Public
cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Community Experience Upgrade: Out of the Box with Project Hermes

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

Brand communities are rapidly changing as a result of broader changes in the world over the last 12 months.  In response to unforeseen circumstances, many brands had to shift priorities and resources and build new solutions. The same is true at Khoros, and we recently completed a major revamp of our technology that was not on our plan or roadmap. Since we didn't follow a typical product release and communication process you may not have heard of it.

 

Accelerated need for communities

 

It’s no secret we are living through a rough patch in human history. We are lucky to have incredible tools for digital connection - and none are more powerful than communities. In this time of change, having a brand community to build powerful networks that are more adaptable and resilient is helping many brands succeed. Other brands are therefore launching or expanding their own online communities. As a leader in the space for two decades, Khoros has built some of the most respected and successful brand communities in the world - like Airbnb, Google, Microsoft, Anaplan, eBay, Fitbit, Cisco, Sephora, Alteryx, and many more. One of the challenges we face is that new customers want to emulate these iconic, mature communities as quickly as possible. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Although we get better with every community we build, it still isn't possible to create these incredibly successful communities overnight. What we needed was to optimize the tools and resources we have available to help every new community achieve that success, avoid any pitfalls, and grow rapidly without needing the same level of resources as they did in the past.

Solution

 

New Community TemplateNew Community Template

 

Every new Khoros Community launch is based on years of best practice experiences and comes packaged with the optimal level of services; including front- and back-end engineering, experienced community strategists, in-person and on-demand training, and project management.  This model still works, but to respond to the changing environment, we needed to accelerate our launches while ALSO delivering more of the most recent best practices and technology innovations in this shorter time frame - either via automation or “out-of-the-box.” 

 

Project Hermes was the internal codename for an initiative we launched in June of 2020 in response to rapidly increasing customer demands to simplify and accelerate community launches. We created a team that spanned every department in Khoros: Product, Engineering, Professional Services, Customer Success, Sales, Marketing, and Strategy. Everyone came to the table with a list of challenges uncovered in recent community launches and we all committed to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes to create the best possible community launch (or "relaunch" - more on that later). 

We wrapped up the project in November and here is what we did.

 

Created a new default community theme, including:

  • More modern UX reflecting the latest responsive updates for mobile-friendly, high-performance communities.
  • Updated configurations and settings for to accommodate the newest strategies to optimize fast growth.
  • Replaced “lorem ipsum” default content with actual best practices - such as a “How to Moderate threads” forum thread. 
  • Consolidated customer-specific customizations into a single plugin to simplify installation and enablement.
  • Includes latest Accessibility capabilities driven by WCAG2.1 or RGAA (although not fully compliant on it's own).

Example "Best Practice" ContentExample "Best Practice" Content

 

Benefits

  • Reduce the time it takes to first get “hands-on” with a community from days to hours.
  • Ensure the default UI incorporates the latest community features AND built-in instructions on how to use them.
  • Add new default custom widgets like highlighted content, blogs, leaderboards, and more.
  • Optimized the user experience across various screen sizes 
  • Accelerated launch timeline and introduced a lower cost, faster launch package to reduce the overall total cost of ownership of a community.
  • Reduced the learning curve for new managers and moderators by leveraging best practices as the default content.

What’s Next

 

Not only did we create a list of impactful improvements really quickly, we immediately put it to use. We have launched almost a dozen communities on the new Hermes theme AND started applying it to existing communities to improve performance and user experience. 

Updating Existing Customers with Hermes for UX & Performance

eBay is a great example of an established community that benefited from thsi new template. Like any digital property that’s been around for a while, they had a lot of customizations they had done to their communities. They even talked about it in a recent podcast!

BEFORE

Before: Category PageBefore: Category Page

AFTER

AfterAfter

 

 

So far, we have also seen improvements in performance - most notably page load times reduced more than 35%

We will continue to make improvements on this technology - and we have something even bigger planned for next year. 

If you are interested in learning more about Hermes for your community please contact your Khoros Account team to schedule a demo.

10 Comments
Boss

With regards to the following comment "most notably page load times reduced more than 35%" what metrics do we have on the khoros platform to measure this pre/post or are other tools used for this, Thanks. 

Executive

We have renewed our skin with the Khoros, we are using this same theme and I can confirm that it loads way faster than previous.

I havent measured it difference can be seen easily and also we for feedback from the users and they are saying that the community is now faster.

I think this is good tool https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?hl=fi

 

Boss

@JacobBo , is it possible to get a listing for the following: Add new default custom widgets like highlighted content, blogs, leaderboards, and more.

I've seen the trending topics widget/component which is pretty snazzy, but haven't been able to see other customizations. Is there some examples you can share, or screenshots of some of the Hermes specific aspects of these? 

Thanks! 

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

@tyw so sorry for the very late response.  @vg could you perhaps share some content?

Ace

Hey team, would love some screenshots as well if possible. Thanks!

Boss

Hey, from my own experience Hermès wasn’t out the box ready but much better than previous versions. I rebuilt our entire community from ground up based off the Hermès theme this July, welcome to take a look 

https://community.talktalk.co.uk

Ace

@Fellsterukdid you have a lot of customizations prior to moving to Hermes? We're considering moving but have a LOT of customizations which is throwing a wrench in the process. 

 

Boss

I know your struggle. 

Short answer, consider all customizations null n void as everything “maybe not everything but close to it” in my experience will need rebuilding. 

I’ll be honest I hate boiler plate forums and I’ve done everything in my power since 2007 when I did my first one to make them as visual and engaging as possible and this means vast customization normally because all templates and OTB stuff is table after table box after box filled with text on text, no thanks,  you can checkout the befores on the way back machine 

https://web.archive.org/web/20201218134835/https://community.talktalk.co.uk/

my community was getting a little dated we also had a new brand which had gone live so I made the conscious jump to redesign the entire site based on Hermès aligned to new brand but with the customization we wanted to keep, was a pretty big piece of work and completed on shoestring budget so wasn’t fast we also found that some stuff in Hermès didn’t work like it did on the old responsive peak like labels widgets in blogs was odd so we had to modify the design as we built as we wanted to try and use as much of OTB as possible  

but I’m glad I did but that’s mostly due to our new branding looking better than any transformation Hermès has brought again because we’re customized a fair bit  

just my opinion so feel free to ignore but if I was looking to do the same “right now” I wouldn’t unless there was significant pressure internally to update your sites look n feel. The one and only reason why I say this is because of Aurora. 

Whilst we don’t know a lot about this yet, one thing is clear it’s a total rework of everything and will “I hope” flip the community product on its head “for the better” making our life much easier to build and tweak pages

So, the reason I wouldn’t do a Hermès “rebuild” right now is that you very likely will have to do an Aurora “rebuild/migration” now if this is 2 years out who cares but it doesn’t feel like it’s that far away and I know the product guys have been working on it for a long time so I’m excited it could drop soon in beta or early release and if you can wait till then and get in as early adopter it may be the wiser move. 

just my thoughts…. And I have no issues with Hermès it worked well the new default layouts for category and board pages making use of images for example was a nice step forward. 

Guide

How Hermes theme improve/enhance the options for Archival process? Are there any new features provided with this theme for archival process?

If yes, Please share the related documentation.

Boss

Hi @rapalaku , the archive feature is independent from Hermes. 

For details on the content archive feature, as well as the bulk archive feature which is available in the 22.2 release can be found below.