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I talked to a UX Designer (Ellie Jerow) on my team and here are her recommendations:
- The suggestion of removing the ability to make groups makes me wonder how many different places users have to navigate through currently. Sometimes it's user-created groups, and sometimes it's too big a space structure to start with - I encounter a lot of communities that are too confusing because there are just too many places, which is really unnecessary and can easily be condensed down. That statement makes me wonder if that might be the case. Another healthcare community I worked on had such a complicated space structure - within each product space there were several subspaces, that didn't need to be separated out for any real reason. For example, they had one subspace that existed for the sole purpose of displaying the other subspaces in the product space, in a single widget.
- They say that people like left-hand navigation elements, but the Activity stream doesn't work with that. One of my best recommendations for communities is to have a few standard elements that are the same from page to page. For example, ALWAYS put your calls to action in the top right corner, so that when the user learns and finds them on one page, they automatically know where to find it in all the other pages, too. When I'm making a fairly standard, out-of-the-box Jive community, I usually put the calls to action in the upper right hand corner, with any kind of sub-navigational elements or additional spaces right underneath that. Really, the key is consistency - if they can, as much as possible, follow a similar template from page to page, users will begin to know where to look for things even when they've arrived at a space they've never been to before.
Let me know if you have another questions or if you want to discuss more.