40 Replies Latest reply on Mar 28, 2014 8:59 AM by l9rezn

    Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

    brooksjordan

      I posted a status update earlier about making the Activity stream available on the homepage, and I'd be interested in any comments in this discussion.


      I'd like the Activity stream to be offered as a widget for the homepage. The newsfeed (Activity) is...

       

      Here's how it went if you don't want to click the link:


      Brooks Jordan

      I'd like the Activity stream to be offered as a widget for the homepage. The newsfeed (Activity) is the heart beat of the community and should be available on the home page. What do you think Ryan Rutan?


      John Schwiller

      We use the Recent Activity widget on the Overview page for this. Not identical but close-ish?


      Brooks Jordan

      Hi John. Yes, I think that's the right choice when the Activity stream isn't available as a widget, but the fact that it's not your own Followed Activity and you can't do a status update in that interface makes it a distant cousin.


      John Schwiller

      Sure - but the only caution I would raise is that if you end up with the Overview page looking 'pretty much' like the Activity page (we are on J4T) it can confuse some users. The more so now that Activity has Community Announcements in J4T/6. I think if you have *two* pages they need clear distinct purposes.

       

      I threatened that I might dump our Overview page when the Summer Release was announced (with updated Activity layout) - but haven' t done that so far. My original Overview page was more portal like but some users wanted us to add activity to it. So now we have Overview and Activity looking quite similar which I don't like. Perhaps I should have rejected the request to add activity to the Overview page but I didn't think through the making the pages similar enough at the time.

       

      I'd almost come at it another way and ask for other widgets to be addable to the lower right hand column on the Activity page (below Trending People) and perhaps that whole right hand column could be widgetised.


      Brooks Jordan

      I definitely agree with you about the two pages being identical. So in addition to widgetizing the Activity stream for the homepage, I think you should have the option to turn the Activity page off.

       

      That means, of course, you'd need to have Recommendations and Trending Content (which are in the right sidebar of the Activity stream page).

       

      I don't really think there's really something that can replace a newsfeed (Activity) on the homepage, including a status update field. The entire consumer web (Facebook, Twitter, LInkedin etc) is thriving because of the newsfeed, which allows you to see what your followers/friends are doing.

       

      In my eyes, it's a must-have.


      John Schwiller

      I'd suggest moving this to a discussion somewhere and asking Josh Richau and/or Olivia Teich to comment (and others)? We've strayed, or I've led you, into what-I-don't-like-about-Status-Updates-territory  


      Brooks Jordan

      Will do.


      Ryan Rutan

      Agreed, Jive Platform would be the best place.   From my perspective, I think it should be widgetized to provide the option.  Not sure where I feel on the turning on/off of the activity page (given that it does more than just display the activity), but that's another conversation. =)


      Brooks Jordan

      That's great to hear Ryan. I think turning it off requires having widget options for Recommendations and Trending Content, but that doesn't seem difficult - you're doing it in Jive for Teams now. Same conversation.

       

      I'll repost this thread as a discussion in the platform space.

       

      (end)


        • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
          crossman

          I endorse the concept of having a widget for activity stream/status update, so that it could be put on the widgetized home page.

          • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

            As a thought experiment, what would you need to have available on the Activity page to feel like you could turn off the Overview page and use Activity as the primary Home page?

              • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                brooksjordan

                Hi Olivia. Thanks for stopping by.

                 

                That's an interesting idea . . . I was actually thinking the other way around, an ability to turn off the Activity page and use the homepage as the primary page with a widgetized Activity stream, Recommendations, and Trending Content.

                 

                But, yes, what you're suggesting might be the right approach. I think the admin would need the ability to add widgets above the Activity stream in the left column and anywhere in the right-hand column. I think Recommendations and Trending Content should be available as widgets for that right column (default widgets).

                 

                Importantly, though, the system admin would need to be able to set the Activity page as the default page, and I would even argue have the option to set it as the only landing page option for users. The reason is that the newsfeed/status update will become the center of the community if everyone is using it.

                  • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                    John Schwiller

                    Agree with most of that. I'm not sure I'd want to put anything above the Create links and SU input field or, for that matter, between that 'block' and the actual stream - but if it was provided I would just not use it rather than argue against anyone who wanted to push Activity down the page.

                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                        brooksjordan

                        I hear what you're saying John. My experience is that it's quite effective to have an HTML widget above the Activity stream for internal comms or news around the company/community so that's why I would want that option. This type of widget would be below the global navigation just like any widget. It would just be the first one in that column.

                          • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                            John Schwiller

                            Sure but J4T / 6 now has that comms / news feature top of the right hand column (not sure if you've seen that yet) - was added in the Summer Release along with the search / find 'improvement'

                             

                            Announce.jpg

                              • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                brooksjordan

                                Great option for sure. But, I think you'd also need to give people the ability to customize a widget in that larger column to the left.

                                 

                                Here's the Linkedin version of that. I think when you have a newsfeed, a status update, and a top/community/internal news widget, you have a very powerful locus point for the community that is both personal and global.

                                 

                                linkedin_newsfeed.png

                                  • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                    This is helpful. Thanks! What you showed here as an example from LinkedIn is recommendations (similar in concept, though obviously different in placement and presentation, to those Jive shows to the right of the stream). Is it the placement or treatment here you prefer, or is it that you'd like to be able to curate what is recommended in this space? If the latter, how would you think differently about this vs. the News to the right that John shared above?

                                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                        brooksjordan
                                        Is it the placement or treatment here you prefer, or is it that you'd like to be able to curate what is recommended in this space?

                                         

                                        Both.

                                         

                                        Companies, distinct from a consumer site like Linkedin, need to do curated internal comms (that employees actually want to read!) and it needs to have the proper real estate, which is in the left column.

                                         

                                        However, the best option, in my mind, for companies doing next-gen internal comms would be a widget, left-hand column, that could be curated and present recommended or trending content in a dynamic, well designed way. Ultimately, this content becomes part of the newsfeed itself, either persisting at the top, as Linkedin is doing it, or part of the moving steam of items or both.

                                         

                                        The right-hand column, on this type of home page, would be fully customizable with widgets and most likely offer Recommendations and Trending content as default options. Other widgets could be chosen or created, including more "news" based on the content strategy for that company.

                              • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                Thanks Brooks. Definitely understand the angle you were coming at it from. There are a number of things that make turning off Activity entirely a very very bad idea (such as the loss of custom attention streams). Hence the request for the thought experiment in approaching it from the other direction.

                                 

                                Activity is already the default landing page for everyone when the widgetized Overview page is off (which is the default setting).

                                 

                                What information is critical to present in your use case that isn't currently coming across on the Activity Page? Or, what widgets would you put where if you could?

                                  • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                    brooksjordan

                                    What information is critical to present in your use case that isn't currently coming across on the Activity Page?

                                     

                                    I may have already answered this in another reply, but the overall point is that a newsfeed binds the community together. If it's not on the home page, then it's not simply one click away, it's often out of sight and mind. So that's the number one thing in my mind, having the option to make it "home." I did this at BlackRock and it worked extremely well (i.e., we widgetized the Activity stream for the homepage).

                                     

                                    But making the Activity page as it currently exists as the default page doesn't go far enough for two reasons. You can't communicate what's hot in the company and community (whether that's curated or recommended) in that left-hand column, which this content deserves, and you can't choose the complementary types of content that are in the right-hand column.

                                     

                                    Without the ability to marry the right content with the Activity stream, it can't serve as the homepage for the community, and I see that as a huge loss given my experiences on the consumer Web and in Jive.

                                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                        John Schwiller

                                        Without re-opening up the Your View debate , the only thing I'd want to add is that a site's members will often have differing visit frequencies. A large, bold LinkedIn-like display is great for users who log in infrequently, are not power users and might miss the current lite version of Community Announcements top right, as added in J4T / 6. Note the current guidance being to not add too many announcements to it.

                                         

                                        However, a user who lives in Jive, and operates in the stream for much of the time - although going off to places when they need to, will, IMO, get annoyed with the loss of screen real-estate by placing a large Linked-In like block above the stream.

                                         

                                        Although I said in the root posting that we had converted our portal-like Overview page to add a Recent Activity widget (at the request of a few users), if I needed to provide a curated or recommended LinkedIn-like page I would do this on the Overview page and not try and force it onto the Activity page.

                                         

                                        I don't think either a single 'hybrid' Overview / Activity page or a discrete Overview page plus a current-ish Activity page is the right answer - I can see different sites needing both, or even different subsets of users on a particular site. And yes, I can feel the fence posts digging in as I write.    

                                          • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                            brooksjordan

                                            I completely agree with you John that it's not either or. Companies have different needs and they need options for how to set up their environment.

                                             

                                            What I'm trying to point out is that right now Jive doesn't give a company the option to set the newsfeed (Activity stream) as "home" and surround it with content. I'm arguing that a big opportunity is being missed because a newsfeed and related content that serves as a home for everyone is what creates coherence in the community. It's not the only thing that creates coherence, but it's fundamental.

                                             

                                            Facebook invented the newsfeed and hit a billion users today in large part because of it. Twitter essentially the same. The communication is all around the newsfeed, not just that it's there, but the fact that everyone shares it as a home page.

                                             

                                            Linkedin is going through a transformation right now and I think it's clearly because the newsfeed has come alive. For the longest time, it was a collection of profiles, and after you set yours up you never went back.

                                             

                                            So, I'm not saying that every company is going to want to use it this way or know how it can benefit them, but I think they should have the option to do so.

                                              • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                                We agree Brooks. We need to ensure that the primary stream experience is a good one, and enables users to manage their consumption. Widgets aren't the best answer for that. And, we also want to provide for your key use cases both for enabling your members and for getting important messages across. The new Company News presentation on the top right on Activity is a step in this diction. Our intentions for curating and sharing streams is another. In terms of navigation, both making it easier to get back to a user's frequent places, and defining key places in the global navigation, are also both on our list.

                                                 

                                                The more you can help us understand the specific use cases you want to enable with the Home page, the better able our design team will be to craft innovative solutions to meet those needs, whether through some additional widget-like configurability, new elements designed into the core experience, additions to the stream, or otherwise. Thanks for the great discussion here!

                                                1 person found this helpful
                                            • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                              Putting one idea out there: what would you think if you as community manager (or person in corporate comms, or...) could create a curated stream – basically, build a custom stream of specific content, people, places, maybe topics – and ensure that every user had access to that stream, or even that it was their initial default (power users could still choose a different default stream)?

                                                • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                  brooksjordan

                                                  I love the idea. Would it (or could it) be part of the Followed Activity stream?

                                                  • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                    AmandaS

                                                    Ideally we'd like to have multiple curated streams and we'd like to have people other than Admin able to manage them as well.  You can think of it like the ablitity to create and share filters in JIRA but we'd want to be able to set them as defaults for people also.  The goal here is to help with onboarding and communications.  When a new employee is hired there are so many things they have to do and learn, we'd want to set them up with a default view/stream based on certain information about them.  Ditto for customers and partners vs. employees entering our community.

                                                     

                                                    Right now we're on 4.5 and we set employees' default home page to the personalized view with the community activity widget and a number of other things relevant to employees.  Customers and partners who join are defaulted to the regular home page and there is content there.  If we could take this farther with curated streams that would be great.

                                                    • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                      cgrassi

                                                      Hi Olivia,

                                                       

                                                      That's a sweet idea!  I don't see a lot of people taking advantage of the streams so being able to default them with a few based on global settings or a permissions group would be fantastic.

                                                       

                                                      It would be cool to have an option on  content to "push" it to one of these streams you manage  OR use the tending content logic to capture what's hot in the community over time.

                                            • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                              lauramac

                                              I would love to be able to add widgets to the activity page. In doing this, I wouldn't need an overview page.

                                                • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                                  Laura, are there specific widgets you have in mind? What is it you want to be able to enable or communicate on the Activity page that is missing today?

                                                    • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                      John Schwiller

                                                      The rich text widget would be useful - we use that for adding links to key content or places. Ditto the HTML widget.

                                                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                        lauramac

                                                        Hi Olivia!

                                                         

                                                        I am mainly looking to customize the page with our branding. Create in essence a home page. I would love the activity stream to serve as this, but I can't add an html widget, featured places, etc. I would want to customize it to serve as the starting point for people.

                                                         

                                                        Thanks!

                                                          • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                                            Featured places makes sense. What do you put in that HTML widget today (or envision, if you could put it on Activity)? Are there things missing from Theming to support your branding?

                                                              • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                                lauramac

                                                                I usually use the html to add button graphics or links. If you look at the attached, if I could have some of these creative elements and widgets with the activity stream I would not need a homepage and activity page

                                                                  • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                                                    That's very helpful, thanks Laura! I think we're on a good path to address the needs you've highlighted on that page with 1) announcements or news on Activity (though ours is on the right on Activity) in Jive 6 and the new Welcome message + Get Started, both in Jive 6 but, importantly for you, configurable for your own language next year. Hopefully as the initial landing experience for new users, these richer experiences can replace the Welcome Message (top right) and New to Jive (upper left)?

                                                                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                                        nbussard

                                                                        This is a very interesting discussion. We just launched Jive 5 today, and as I see our streams fill content, I am wishing I made one more small customization: I would actually get rid of the All Activity tab on the Activity page. Why? I realized that the Recent Activity widget actually allows you to see everything and respond right in the stream, just as it does on the Activity page. (Worth noting that it didn't seem to do this when we were testing over the summer, but maybe I missed it?) Then I would just show the Followed Activity on the Activity page. That would make it so much easier to explain: The home page is the default, with the company news, the recommended groups (formatted text widget or Featured Places widget), some hard-coded links to key help documents, etc. The curated/recommended important stuff goes above a Status Update widget (borrowing from Ryan Rutan's Managed Snippets Plugin), and below that the community feed, still filterable by Status Updates only. Then, you have Your Streams--in Jive 5 these are Activity, Inbox, Actions, and in Jive 6 they are all custom streams, but they are all focused on you. Just get rid of the "All Followed" under the Activity stream and only show it on the home page. Wouldn't this basically get the effect people are looking for in Jive 5?

                                                            • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                              nbussard

                                                              Now that we've been on Jive 5 for a few weeks, the biggest need that we have identified is a list of "My Places" like the list that was there on Your View in 4.5. We had customized the .ftl to add that option to the generic overview page so everyone had direct links to their groups. Now we are asking people to live in the stream, which is great for consuming recent activity. However, there are many use cases that involve a person navigating directly to their groups. For example, if I want to create new content, but first want to check out what content exists already, I want to go to my group first. If I manage a group, I want to go right there. Or I may see a question in my stream and I want to respond with a link to content that I know is in one of my groups, I can just hop over there to find it. I know all of this is there with the Browse and Search, but Search is way too general (and doesn't always work that well) and the filters on the Browse Places are too specific--there is no "My Groups" or "My Places" option, so I end up fiddling around with them or searching within Places.

                                                               

                                                              The fact that there is no easy way to find your groups is the main piece of negative feedback that we get. If we could just get a little scrolling list of My Groups on the right side of the Activity Stream (Facebook has this too), it would rock.  

                                                                • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                                  brooksjordan

                                                                  Hi Nikki. Not that a "My Places" or "My Groups" wouldn't be a good widget, but it is easy to find your places or groups.

                                                                   

                                                                  First: Browse > Places > Social groups

                                                                   

                                                                  Then use the filters in the left-hand sidebar to find groups you're following, you're a member of, and so on.

                                                                   

                                                                  following_groups.png

                                                                  • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage

                                                                    The feedback is totally fair and you are not alone in the request. We've taken one step to address this in Jive 6, which is that when you click into the search box, you'll immediately see a drop down with your frequently visited stuff, including places, as well as your history and bookmarks. So, it's still 1 click away, and that menu does not load as instantly as I wish, but it is shorter than the Jive 5 path.

                                                                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                                        russell.pearson

                                                                        We had Jive Professional Services make a widget like this. It has a status update field at the top too and admins could select key users to ensure their updates always appeared in the stream (e.g. execs and such). Works quite well but it limits what else is in the activity field to only folllowed activity which is a loss of functionality in my opinion (the stakeholders were worried about noise).

                                                                         

                                                                        I think Jive need to look in more detail at how activity streams are put together - Yammer and Socialcast do it a lot better in my opinion and are much more conversational and sticky. A good example of this in action is at the Social Business Council (a group of some of the world's top social business professionals) where we use Jive but most activity gravitates around Socialcast, rather than the alternative Jive platform. We get an upgrade to Jive 6 this weekend at the council so it will be interesting to see how they compete head on after that.

                                                                         

                                                                        Russell

                                                                    • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                                      kcorpolongo

                                                                      I would like to add Northwestern University to the chorus asking for a widgetized activity stream, etc. The active feed element creates a very dynamic and social (almost Twitter like) experience. We are looking to launch soon and will be doing some usability testing.

                                                                       

                                                                      olivia.teich - once I get some data and solid use cases and mockups, I'll share them for your Product Roadmap.

                                                                      • Re: Widgetizing Activity Stream for Homepage
                                                                        l9rezn

                                                                        Any update on the customized Activity Stream widget (creates a status update & shows followed activity) being available on the Home Page within Jive 7?