical praise and we had a product called IP.Subscriptions.
    IP.Subscriptions was a lightweight member subscriptions manager that allowed members to purchase elevated permissions via a user group upgrade.
    It was a fine little app. However, on the horizon we had a brand new eCommerce app in development. Then called Nexus, now called Commerce (we took months to come up with that).
    It made sense for us to merge the products into one app given they both had overlapping functionality. They both could create packages to promote members to a new user group. Commerce was much more developed as an invoicing and billing system.
    Everyone was happy.
    Almost.
    Commerce has grown to be an incredibly powerful app. It can sell anything from physical products like t-shirts, to digital products such as license keys and it can even manage your hosting set-up.
    We use it for our support and billing systems, so we know how robust it is.
    While it's an incredibly powerful commerce system, setting up basic subscriptions packages became a little more complex.
    Over the past few years we've received a lot of feedback on this.
    We've listened.
    Commerce Member Subscriptions
    We've built a brand new section into Commerce specifically for membership subscriptions.
    Let's take a look at this in more detail.
    On the front end, there's a very clear and easy to understand page for membership subscriptions.

    The main subscriptions interface
    Here you can see all the available packages, which one you're currently subscribed to and the upgrade and downgrade options.

    A simple way to upgrade
    There's several choices for costing upgrades in the Admin CP, here we have chosen to charge the difference between packages.

    Get to your subscriptions easily
    Your subscriptions are easily found in the user menu.
    If the Admin allows, the package you're subscribed to appears as a badge on your profile.

     
    There's also a little widget showing the packages which you can drag and drop to the sidebar for an additional prompt for non-subscribers.

     
    This gives Invision Community a very clear and easy to understand interface for subscriptions which lives outside of the Commerce store and its packages.
    Now, let's dive into the Admin CP
    The main engine for this feature is the package list. This is in a separate area within Commerce.

     
    The list also shows the number of currently active and inactive subscribers. This links to the list of subscribers.

     
    Other than Bob having a total nightmare, you can easily view which members are currently active. The buttons link you to the Commerce invoice and purchase.
    If you wish to add a member to a subscription without charging them (you generous soul, you), then that is easily possible.

     
    Creating a new subscription package is very straight forward. We've built a new form which is stripped down to the fundamental items you'll need for a subscription.

     
    As you would expect, there are several settings to control the system.

     
    A few things worth mentioning here:
    You can force new members to purchase a subscription on sign-up You can show or hide the profile badge indicating which package they purchased. You can choose to allow upgrades or downgrades. You can choose how you'd like to charge for upgrades or downgrades Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback over the years. We're really pleased to present this new feature and hope that it'll make your daily lives just a little easier.
    Let us know what you think!
     
  18. Like
    opentype reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 4.3: Announcements   
    We have a very important announcement to make!
    There are times where you need to get the attention of your visitors. You might be closed on certain days of the year, performing server maintenance (if you are consider our Cloud Plans, they're excellent) or running a competition.
    Invision Community has always had an announcements feature baked in, but we felt it could be improved.
    Okay, maybe this feature isn't as flashy as some of the others we're introducing in 4.3, but these useful features should make managing your community easier.
    The new look announcement feature replaces the old widgets enabling you to display customisable announcements in any of the following locations;
    Top of the page Above the page content In the sidebar
    The three new announcement locations
    Each location has some slightly different features; the page top banner is dismissible by the member if they no longer want to see it, whereas the banner above the content and the sidebar announcements cannot be dismissed.
    Most of the original customisable features are still available, including the ability to select which applications and pages show certain announcements and which member groups can see them. Combining this with the three new locations gives you much more flexibility for different types of announcements and we've also included the option to customise the color of the announcement.

    New customisable options
     
    The announcements have also been improved to contain more information. Rather than showing an unformatted snippet along side the title, announcements can now be tapped to open a modal showing any further details.

    Modal showing announcement content
    We hope you'll enjoy these useful improvements in Invision Community 4.3. Stay tuned for further announcements (pun intended)!
  19. Like
    opentype reacted to Charles for an entry, 4.3: Usability improvements to make your day better   
    Often it's the smaller changes that can make a big improvement in the day to day use of your community. We have made quite a few updates that will make your community flow better for you and your members.
    Update files in Pages Media Manager
    Previously when you wanted to update a file in the Pages Media Manager you actually had to upload a new file and then change the references to that file to the new one. This was obviously not so great.
    When you select a file there is now a replace option. We're not sure why we didn't do this earlier but as they say: better late than never!
    Tag Input when Optional
    On communities with tagging enabled, we have often noticed that people tend to feel the need to tag everything even when it's not really necessary. If your site is about cars you don't really need everything people post to be tagged "car" as that's sort of obvious.

     
    So to make it a bit clearer that tags are not required we have hidden the input field behind a Choose link so people have to actively choose to tag if they really think it's necessary. We hope this cuts down on tag noise. If tagging is required then the normal input box will always show.
    Google Invisible reCAPTCHA
    The new Google Invisible reCAPTCHA allows you to prevent bot registrations without the need for all users to fill out the normal captcha process. As often as possible your members will never notice there is even a captcha happening on the page. It's another way to make the flow from guest to member easier.
    Whitelist for Spam Service
    The spam defense service Invision Community provides works very well at combatting spam signups automatically. The issue is sometimes it works too well!
    Let's say you are at work and all your colleagues share the same public IP. You are excited about your new community (of course you are) and your whole office tries to register at once. Our spam service would probably see your office IP as suspicious with that sudden influx of traffic and may even block it.
    The new whitelist tool allows you to specify IPs and email addresses to always allow on your community regardless of what score our spam defense gives it.
    Reply as Hidden
    Sometimes it would be nice if your moderators could reply to an item with a hidden reply. You might want to leave a note for other moderators or perhaps you have a database and want some replies public and some private.

     
    If you have permission you will now see a hide toggle when replying. This works in all apps anywhere you can reply to a content item and have hide permission.
    Exclude Groups in Leaderboard
    You can now exclude certain groups from being ranked in the Leaderboard. This is very useful if your staff or RSS bot tend to get all the reputation points. By excluding those groups you can focus on your actual member participation which is a better reward to encourage engagement.
    On a personal note this will make me very sad as I usually win reputation counts on our site. But, being such a great person, I am willing to make this sacrifice for you.  
    Complete Your Profile Order
    The Complete Your Profile feature introduced in version 4.2 has been a great success for clients. We have heard many reports of increased engagement as the system can walk people through the sign up process. Not having a big, scary registration form is always a huge plus.
    For 4.3 we added the new ability to change the order of completion for your members. This will allow you to stress the items you really want them to complete first and move your less important profile options later in the steps.
    Mapbox Support
    Mapping has been a feature of Invision Community for quite some time but up until now has been limited to Google Maps integration. For 4.3 we have added support for Mapbox which is based on OpenStreetMap data. The maps are beautifully designed and bring greater flexibility with an alternative look. The groundwork is now laid for some exciting new features still to come!
    Some of our existing customers also found Google policies and pricing structure incompatible with their own internal policies which this addition addresses.
  20. Like
    opentype reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Take payments with Apple Pay and more with Stripe and Commerce   
    Stripe is the most popular payment method in Commerce, allowing communities to take payments by card securely with easy setup.
    While there's no doubt that credit cards are still the most popular methods of making a payment, digital innovations such as Apple Pay are increasing in popularity.
    For 4.3 we've deepened our integration to support some of their latest features.
    Apple Pay & Google Pay
    Apple Pay allows users to pay quickly with their iPhone, iPad or Mac (with Safari and either a paired iPhone or using the MacBook Pro with Touch ID) using the card details stored on the device, authenticated with Touch ID or Face ID.
    Apple Pay
    Google Chrome (on desktop or Android devices) supports a similar feature allowing users to pay with card details stored in their Google account with Google Pay, or stored in Chrome itself.
    Paying with card details stored in Google Chrome
     
    Both of these features are now supported through Stripe in Invision Community 4.3. Setup is simple - for Apple Pay you simply need to verify that you own your domain by uploading a file you obtain from the Stripe dashboard, and nothing special is needed for Google Pay - and then create the payment method in the AdminCP. Stripe does not charge any additional fees for either option.
    Commerce will automatically hide the option if the user's device does not support either method.
    3D Secure
    Also known as Verified by Visa, Mastercard SecureCode, and other brand names, 3D Secure is a system that is used to verify a customer's identity before purchase is completed and transfers the fraud loss liability from the merchant to the cardholder bank in case of fraudulent disputes.
    After the user has entered their card details, they are redirected to their bank's website and asked to provide additional verification.
    Our integration with Stripe in 4.3 now supports this process. A new setting allows you to choose if you want to use 3D Secure just for cards which require it (i.e. cards which would decline the payment if 3D Secure is not completed) or for all cards which optionally support it as well.
     
    Amex Express Checkout
    American Express cardholders can use Amex Express checkout to pay by using their American Express login rather than providing their card information.  This is also now supported through Stripe in 4.3.
    Amex Express Checkout
     
    Alipay, Bancontact, Giropay, iDEAL, SOFORT
    These are popular payment processors internationally (Alipay is popular in China, Bancontact in Belgium, Giropay in Germany, iDEAL in the Netherlands, and SOFORT in several European countries).
    The checkout experience is similar to PayPal with the user being redirected to the appropriate site, authenticating the payment, and then being redirected back.
    All of these are also now supported through Stripe in 4.3.
     
    Dispute/Chargeback Handling
    A dispute (also known as a chargeback) occurs when one a cardholder questions your payment with their card issuer, which causes the funds, plus a fee, to immediately be taken from your account until evidence is provided that the transaction was legitimate.
    Anyone operating an online store knows how frustrating this experience can be. In 4.3, we've made dealing with this situation a little easier. When a dispute is created, Commerce will now mark the transaction as disputed, which will immediately revoke any benefits from the purchase (for example, if it's for a subscription that moves them into a different group, they will be placed back into their original group; if it's a Downloads file, they won't be able to download it any more; if it's for a physical item that hasn't been shipped yet, the shipping order will be placed on hold).

    Disputed Transaction
    All transactions with currently open disputes can be accessed quickly from the transaction list. The transaction page will show you the status and reason for the dispute, and links to your Stripe dashboard where you can respond.
    When the dispute is resolved, the transaction screen will be updated, with either the transaction being marked as refunded if the dispute is lost, or going back to paid if the dispute is won and the funds returned to you.

    A dispute that was lost

    A dispute that was won
     
     
    Radar
    Radar is Stripe's suite of fraud detection tools using machine learning and customisable rules to help detect fraudulent transactions.
    Stripe will automatically blocks transactions is considers highest risk already. However, for "elevated" risk transactions, while Stripe would alert you of them so you could review them, Commerce would process the transaction normally.
    In 4.3, Commerce will place any transactions which Radar reports as having an "elevated" risk level on hold for manual review, so you can decide whether to approve or not before the funds have been captured.
    In addition, the transaction details screen for Stripe transactions now provides some additional information about Stripe's checks on the transaction, including the Radar risk level, if the CVC check passed, and if the billing address provided matches the card's billing address.
    If a fraudulent transaction does make it through, you will now have the option to indicate this when refunding the transaction to help Stripe's anti-fraud systems learn.
  21. Like
    opentype reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Express yourself with Emoji   
    Emoji: built in to Invision Community 4.3! ?
    Invision Community has a long history. We remember the early days of forums, back when graphical "emoticons" or "smilies" were added.
    We have always shipped our products with a basic set of emoticons with the ability to add your own images and has supported emoji from mobile devices.
    Emoji has become a standard across mobile and desktop devices so it made sense to bring them to Invision Community fully.
    You can choose from 3 different styles of Emoji:
    The native style provided by the user's operating system (if you choose this option, users on different platforms will see different styles) Twitter style EmojiOne style
    Emoji Settings
    Once you have chosen one of these options, all of the available Emoji will show in the emoticons selector when making a post. Unlike in older versions, the entire list is scrollable (the categories drop down will jump you to the category rather than filter), you can search, and standard Emoji features like skin tone modifiers are fully supported, and of course, you can make them as big as you like.

    Navigating Emoji

    Skin Tone Modifier

    Make Emoji any size
     
    Autocompleting Short Codes
    In addition to using the selector, you can also use optionally enable standard :short_codes:. These will be autocompleted as you type.

    Autocompleting Short Codes
    You can also enable more conventional ASCII emoticons to be automatically replaced too:

    ASCII Short Codes
     
    Don't Worry: Custom Emoticons Aren't Going Anywhere!
    You can use custom emoticons either instead of, or even alongside Emoji. If you give your custom emoticons a text replacement starting and ending with : they will even show in the autocompletion alongside Emoji.

    Custom Emoticons
     
    Technical Details 
    Whichever style you choose, Emoji is stored in the database as the actual Unicode characters, so you can even change the setting and all Emoji, even those in existing posts, will immediately change.
    If you choose to use the native style (so the Emoji will match the style provided by the operating system), the system will automatically detect which Emojis are supported and the selector will only try to show the ones the platform can render.
  22. Thanks
    opentype reacted to Matt for an entry, How Invision Community's tools can help with GDPR compliance   
    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation (EU 2016/679) that is intended to strengthen and unify data protection for EU residents from 25th May 2018.
    How can Invision Community help?
    While Invision Community enables you to collect and store information, it's important to note that you as the site owner are the data controller. If your site can collect data from EU citizens, then we recommend that you research your responsibilities.
    We have introduced several new tools in Invision Community 4.2.7 to help you with compliance, and we'll run through them and the relevant sections of the regulation in this blog.
    Individual Rights (More information)
    Right to be informed
    Invision Community has an area for you to edit your own privacy policy. This is found in the Admin CP > Settings > Terms & Privacy Policy.

     
    Guidance on what the policy should contain can be found here.
    Right to erasure (More information)
    Invision Community allows you to delete a member from the Admin CP. If the member has left posts or comments on your community, you can elect to delete the content, or keep it but remove the author's details thereby making the content anonymous.
    Lawful bases for processing (More information)
    Consent (More information)
    Invision Community now features a setting to not automatically opt in to administrator emails such as those sent by the bulk email system often used for newsletters when registering a new account on your community.
    This feature is found in the ACP > Members > Registration Settings

     
    Part of the consent regulation is to record when consent was given. The consent to opt-in for administrator emails such as bulk emails sent via the Admin CP is recorded at registration, and each time they change the setting. This record can be found in the member history log when viewing a member in the Admin CP.

    If you change the Terms & Conditions, or the Privacy Policy, you can request that members accept these changes when they next log in thus giving their consent for those changes.

    Cookies (More information)
    Invision Community stores a small amount of data in cookies. These are used to authorize you when you re-visit a community. Other cookies are used to provide a service at the user's request, such as changing a theme or using Commerce's cart.
    We have added additional features for Invision Community 4.2.7 to permit acknolwedgement that cookies will be set, and a brief page outlining the types of cookies that are set.
    Invision Community has a feature that shows a small message to new visitors to the community. This is found in the Admin CP > Terms & Privacy Policy page.

     
    We have pre-configured a cookie acknowledgement message using the short-tags {cookies}.
    This will display as follows:

     
    This links to a new page showing brief information about the types of cookies that Invision Community stores.

     
    Although at the time of writing this blog entry, the regulation states that there is no exact information that you need to show on the cookie page, you can edit it to add more detail if you wish.
    Summary
    We hope these new tools available with Invision Community 4.2.7 make it easier for you to seek compliance with GDPR if you choose to do so.
    It's worth pointing out that we are awesome at making community software and know a huge amount about making communities successful, but we are not experts in EU regulation. We offer this blog entry as a way to assist you in seeking compliance but you must do your own research and are responsible for your own community.
    Invision Community 4.2.7 is currently in beta testing. We're aiming to release it early next week.
    We hope this is a good starting point for you!
  23. Like
    opentype reacted to Matt for an entry, Podcast: Online Communities in the Post-Facebook Era   
    Matt was recently invited onto the Community Signal Podcast, where he spoke with host Patrick O'Keefe.
    Everything from how Matt got started with online communities right up to the possibility of a post Facebook era was covered in their 45 minute chat. Matt also gives a little insight into how Invision Community works behind the scenes.
    From Community Signal:
    Check out the podcast now!
  24. Like
    opentype reacted to Ryan Ashbrook for an entry, New: Complete Your Profile   
    Completing long and complex forms online is tedious. It can be off putting having to fill in a lot of information before you can join a site or service. You may find that potential members never bother to convert from a visitor.
    How to convert guests into regular members is an often asked question. The simple answer is to lower the barrier to entry. Invision Community 4 already allows you to register with Facebook, Twitter, and other networks with ease.
    "Complete My Profile" is a system that will lower the barrier of conversion. Guests only have to complete a very basic form to gain membership. Members are then asked to complete any custom profile fields you require.
    You can also set up steps that group items together to encourage existing members to add more information to their public profile.
    Members with a complete profile and user photo provide others with much more engagement and personality.
    Registering
    If we look at registering first. Clicking "Sign Up" will only show a simple modal form with as few fields as possible.

     
    If you have required steps, and after any member validation flow, the complete your profile wizard is shown.

     
    This enforces required fields and the member cannot skip them or view other pages until completed.
    Of course, you may have steps that are not set to required. These are available too, but are skippable. Members can complete skipped steps later.

     
    A dismissible progress bar shows to members that have uncompleted steps. Once dismissed, it no longer displays in the header of the site.

     
    This same progress bar is always shown in the members' settings overview panel, in the user control panel. This will prompt members with incomplete steps.

     
    If you set up a new required step, members have to complete the step before being able to browse again. This will ensure that all regular members have completed profiles.
    Admin Control Panel
    You will create new steps in the Admin Control Panel. Each step can contain multiple elements of a single group. This step can be set to required to enforce completion or suggested to allow it to be skipped.

     
    The basic profile group contains things like user photo, birthday and cover photo. Choose any of these for this step.

     
    The custom profile field group contains any fields you have set up already.

     
    You can switch off this system if you feel it does not fit your needs. When disabled, you get the normal registration form.

     
    Reducing the complexity of membership can only help convert more guests into contributing members. Enforcing required steps ensures that you capture data across your membership.
    We hope you enjoy this feature and you see an increase in guest conversion with Invision Community 4.2.
     
  25. Like
    opentype reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Security and Privacy   
    IPS is always auditing our software to improve security at the code-level but these improvements are not really visible to you even though they protect your site all the time. We are implementing some new features that you can use to enhance the security and privacy of your site. Many of these features depend on your personal preferences, local laws, or the policies of your own organization. Here is a list of what's new:
    Birthday Control

    You may wish to make birthday viewing only show to admins or you can completely disable prompting for a birthday if you consider that information sensitive.
    Member Delete Name Retention
    When deleting a member in the AdminCP, if you choose to keep their posts the system currently names the posts with a display name of "Guest user" where user is the previous display name of the member you deleted. You can how choose to retain their name in posts or not so you can either have it as it is now or simple "Guest" on member delete.
    Password Strength

    Password Strength
    You now have two new options for password: show a strength meter and require strong passwords. You can choose to either just show the meter as a suggestion or you can also choose to enforce a password strength. You can choose between three levels of password enforcement parameters depending on how strict you choose to be.
    Guest Terms Banner

    Guest Terms Banner
    There is a new option to show a guest terms of service banner when a new visitor first visits your site. You can set the text shown in the display and you can also put in two special tags to automatically link to your Terms of Service or Privacy Policy page.
    Age Restrictions

    Age Prompt
    We have always had COPPA support in the Suite but we have extended this to be a more generic age restriction feature. You can now set your site to reject registrations from anyone under a certain age you specify. For privacy, the birthday entered on registration is only used to calculate permission and is never stored.
     
    This change will be in version 4.1.17 which is scheduled to be released in early December 2016.
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