06-04-2018 11:09 AM
I wanted to update you on a new Forums project that we are working on here at SANE.
What is this project?
The current Forum platform needs a bit of an upgrade! The very simplified explanation is that we are using outdated technology to run the Forums which means that we have to maintain and update a different version of the Forums for each device (mobile, tablet, desktop).
Typically these days most websites and forums are ‘responsive’ which means they know what device you are using and automatically resize the site to fit the device and size of screen you are using.
In this project, we will be updating the Forums so they become ‘responsive’ (hence the project name being "Responsive"). What this means for us is that we don’t have to maintain three versions of the Forums.
The purpose of this project, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, is to take advantage of new ‘responsive’ technology and also improve the information and services on the Forum.
Are there other improvements we can make?
During this project we also thought it would be a good opportunity to look at ways in which we might be able to improve your experience of the Forums and the information we provide.
The majority of these enhancements will be technical, such as making the Forums run faster and removing technical glitches. We won’t be redeveloping the Forums from scratch nor any making major functionality changes, the aim is the changes will be things that will assist you in your use of the Forums and will be based on user research and feedback.
So, the first thing we need to do is find out from you, the experts, how we can improve the user experience.
How will we involve the Forums community?
During the project we will be talking with a number of people who use the Forums to find out what their experience is like. This will help us plan and design any enhancements.
We need to make sure we have a combination of people with different perspectives. Differences will include:
- Type of member (eg: someone who has never posted right through to people who have posted hundreds of times)
- Location (a mixture of people from major cities, regional areas and rural areas)
- People who use the Lived Experience Forum, people who use Carers Forum, those who use both
- People who have never accessed the Forums before
Member research discussions
There will be different types of discussions with SANE Forums members throughout the project which will help to determine which enhancements are a priority and what can be planned for later down the track.
This research will be conducted by an independent researcher, John, who is contracted to SANE for the period of this project. John is an independent user experience research professional and a specialist in understanding how people use technology and then translating that information into user-friendly online systems.
Soon we will let you know in more detail about how you might be involved in these opportunities.
What is the timeframe?
The user research will start in a couple of weeks and continue for several weeks. The findings from the research will then inform the planning and design of enhancements. These will then need to be tested and slowly rolled out in the second half of the year.
We do not anticipate there will be any ‘downtime’ for the Forums so they should still be accessible throughout the project. If this changes though, we will let you know.
We will continue to update this thread throughout the project, so stay tuned. If you would like to get an email notification each time this thread is updated, hit the ‘Like’ button below and we will @mention you in each update.
We will keep this a closed thread so it only contains updates and opportunities posted by myself or @Lauz. If you have questions though, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to sharing more!
10-04-2018 04:51 PM
As you may have read above, we are involved in a project to upgrade the SANE Forums platform to take advantage of new ‘responsive’ technology and also improve the user experience for members and visitors. This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.
During the project we will be talking with a number of people to find out about their experience with the SANE Forums. We will also be talking to people who haven’t come across the SANE Forums before, to get a variety of perspectives. This will help us to plan and design any improvements.
You will spend one hour with our user researcher John, in an interview about your SANE Forum use. John is an independent user experience research professional who is contracted to SANE for the period of this project. He is a specialist in understanding how people use technology and then translating that information into user-friendly online systems.
During the research interview John will ask you:
- questions about how you manage your mental health day-to-day (if you choose to disclose)
- questions about how you use the SANE Forums at the moment, and about what keeps you coming back (or not coming back)
- to visit the SANE Forums and observe what you do as you navigate around the site
None of the Moderators or Community Managers will have access to the name or contact details of those who participate in interviews.
Will you be paid?
As an expression of our thanks SANE will offer you a $100 visa gift card for the interview.
Where will the interviews be held?
The interviews will be one-on-one. You can choose whether you would like to be interviewed in one of two ways:
- In person (in a public location): We will meet you in a place where you feel comfortable, such as the local library or a quiet café.
- Remotely (via video link): For those who prefer or live in regional or remote areas, we will provide you with a link that will allow you to chat and share screens through your computer (similar to Skype).
Who can be involved?
We need to make sure we have a diverse selection of people so that we have a range of perspectives and ways of using the SANE Forums. This will help us understand the different ways that people are using the SANE Forums and design improvements that reflect the community.
We are looking for a variety of people to be interviewed using following criteria:
- demographics (age, gender, location etc)
- forum experience (non-members, longterm members, etc)
- forum access (mobile, tablet, desktop)
We will choose the participants based on ensuring we have the most representative range of participants for the research.
If you are not chosen, please know that it’s not a reflection of you personally or us picking and choosing who we want. There will be other opportunities to get involved later in the project – so stay tuned.
When will the interviews be held?
We will interview our first round of participants between 16 April and 11 May.
Would you like to be involved?
If you would like to be involved, please fill in this brief form indicating dates and times you would be available participate and tell us a little bit about yourself:
(Copy & paste this URL is the above link doesn't work https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TVKZ2X2)
If you would like to receive updates on this project, please hit the 'Like' button on the original post and I will ensure you are @mentioned (and therefore get a notification) for all ongoing updates.
28-04-2018 12:24 PM
I thought for this update I would give you an overview of the approach we are taking with this project.
In around five weeks (date to be confirmed) we will ‘flick the switch’ over to the ‘responsive’ version of the forums. The new “responsive” version works much better on mobiles, and while it might take some getting used to, is more modern. You will notice some variations to the current site, which we will update you on before the change over.
During May & June, we are also running the user research. Once this is complete, the research will be integrated into the ‘responsive’ version of the site.
It’s hard to say exactly what this will look like at the moment, as we haven’t done the research, but what I wanted to explain in this update is how and when the feedback would be integrated.
We are taking an iterative approach (part of what’s known as ‘Agile’), where once the responsive version of the Forum goes live, we will introduce enhancements gradually. What this means for members and visitors is that you won’t see all the enhancements at once, but slowly released over time.
Our aim is to give an update on new enhancements before anything goes live.
This iterative approach means we can do small bits at a time, which allows us to get feedback on a small enhancement and make any tweaks / adjustments as we go.
Another benefit of this approach is that it allows us to take our time in making sure we do the user research right and don’t have to rush to have everything done and feedback integrated by the same time that we move to the responsive platform.
If you’re interested to learn more about this approach, there’s lot of information on ‘iterative approach’ or ‘agile approach’ online to check out.
Looking forward to updating you more soon!
09-05-2018 11:27 AM
Over the next 3 weeks I will be updating this thread every few days to provide you with an overview of some of the visual and functional changes the Responsive version of the Forums will bring.
You will all be happy to know, the functional changes improve certain tasks and makes things a bit more accessible.
On that note, I will share the first functional change, which is that on the desktop and tablet version of the Responsive forums. is that the 'Login' process will be via a pop-up window (image 1), rather than taking you to another page and back again. Some of the icons look alittle different too (image 2). While the icons and location of the icons are the same on mobile, there will be no pop-up, it will just take you to another page to login.
Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!
10-05-2018 01:01 PM
Just a quick update to let you know that we have filled the current allocation for the initial round of interviews with forum members.
However, there will be another opportunity in the second part of the project in the coming weeks.
For those who put their hand up for the interviews through filling out the online expression of interest survey, we will keep you name on file is an opportunity arises.
We had an overwheling response - so thank you to all those who volunteered 😊
14-05-2018 08:19 AM
Time for another update on the Responsive version of the site.
In this post we are looking at our profile pic, settings, subscriptions and profile.
For those on desktop and tablet, you will see you profile pic, username, notification bell, logout and Help all on the righthand side of all pages within the Forums. While for those on mobile, you don’t have an image of an avatar, just the notification bell at the top left.
There are some slight changes to this on new responsive site.
On all devices, on every page, you will find your avatar at the top right of the page (nothing new for desktop and tablet users).
When you press on your profile pic, you will see a new and improved menu.
There are two big pros to this menu change:
- Mobile, desktop and tablet all have the same experience, meaning on mobile you will have full access to things you didn’t before, like your settings and subscriptions
2. You can easily access your subscriptions, something we know many people struggled with before
We are quickly getting close to our switch over time, which at the moment looks like it will be either the last Tuesday of May or the first Tuesday of June. We will keep you posted 😊