It's not new news that Jive is moving from overview pages and widgets to pages and tiles. This process began with v7 and widget-to-tile parity is getting closer and closer with every Cloud release. We've got widget to tile comparisons for v8 and Cloud and many customers who have upgraded to v8 or migrated to Cloud have been introduced to the benefits of pages and tiles in their Upgrade Planning Package strategy engagement. In case you've missed this fairly significant explanation: tiles are responsive, widgets aren't. So while widgets aren't going away yet, eventually you'll want to move your landing pages from using widgets to using tiles. If you have a mobile-first philosophy at your organization, you might want to do this sooner rather than later.
Representatives from Cisco spoke at JW16 about the best practices they've developed for using tiles over widgets (Moving from Widgets to Tiles ). As I mention in Moving from Widgets to Tiles which I wrote after attending their session, I was happy to hear that what they recommend to their users and customers is very similar to what I recommend to my customers as a Professional Services Strategy Consultant.
One thing they didn't cover in their session was exactly HOW to migrate from widgets to tiles. And I'm afraid there is no magic answer. There is no automatic migration path from widgets to tiles in Jive right now. And you cannot have both Pages and an Overview page enabled in the same place at the same time. So here are some instructions and tips that I've given to my customers who are ready to begin the transition now:
- Take this opportunity to do a place inventory and delete any "dead" places (ideally, you already do this as part of your place governance process). The less places you need to convert, the less work!
- Review your main overview pages for their effectiveness. Do they have a lot going on? Is there too much information for your users to digest? How far down does the page scroll? Are users really getting the key things they need to know about the content in the place they are viewing? Now is a good time to redesign and simplify landing pages. Divide and conquer: with the ability to have 5 pages per place, you can surface content on different landing pages all accessible from the banner navigation vs. having long scrolling pages.
- Begin to map the existing widgets used on your overview pages to the tiles that will provide the best user experience. Create a wireframe of your new landing page(s), calling out the tiles you will use. For complex landing pages, I recommend doing this before you start building your new pages. Think about the way that both your mobile and desktop users will view this page as you design the page. Mobile users will see the far left tiles stacked before the display then moves to the top of the next column. Think about what you want them to see first when they visit the place (for example, do you want them to ask a question before they browse the existing FAQs? If the answer is no, don't put the ask a question tile in the top left since that is what they will see first).
- If you have a highly designed overview page that you want to migrate, create a temporary secret place (the same type as the one you are migrating) and use this place as a "sandbox" to configure the pages and tiles. This will allow you to figure everything out before you do the configuration in the real place. (You may not need to use this step for simple overview pages when you have a wireframe to refer to). If you have a Preview Cloud instance or have a UAT, you can do this there instead of creating the secret place in your production instance.
- In your temporary secret place, create your first page by selecting New Page from the Manage menu.
- Name your page (it can even be Overview if you'd like) and choose a layout that most closely matches the old one. And start adding the tiles based on your wireframe or existing overview page.
- Formatted text widgets can be replaced by a combination of banner or carousel tiles (for calls to action, etc). the document viewer tile or the html tile. One of the benefits of the document viewer tile is that the contents of the tile are in a document which is searchable (whereas the content in a formatted text widget or html tile is not).
- Keep in mind that tiles can be moved up and down within a column, but cannot be dragged between columns like widgets. Place your tiles carefully (another reason to plan ahead with a wireframe)
- Copy in any images and the code from any html widgets to your temporary place.
- Once you've got each page the way you want, remember to save it.
- When you are satisfied with your new landing page(s), pick a time when there will be relatively few users using the place and change the settings (Manage > Settings, then click About and then Advanced Options) to Activity + Pages. Repeat the process above to configure the pages and tiles (remember to save!). If this is a big change for users, or you want to ensure that they are not trying to use the place while you are working, provide a place announcement prior to the period of time you will be working so they are aware that the place will be updated.
- Finally, delete the temporary place.
This is a lot of steps, I know! If you are a community manager, consider creating a toolkit similar to the one that Kim England from Pearson mentions here: Four months in the Cloud, what is it really like transitioning to Activity + Pages?. This can help enable your place owners to do this for themselves (with your support, of course)!
I invite anyone who has additional best practices and tips based on their experiences to comment on this blog! I would love to learn what others are doing, especially our JC Community Manager, Libby Taylor and our Jive internal community manager, Kosheno Moore.