Since we moved to a cloud based version of our community platform late last year, we've been receiving quarterly feature updates. Tonight will be our second such update. In this post, I'll show some examples of changes you may notice. This isn't a comprehensive list, but should give you a basic idea of what is to come as we turn on these changes over the next few weeks. Needless to say, we are quite excited by the changes.
Content Layout Changes
This will probably be the most noticeable set of changes. Most content type layouts will change, mostly to make mobile responsiveness more reliable and useful, and to use the screen space better in full view.
The new blog design layout will bring fixed width and max width design into focus, along with better layouts for images. One change you will notice instantly is the eye-catching banner image on top. This image will also be the primary photo that shows up when a post appears in news streams. We won't retroactively update old blog posts to add banner images, but moving forward the Help Updates will use this more visual element.
Until now, we haven't used the Events capability on Community, but with the improvements in this upgrade, we expect to start. The events calendar can be segmented into different types of events, so we would be able to show events for things like local meetups, webinars, OTAs, new phones (when possible), promotions, etc. Keep on the lookout for our events calendar.
Ideas follow a similar pattern as Blogs, but the emphasis is on voting and the score.
Questions now appear as a completely separate type rather than a check-box option on a discussion. This makes it easier to create and browse questions. There are no other changes to how questions work. They will also incorporate the new design elements.
Documents gain the ability to be marked as helpful and not helpful. They also get a full screen "presentation" mode both on view and create, to take advantage of large displays when working on tables or other embedded artifacts.
Discussions also follow the new design pattern. Breadcrumbs and the actions menu are moved to the top, and related content has moved below. The only other change is the separating out of question functionality, which is moved to a new content type of "Questions".
Video also follows the new design pattern and videos can be found, linked, and played inside of discussions, documents, and questions. Embedded videos can not be re-sized in content. The platform has also moved away from Flash to HTML 5. So now we need to build a lot more videos!
Below are some other changes that are included in the update and that we may take advantage of over time.
- Outdated Content Marking - It will visually be much more noticeable and prominent when a content item is marked as outdated.
- News/Activity Stream Improvements - The activity stream will now give visual indications of what streams have new content for you to see.
- Search PWK - Using Opensearch standards, the global search in the community will be able to surface content from the Republic Wireless blog - Phone, Wallet, Keys.
Future Capabilities Unlocked
- Ticketing Integration - Our platform has added in integration with our back end ticketing system. We have a lot of testing and experimentation to do before we decide if we'll turn this on.
- User-to-User Recognition - Similar to Rewards, this is a fun, simple user-to-user recognition program.