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How much orientation is necessary for a new community?

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Hi Li Community and Experts! 

 

How much orientation is necessary for a new community? 

 

The community I'm working on (Business intelligence, b2b company) existed previously as a pure tech discussion forum that had no gamification or real community feel to it. 

 

Now, a lot of people seem lost and don't know where to find things, what gamification is, and don't know how to interact on the forum. We have written some blog posts to explain functionalities and the culture, and even created a user orientation video to help them get acquainted but none of these things have seemed to be really effective. 

 

What are the best ways we can help orient users and make them feel comfortable/excited about this new community v. a static discussion forum?

 

Thanks!

Daphne

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Re: How much orientation is necessary for a new community?

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@daphtan wrote:
The community I'm working on (Business intelligence, b2b company) existed previously as a pure tech discussion forum that had no gamification or real community feel to it. 

Hey Daphne,

I'd really zero in on this as the core issue to be addressed.

 

Teaching someone how to use a community is unfortunately a different beast to teaching someone to use a new community.

Kudos and accepted solutions by themselves aren't a drastic change, and the benefits make more sense over time.

 

But what gets to people is when their natural behaviours don't line up. We get into habits without realising it. I know where the reply button is on my community. I know where to click for kudos, I even know where to scan the page to read new posts and my eyes don't run over the parts that I don't need to. It's efficient.

 

But if you changed the layout, I'd be lost. Sometimes openly lost as I looked for the information I want.
And sometimes (and this is the worst part) secretly lost. Those things where you know it isn't right but you don't know why.

 

I'd be looking to compare your old forum layout with the Lithium one. Are you showing new information on posts that wasn't there before.

The Lithium Community has a nice clean style like the one we use at Vodafone. Posts have an avatar, title and username and then the post body.

 

But the default layout has the registration date on the left, message counts (2 of 5 etc), "report inappropriate content" etc.

If any of this information wasn't in your old forum it distracts and confuses the user. More so if there's information that used to be included and now isn't.

 

There could be some information for you to grab comparing a thread on the old forums to what you have now.

You might be explaining the benefits of Lithium and how the new community works perfectly, but the answer your members are looking for is "what's changed", not "how does this work".

 

That of any help?

 

 

Community Care Manager
Vodafone Australia
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Re: How much orientation is necessary for a new community?

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Hi Daphne (@daphtan)

 

In addition to Tim's excellent post, I would just add the (perhaps obvious) point that every user is different and will have different needs. Some will be happy to scour through the Help FAQ text, others might appreciate a short video that shows them how to get up and running. I'd suggest that you need to try to cater to everyone. So directing users to a simple post that explains the basics and some of the most significant changes compared to their previous community would be a good start, but it should also include links to further help and preferably also some visual elements like screenshots and video for those that are visual learners and/or reading lots of text is not their strong suit/preference. 

 

Good luck,

 

Jason

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