I'd be keen to hear of any best-practice examples for groups and the overview page in general too, as we'll be updating ours in a few days!
Hi Sacha Castle -I've worked on both sides of the fence as both an internal communications manager for a large company, as well as a community manager for clients of Social Edge Consulting so, I have a couple of suggestions that might help. Off the top of my head (and an easy and quick one) I would recommend a featured content widget, so then you could choose to feature content from certain groups as a way to highlight their activity to the community at large - plus, you can pick and choose content to feature (or not) very easily.
Another recommendation, maybe try the "Watch a Tag" widget, and choose a frequently used tag of a particular group to highlight their content and activity (the widget will display any and all content in the community that features that tag). You can then change the tag as needed to surface content of another space or group. Just a couple of suggestions that might help - feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions - and good luck!
We are preparing for our Jive 6 upgrade and added the Slideshow carousel widget to our overview page. We will feature different places on a regular basis (not sure how often we will change them). We are also going to include (either as a Slideshow carousel or just as a list) a section to highlight places recently created.
My only concern with this particular plan is that I think that our experienced users or those that only come to see "their places” will not look at the Overview page. With the ability to choose your default home page (i.e. an activity stream), some people may never see the Overview page or not go there often enough.
I am trying to get real estate on our Intranet (we have a separate intranet) to feature testimonials, case studies, etc. to highlight some successful places or "did you know that this existed?” - as there are several places in our environment that would apply to the all or the majority of our employees (such as Microsoft Office, Innovation, our Culture, or Web Ex). I'm hoping that this will capture some brand new users as well. I'm sharing that stuff currently within our user group community, but again, this doesn't fully capture the audience that I want to target.
So these are baby steps for us.
Thanks for sharing Kara! I agree - there is a chance that regular users may bypass the overview page but I think for us as we are all new users - I'd be happy if we helped out even 50% of our team discovering content and places they weren't aware of!
We may play further with the carousel or a similar content - as long as we are committed to updating it, it's a useful tool. I'm also working on eLearning intro modules to support the intranet (on a separate platform) hopefully this will help less confident users start to explore more.
If our community is any indication, even the experienced users are unlikely to change their landing page from the main Overview page. I was actually really surprised to learn this. We found out by making what we thought was an innocuous change to the layout and getting TONS of complaints. And from people I was sure never visited that page. So don't despair - even though they can change it, many people are likely to leave it be.
We've stuck with the same overview/homepage layout for quite some time.
You have the activity feeds / action etc on the left column (which you can’t edit)
Then we have a large Column in middle which has the carousel widget at the top pointing to featured links / places/ content etc.
Underneath that we have the latest 4 status updates (which are really popular on our community).
Then below that we have a mix of recent content widgets with the aim to surface a mix of content types and stuff that you would have otherwise missed.
On the right we have a skinny column which has some ‘quick links’ – basically some small app like thumbnails that are permanent links to some of our key content (org chart / corporate magazine etc). These are just .jpgs in a formatted text widget. – and the Quick Tips widget.
This layout has worked really well for us for some time.
I've avoided applying lots of design to is as I want to maintain the message that its a networking and collaboration tool, not a meaty website.
That said – I am currently talking to an agency partner to look at introducing some more personal elements to the homepage, using html / java and API’s - the brief is still out and I can update you once we make any decisions.
firstname.lastname@example.org – you’re just around the corner from us. Happy to catch up soon and do a mutual show and tell
When we first turned Jive on, we included lots of dynamic widgets on the home page -- Recent Activity, Popular Content, Top Participants, etc. This is because we wanted to give users the feeling that the tool was being used and there was a lot going on. This worked pretty well, but over time we discovered that because we allow social groups, some of those "fluffy" social topics and topics in the Water Cooler tended to bubble to the top because they are often of interest to the most people company-wide, not necessarily because of any inherent business value.
This created a backlash from employees who only saw the home page and didn't explore any deeper. They started viewing it as a goof-off place for chitchat, not a productivity tool. So we toned down the dynamic stuff and focused the home page more on being a more stable top navigation level for everything under it. This seems to be working well for us now.
I guess my point is, don't expect today's successful design to be successful in the future. Try to keep your finger on the pulse of the community and change the page as their needs change.
Almost identical to what we're now finding.
Fantastic advice! Thanks Dennis.
Great insights Del and Dennis - thanks guys! Del, would love to see the site in some more details, let's defo arrange a catch-up, ideally before Jive World if possible? I'm *really* keen to ensure that our Jive instance (Wave) is as accessible for sharing and reading relevant content as possible, and it sounds like you're moving in that direction already!
Dennis - totally agree. As the platform goes through it's different stages (Beta, trial, launch, established, collaborative...) the homepage should evolve and adjust to ensure everyone is getting the most from the tool. Accessibility is my 'number one' - if someone has something to share I want as few barriers to them sharing it as possible!
On the top-level overview page, I've found that keeping it simple is the best way to go - you want to limit your areas of rotating content because as others have said, if people do start to rely on the existing layout for navigation and it changes all of a sudden, it can cause a "who moved my cheese" moment. The only item I'll add to what others have recommended here is a more prominent custom search bar at the top of the page. For whatever reason, in a work environment, it's a challenge to shift the mindset of hunting and pecking through hierarchies of folders to just typing in what you're looking for or what interests you. It's one of the strangest behavioral changes I've experienced because this is how we find information in our personal lives every day - you just type something in Google and whatever you need turns up. Perhaps it's because most search systems have failed us in the enterprise, but Jive's has been quite powerful in my experience.
Going down to the Groups level, I've found that adding the "Groups" widget to Overview pages can be quite helpful to guide people towards specific areas of interest; whether it's be region, department, or some other criteria. However, to use it effectively, proper tagging is required. If you're not too far down your journey and you have a manageable number of Groups, I highly recommend coming up with a tagging system for your Groups and applying it to your existing and future Groups. Once you've done this, you have much more control of relevant Groups that appear in the widget by defining the tag(s) on your own, rather than relying on what Jive recommends in the "Related Groups" widget.
Jill, couldn't agree with you more on your search mindset thoughts - totally and utterly!
Also, there's some amazing stuff above - is anyone willing to share screen grabs of their overview pages here? Even in a heavily redacted form/a pencil sketch, I think it would be incredibly useful to get the feel/overview of what you guys have done. And thanks already for sharing!
One thing we did differently was create a dynamic page according to a field on the Profile. Since our Jive is synched up with our AD, we can capture business unit, dept, location etc.
So for a few of the larger business units, we added a link to their space on top - that was really the only change. We didn't want to upkeep a different homepage for each business unit.
Example: if you are in Corporate Marketing & Communications, you will the first link under Quick Links take you to the space "Corporate Marketing & Communications." We do have plans to do more of this in the future.