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Stuart Silvester

Invision Community Team
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  1. Like
    Stuart Silvester reacted to Matt for an entry, New: Fluid Forum View   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    When you have a diverse range of topics within your community, it makes good sense to separate topics within forums and categories. This will ensure that the viewer can find relevant content by scanning the list of forums first.
    If you have a more focused community with fewer forums, presenting your community with a list of them can be daunting. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media.
    Fluid forum view allows your visitors to get right to the meat of your community; the topics.
    A fan site for a band is a good example of a community that will benefit with fluid view. There will likely be forums for album reviews, tour dates, general discussion and so on. Even though there are many forums, the common topic is the band. This makes fluid view ideal as your members can see all those related topics in one view. If your members wanted more specific topics, they could select a single forum to view.
    Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.

     
    The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.

     
    Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working.

     
    You will notice a "grid" option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for your members to choose, if the administrator permits it.

     
    You have full control over the display options. This screenshot shows that the control panel option to choose the default view. There is also an option to control which views your members can select. You may also decide to not allow your members to switch views at all. This will ensure that they all use the view you choose.

     
    You may have spotted that forum names have a colored background in some screenshots. We added the ability to define a feature color per forum. This feature color helps the forum stand out in a more visual way. This is especially useful when you select many forums in a single view.

     
    This feature color also works on the table view.

     
    We added a feature color hint to topic view to enforce the association between the forum and its color.
     

     
    This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don't lose your place when you go back to the listing.
    The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for your audience. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. Your members will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page.
    We hope that fluid view is an asset to your community and your members enjoy this new functionality.
    Technical notes.
    The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.
     
  2. Like
    Stuart Silvester reacted to Rikki for an entry, New: Richer Embeds   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    You are probably already familiar with our content embedding feature in IPS Community Suite. When a link to content in the community is pasted into the editor (e.g. a topic, or a post, or a gallery image, etc.) it is automatically expanded into a preview of the content, usually with an accompanying image, allowing users to click through to that content if they are interested.

    An embedded Gallery image in IPS Community Suite 4.1
    While it has proved a useful feature to members, each embed used essentially the same structure - a small thumbnail on the left, a title, and a few lines of text. This works fine for topics, but isn't ideal for other kinds of rich content that might be posted.
    In IPS Community Suite 4.2, we greatly improved upon our embedding handling, giving every type of content within every application its own customized embed style, allowing that content to be displayed however works best. This means larger high-res previews of Gallery images, a button to download a file right from the embed for Downloads files, showing a map for Calendar events, and so on. We worked to keep a consistent overall style between apps, but allow each to display its own relevant information.
    For users, things will work exactly as they do now - they simply paste a link to content, and it will continue to expand automatically. The changes are also backwards compatible. Any existing embeds in your community will automatically show the new styling you see below - no rebuilding necessary.
    So with that in mind, let's take a look what the new embeds look like! I won't show every single embed here because there's a huge number, but I'll try and give you a feel for how we approached the embed styles for each app.

    Gallery Image

    Comment on a Gallery Image

    Gallery Album

    Forum Topic

    Downloads File

    Review on a Downloads File

    Calendar Event

    Comment on a Calendar Event

    Commerce Product

    Record from a Pages database
    I hope that gives you a good overview of what to expect when your users try out the new embeds for themselves. As always, please share your feedback in the comments below!
     
  3. Like
    Stuart Silvester got a reaction from Ambiences for an entry, New: Member History   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    In previous versions of IPS Community Suite we have had an account history feature in our Commerce application. This feature showed many important actions that may be relevant to the customer such as when an invoice was generated or when a customer changed their account details.
    In IPS Community Suite 4.2 we have expanded this functionality and moved it into the core functionality of the suite.

    Member History Member Overview
    Member actions that will be logged include (but are not limited to)
    Email address change Display name change Password change Account merge Primary group change (The reason will be shown when triggered by an automatic group promotion) Secondary group change Flagged/Unflagged as spammer Multi-Factor Authentication (Enable / Disable / Opt-out) Social media (Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Google, Twitter, IPS Connect) for enabling, disabling and which (if any) were used to register an account. The Commerce customer account page will now show actions that may be related with a transaction or account.

    Member History on the Commerce customer view
    Discoverability
    Each action is also discoverable via the IP Address tools built into IPS Community Suite 4

    Member History in IP Search
    We’ve also made the data table filterable

    Member History Search
    Notes for developers:
    The new Member History system has been designed with interoperability in mind. In IPS Community Suite 4.2 you will be able to integrate your own applications into this system. Member History replaces the display name changes system.
  4. Like
    Stuart Silvester got a reaction from Khalat Jalal for an entry, New: Member History   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    In previous versions of IPS Community Suite we have had an account history feature in our Commerce application. This feature showed many important actions that may be relevant to the customer such as when an invoice was generated or when a customer changed their account details.
    In IPS Community Suite 4.2 we have expanded this functionality and moved it into the core functionality of the suite.

    Member History Member Overview
    Member actions that will be logged include (but are not limited to)
    Email address change Display name change Password change Account merge Primary group change (The reason will be shown when triggered by an automatic group promotion) Secondary group change Flagged/Unflagged as spammer Multi-Factor Authentication (Enable / Disable / Opt-out) Social media (Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Google, Twitter, IPS Connect) for enabling, disabling and which (if any) were used to register an account. The Commerce customer account page will now show actions that may be related with a transaction or account.

    Member History on the Commerce customer view
    Discoverability
    Each action is also discoverable via the IP Address tools built into IPS Community Suite 4

    Member History in IP Search
    We’ve also made the data table filterable

    Member History Search
    Notes for developers:
    The new Member History system has been designed with interoperability in mind. In IPS Community Suite 4.2 you will be able to integrate your own applications into this system. Member History replaces the display name changes system.
  5. Like
    Stuart Silvester reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Editor Uploading   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    IPS Community Suite has supported drag and drop uploading to the attachments area at the bottom of the editor since 4.0. In 4.2 we're pleased to add the ability to drag and drop right into the editor, so you can drop your attachment exactly where you want it to show without having to add it afterwards.

    Drag and drop into editor
    If your browser and OS supports it you can also copy and paste, either from the desktop or from other content on the web:

    Copy and Paste
    Naturally this works for ordinary files as well as images:

    Drag and drop a file
     
  6. Like
    Stuart Silvester reacted to Daniel F for an entry, New: Downloads Index Page   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    In IPS Community Suite 4.2 we have added a bunch of new settings for the Downloads Index Page.
     

    Downloads Index Page - Settings
    With 4.2 you'll be able to hide any of the boxes. 

    Hidden Most Downloads Box
     
    Another often requested feature was that people want to be able to choose the categories from where the files should be fetched
    This way you'll be able to hide files from some very old categories.

    Hidden Categories
  7. Like
    Stuart Silvester reacted to Matt for an entry, New: Promoting Content   
    There are many strategies for growing your community, such as newsletters, mailing lists and advertising on other sites.
    IPS Community Suite 4.2 puts a new tool at your disposal: promotions.
    There’s no denying the popularity of social media. Worldwide, Facebook has 1.86 billion users active monthly. Every day, millions of people are using Facebook to speak with friends, to talk about their interests and to find new people to connect with.
    Of that 1.86 billion people, a good portion of those are actively discussing topics your forum covers. There is a huge opportunity to tap into social media to join in the discussion and to promote your community and provide a venue to carry on the discussion.
    For a while, we’ve had social media log in extensions, which means that your users can sign into your community simply by clicking a relevant button. We’ve also had the ability to share things to a personal Facebook account. These tools are great for your users, but how do they help you, forum owner?
    IPS Community Suite 4.2 introduces a way to promote your content directly to your brand’s Facebook page and your brand’s Twitter account.
    You can curate fun and engaging topics and share them. The workflow is simple. Simply browse your community and queue up interesting topics, comments, gallery items, blog posts or database articles for posting throughout the day to your brand’s social media accounts. You choose the schedule, the hashtags and the wording to send.
    Let’s look at the feature set in more detail.
    Your first stop is to set up the feature from the admin panel. The system will guide you through the necessary steps of connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once Facebook has been set up, you can select any page that you are an administrator of on Facebook.
     

    The admin panel also offers scheduling options and permissions.
     

    You can pre-set the times for when content will be posted. Facebook and Twitter both have analytic tools to determine when your visitors are most frequently online. A good tip here is to set the time to a slightly odd number, so 11:45am is better than 12:00pm as you are likely to catch the attention of someone waiting for lunch, or a lunchtime meeting.
     

    You have full control over who can promote items to your social media accounts. You can specify by group or pick individual members who may not be in those groups.
    Now that you’ve set up the backend, we can get promoting.
    Each item, that is a topic, gallery album, blog entry or article has its own Promote button.

     
    Each post and comment can also be shared individually, which is an easy way to share great content your visitors add to existing conversations.

     
    Clicking this brings up the sharer.

     
    This is where you can customize the text that is sent out to each social media channel. You’ll also notice space to promote this item within your own community in addition (or instead of) Facebook or Twitter, we will explore that shortly.
    The sharer is smart enough to pull attachments already added in the post, and you can upload your own images to be sent. Generally, shared items that have an image get better organic reach than just text alone so you’ll almost always want to choose or add an image. Twitter can use up to 4 images, and Facebook allows 1000 pictures per album, but you’ll never want to upload that many!

     
    Once you’ve filled out your content and picked your images, you can schedule the promotion. Generally, you’ll want to use the auto schedule option as this allows you to just stack up multiple items and let the auto scheduler post the items according to your pre-set schedule. You can also set a specific date and time if you are looking to run a promotion or other time sensitive event.


    The promoted content viewed in Facebook and Twitter
    It’s easy to see the status of your queued and sent items from the moderator view.

     
    This area allows you to see previous promotions and modify pending promotions.
    Earlier, we mentioned that the system has the ability to promote content internally. Promoting items to your own community lets you, the community manager, curate interesting items and comments and present this to your community. This is a great way to allow your visitors to explore content you think they’d enjoy.

     
    Promoting content to your community via Our Picks also allow you to promote content if you cannot or choose not to use social networks. It has the advantage that social networks do not have over a community platform like IPS Community Suite: consistency. The content on your community is always there whereas a social network is all about right here right now. Miss it and you miss out. On your community you can engage and re-engage a subject all you want. 
    Of course, we’ve built a widget that you can drag and drop to most pages to make this curated list more visible.
    IPS Community Suite 4.2 gives you, the site owner and community manager the tools you need to reach out and engage new users already discussing the topics on social media your community covers. With single click sign in and the built in retention functionality the suite offers, you’ll have a powerful way of growing your user base. It furthers that goal by created a list of that promoted content for continual reference and promotion for visitors already on your site.
    We’ve got lots more to discuss on this subject, and in the coming months we’ll be putting together some guides on social media best practices and how to leverage Facebook’s excellent post promotion / pay per click tools to further boost your site’s visibility to social media users.
    We’re here to help you make a success of your community and to give social media users a venue for when they outgrow Facebook.
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