We're giving the Community a facelift (and more) — Bulb Community

We're giving the Community a facelift (and more)

edited September 2017 in About Bulb
Hi everyone,

Today is a very exciting day for me, because we're breaking ground on improving the Community. And we want everyone's input to make sure we do it as best we can and that we don't inadvertently change anything you especially like.

So, key question:
What would you change about the Community if you could? And what would you keep the same?

To add food for thought, here are some of the things we're looking to improve:
  • Showing relevant content on the Community homepage
  • Making it easier for new members to post without having to register first
  • Improved registration (especially choosing a display name)
  • Showing relevant results when you search (including tying them into our Help Centre)
  • a "What You See Is What You Get" editor (i.e. when you Bold text in the editor it will appear Bold, rather than showing code)
  • Bulbified notification emails
  • A dedicated ideas board
  • Better differentiation of Team Bulb from members
  • And a bunch of minor bug fixes like the positioning of avatars and page numbers
I'm having a sit down with our Lead User Experience Designer today, and she thinks there is a lot we could do to tidy up and improve. We'll share wireframes for suggested changes here when they're ready.

In the meantime, let us know what would you change about the Community if you could, and what would you keep the same. We'll take those thoughts in and do what we can to address them.

Thanks everyone,
Will

Comments

  • Well, first time posting, however, something I'd like changed is the fact I can't change my display name. Not sure why software designers always like to take your name and stick a number at the end. Hey guys! None of us like to be tagged with a number.

    Good idea to make sure Bulb Team members stick out from the rest of the community.

    Easier sign up for trials of new technology. E.g. On Smartmeters many interested so why not manage expectations with a starting number of how many you need, for whatever trial, that just counts down the places available until it gets to zero and let's people know the trial is full. That way you don't have individual requests that need to be responded to. Might save time and manage the community expectations better.

    That's my first post over. I hope it's helpful.
  • Well, first time posting, however, something I'd like changed is the fact I can't change my display name. Not sure why software designers always like to take your name and stick a number at the end. Hey guys! None of us like to be tagged with a number.

    Good idea to make sure Bulb Team members stick out from the rest of the community.

    Easier sign up for trials of new technology. E.g. On Smartmeters many interested so why not manage expectations with a starting number of how many you need, for whatever trial, that just counts down the places available until it gets to zero and let's people know the trial is full. That way you don't have individual requests that need to be responded to. Might save time and manage the community expectations better.

    That's my first post over. I hope it's helpful.

    Very helpful, thanks.

    We're working on allowing members to change their display names as well. Its being worked on by our tech team as part of another project, but I'll add it to the original post here too. Great idea.

    Interesting thoughts on the trial. On the msart meter trial; that there is still other work for us to do before we can say definitively how many and who we will be able to get onto the trial. So a countdown won't work at the moment. But I think you're right that we can manage expectations better and make it easier for people to register interest. I'll create a form and link to it somewhere prominently so that people can register interest more easily.

    Great first post, and welcome :)
  • I'd like to see combined notifications on discussions.

    Rather than one for each comment, one for each discussion with the number of comments included.
  • @matthew744 - great suggestion, thanks! Noted :)
  • I'd like to see combined notifications on discussions.

    Rather than one for each comment, one for each discussion with the number of comments included.

    Sounds good. At the moment notifications are sent immediately when a discussion you're watching receives a comment. We could instead set up an option for a daily or weekly digest of all your notifications. How does that sound?
  • Hi @Will at Bulb, apologies, I don't think I was clear enough with what I was referring to, I was referring to the notifications dropdown when you sign in on the top right, next to the username. Mine were just filled with the "Smart meter roll out" discussion, so it was harder to find other discussions I was more interested in.

    I've only got e-mail notifications switched for when someone tags me, but the daily or weekly digest might be useful as an option if people want it.
  • edited September 2017

    Hi @Will at Bulb, apologies, I don't think I was clear enough with what I was referring to, I was referring to the notifications dropdown when you sign in on the top right, next to the username. Mine were just filled with the "Smart meter roll out" discussion, so it was harder to find other discussions I was more interested in.

    I've only got e-mail notifications switched for when someone tags me, but the daily or weekly digest might be useful as an option if people want it.

    Ah understood. You're saying t should work more like the Bookmarks feature then (the star a couple places to the right of notifications). This tells you how many responses it's had since you last checked. Thinking about it, we could merge these features as there is a lot of crossover between them.
  • Hi @Will at Bulb , until you mentioned it I didn't know the bookmark feature existed.

    Yes, I think that would be helpful, it removes the need for people to bookmark things they've commented on.
  • Hi @Will at Bulb , until you mentioned it I didn't know the bookmark feature existed.

    Yes, I think that would be helpful, it removes the need for people to bookmark things they've commented on.

    All the more reason to streamline things then!
  • Just use discourse like Monzo and move on to more relevant things imo
  • And another perfect example of why some improvements are necessary, I replied to the old thread (this one, linked from the open roadmap), rather than this thread.

    Basically I agree with @nimish above. I've obviously not seen what the community pages were like before if they've now been improved, but it obviously still needs some work.
  • Yep, still needs work. The community project is still in the works, unfortunately it's just taken a while longer to get started than we hoped. There are always a lot of things for us to work on that it's been pushed slightly every time we come to prioritise it. Happily though we've now come to the first part of it, which is looking at the technical requirements of the platforms that we could use. And Discourse, a la Monzo, is definitely an option. We think it looks great too.
  • Hi @Will at Bulb, thanks for the response.

    I noticed that the upgrade work has been shifted back on the roadmap but good things come to those who wait!

    I think most people would rather the apps (especially Android :bleep_bloop: ) get the most developer love right now.
  • Hey @mowcius, yep exactly. We're excited about everything we're working on but we had to prioritise a little.

    The Android app is definitely something we'll be working on soon. @Sian at Bulb has started a post on this already to start collecting data on it :)
  • edited November 2017
    Is this a bespoke community software? I'm surprised that you didn't choose an off the peg solution like Lithium. Developing your own platforms in house is a massive undertaking. Saying this I expect its critically expensive for a new company.
  • edited November 2017

    Is this a bespoke community software? I'm surprised that you didn't choose an off the peg solution like Lithium. Developing your own platforms in house is a massive undertaking.

    We're currently using Vanilla 2.0 off the shelf. We chose Vanilla because it is open source and we can, in theory, mold it to be exactly what we need. We just need to spend the time to polish it up. Beyond that cost, since we host it ourselves, it's free. Generally, an enterprise community like Lithium would set you back about £25-50k for set up, and the same again per year.
  • @Will at Bulb, did Discourse come up in the initial discussions?

    If so, what was the reasoning behind not going with that or a similar fully featured forum software.

    Compared to Discourse, these forums just seem so limited.
    Sure, there's a lot you could do to mould them as you want, but so many features expected on modern forums just don't exist and it would be a significant development cost to implement them.
  • mowcius said:

    @Will at Bulb, did Discourse come up in the initial discussions?

    If so, what was the reasoning behind not going with that or a similar fully featured forum software.

    Compared to Discourse, these forums just seem so limited.
    Sure, there's a lot you could do to mould them as you want, but so many features expected on modern forums just don't exist and it would be a significant development cost to implement them.

    Discourse did come up, they're the chief alternative software we're considering right now for this facelift. Alongside a couple of others. Vanilla seems feature lacking because it is built off plugins. The basic product is like vanilla ice cream, good but pretty basic, and then there are a lot of open source addons and plugins that you can sprinkle on to make it much more exciting. We need to identify, install and then test the pants off any plugins we want to sprinkle on. Or choose a different software.

    What features would you most like to see?
  • What features would you most like to see?
    I'll have a think about it and get back to you!
  • edited November 2017
    mowcius said:

    Hi @Will at Bulb, thanks for the response.

    I noticed that the upgrade work has been shifted back on the roadmap but good things come to those who wait!

    I think most people would rather the apps (especially Android :bleep_bloop: ) get the most developer love right now.

    Oops, didn't see this til now. Yes, a slight shift back. Our wish list as a company is pretty long, so we have to be quite firm with our prioritisation. Android app is more important to more members, so it comes first :)
  • Do you have plans to share more editorial content with the community about being green, reduce emissions etc etc, these would be great for the home page to be featured along with hot and trending conversations on the home page.
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