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  1. If your brand sells a product or service, the first thing that comes to mind as a benefit to building your community is support deflection. And it's easy to see why. It's something you can quickly calculate an ROI for. Let's say every 20 hits to a public question with a solved answer from a client or team member equates to one less ticket. If a ticket costs $10 to solve on average, it's straightforward to see the value by calculating deflected tickets. Let's say your busy public support community had 20,000 hits a month; you've just saved $200,000 a month in support costs. Great! But before you finish there, I want you to consider the rewards a brand community can offer. A public support desk isn't a community. It's likely most of your customers join because of an issue with your product. They tap in some keywords on Google and come across your site. They see a bunch of solved questions like theirs, and they either get the fix and bounce out, or post and wait for a reply. With nothing to get them to come back, once they have the answer they'll likely bounce out then and only come back when they hit a new problem. That's not a community. A community is a place where people return multiple times to collaborate, learn and grow together. "[A brand community is] a group of people who share an identity and a mutual concern for one another's welfare - who participate in shared experiences that are shaped by a brand." - Carrie Melissa Jones For that, you need to look beyond the support desk and expand into more use cases, and there are compelling reasons to do this. Shared experiences Allowing your customers to share their experiences with your products can lead to unique brand stories that reinforce bonds between members and creates social solidarity in the community. A few years ago, I remember reading a post on a travel community. A family were flying with Delta and their son who has autism was becoming more and more distressed with the change in routine for that day. A Delta employee saw this and came and spoke with the family, helped settle the boy and ensured they boarded early to avoid the crush of passengers. It's a small moment of kindness that wouldn't make headlines, but it was very memorable for this family; enough so that they posted about it. This post had numerous replies in praise for the airline and no doubt made many of them think of Delta when booking their next flight. "[Social solidarity is] not just passive tolerance but felt concern for what is individual and particular about the other person." - Alex Honneth "The Struggle for Recognition" All those stories, connections and moments build social capital and loyalty for your brand. Feedback Your customers are already talking about your product. Some of it will be good, and some of it won't be good. They are already talking about it on social media, and in numerous communities, they belong to. If you do not have space within your community for your customers to leave feedback, then you're missing out on a massive benefit. You get a chance to address negative feedback before it spills out further into the public domain. Likewise, positive feedback makes for compelling customer success stories. Feedback is a great way to crowdsource innovation and to guide sales and marketing on how your customers are using your products and where the gaps are. Owning your niche Allowing space for conversations relating to your product makes good sense. If you sold a fitness tracker, then it makes good sense to have areas for discussions revolving around wellness areas such as sleep, diet and exercise. Likewise, a mobile phone network will do well having areas related to the various brands of mobile phones. "There is status that comes from community. It is the status of respect in return for contribution for caring for seeing and being in sync with others. Especially others with no ability to repay you." - Seth Godin Creating these spaces encourages return visits beyond direct support for the product. Those return visits are what makes your community a community. View the full article
  2. One of the most popular requests we get for Commerce is for a free trial period for subscriptions. We've heard from many clients that wish to allow their members a free, or reduced cost trial period before auto-renewing the full price. I'm pleased to say that we've now added this functionality into Invision Community 4.5. Let us take a look at how it works. Initial Terms In 4.5 you can now specify an initial term that is different to the normal renewal term for any subscription plan or product. For example, you could make the initial term $0 for 1 week and the normal renewal term $10 per month which will allow you to create 1 week free trial. The initial term doesn't have to be $0, you can use any special price for the initial term you like. Subscription Plans showing Free Trials For developers creating their own applications with Commerce integration, this functionality is also available to you simply by passing a DateInterval object representing the initial term when creating the invoice. Collecting Payment Details for Free Trials Previously, if you were buying something that is free, the entire of the last step of the checkout would just be skipped and the invoice marked as paid. In 4.5, if: The user is purchasing something which has a free initial period, but also has a renewal term (i.e. is a free trial), and You have a payment method which can collect card details (Stripe, Braintree, etc) The user will be prompted to provide payment details that will not be charged until after the free trial. If the user already has a card on file they will not be prompted to provide the details again but will see a confirmation screen rather than the order just being marked paid immediately. Checkout Process for a Free Trial As you can see, allowing a free or reduced cost trial period has never been easier. We hope that you enjoy using this new feature of Invision Community 4.5. View the full article
  3. We started talking about Invision Community 4.5 way back in November of last year. Now, less than six months later, it's ready for you to test. While we put the finishing touches to a few features, we have set up a preview site so you can test out the new features, leave your feedback and make a note of any bugs you spot. Head over now to the Invision Community Alpha test site. Please be aware that this test site is running in 'development mode' so it is automatically updated with the latest fixes throughout the day. This means it has to work extra hard on each click as there are no caches, pre-built languages or templates to use, so it will be a lot slower than a production version. So please don't worry about it being a touch slow, and definitely don't try and run Page Speed analysis tools on the alpha site! You can read about the headline features over in our product updates blog. Let us know what you think! View the full article
  4. We have announced a lot of new things coming soon with Invision Community 4.5. Most of these are pretty big new features worth a blog on their own. However, we've made a lot of smaller changes that may not deserve their own blog but still have a significant impact. Let's run through some of those. Performance Improvements For every major release, we take some time to run through the code and look at ways to make Invision Community run more efficiently. For Invision Community 4.5, we've made node forms, sitemaps and commonly run SQL queries more efficient, which is excellent news for you and your users who get reduced server load and a snappier community. TikTok Embed Although it confuses me greatly, TikTok has taken the internet by storm. We have added it to the embed list so pasting a TikTok share link automatically shows the video ready to play in the comment. A TikTok Upload Chunking Uploading large files can be tricky. Typically trying to push a large file to a server results in timeouts, memory issues and eventually frustration. We have added chunked uploading when using S3. Put simply; this uploads part of the file at a time to prevent memory issues and the server timing out waiting for the upload to finish. View Members by Rank Very recently, we were asked how you can view all members in the ACP of a specific rank. It turned out you couldn't. This quick change was added into Invision Community 4.5. Showing members with a specific rank in the AdminCP Download Statistics While Invision Community 4.5 has new and improved statistic displays, a common request was to be able to download the raw data. This is now possible. Export stats as a CSV Downloads In Invision Community 4.5, when you require approval of new versions of files submitted to Downloads, the original version will no longer be hidden from view. We've added a new flow for moderators to approve these new versions. Live Meta Tag Editor Invision Community 4.5 seemed like a great time to run through this feature and tweak the functionality to make it more useful. Now it's possible to remove default meta tags, and it's easier to remove custom tags. Closed Tag Autocomplete When using the closed tag system where a user can select from one of your preset tags, we have added a search box to make it easier to find a single tag from a list of potentially hundreds. EU Tax Support in Commerce Tax doesn't have to be taxing! But it generally is. Countries within the EU often have complex tax rates. Commerce now supports multiple tax rates for consumers, businesses and EU VAT-registered businesses. That concludes our mini round-up of all the things we've not talked about yet. Let me know which one you're looking forward to most! View the full article
  5. Ever since Invision Community 4.0, there has been a huge focus on making communities multi-lingual by providing translation features inside the AdminCP. We have received a lot of feedback on our multi-lingual and translation tools over the past year, and we're happy to announce these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5. Pages Phrase Tools If you have the Pages application, you can also use these phrases in HTML pages and HTML Blocks without needing to visit the translation tools area. Simply use the tag editor in the sidebar when editing a page or block's contents. The new phrases sidebar options You can quickly create new multi-lingual phrases by clicking the + icon. The new add phrase dialog Additionally, WYSIWYG Blocks have now been made translatable, so you can now create WYSIWYG blocks that will display their content in specific languages. Translation Tools Language pack creators can now set a version update URL which is checked to notify admins within the AdminCP that an update available, just like the theme system. This is a great way to notify customers when fixes are available. Finally, you can now quickly add a new phrase from the Translation Tools page without the need to use the developer tools. The new "Add Phrase" option These little changes should make a huge difference in your workflow, and make it easier than ever to create fully multi-lingual pages throughout your site. View the full article
  6. If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2. With the upcoming release of 4.5, we wanted to revisit the default theme and give it a facelift for 2020, as well as make incremental improvements to the underlying codebase as a stepping stone to a bigger re-engineering in a future version. In this entry, I want to talk a little about some of the design decisions that went into building the new theme. Goals Redesigning for the sake of it is never a good idea, so we first laid out what we wanted to achieve: A brighter UI with more saturation & contrast and simpler overall color scheme Improved typography Better, more consistent, spacing around and between elements, especially on mobile Better logical grouping of sections of each page Reducing underutilized links/buttons on the page and finding alternative ways of making them available Improving how post states are displayed Modernizing and enhancing the underlying code that powers the default theme Let's talk a little about each of these. Brighter UI The most obvious change will be that our default colors are brighter and more saturated than before. Before making any changes, we first created a color scale for both neutrals and the brand color (blue, of course). This gave us a flexible but consistent palette of colors to choose from, with appropriate contrast built in. Neutrals have a touch of blue too to avoid seeming washed out. We've simplified the style, in particular reducing reliance on background colors to differentiate sections within cards (a card essentially being an ipsBox, for those who are familiar with our framework). Instead, we use spacing, borders and appropriate typography to achieve visual separation. Brighter default colors Simplifying the UI by removing block backgrounds Improving typography We've felt our typography has been somewhat muddled for some time - with a mixture of sizes, weights and colors used depending on the particular context. The first step to improving it was to create a typography scale that we could refer to and implement, to ensure we remained consistent throughout the product. Our typography scale (The keen-eyed amongst you may also notice we've switched our default font to Inter. Inter is a fantastic open source font that is ideal for text on the web, and was recently added to the Google Web Fonts project making it super simple for us to incorporate it into our default theme.) We've been much more deliberate about applying type styles, especially for titles, ensuring that they are always visually distinct from surrounding text. We've done this through both color and weight. As a result, pages should instinctively feel more organized and logical than before. An example of improved typography, from the Downloads app Improved spacing (especially on mobile) We identified that spacing (padding and margins) needed some improvement. A lot of spacing values were arbitrary and inconsistent, leading to poor visual harmony across any given page. Most troubling of all, on mobile sizes we simply halved desktop padding values. While this was a reasonable approach in the days of phones with small screens, it has felt decidedly dated for some time. Phone screens are now typically larger and able to accommodate roomier UIs without appearing comical. In 4.5, we have done away with that approach, and the impact was immediate. Mobile sizes now get a much more pleasant interface, with elements having room to breathe. In addition, we've also made most cards full-width to provide additional breathing space for content. Posts can finally breathe on mobile There are numerous other tweaks across the product too: default spacing has been increased a little, data tables (e.g. topic listing) get extra vertical spacing, and spacing between elements has become more consistent. Improved grouping of related elements Prior to 4.5, most content areas existed inside cards. However, one notable exception to this was page headers and as a result, they could feel particularly disorganized, especially for users who had many controls in this part of the page (such as staff). To solve this problem, we've developed a new, standardized design for content item page headers, giving them their own cards and consistent button placement. Topic view header Some areas don't necessarily fit into the same design pattern above. In those areas, we've tweaked styling to suit the context, while still adhering to our overall aesthetic. Calendar header Messenger conversation header Reducing underutilized links/buttons Finally, another area we identified as needing improvement is the abundance of tools, made up of links and buttons, across pages. Many of these are only used occasionally and so would be better moved out of the main view to simplify the page. Two particular areas we focused on were share links and postbits (both forum posts and comments in other apps). Research shows social share links are used by a vanishingly small percentage of users, so even though they were at the bottom of the page, it was unnecessary to make them so prominent (given their eye-catching colors). To solve this, we've added a share link to the page header, with the social network links themselves in a popup menu. The result is ideal: sharing functionality is unobtrusive but obvious. Share links in content items Comment areas have also suffered from 'button creep' over the years. A typical comment will contain a report link, a share link, a quote link and multiquote button, reactions, plus IP address, checkbox, edit and options links for certain users. That is a lot of visual noise around the important part: the content. We've therefore simplified comment boxes as much as is reasonable. Reporting and sharing comments/posts is now available in the post options menu, as are any tools for the author/staff. Quoting and reacting are two primary interactions for users, so they of course retain their position in the control bar. Simpler postbits, even for staff Improving post states Posts/comments in Invision Community can have many states - sometimes more than one. Posts can be hidden/unapproved, popular, recommended, solved (new in 4.5!) or highlighted because of the author's group. It's always been a challenge to indicate these statuses well. In previous versions, we added a border but the most prominent indicator was a flag in the top-right corner of the post. This had three problems: Due to the lack of space (thanks to report/share links), showing more than one flag was difficult. Showing any flags on mobile was messy because of the space constraints. The meaning of the flags was not obvious, especially to new users. Group-highlighted posts had no flag, just a border, which made them even more difficult to understand. With the top-right corner of posts now tidied up and free from fluff, we were able to much more effectively use this space to indicate post statuses. In 4.5, posts and comments will show badges when they have a particular status, as well as a more attractive semi-transparent border. For group-highlighted posts, we show the group name instead (the colors of this highlight are still controllable via theme settings). A post with two states: group highlighted and popular This works much better on mobile too, where the status badges get the prominence they deserve: Mobile post statuses Modernizing the underlying code I wrote about the technical improvements behind the theme in a previous entry. If you're a theme designer or edit the theme for your own community, go and check it out now! Wrapping up As well as these large-scale concepts, you'll notice many other smaller enhancements as you start using the new theme. I've shown some snippets of pages in the screenshots above, but I've included some full-page views below so you can see the overall aesthetic and how these pieces fit together. Modernizing and refreshing our default theme has been needed for some time, but we view this as just a stepping stone to future work that will be reserved for a major version bump, and we're excited to figure out where we go next. Screenshots Desktop forum views (click to expand) Mobile forum views (click to expand) Activity streams & messenger (click to expand) View the full article
  7. If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2. With the upcoming release of 4.5, we wanted to revisit the default theme and give it a facelift for 2020, as well as make incremental improvements to the underlying codebase as a stepping stone to a bigger re-engineering in a future version. Keep an eye out for our next blog for more on the facelift. In this entry, I want to go over some of the design and code-level changes we've implemented that will be of particular interest to third-party theme designers, or those building a custom theme for their community. IE11 Support Until now, we've supported IE11 as a 'B' browser - meaning we didn't aim for perfect support (especially visually), but did aim to make all functionality work, and we fixed IE11-specific issues if possible. As of 4.5, we no longer support IE11 in any way and Invision Community will not work well in that browser. By removing support for IE11, we are able to make use of newer CSS technologies which significantly eases development for us and third-party designers. I'll discuss some of those below. Combined theme settings We've combined a number of existing theme settings into one new setting. We've found that settings like poll_bar, step_background, rating_hover and so on are nearly always set to the same color - typically the site's main brand color. These settings have therefore been replaced with one new brand_color setting, which is used throughout the CSS in places where this primary color would be needed. This will simplify the early stages of theme development and make it easier to match branding in Invision Community. Front end colors Removing hardcoded colors While our theme settings have allowed community owners to change most colors, there were still many hardcoded in our CSS framework. These were typically neutral colors used for things like 'close' links, semi-transparent backgrounds and so on, but it was enough to make creating a dark theme an unrealistic prospect without an awful lot of effort (and kudos to those designers who have offered dark themes up until now!). In 4.5, we've removed hardcoded colors from our framework, and instead rely on colors already defined by theme settings. You can now, finally, create a dark theme just by editing the built-in theme settings. Type scale & {fontsize} tag While we've had fixed type-size classes (e.g. ipsType_normal) for a long time, in practice many elements had their own font sizes set. This leads to inconsistency and poor visual rhythm too. Another side effect is it was also tough to globally change the font size (such as for branding purposes, or to create a theme for visually-impaired users). To solve these problems, we first created a type scale; that is, a fixed number of sizes to choose from. A product the size of Invision Community does have need for a flexibility, so we settled on the following scale: x_small: 12; small: 13; medium: 14; base: 16; large: 18; x_large: 20; 2x_large: 24; 3x_large: 30; 4x_large: 36. All of these values are editable as theme settings, so each theme can adjust the type scale used. Our default CSS in 4.5 has been fully updated to put all type on this scale. To actually make use of these settings, we have added a new {fontsize} tag which accepts either a scale key, or a specific pixel size (for those occasional situations where a specific size is absolutely needed, e.g. icons). Why couldn't we just use {theme="x_small"}, or even CSS variables? To solve the problem of globally scaling text, we have also added a percentage-based scale setting that will save you from having to create your own type scale. The {fontsize} tag automatically applies the global scale to any values passed into it. Want text in your theme to be twice as big as default? Simply set the global type scale to 200% and the entire theme will reflect the change immediately. The new font size options Spacing scale The lack of a consistent spacing scale has led to some arbitrary values being used in any given situation, which again has had a negative impact on the visual harmony of our design. We've therefore implemented a 4px spacing scale (using CSS variables rather than theme settings this time) and applied across almost all padding/margin values. In time, we anticipate fully switching all measurement values to the scale. New CSS class families We have added a range of new spacing classes for padding and margins, allowing far more control over how these are applied, especially on different device sizes. Previously, ipsPad (15px) was simply halved on small screens - with no 'opt-out' short of adding specific CSS. We've felt this has been imprecise for some time, especially since mobile devices typically have larger screens in 2020 and don't need to be so tightly-spaced. ipsPad_all now replaces the existing ipsPad, and does not halve itself on small screens. Instead, there's a new responsive naming convention that allows you to apply specific padding on specific device sizes: ipsPad_all:double md:ipsPad_all sm:ipsPad_all:half In this arbitrary example, desktop size (the default) get double padding, medium (tablets) get regular padding and small (phones) get half padding. We've added similar classes for top, bottom, left and right padding, as well as horizontal, vertical and none (to removing all padding) shortcuts. For margins, the old ipsSpacer_* classes have been replaced with a new ipsMargin family that work exactly the same as the padding classes above, with the same range of flexibility. The old ipsPad/ipsSpacer classes will continue working as they did before for backwards compatibility, but should be considered deprecated from 4.5 onwards. We've also added a whole range of new ipsFlex classes, also with responsive controls (making it easy to have horizontal layouts on desktop and vertical layouts on mobile, for example), as well as a new ipsGap utility that automatically adds spacing between elements, without requiring manual :first-child/:last-child exclusions. CSS variables & calc() In 4.5, thanks to IE11 support ending, we're finally making use of CSS variables and calc() to make CSS more maintainable and easier to customize. A lot of repeating or often-customized styles - such as form field styles, message colors, card styles, border radii etc. - are now created as CSS variables, allowing theme designers to easily change styling in one place. Instead of magic numbers, we either stick to our spacing scale, or use calc() to avoid hardcoded numbers. The future The work we've done so far is just a 'first-pass'. We'll be pressing forward with modernization throughout the 4.5.* series and beyond with a view to reducing our footprint, improving our ability to maintain our CSS and, of course, making theming easier for our customers. View the full article
  8. Invision Community introduced drag and drop widgets many years ago. These widgets allowed anyone to add blocks to existing views, and to build up entirely new pages. These widgets were great for quickly adding content to a page, but they weren't incredibly customizable. For Invision Community 4.5, we've added three new Page Builder widgets which allow you a little more control. For an overview of this new feature, please take a look at the video below. As you can see, these new widgets offer a lot of customization without the need to code any CSS or HTML. You can add background colours and images, adjust padding and borders and even add colour overlays right from the widget menu. The new Page Builder widget options Blandness be gone! Now you can let your creativity loose on your pages and all other views that have the drag and drop zones. I'd love to know what you think of this new feature; please let me know below! View the full article
  9. Managing a community as a team makes internal communication an essential part of its successful management. There are times where you want to leave notes for other staff on specific topics that you're watching. Perhaps a member is close to breaking the rules, or it might be that you want to keep the topic focused and on point so wish to split off-topic posts into a different area. Whatever the reason, Invision Community 4.5 adds the ability to leave private staff notes on topics. For some time, Invision Community has had the ability for staff to leave public notes. Now, in 4.5, staff can choose between public and private notes. This change was made based on customer feedback, so thank you! We do read and listen to all the feedback you leave. Who is looking forward to Invision Community 4.5? Let us know below! View the full article
  10. Installing Invision Community for the first time is a fun and exciting process. After all, you're about to launch a new community that is going to thrive and attract members from all over, and you want to make sure you set it up just right to facilitate a painless experience for your visitors. If you're new to Invision Community, however, it can be a little daunting when you think about "ok what now?" immediately after installing the software. Though experience, and researching the analytical data Invision Community installations voluntarily share with us, we identified many common settings that most communities change, and it is easy to see why. In an effort to make Invision Community more approachable to new administrators, we have devised an intuitive "new installation" onboarding process that will help you configure the community just right, and quickly. Upon first logging in to Invision Community after installing the software, administrators are presented with a welcome screen. Welcome to your new Invision Community! You can obviously skip this step by clicking away to another page if you wish, and you won't be bothered again. If you click the "Skip this step" link on the page, you will be sent an email with a link to return to the page in the future should you wish to do so. Continuing into the helpful wizard, you will be presented with a screen like so A helpful guided wizard You'll note that there's an explanation as to why you may wish to configure these settings, as well as guidance for where to find the same options later should you wish. Upon clicking next, you'll see the previous step marked as completed. You can even skip around steps by clicking and expanding on them should you wish to do so. Each step is explained in detail If you reached this page but decide that you have to do something else first, there is a "Remind me later" option at the bottom of the page. Clicking it will allow you to resume whatever else you need to do first, but will helpfully bring you back to this onboarding step at a later time to finish your quick setup. Finally, once you submit the form you will be presented with a confirmation page containing links to several other areas that you may wish to visit to get started. Things like setting up forums and setting up groups are common tasks, so we've consolidated links to those areas on one helpful screen as part of the new quick setup. Confirmation that you're doing great so far! This change is but one small way that we strive to ensure our software is easy to understand and easy to use. The next time you set up a new community, we hope these adjustments make the process smoother for you, allowing you to get the backend work done quickly so you can focus on the real goal - growing your new community. View the full article
  11. Invision Community has had different view modes for a good number of years. Forum grid view was added to create some visual interest when listing forums, and we've had expanded and condensed view modes in streams since they were introduced. We've taken both of these views a step further in Invision Community 4.5 Forum Grid View To create even more visual interest, the grid view now allows you to upload, or choose a stock image for the header. This instantly makes for a more dynamic and inviting forum list. The new grid view image headers You can choose an image from the Admin CP when creating or editing a forum. Choose a stock photo, or upload your own Topic List View For the topic list view, we have taken inspiration from our stream view options to introduce a new 'expanded' view mode, which displays a snippet of the first post. The new expanded topic list mode This immediately entices you to engage with the topic because you can read part of the post without having to click inside to see if it interests you. This is controlled via the Admin CP, where you can choose the default view, or turn off the new view completely. Other Changes You may notice a few other subtle changes in these screenshots. The first is that we now included the follower count as a metric on both the forum grid view and the topic expanded view modes. The number of followers is usually a good indicator of how others perceive the value of the content. A higher follower count generally means a more engaging topic or forum. You can also see that we've switched to a short number format to keep the displays clean. Instead of say, "2,483 posts", it will merely say "2.5k posts". Reducing visual clutter is always crucial to maintaining a clean user interface. We hope that you find these new view modes useful and that they make your community even more vibrant! View the full article
  12. Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 2,000 web apps. In Invision Community 4.5 we are launching a beta service of Zapier integration for Invision Community in the Cloud. What does Zapier do? Zapier acts as a bridge between Invision Community and other apps, such as Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more. Zapier has over 2000 apps registered currently, and that number grows every single day. Let us look at a real life example. Right now, if you wanted to add a member to a Google Sheets document each time a new registration was completed, you'd need some fairly complex code to be written that was "triggered" by this registration event. This would take days to write at some cost. Zapier simplifies this by allowing you to connect Invision Community with Google Sheets without needing a single line of code. Zapier allows you to streamline your workflows in minutes. Zapier has two types of events, triggers and actions. Triggers When a certain thing happens on Invision Community, like a member registering or a topic being posted, a trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps. For example, you might create a zaps to... When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators. Invision Community Integration with Mailchimp through Zapier Actions You can also set up Zaps so that when something happens in an external application, it triggers an action in your Invision Community. For example, you might create a zaps to... When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community. Invision Community Integration with Google Calendar through Zapier Self-Integration In addition to using Zapier to integrate with third party services, you can also connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum. Self-Integration through Zapier Frequently Asked Questions What integrations are available? In the beta launching with Invision Community 4.5, Zapier will be able receive a trigger when a member account or content (forum post, gallery image, etc.) is created and send actions to create the same. More triggers and actions will be added over time. Why is this only available to Community in the Cloud and not on-premise licenses? While we assess the needs during this beta period we are limiting it to Community in the Cloud only so that we can have more control over the communication happening between each community and Zapier. When will this integration be out of beta? Later this year. Will third party applications and plugins be able to create Zapier triggers and actions? Because the integration requires an app hosted with Zapier (which is written in Node.js) and this has to be submitted directly by the vendor, it will be difficult for third party applications and plugins to integrate with Zapier through Invision Community's integration. In the future we may be able to provide basic abstracted integrations for third party applications and plugins through an extension API. In the meantime, third party authors can of course write their own Zapier Apps if desired. View the full article
  13. A topic is more than a collection of posts; it's a living entity that ebbs and flows over time. Evergreen topics can see month-long gaps between posts and longer topics spanning numerous pages can end up hard to navigate through to find useful content. With this in mind, we've added numerous improvements to the topic view to bring context and summaries key areas within the topic. Topic view updates Topic Activity The first thing you likely spotted in the above screenshot is the new sidebar. This acts much like a summary of activity within the topic. It very quickly lets you know how old the topic is and how long it has been since the last reply. This context is essential if you are unwittingly replying to an older topic. Most topics are driven by a handful of key members. The topic activity section shows you who have been most active, which may influence which posters you give greater authority to. Likewise, popular days lets you dig into the 'meat' of the topic which may have evolved quickly over several days. More often than not, a single post attracts more reactions if it is particularly helpful or insightful, and this is shown too. Finally, a mini gallery of all upload images allows you to review media that has been attached to posts. The topic activity summary under the first post This activity bar can be shown either as a sidebar or underneath the first post in a topic. If you enable it for mobile devices, then it will show under the first post automatically. The topic activity summary on mobile As with many new features in Invision Community, you have several controls in the Admin CP to fine-tune this to your communities needs. AdminCP settings Other improvements The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a few other changes to the topic view. The first is the badge underneath the user's photo. The shield icon notes that this poster is part of the moderation team. Of course, this badge can be hidden for communities that do not like to draw attention to all their moderators. You will also notice that when the topic starter makes a reply to a topic, they get an "author" badge as their reply may carry more authority. When you scroll down a topic, it's not often apparent that there has been a significant time gap between replies. For some topical topics (see what I did there) this may alter the context of the conversation. We have added a little identifier between posts when a period of time has passed between posts. These changes add a little context to the topic to give you more insight into how the replies direct the conversation. The new topic activity summary gives you an at-a-glance overview of key moments and posters to help you navigate longer topics. We hope that you and your members enjoy these new features coming to Invision Community 4.5! View the full article
  14. We are currently living through one of the most turbulent times in history. A once-in-a-century pandemic has a grip on all of us. Whatever the outcome, come the end of the year, few of us are going to be the same again. We will have to sacrifice our personal freedoms, and some of us much more. Like you, I'm worried about my family, my friends and neighbours. I'm watching the news, scrolling through social media and consuming articles from scientists, scholars and doctors. The news coming out of Italy is truly heartbreaking. Doctors and nurses have to make life and death decisions daily as they wage war with the virus. Those of us in the UK and the USA are nervously watching the graphs climb in lockstep of Italy from just a few weeks ago. It would be easy to succumb to fear and withdraw completely. But as community leaders, we cannot. Let us take some inspiration from the brave people of Italy who have suffered much with an overstretched health care system and enforced quarantine yet still sing from their apartments in a display of resolve. In a time where we have to remain apart, we must come together. We have to keep showing up and leading. We must focus on what we still have and not what is being taken away. Now more than ever, we are needed to keep the world connected. To bring comfort; to support and to love each other. This year is going to test every one of us. But whatever comes our way, I know that we are stronger together. "Their faithful and zealous comradeship would almost between night and morning clear the path of progress and banish from all our lives the fear which already darkens the sunlight to hundreds of millions of men." Winston Churchill View the full article
  15. A short while ago we revealed the new look Admin CP for Invision Community 4.5. The focus was on increasing the workspace, brightening and modernising the look. However, for some this new look was perhaps a little too bright, especially when setting your OS to use dark mode. Rather than cause an increase in sales for sunglasses, I went ahead and implemented a dark mode for the Admin CP. You can set it to work inline with your OS preference, or you can choose to enforce light or dark mode. I'm sure the next question you're about to ask is "Hey Ehren that looks amazing and now working at 3 am won't wake up the neighbours when I log into the AdminCP but can you do the same for the front-end?" The answer to that is "no". Front-end themes are more complicated, so creating a light and dark mode would be largely ignored by most third-party theme authors. Our marketplace has a great selection of dark mode themes already. I hope that you like this little feature addition and I just wanted to say thanks for all your feedback; we do listen! View the full article

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