Last year, Khoros invited internal stakeholders and various community customers to a workshop/interview session on the state of the Khoros community. Here are a few quotes from participants.
"I don't find the look and feel great. You guys build communities – yours should knock it out of the park."
"I want to go to a customer, open our community, and say 'this is what your world should look like.'"
"Navigation is confusing – seems like duplicate areas, and I'm not sure where to post sometimes."
"There's not enough value. It's not fun enough. It's not sexy enough. It's too forum-rich."
After rebranding the Khoros community to "Atlas" later in 2019, we began drawing plans for redesigning the number one place members see when they visit the community, the landing page. We thought that this would provide the most immediate impact on how everyone navigates and interacts with Atlas.
Our primary goals were simple on the surface.
We wanted to approach planning the project with as much insight as possible, both internally and from customer feedback. We took in ideas from all the feedback that we have received in meetings, calls with customer-facing groups, and teams around the organization to form our primary goals.
Improve the customer experience through:
Simplifying the top-level navigation interface
Increased focus on search
Clear content categorization throughout the community
Better representation of member ranks and roles
Encourage consistent Khoros branding across Atlas:
Rebuilding the top menu with brand colors and imagery
Replacing previous avatar images with a branded collection
Planning tasks for a powerful remote team.
Themed Jiras and team communications were our map and compass to success as a completely remote team working through the external stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team syncs were used to discuss navigation, organization, component usage, and cosmetic decisions throughout the project as well as to encourage morale. Jira tasks were worked on collaboratively, with different members leading the goals of each task and assigning developers to execute a bulk of the background magic. Communication and trust in individual team member skills were vital in overcoming many blocks and hurdles, including sizing difficulties and broken code.
Major tasks accomplished
Rebuilt the top menu from scratch
Switched from a hamburger menu to a top menu
Coordinated new branded icons with the design team
Migrated categories to reduce clutter
Reassessed search bar placement
Removed the featured slider from the Hero Area (top area of the page)
Centered and widened search bar
Included community statistics below
Minimized the floating header search bar into an expanding search icon
New avatars/ rank icons
Four new collections of avatars newly created by the design team
Revamped Rank icons
Updates to the What's happening in Atlas component
Posts now include colored discussion style tags
Reduced visible teaser text limit
Refined content byline (Author/Location/Title)
New Featured Posts area/style
Rebuilt to increase the spotlight on content
Remove/move landing page components
Our humble achievements and inspirations
Overall, the project was a triumph for the team and the community. After the initial launch of the redesign, many members were excited by the thought and effort shown in the landing page design. We looked to Alteryx and Atlassian communities as integral sources of inspiration for our top menu design choices, with their use of brand icons as button images and streamlined navigation. We chose to reprise existing Khoros glyphs to serve as buttons with brand colors to represent different categories and products better. Many members felt these changers were far overdue, and despite some minor lingering issues and design flaws, the project is considered a step in the right direction.
Every project is a learning experience.
When it comes to what makes a community successful, often the fundamental trifecta of content, navigation, and presentation is paramount. Of course, these three factors do expand into a plethora of approaches, complexities, and decisions based on the goals of the community. Nevertheless, when critics agree the community isn't performing as expected, a great place to begin is reevaluating the fundamentals.
The Atlas team took on this difficult challenge, and despite being small and relatively new, the team managed to achieve our goals on the target date. The execution of our plans is a testament to the dedication of the growing Atlas team and the pursuit to be our own best case study in the digital engagement space. We will continue collecting member feedback on changes thus far and continue to fix minor issues brought on by the redesign.
What's next for the team?
Our goal of developing the customer experience will continue by further reevaluating search, content organization, and section consolidation. The team will continue monitoring how members utilize the Atlas landing page and the rest of the community for plans to better illustrate the purpose of different areas through sectioned landing pages.
Interested in redesigning your community?
Comment below with any questions you have or reach out to your account owner/executive to facilitate the process.