New media players & chat, now on your social network!

We’re excited to announce that tonight’s release is now live on your social network. We blogged about the features in this release here, and the highlights are:

  • Your video, photos and music players now sport an updated look, with icons that match the theme and colors of your social network
  • Redesigned, persistent chat feature, with optional audio notifications and ability to pop out Chat into a new window
  • Appearance enhancements, including new default avatars for members, groups and events

If you have any questions about this release, please contact us via the Ning Help Center.

Monday, March 2nd Update:

Thanks for the great feedback you’ve provided on chat so far. We just put out a mini release to make the font a bit bigger and easier to read. We also adjusted a few links to make chat a bit easier to find.  If you have any questions, drop us a line in the Ning Help Center. Thanks!

About the Author:

Evan Goldin – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.


  • jonathan wood

    Wow! Great job and quick too!

  • Tharindu

    yep, great work, now most of the members can chat each other much easily. That will certainly improve the interaction more. Thanks to all Ning guys !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Petroy AkA Fuxx

    wow!! love the new features!!!good work guyz!!

  • guillePagano

    Great update but there is something i dont like at all
    Before the uopdate in the lateste activity when someone left a coment it said ” John lef a comment or John posted ….” and now it just says “1member left a commet” i dont show the name of the people in the latest activity, Do u understand what i mean? It makes it very unpersonal and boring
    can i change this?
    thanks

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hi Guille!

    Just wanted to let you know this is filed and will be fixed as soon as possible! Thanks for reporting it.

  • ralph

    Love the Chat feature. Slightly disjointed with the music player – the add to my profile link inside the player seems to have been removed. The main playlist is still limited to 100 – and its quite hard to control which 100.

    Still nice work – but just not the playlist overhaul I was hoping for

  • Ash

    Is there a way or an option to revert back to the old chat software? My members are not happy with the new chat.

  • mirage

    Really, I love it…. it’s rocking……… can’t describe in word

  • SEXY EVERTONIAN

    Where have all the good SMILIES gone !!! lol

  • John Wills

    Holy Teeny Tiny Icons, Batman!

    I really like the new chat feature but the 50-60+ year old, computer semi-literate, weak-eyed folks who frequent my sites won’t likely SEE those little icons much less understand what they are for.

    I will likely have to take up main page real estate to explain them.

    You already have a loop link back to the site (what’s the point of that ?) and the word “chat” that doesn’t do anything—why not use it for a link to pop up chat or to explain the icons—or SOMEthing? ;-)

    Regardless of how far you zoom in on the page, the icons remain very tiny.

    Why not take a few more vertical and horizontal pixels and make the icons large enough for older folks to see and also have the option to use icons, text or a combination of both. Or at least have title tags appear on hover like, “open chat window” “detach chat” “close chat” “connect/disconnect”

    None of those things will take up real estate and will make the UI much more friendly.

    Lest you think this is all negative, let me assure you that I really like Ning and can’t thank you enough for helping to get my extended family and my classmates (H.S. class of ’63) communicating.

    I really appreciate the improvements you are constantly making.

  • Lao Buddy

    Thanks Ning, I like the fact that comments are now hidden from visitors that are not logged in (Spy’s). Big improvement!.
    I also like having the chat a little more modern and up to Social Network standards.

    Good Job!

  • Martin Martinez

    cannot seem to shuffle my music…otherwise nice job!

  • ColoredPeople.net

    The new chat feature is very inconvenient and not user friendly. We miss having chat on the right side of the network page when we can easily see who is online and access chat regardless on what page we are on.

    We could move from one profile, blog, forum and still have chat active and continue our discussion…. this new chat, we are taken to a completely separate screen removed from the network. We request to be able to choose where to place our chat and have the option to still use the old one if desired. We do realize you spend a great deal of time looking to beter our experience and it is greatly appreciated. However, this change has hindered our interaction and is no longer fluid as it once was.

    Regards,
    ColoredPeople.net
    A global community of artists and art promoters. We are people of all races, nationalities and faith whose talents bring color to our world

  • CitySkip

    Can music still be featured and added to profile pages from other profile pages? I don’t see the link anymore…

  • ColoredPeople.net

    One last comment. Tooltips would help so users can know what the chat icons are for, so we do not have to click on them to figure it out.

    Also REALLY miss the profile pics in our “Activities”. The little icons are not very appealing. Thank you!

    Regards,
    ColoredPeople.net
    A global community of artists and art promoters. We are people of all races, nationalities and faith whose talents bring color to our world

  • Daniel

    Interesting changes! I would also like to see a way to perhaps revert back to the chat, as my members are VERY ornery this morning! ;) Having the chat on every page was something that brought us to Ning in the first place, and we’ll stick around for other reasons, but that’s a big one for us…

    Thanks for everything you do for us!

  • Gina Bianchini

    Hey guillePagano – you’re right. We’ll get this investigated.

  • Marianne Goldweber

    The new chat is going to take some getting used to- the icons are not very self explainitory- even if there were an explaination when you hover over the icons- then it would offer directions.

    In the activity area- the avatars have been replaced with strange little Icons that don’t seem to make sense- I would rather see everyone’s avatar rather than the bowling pin person- or a cluster of 3 (meaning what?) they are not self explainatory. I would rather see the personal avatars- If you hover over any of the icons- there is no explaination of what they mean… The pictures of the members make you stop (visually) to see what has been posted. The icons are also the page color so everything blends in- there is nothing to make you look over there- most people don’t know each other and would like to see who posted a comment or a blog etc. Just seeing- marianne made a comment on a group- does not make me what to see what she said, or posted.

    Also there is nothing to let you know that the chat is in a bar at the bottom.at least capitalize CHAT or Click here to Chat..

    I’m already on the page- why is there a link on the chatbar-for the main page??? That is highlighted but chat is not?

    I’m not liking these recent changes- but I am very grateful for this platform to have my network… Thank you ning…

  • Gina Bianchini

    Hey CitySkip! We’re investigating this right now. It may have gotten omitted but we’re on the case.

  • TexianUSA

    A couple of “tweaks” then to plan grey unnoticable bar … COLOR it or make it flash or something to attract attention to it way down there in neverland. Then perhaps it may at least get noticed more.

    Thanks

  • Ontario Gaines

    I generally like the updates but the chat feature is now not as appealing as before. Members like the ease of chatting from the main page, I think it was better as a module. Also the playlist shuffle isn’t working. Thanks Ning for constantly improving the network.

  • PickUpTara

    Hello Evan,

    I decided to write about your recent release in my LA Internet Examiner column. Keep up the excellent work!

    http://www.examiner.com/x-4522-LA-Internet-Examiner~y2009m2d27-Ning-dominates-white-label-social-networking-platforms

    Regards,
    Tim

  • Social The Magazine

    Give us an option on the look of the video and music skins.

  • John McCullough

    Thank you Ning folks!

    I like the Chat changes, much better than the previous…. A couple questions;
    1. Can the sound notification be turned on by default?
    2. Any ideas why the pop-out window isn’t working on a Mac with Safari 3.2.1?

    Thanks,
    ~ John

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hi John!

    I’m sorry you ran into those issues. We’re working on making it so that your sound notification setting is maintained as you navigate your social network. We thought it best not to turn on the notification by default for everyone, however, as (A) people may not know how to turn it off quickly and (B) on large social networks with very active chats, this could mean generating a lot of noise when you visit the social network, which wouldn’t be a great experience. As for the pop-out window, it should be showing up! Perhaps you have your pop-up blocker on? If not, drop us a note in the Help Center. Thanks!

  • John McCullough

    Hey Evan, thanks! Your reasoning for the sound notification setting is …. ummm …. sound. I’ll be perfectly satisfied if the setting is maintained.

    As for the pop-up blocker …. ummm …. duh! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. I teach my students to check for that first all the time.

    Thanks for your help and your response! Your work is greatly appreciated.
    ~ John

  • cst

    Thanks for the patch – sound now appears to be working!

    This new chat is amazing, great work Ning! Could I be cheeky and table a request for the future? – to be able to delete individual messages from the public chat? Maybe even, like comments, for people to withdraw their own?

  • Jerry Mashaba

    Not sure if it would help but on my site I copied the address from the pop-up and put it on a new tab I created earlier. I then renamed the new tab as Chat. So my members can go directly to chat

  • Gerald Cornwell

    I think the new chat is great. I have a few people that have been complaining, but I just tell them that had this new chat been implemented when our network was created, they wouldn’t be complaining. They would have been use to it. Sometimes people just to not like change. The only problems I have with it personally , is that am no longer able to post a URL in chat and members be able to click on it. Another thing I would suggest is having the option to size (expand)the chat for those who use large LCD monitors and run high resolutions. It can be a tad small and for folks with not so good vision, could be a problem.

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hi Gerald!

    Thanks for your feedback. Both of the issues you mention — resizing chat when popped out and clickable hyperlinks — are bugs that we hope to fix soon. Thanks!

  • TJ Marsh

    Great Job Ning!

  • Lloyd

    Great job on the new chat. I just wanted to ask for a feature to be added…Can you have the pop up box that notifys of a private chat request more obvious? May red or orange! I have had private chat requests and not noticed them until it was too late.

  • CheyenneJack

    As always thanks to Ning for all of their work on the platform allowing us the time to focus on the community.

    Comments from some of the heavy chat users on MohawksRock.com

    1) Resizing both bigger and smaller would help a lot.

    2) More Smiley Options

    3) Report Abuse option is gone

    4) Blocking a particular user you don’t want to see their chats

    5) Auto-links in the chat window

    6) Copy-Paste formatting looked all jacked when I pasted the above into our chat room to make sure we had covered the main things we missed.

    The option to switch back to the old one would be nice, but I also like a lot of these newer features, and I’m sure with time the users will adjust. Just will be nice to make sure they don’t lose some things they’ve grown to like.

  • KicksOnFire.com

    A flashing notification would be nice when someone PM’s you. Similar to Facebook.

  • Oles

    I am unhappy with Latest Activity redesign, especialy with the activity timing in the middle of the record. “Smbd and SmbdElse ARE ATTENDING YESTERDAY someevent” looks in other language as incorrect as in English. Some profile photos are still missing in Latest Activity records. New member counter message for latest activity record should be included to the pluralization script.
    All other changes and UTF-8 names in chat are cool! Thanks!

  • Siosifa Isamau

    Is there going to be a Module for the Chat Room like the Old Chat where you can put on the Right Column?

    thx

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hi Siosifa!

    The new Chat is a persistent bar across the bottom of your social network, instead of the previous module you had before. It will appear on all pages if you have it enabled.

  • Felicia

    I think the chat is ok. Um, but I was wondering about copy and paste. On the old chat we could do that but on this one…no. It’d be really cool to have that back.

  • Hamo Geek Girl

    Apologies if I’ve missed a notice somewhere, but are we able to moderate this chat? I’d like to be able to assign moderators to chat who aren’t necessarily Admins for the whole network…

    Cheers

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hi Hamo!

    You can’t yet appoint role administrators to moderate your Chat feature. Network Creators and administrators can moderate Chat, and we’re hoping to add the ability to assign role administrators to Chat toward the end of March. Thanks!

  • David

    I have many members complaining that the chat is too small and difficult to see. Either a larger chat or the ability ti resize the chat would be a good thing for our older and vision impaired members across the ning networks. perhaps even a embed code we could resize add to a page and add the chat to a tab .

    Also it would be nice to be able to have multi-member private chats I know most my members have been asking for this for a long time.

    I have also noticed that the chat causes a drag on pages and causes them to load slower. this isnt a persistent issue however.

    so far so good though. looking forward to many more improvements to chat.

  • Clark Pearson

    Quoth Evan:
    “The new Chat is a persistent bar across the bottom of your social network, instead of the previous module you had before. It will appear on all pages if you have it enabled.”

    No… it does NOT appear on all pages like it did before. A LINK to it appears on all pages. Nothing is visible on all pages. We had that before too because we had the chat tab. That was a link to it on all pages as well.

    What we want is for it to be visible on all pages in the right column like before. Where we can see the chat taking place on any page WITHOUT having to click on something.

    Cheers,
    Clark

  • http://blog-o.ning.com/author/evan Evan Goldin

    Hi Clark!

    I certainly see where you’re coming from. However, I contend that the new Chat can be visible on all pages — if you decide to open it. When I open Chat and browse around your social network, I’m going to see the Chat feature open on all pages, just as I had in the past. The difference now is that your members have the choice of whether to always keep Chat open or not. But if they do choose to keep Chat open, they’ll see the Chat window as they navigate, no clicking needed.

  • Alex Gonzalez

    I’ve been noticing the improvements to chat. I like how the URL / Online Member Count now opens the chat. Great job!

    Some suggestions:

    1. A blinking chat icon or the word “chat” should be somewhere on this bar so it’s clear to members that clicking it will open the chat. It took me a while to figure out how to open it since it was originally an up arrow (which is now gone).

    2. Once chat is open, there should be a minimize icon on the top of the chat. It took me a little while to figure out how to minimize it.

    3. Maybe not defaulting sound ON for public chat, but maybe it should be defaulted to ON for private chat with a visual notification as well? This way you know if someone is trying to chat with you privately.

    4. We should be able to generate a URL link to chat. In other words a link that goes to my site with chat already open. This way we can link to it from e-mails or even a tab on our navigation.

    That’s it for now… Keep up the great work!

  • Athena von Oech

    Hi Alex,

    Thank you for the feedback— we really appreciate it! We’ll explore ways we can make popping open the chat bar more obvious as well as what kinds of audible notifications chat should make. I’ll also look into whether we can provide a URL to make chat pop up on your social network automatically.

    Thanks!
    Athena

  • Nique

    I’ve started posting the new video players everywhere, because I love them! But I think it would be really nice to be able to have an entire playlist of videos be available from the video player I embed somewhere else … I have my video player set to play featured videos, but there’s no way to go to the next one in my embedded player! I hope I’m making sense :-[ and is there any plan for something like this to be made possible?

  • Athena von Oech

    Hi Nique!

    Being able to create video categories or playlists on your social network and then being able to embed them anywhere on the Internet definitely makes sense and it’s something we’re exploring adding in the future. Thanks for your feedback!

  • nzchick

    So are there any plans of making the music player take on the colours of a person’s profile, instead of just the network colours? It’d look better that way if it matched =)

  • Athena von Oech

    Hi nzchick!

    We’re working on making the music player better match members’ profile pages as part of our upcoming release focused on new visual design choices for your social network.

    Thanks!
    Athena