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Platform Upgrades: Introducing Clusters

Angus Rogers

After plenty of head-scratching, scribbling on whiteboards, and conversations with members, we’re extremely excited to launch a new wave of technical features to upgrade the Community Lab platform.

Platform Upgrades: Introducing Clusters

☄️ Introducing Clusters

Yep, badges are gone. We listened to our members and it soon became pretty clear that we needed to make some changes around language and rethink the way we build connections between groups.

In the platform’s new and improved form, groups are collaborative spaces to organise people (they can be either public or private) and clusters are an assortment of groups that share a similar mission or vision (they’re always public). We’ve made it so that any member of Community Lab can create a group or create a cluster in just a few clicks. The goal here is to create a permissionless environment that promotes action.

Clusters can be organised by multiple Cluster Moderators and groups can be organised by multiple Group Moderators. Group Moderators can request to join a cluster or a Cluster Moderator can invite a group to join a cluster.

🧵 Goodbye Weave

Sometimes, less is more. In this case, we’ve decided to remove the ‘weave’ feature that allowed two members to connect in a similar way to LinkedIn or Facebook.

We’ve realised that focusing too heavily on 1-1 connections can lead to disjointed communities and insular conversations that distract from our core focus – to promote cross-community collaboration between groups of people.

📍 Posting In, Not Posting As

Nowadays, many of us have become accustomed to the idea of an organisation talking to the world through the lens of a company logo and a company name. Despite the obvious reality that all organisations are comprised of humans and all of their public announcements are written by one of these humans, we’ve found that posting through a company profile can manifest curated social behaviours that are bad news when it comes to building authentic communities.

With this in mind, we’ve made some tweaks to the platform to encourage individual humans to post as individual humans. All posts on Community Lab are published via a member’s personal profile, period.

This change is reflected in our new activity feed. When a member posts in a group that you are a member of, you’ll notice that the group logo and group name appear on your feed and then a small image of the member who posted the content (plus their name) will be overlayed.

Here's a preview of how posts from a group will appear in your feed.

👋 Silky Smooth Onboarding

Almost every community builder we’ve spoken to has identified onboarding as a critical area that most online platforms fail to fully address.

While we’re the first to put our hands up and admit that our current onboarding process is far from perfect, we’re happy to announce that we’ve made some UX changes that should help to minimise drop-off when a new member joins your cluster or group.

We’re always working to improve onboarding and have some big plans to help community builders paint ‘imagined communities’ as part of the onboarding process to intrigue and excite prospective members.

👀 Discover the New & Improved Discover Tab

The discovery process is an absolutely vital part of successful community building. While the discovery page isn’t an entirely new addition to Community Lab, the changes we’ve made to the browsing experience should make a big difference to the way members interact with the platform.

We’ve added a dynamic carousel feed to showcase snippets of interesting content, an updated view for discovering groups, and a new section that lists high-growth clusters.

We’ve also made some small technical changes to our search bar and updated the topics view to improve searchability across the platform.

🧪 Your Lab Is Smarter Than Ever

After listening to our members, we found that lots of people were using the ‘Discover’ tab instead of the ‘Your Lab’ tab to navigate the platform. The feedback showed that we needed to make ‘Your Lab’ more personal to individual members and we needed to use some more intelligent queries to sort what information we show on this page.

Following the latest development sprint, we’ve pushed all of the most important information to the top of ‘Your Lab’ and added some clever code to make it easier than ever to find your most active groups and clusters.

📱 We've Gone Mobile Mad

Our data shows that the majority of Community Lab members use the platform on mobile as opposed to desktop. That’s why we’ve invested lots of time into optimising mobile experiences and creating intuitive interfaces that are designed specifically for your phone.

For iPhone users, check out this quick tip on how to add the Community Lab app to your phone’s home screen. If you’re an Android user, this video is for you.

🙏 Thanks for Being Part of Our Journey

All of these upgrades are thanks to our existing members and their continued support. Whether it’s suggesting a new idea for a feature, notifying us of a bug, or talking to us about a challenge that requires some lateral thinking, the evolution of Community Lab is all thanks to the people who want to see it succeed.

If you have any ideas you’d like to suggest, please post them here and if you ever spot any annoying bugs, notifying us on this board would be a massive help. You can also use both of these links to vote on suggestions from other members and help us embrace a community-led approach.

Community Lab is an innovation and collaboration platform for positive impact.

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