SJ77 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
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.
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.
SJ77 reacted to Ehren for an entry, 4.5: Your new admin control panel
Invision Community has come a long way over the past five years.
We've added many new features and invigorated the front-end user experience to keep it current and in-line with modern interfaces.
One area that has remained largely the same is the Admin Control Panel.
When we released Invision Community 4.0 back in 2014, the Admin Control Panel was updated but has stayed relatively dormant since.
But that's all about to change with the upcoming release of Invision Community 4.5!
The Admin Control Panel in 4.5 has received a substantial update, resulting in a modern color scheme and a clean, minimalistic design.
We felt that a lighter, more open design allowed the content more space and to feel less crowded.
The dark grays have been replaced with shades of blue and aqua which closely reflects Invision Community's new branding, while other colors have been lightened and saturated.
Along with the new color scheme, the overall layout of the ACP has intentionally been kept similar to the existing version, resulting in a design that feels surprisingly familiar yet refreshingly new at the same time.
We hope you've enjoyed this small sneak peek into Invision Community 4.5 and we look forward to introducing you to some more new features in the upcoming weeks!
SJ77 reacted to Joel R for an entry, Master your community's lifecycle to increase your growth
“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of Virgin Group.
We all seek success with our Invision Communities. For too many of our communities, however, we yearn for success but we don’t plot the correct navigation to get there. We haphazardly pursue our strategies, trying new ideas and hoping one will stick. It’s time to take a step back and assess your goals in context to your growth. It’s important to understand the stages of the community lifecycle, and to strategically match your goals with your growth sequence.
Alicia Iriberri and Gondy Leroy of Claremont Graduate University surveyed over 1000 publications across multiple disciplines including computer science, information systems, sociology, and management in their seminal 2009 research paper “A Life-Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success.” Their research forms the foundation for most modern community management, and in their paper they write, “The impact each design component has on the success of the online community shifts depending on which life-cycle stage the online community is experiencing.” The right strategy at the right time will maximize the impact.
Every community goes through a community lifecycle of four stages: Inception, Growth, Maturity, and Mitosis.
Setting the wrong objective can not only fail, it can even backfire and destroy goodwill. Here are classic examples of good strategies that go wrong because of poor sequencing:
A new community with no activity that builds dozens of new boards A growth community not fostering a unique sense of community A mature community not establishing strong codes of conduct
Architecting a community is very different for the first ten users versus the next thousand users. New priorities come into play, community concerns will shift and strategies need tochange. As a community manager, ensure the strategy is appropriate and reflects your community lifecycle to ensure maximum impact.
Let’s take a look at proper goal settings for each stage of the community lifecycle.
Inception is the start of your community. You’re bursting with energy, enthusiasm, and big ideas. While your Invision Community is full of potential, your goal is to turn your vision into reality:
Growth is where the magic of community happens, balanced against the development of more explicit and formal conduct.
Members: Shift your focus from nurturing individual users to creating a workflow that can systematically welcome new members. Promotion: You should be proactive with your self-promotional activities to build community awareness such as email marketing, social media, or mailing lists. Content: Content will now be a mix between self-generated and co-created. You want to highlight community content by others to encourage community expertise. When you create content yourself, you want to start including emotionally-driven questions that connect users. Organization: Measure specific metrics for organization goals, highlight community health and successes, secure funding for ongoing budget and team. Community: A unique sense of community is cultivated at this time with shared experiences and language between members. Members feel excited to be a part of your community’s growth.
Maturity is when your Invision Community becomes critically acclaimed and well-known in the field. Even though your community looks to be run smoothly, there are still areas to address so your community doesn’t stagnate:
Members: There should be a clearly defined process and welcome guide for onboarding new members, an established pipeline that constantly brings on new superusers, and a rewards program that recognizes members for different types of member journeys. Promotion: Your site is well-known, so the search engine traffic and content within your community is enough to bring in new users. You can optimize your SEO at this point. Content: Almost all content is user-created at this point, which means your focus needs to shift to content recognition, organization, and moderation. Highlight the best community content; categorize and properly tag new content so the community stays organized; and scale your moderation to handle the size of your community. Organization: The community is a key part of your organization’s larger success and supports multiple areas of the business. Be a strong internal advocate for the community and align your community with your organization’s new profit areas. Community: Superusers not only have the privilege of creating their own content for the community, but they’ve stepped up as mentors and moderators. Your community has a strong culture that’s reinforced by members.
Mitosis is the stage when your Invision Community grows beyond its original mission, potentially splitting off into new subgroups. Many communities stagnate at this point with falling engagement and plateauing registration, but you’re catching onto the next big trend in your industry to grow into.
Members: New member registrations flatlines because you’re tracking with the industry. Your goal is to continue to delight members with new forms of omnichannel engagement like regional meetups, video conferencing, and headline conferences. Promotion: Your community self-generates organic traffic. Your promotion should shift from trying to advertise for yourself to exerting influence with industry partners as a trusted leader in the field. Content: Members can find the most comprehensive set of resource documents and discussion on your community. Your goal is to distill the knowledge into the best tips and guides for newcomers to obtain the most accurate information as quickly as possible. You should also archive areas that no longer receive activity while finding growth topics in your field. Organization: The community is a critical part of all business operations and integrates into all relevant workflows. You should build custom metrics to measure results, help determine new investment decisions, and streamline business efficiencies at the organizational level that benefit the community. Community: Your community becomes an incubator of new sections in a controlled manner for potential spin-off. Superusers control and moderate their own areas of the site like Clubs or Blogs.
Online communities evolve through distinct stages of the community lifecycle. At each stage, the needs and activities of members require different tools, features, and community management. Certain strategies are more impactful when they coincide with the right sequence.
Invision Community makes it easy to get started with a technology platform packed with features that every community manager can start using right away. But how you get to the first ten users, to the first thousand posts, or even to one billion likes will be a journey that’s truly your own.
Share your success story of Invision Community in the comments below. Did you make any rookie mistakes that you wish you knew beforehand? What are some strategies that you’re pursuing right now, and why do you think it’s an impactful decision for this stage of your community’s lifecycle?
We’d love to hear your journey along the community lifecycle.
SJ77 reacted to Matt for an entry, Team Talk: Your favourite 4.4 feature?
Release parties at Invision Community are a fairly tame affair. You'd think after months of planning, coding and testing we'd want to cut loose and dance the night away.
The reality is we send each other a few amusing GIFs in Slack and then wait for support tickets to start appearing while our developers crack their knuckles and prepare for bug reports to be filed.
It's a nightmare trying to get a photo of our team, so here's a stock image. Just pretend it's us. That's me looking at a report of how much code Mark Wade has refused during reviews
I did manage to find five minutes to ask the team what their favourite feature of 4.4 was.
Here's what they said.
Support, Guides and Keen Cyclist @Marc Stridgen
I'm going to go with 'Post before registering', because it allows for more effective onboarding of new members on your site. People are much more likely to register after just having written a topic, then they are if they have to register before getting started. It also gives you the opportunity to see how many people are not actually registering, and maybe address that on the site.
Developer, T3 support and reluctant AWS wrangler @Ryan Ashbrook
My favorite 4.4 feature is the progressive web app settings. I now have our site pinned to my phones home screen for quick access, and use our site on mobile even more now that I can just hit the icon to pull up our site.
Support, Beta Tester and remembers this when it was fields @Mark H
While this isn’t “a” favorite feature, I most like the steady small improvements to Gallery in the 4.x series. Photography-centric sites should especially like the additions to extended EXIF data in 4.4 so that authors can provide the most detail about their submitted photos…. where it was taken, what camera, which lens, shutter speed and aperture, etc.
Developer, T2 support and airport security fan @Daniel F
As IPS4 consumer, I'm going to say that Lazy Loading and mobile create menu are my favorite enhancement.
As community owner, I'm most excited about post before register and email advertisements.. That's going to bring the $$$
Developer, Enterprise Support and proud of his thorough code reviews @bfarber
My favorite change in 4.4 (besides the overall performance improvements, as I'm a geek for that sort of thing) is the overhauled Conversion experience (which we haven't even blogged about). We took converters and flipped them on their head for 4.4, so you now choose what software you want to convert from, what applications from that software you want to convert, fill in any required details, and the conversion process just launches and runs from beginning to end right then and there. You no longer need to convert each application and each type of data within each application individually, making for an easier and overall smoother experience.
Developer, Conversion Specialist and PC enthusiast @Stuart Silvester
This is actually hard to answer than it seems, there are so many great changes and features in 4.4. The combined performance improvements including HTTP/2 Push, More aggressive caching, SVG letter photos, lazy loading are definitely some of my favourites. After all, time is money. (A smaller favourite is the browser notification prompt change, especially with visiting as many customer sites as I do in Tier 2).
Support, Beta Tester and suspiciously quiet in staff chat @Jim M
The communities I run are about cars and very heavily image based. Whether it's "I have an issue" or simple sharing of car builds, topics get image heavy very quickly and doing anything to improve moving throughout that topic more quickly is going to go far. I feel a lot of communities can relate and why lazy load of images is my favorite 4.4 feature.
Designer, Enterprise Theme Specialist, owner of several super powers @Jennifer M
There are so many changes with 4.4 it's actually really hard to choose just one change that is my absolutely favorite. I would probably say a lot of the more micro features are my favorites. Colored usernames everywhere, lazy load for images, improved notifications experience, text or URLs for announcements, reordering of club tabs, ability to hide widgets/blocks from mobile etc. They are all quality of life improvements that I love and appreciate on so many levels.
We're Steve Ballmer levels of excited about 4.4.
It looks like Rikki's lazy loading is a clear winner. I'm not surprised, it's a real boost for page speed and reduces hosting costs. Personally I'm a fan of the progressive web app settings which, like Ryan, enables me to have our community on my phone's home page.
Let us know what your favourites are below!
SJ77 reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: Turbo charging loading speeds
It might seem a little odd starting a blog on increasing Invision Community's speed with the word "lazy", but I'll explain why this is a good word for performance shortly.
Earlier this year, Google announced that page speed is a ranking factor.
Simply put, if your site is slow, it will be ranked lower in Google's search results.
It is always a challenge making a large application like Invision Community as efficient as possible per page load. A single Invision Community page can pull in widgets from multiple applications as well as a lot of user-generated content with attachments, movies and images used heavily.
This is where being lazy helps.
Lazy loading is a method by which attachments, embeds and images are not loaded by default. They are only loaded when the viewer scrolls down enough to make them visible.
This allows the page to load a good deal faster now it doesn't have to load megabytes of images before the page is shown as completely rendered.
I was going to take a fancy video showing it in action, but it's hard to capture as the system loads the media just before you get to it, so it looks fairly seamless, even with sluggish connections.
Not the most dynamic image, but this shows the placeholder retains the size of the image
In addition to image attachments, we have also added this lazy loading to maps and Twitter emoji images.
Improving non-image attachments
Once we had implemented the lazy loading framework, an area we wanted to improve was non-image attachments.
We have listened to a lot of the feedback we had on this area, and have now made it very clear when you add an attachment into a post. We've even returned the download count now it's being loaded on demand.
Using attachments when posting
All the letters
When we first implemented the letter avatars in 4.3, we discussed whether to use CSS styling or use an image.
We decided to go with an image as it was more stable over lots of different devices, including email.
We've revisited this in 4.4, and switched the letter avatars to SVG, which are much faster to render now that the browser doesn't have to load the image files.
Other performance improvements
We've taken a pass at most areas with an eye for performance, here is a list of the most significant items we've improved.
Several converter background tasks have been improved, so they work on less data Duplicate query for fetching clubs was removed in streams Notifications / follower management has been improved Member searches have been sped up (API, ACP live search, member list in ACP, mentions, etc.). Stream performance has been improved UTF8 conversions have been sped up Elasticsearch has been sped up by using pre-compiled queries and parameterisation, as well as the removal of view filtering (and tracking) HTTP/2 support with prefetch/preload has been added Several PHP-level performance improvements have been made Implemented rel=noopener when links open a new window (which improves browser memory management) Several other performance improvements for conversions were implemented that drastically reduce conversion time IP address lookups now fetch IP address details from us en-masse instead of one request per address Cache/data store management has been streamlined and centralised for efficiency Many background tasks and the profile sync functionality have all been improved for performance Brotli compression is now supported automatically if the server supports it Redis encryption can now be disabled if desired, which improves performance Phew, as you can see, we've spent a while tinkering under the hood too.
We'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know below!
This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
SJ77 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.
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 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.
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!
SJ77 reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: SEO Improvements
It's been said that the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google.
While we can't promise to get you to page 1 for a generic search term, we have taken some time for Invision Community 4.4 to do an SEO sweep.
Moz.com defines SEO as "a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines."
We have the technical skills and were fortunate enough to have Jono Alderson of Yoast lend his time, knowledge and vast experience to improve our SEO.
This blog article gets a little technical. It's completely fine to leave at this point with the comfort of knowing that Google will be a little happier on your site with Invision Community 4.4.
The majority of the changes are designed to send stronger signals to Google and friends over which content to slurp and which to look at a bit later.
Still here? Good. Let us roll up our sleeves and open the hood.
The most visible change is that we've taken pagination out of query strings and placed it in the path.
For example, the current pagination system looks a little like:
Which is fine but it gets a little confusing when you add in a bunch of sort filters like so:
A better approach would be to make a clear signal to both Google and humans that pagination is a separate thing.
Invision Community 4.4 does this:
Not only is this good for search engines, but it's also good for the humans too as it is more readable and no longer confused with filter parameters.
Of course, we ensure that the old style pagination is redirected (via a 301 header) to the new pagination URL automatically so nothing breaks.
These tags are a way of telling search engines that a specific URL is the 'master copy' of a page. This helps prevent duplicate content from being indexed.
Without it, you are leaving it up to the search engine to choose which is the master copy of the page.
yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/ and yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/?sort=desc&field=time may show the same content but have different URLs.
By setting the canonical tag to point to yoursite.com/community/forums/123-forum/ regardless of filters sends a strong signal to the search engines that this is the page you want to be spidered.
Invision Community sets these tags in many places, but we audited these in 4.4 and found a few areas where they were missing.
For example, viewing a member's profile doesn't always set a canonical tag which may confuse search engines when you click on "View Activity" and get a list of content items.
When an application or website wants to tell the visitor that the page they are looking for doesn't exist, it sends a 404 header code along with a page that says something "We could not find that item" or "No rows available".
If a search engine spiders a page that looks like a 404 page, but it doesn't have the 404 header code, it logs it as a "soft 404".
Given the short amount of time Google has on your site to discover new content, you don't want it to hit many soft 404s.
Invision Community 4.4 omits containers (such as forums, blogs, etc.) that have no content (such as a new forum without any topics yet) from the sitemap, and also adds a 'noindex, follow' meta tag into the HTML source.
Google will periodically check to see if the status of the page has changed and happily slurp away when content has been added.
Although the changes listed here don't deserve their own section in this article, they are no less important.
We have audited the new JSON-LD markup added to Invision Community 4.3 to help search engines better understand the relationship between pages.
The profile view in Invision Community contains a mix of information pertinent to the member and content they've authored.
We've ensured that the content areas are using a specific URL, with appropriate canonical tags. This will help reduce confusion for search engines.
If you made it this far, then well done. It's time to slam the hood closed and mop our collective brows.
These changes will certainly help Google and friends spider your site a little more efficiently and have a clearer idea about what pages and data you want to be indexed which can only improve your ranking.
SJ77 reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Increase visitor registrations with Post Before Registering
It's very easy to focus on a single metric to gauge the success of your community.
It's very common for community owners to look at page hits and determine if their SEO and marketing efforts have paid off.
Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation though. The most valuable metric is how many casual visitors you're converting to engaged members.
Invision Community already makes it easy for guests to sign up using external services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.
However, there has to be a conscious decision to click that sign-up button. For some, this may be a barrier too many.
Invision Community 4.4 reduces this barrier by allowing guests to create a post to a topic they want to engage with.
Once they have posted, they are asked to simply complete their registration. They are more likely to do this now they have invested in your community.
This will be incredibly valuable when you consider how much traffic a forum receives from inbound Google searches. With Post Before Registering, you'll increase your chances of turning that inbound lead into a registered member contributing to your site.
Let me take you through the feature and show you how it works.
When browsing the community guests will see the ability to submit a post, with an explanation that they can post now and complete registration later. The only thing they have to provide in addition to their post is an email address.
Posting as a guest
This works in any application for new content (topics, Gallery images, etc.) as well as comments and reviews. It will only show when a newly registered member would be able to post in that area - for example, it will not show in a forum that only administrators can post in.
After submitting the post, the post will not be visible to any user, but the user will immediately be redirected to the registration form with an explanation to complete the registration. The email address they provided will already be filled in.
Registration form after posting as a guest
At this point, the user can either fill in the registration form, or use a social sign in method like Facebook or Twitter to create an account. After the account has been created, and validation has been completed if necessary, their post will automatically be made visible just as if they had registered and then posted.
If the user abandons the registration after they've submitted their post, an email will be sent to them to remind them to complete the registration.
Email reminding user to finish registering
Invision Community already has a feature that allows guests to post as guests without registration if granted permission. That feature has not been removed and so if you already allow guests to post, the behaviour will not change. This new feature is only available when a guest can't post in a given area, but a member would be able to. The entire feature can also be turned off if undesired. If the area the guest is posting in requires moderator approval, or newly registered members require approval of new posts, the post will enter the moderation queue as normal once their account has been created. Third party applications will require minor updates to support this feature. Once your casual visitor has invested time in your community by crafting a post, they are much more likely to finish the registration to get it posted. If you have set up external log in methods, then registration only takes a few more clicks.
This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
SJ77 reacted to Charles for an entry, Invision Community 4.3
We are happy to announce the new Invision Community 4.3 is available!
Some highlights in Invision Community 4.3 include...
We now support Elasticsearch for scalable and accurate searching that MySQL alone cannot provided. There are also enhancements to the overall search interfaces based on your feedback.
Express yourself with native emoji support in all editors. You can also keep your custom emoticons as you have now.
The AdminCP interface to manage your members is all new allowing you easier control and management of your membership.
Automatic Community Moderation
You as the administrator set up rules to define how many unique member reports a piece of content needs to receive before it's automatically hidden from view and moderators notified.
The new Clubs feature has been a huge hit with Invision Community users and we are expanding it to include invite-only options, notifications, exposure on the main community pages, paid memberships, and more.
Custom Email Footers
Your community generates a lot of email and you can now include dynamic content in the footer to help drive engagement and content discovery.
New Gallery Interface
We have reworked our Gallery system with a simplified upload process and more streamlined image viewing.
The full list follows. Enjoy!
We now support Elasticsearch which is a search utility that allows for much faster and more reliable searching. The REST API now supports search functions. Both MySQL and Elasticsearch have new settings for the admin to use to set search-defaults and default content weighting to better customize search logic to your community. Visitors can now search for Content Pages and Commerce Products. When entering a search term, members now see a more clear interface so they know what areas they are searching in and the method of search. Member Engagement
Commerce can now send a customizable account welcome email after checkout. You can whitelist emails in the spam service to stop false-positives. REST API has many enhancements to mange members. Ability to join any OAuth service for login management. Invision Community can now be an OAuth endpoint. Wordpress OAuth login method built in. Support for Google's Invisible ReCaptcha. Groups can be excluded from Leaderboard (such as admins or bot groups). All emails generated by Invision Community can now contain admin-defined extra promotional text in the footer such as Our Picks, and Social Links. Admins can now define the order of Complete Your Profile to better control user experience. Clubs
Option to make a Club visible but invite-only Admins can set an option so any Club a member is part of will also show in the parent application. So if you are in a Club that has a Gallery tab then those image will show both in the Club and in the main Gallery section of the community. Club members can now follow an entire Club rather than just each content section. There is a new option on the Club directory page for a list view which is useful for communities with many Clubs. If you have Commerce you can now enable paid memberships to Clubs. Admins can set limits on number of Clubs per group. If a group has delete permission in their Club, they can now delete empty containers as well. Members can ignore invitations. Moderation and Administration
Unrestricted moderator or administrator permission sets in the AdminCP are visually flagged. This prevents administrator confusion when they cannot do something as they will be able to quickly see if their account has restrictions. You can choose to be notified with a new Club is created. Moderators can now reply to any content item with a hidden reply. Download screenshot/watermarks can now be rebuilt if you change settings. Support for Facebook Pixel to easily track visitors. Moderators can now delete Gallery albums. Automatic moderation tools with rules to define when content should auto-hide based on user reports. Totally new member management view in AdminCP. More areas are mass-selectable like comments and AdminCP functions for easier management. New Features
Commerce now has full Stripe support including fraud tools, Apple Pay, and other Stripe features. Commerce packages can now have various custom email events configured (expiring soon, purchased, expired). Full Emojii support in the editor. Complete overhaul of the Gallery upload and image views. Announcements system overhaul. Now global on all pages (not via widget) and new modes including dismissible announcements and top-header floating bar option. Many new reports on traffic and engagement in the AdminCP. Blog has new view modes to offer options for a traditional site blog or a community multi-member blog platform. The content-starter can now leave one reply to Reviews on their item. Commerce now makes it much easier to do basic account-subscriptions when there is no product attached. Useful Improvements
Forums has a new widget where you can filter by tags. If tags are not required, the tag input box now indicates this so the member knows they do not have to put in tags. Member cover photos can now be clicked to see the full image. Any item with a poll now has a symbol on the list view. Twitch.tv embed support. You can now update/overwrite media in the Pages Media Manager. Mapbox as an additional map provider to Google Maps. Technical Changes
Direct support for Sparkpost has been removed. Anyone currently using Sparkpost will automatically have their settings converted to the Sparkpost SMTP mode so your email will still work. Your cache engines (like Redis) will be checked on upgrade and in the support tool to ensure they are reachable. Third-party applications will now be visually labeled to distinguish them from Invision Community official applications. The queued tasks list in the AdminCP is now collapsed by default as queued tasks are not something people need to pay much attention to during normal operations. When upgrading from version 3 series you must convert your database to UTF8 and the system saves your original data in tables prefixed with orig. The AdminCP now alerts you these are still present and allows you to remove them to reclaim storage space. On new installs there are now reasonable defaults for upload limits to keep people from eating up storage space. Categories in all apps (forums, gallery albums, databases, etc.) no longer allow HTML in their titles. This has been a concern both in terms of security and usability so we were forced to restrict it. Large improvements to the Redis cache engine including use for sessions. The login with HTTPS option has been removed and those who were using it will be given instructions to convert their entire community to HTTPS. Images loaded through the proxy system now honor image limits for normal uploads. We now consider BBCode deprecated. We are not removing support but will not fix any future issues that may come up.
There's a lot to talk about here so we are going to lock this entry to comments so things do not get confusing. Feel free to comment on upcoming feature-specific entries or start a topic in our Feedback forum.
SJ77 reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Device Management
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
One of our more technically-oriented features for 4.2, we have added more detailed logs of user logins, and the devices and IP addresses used. This brings several new features:
Notification of a new device sign in
If enabled, users can receive an email notification when a new device is used to log into their account:
Email sent when a login from a new device is detected
When a user signs in for the first time, a special key is set to recognise the browser on subsequent logins. This mean the notification email does not trigger on a new IP address, which would be annoying when travelling or if using a network where the IP address changes regularly. Instead, the notification is only triggered if someone signs into your account from a new physical device or web browser.
UserCP Device Management
If enabled, a new page will show in the user's settings page showing all the devices which have been used to log into their within the last 90 days (which is recent enough that could still be logged in if "Remember Me" was checked).
Recently Used Devices
Users can see the device, browser, physical location (obtained by a GeoIP lookup) and if applicable, how the login was processed (for example, if the sign in was with Facebook or Twitter, this will show). If they chose "Remember Me" when logging in, they can undo that (handy if you realise you accidentally left yourself signed in on a public computer).
If they see anything they don't recognise, a page to walk them through the necessary steps to re-secure their account is available.
Secure Account Information
New Two-Factor Authentication Setting
"Logging into the front-end" is one of the options of when to prompt for Two Factor Authentication. In 4.2, this has been separated into two distinct settings:
Logging into the front-end from a new device Logging into the front-end from a known device If you enable the former, but not the latter, and the user has previously logged in devices, the system will automatically show an explanation to users alongside the other available recovery option. This can be useful especially if you do not want to offer other recovery options.
AdminCP Device Management
In the AdminCP, administrators can see all the device and IPs a member has used. They can also disable automatic login for any device.
Edit member page shows most recently used device and IP address
Viewing a device's details
The system can also detect if another user is using the same device and will show this in the list of devices.
Users sharing the same device
SJ77 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.
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.
SJ77 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.
The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.
SJ77 reacted to Rikki for an entry, New: Reactions
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
IPS Community Suite has long had a reputation system; first we had a simple up/down system, later updated to introduce a Likes system as an alternative. Whichever system you chose to use, it tied in with our reputation system.
We're pleased to introduce the latest updates to the reputation system, and it's something that has been requested for quite some time: Reactions.
Quite simply, reactions allow users to offer more fine-grained sentiments towards content than a simple up/down or 'like'. They are now in common usage on social networks, and so users expect to be able to be more nuanced in their response to something they see.
Let's see how they work in a post, and then cover the options you'll have available.
What you see above is the default setup for a site that has used the Like system in version 4.1. We include 5 reactions by default:
Like Thanks Confused Sad Haha If you currently use the older style up/down reputation system, don't fret - you'll still get the new reactions on upgrade, but they'll be disabled by default and instead the new reaction UI will show up/down reactions. This gives you the flexibility to decide which of the new reactions, if any, you want to allow.
So, those are the basics - but what configuration options can you expect to see? First, you can of course add your own reactions! We expect that beyond the default reactions you'd expect to find, some sites will want reaction types specific to their use-case. On an intranet, you might want to have 'agree' and 'disagree' reactions for staff to use when responding to discussions. On a gaming community, you might replace the icons to be some graphic from a video game that means something to your particular userbase. There's a wealth of possibilities.
Each reaction you set up can be configured to adjust the original author's reputation count - a reaction can be positive (i.e. award a reputation point), negative (i.e. subtract a reputation point), or neutral (i.e. leave the reputation count unchanged). Our default set won't include any negative reactions, but you are free to configure these and new reactions to suit your own use-case. A user's total reputation count is still shown alongside their content and in their profile, of course.
If you don't want to use the new reactions for whatever reason, you can disable all of them except Like, and it'll behave just the like 4.1-and-earlier system:
Sites that currently use the up/down system don't show a list of names of users, and instead show an overall reputation score for the content. With the new reaction system, you can enable this even if you don't use up/down reactions. This is great if you plan to use reactions as, for example, an agree/disagree system, or where the content score is more important to your site than the individual reaction types.
How the reaction UI looks with the 'count only' setting enabled
As you'd expect, you can click individual reaction counts (or the overall reputation score, if you enable that setting) to view who reacted to the content. This remains a permission setting that you can apply per-group.
On touch devices, on-hover functionality is not suitable, and so for these devices the reactions UI looks like this:
Reactions play well with all areas of the suite, including Recommended Replies:
...and activity streams...
...and a couple of places we aren't quite ready to reveal yet
We hope you're looking forward to this new feature as much as we are. It's already been a hit on our internal testing site, and we're looking forward to seeing how clients customize it for use on their own community.
Developer note: Reactions are one of two new features (the other currently unannounced) so far that make use of PHP Traits.
SJ77 reacted to bfarber for an entry, New: Letter Profile Photos
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
IPS Community Suite comes with a default profile photo which is used when members have not set a profile photo for their account. While this model has served the software well for years, we felt it was time for an update to the software to keep pace with current internet trends. This has led to one of the latest changes you can expect to see with version 4.2: letter profile photos
When upgrading you will be asked if you wish to use letter profile photos, or if you wish to stick with the generic per-theme default profile photo that is used presently. You can change your mind any time after upgrading by adjusting the setting in the AdminCP as well.
AdminCP members list
We have tested many languages to ensure maximum compatibility. The font used in the image is automatically selected based upon the characters to be written to the image, so sites that have more than one language will see compatibility for all of the profile photos that are created automatically.
The colors are not set for each letter. You will notice in the screenshot that each "A" letter photo has a different color. They are chosen randomly when generated.
Letter photos in a sidebar widget
We hope that this change helps bring your communities to life with a little more style, flair, and uniqueness for each new user on your site.
The code is structured in such a manner that third party developers can further extend the feature with plugins. The methods for writing text to images are exposed through our central \IPS\Image class introducing new possibilities in your own custom code.
SJ77 reacted to Charles for an entry, IPS Community Suite 4.2 Coming Soon
We are well into development on IPS Community Suite 4.2 and are excited to start announcing all the new features and improvements.
Our next big release is focused on engagement with your members. You will see enhancements to our Reputation system, new ways to encourage people to register on your community, and enhancements to existing features to make them more interactive. There are also entirely new capabilities we cannot wait to show you ranging from new ways to organize content to tools to help promote your community.
Version 4.2 also features a refreshed AdminCP and default front-end design. Theme changes in 4.2 are mostly in the CSS framework so your existing themes will either work without issue or require minor changes to work in the new version.
Over the next several weeks we will be posting news entries with previews of upcoming features fairly often. Be sure to follow our News section, our Facebook, or Twitter to stay up to date.
We expect IPS Community Suite 4.2 to be out in mid-2017 with a public preview available sooner.
Everyone at IPS has worked very hard on this update and we think you will love it!
SJ77 reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Leaderboard
We are excited to announce the Leaderboard as the latest all new feature of IPS Community Suite. The new Leaderboard is designed to better highlight your most active members and content based on reputation and other metrics. The Leaderboard will greatly enhance both member and content discovery on your community.
First you will notice the new feature of member leaders based on a specific time frame. In the example above it is set to All Time showing those members with the most reputation overall on your community. It also shows the content with the most reputation for the same timeframe so you get a snapshot of both popular members and popular content in one view.
The Past Leaders tab shows the "winners" of each day in a history. The system counts all reputation made each day and logs the members who had the top reputation counts that day. Using reputation rather than post count encourages your members to post quality of quantity which is really important to any site.
Winner Profile Badge
Those who win the day also get a badge on their profile page to highlight that they were the member with the most reputation for a particular day.
Top Members shows you a list of all members sorted by various metrics. By default you will see members sorted by reputation but you can also easily sort by total post content Suite-wide or per-app. All of these views can be linked directly to so if you wanted a menu item to show members who post the most files in Downloads you can just directly link to that sort view.
There are various settings to control the default behavior of the Leaderboard. You can define the default view and how many members to show which is helpful to tailor it to your needs.
We hope you enjoy this initial launch of the new Leaderboard feature. We are excited about the new content and member discovery abilities this offers and look forward to adding new options to the Leaderboard as we continue to develop!
This change will be in version 4.1.17 which is scheduled to be released in early December 2016.
SJ77 reacted to Charles for an entry, Coming Soon in 4.1.17
Version 4.1.17 is in the final stages of development and will be released soon!
Check out the release notes for the full list of what's new and our preview articles for details on some of the most interesting changes:
Better Analytics Integration Tag Quick Edit Default Warning Notes Custom RSS Feeds Word and Link Filters Leaderboard Moderation Improvements Security and Privacy Embeds and Integration We hope you enjoy all these new additions coming in 4.1.17 and be sure to read the release notes for many smaller changes. The big feature in 4.1.17 is the new Leaderboard which we really think will enhance your community.
If you like using pre-release beta versions, the public beta of 4.1.17 will be available in the client area on 28 November. We support betas on live installs with some exceptions so give it a try if you like to be first to try the new features!
SJ77 reacted to Rikki for an entry, New in 4.1.12: Round up
Last week we introduced you to a couple of key new improvements in IPS Community Suite 4.1.12, the new post preview and enhanced activity streams and search. However, this is a packed release, so I wanted to quickly review what else you can expect to find when it is released this week.
4.0 introduced mentions, and since then a frequently-requested feature is the ability to ignore notifications triggered by particular members. In 4.1.12, we enhanced the Ignore Users functionality to also allow you to block mention notifications. They will still be able to mention you in posts, but you will no longer be notified about it.
As of 4.1.12, ratings will now display half-stars in order to be more accurate. Users will still rate whole stars out of 5 (or 10 if configured so), but the aggregated ratings displayed alongside content will be more fine-grained.
Custom date formatting
We have used built-in, automatic locale formats for dates since 4.0, but it became increasingly clear that this did not offer the flexibility that some community administrators desired. As a result, 4.1.12 re-introduces the ability to provide custom formats for dates.
Amongst the handful of new features, there's over 400 other bug fixes and improvements that contribute towards the overall stability of the IPS Community Suite, as we start working towards the next major release, IPS Community Suite 4.2 which will be available later this year. Further fixes for stability in the 4.1 line will come before 4.2 is available.
Please check our release notes to read more about other smaller changes and fixes in 4.1.12.
SJ77 reacted to Charles for an entry, Coming soon in 4.1.10
We are wrapping up testing in preparation of version 4.1.10 release. This is a follow up to 4.1.9 which introduced a lot of great enhancements.
Changes in 4.1.10 include:
Instant notifications are now dismissible. The sidebar has been added back to the Activity Stream pages. You can now sort by most downloaded in Downloads app. The ModeratorCP and AdminCP IP Address Tools now allow you to track the IP addresses used to vote in polls. A new setting has been added to disable the RSS feed for activity streams. A new setting has been added to specify the minimum display name length. Adds a new "can unban" moderator permission separate to the "can edit profiles" permission being used previously. IP addresses now show in reports. There is now a constant-level setting to disable the ACP IP address check in case of being locked out of the ACP. Several improvements to Commerce to make some features clearer: the Shipping Rates configuration pages now indicate to the admin if a potential mistake has been made, the front-end indicates to admins if no support departments have been set up, and the renewal settings wording has been clarified. And of course countless bugs fixed and performance enhancements. View our full release notes for more details.
If you are an existing IPS client and enjoy testing pre-release software, a beta release of 4.1.10 is available. We always appreciate help testing upcoming releases.
We are already well into development on 4.1.11 which include some larger feature changes and additions.