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.
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!
One of the overarching goals for any community leader is to shine a bright light on your members. Their contributions should be publicly recognized. Now with Invision Community’s new Achievements system... you can!
Achievements is Invision Community’s native gamification system baked into our latest update, 4.6.
We’ve dreamed up innovative actions for community leaders to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways.
Award Points and badges based on conditional Rules!
Here’s what you need to know...
Our Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members may earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community.
Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!!
This is done through creating Rules.
Rules are actionable processes set up in the admin panel.
Here are what members can earn Points for:
Member joins a club
Reaction is given
New poll is created
User follows a content item
Review is posted
Member logs in for the first time that day
New club is created
Content item/comment is promoted or featured
Comment/reply is posted
User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc
User votes on a poll
User is followed
New content item is posted
Post is marked as best answer
There are also corresponding When/Then Rules for each item listed above.
When this action happens, then this subsequent action happens.
Example: when a member posts 10 times, then this Badge is awarded.
Community leaders can also create specific Rules when deciding what actions earn Badges.
For example, reward your members with a Badge for visiting your community for 20 days.
Once a member reaches 20 visits or more over 20 days, the Achievements system will automatically award them a ‘20 Visits’ Badge you’ve previously created.
In 4.6, we’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements.
Achievements’ Ranks system will replace our previous Ranks system*
Set up different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Ranks display a members’ perceived value to the community. The higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated.
Ranks are currently for prestige at the moment.
Here's our example for a pretend Coconut community:
There’s a lot of information to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this blog post it’s this: empower your contributing members with Achievements and watch your community grow. It creates an immersive and elevated experience for your die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn?
When 4.6 and Achievements is officially released for all, we’ll hold a live Q&A event for you to join and ask any questions you may have.
Props? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off in the comments! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!