A Little Preview of Updates to the Ningbar

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Happy Monday! We’ve got a nice little mini-release going out tonight that we’re pretty fired up about, but we also wanted to give you an early look today at a few substantial changes we’re making to the Ningbar on your social network. The current target for these changes is Sep. 18 now Friday, Sep. 26 at 6 p.m. Pacific.

Today, all messaging and friend requests happen in an expandable panel at the top of your network, in something we call the Ningbar. In a slightly confusing legacy design, your message inbox contains messages you’ve sent and received only on your network, while your friend requests represent your friend requests across ALL networks in which you are a member — without a lot of detail as to where the friend request is coming from.

In the Ningbar, we also have a panel that currently shows you your friends across networks as well as all the networks in which you are a member. We’re going to be making a number of both short-term and long-term changes to this “Ningwide view” in the coming weeks and months. I’ll also address these changes in this post.

Network Inbox
Here’s a screenshot of the new Network Inbox:

The Network Inbox will now be directly in the network and accessible from your Admin Box — the box that appears in the upper righthand corner of every page. Today the Inbox link opens the Ningbar. After this release, it will take you to this full page Inbox in your network.

Message Detail
Here is a screenshot of the multi-threaded message detail page:

On the message detail page, you’ll be able to see the threaded discussion 25-levels in, and it will now be viewable as a full page as opposed to a microscopic panel. I, for one, am super excited for this change. We will continue to provide detailed previews of new messages in email notifications which will take you to this page to view the entire thread.

Compose
Here is a screenshot of the compose page:

The compose message page will have the option to search your friends on your network to add to the message and is otherwise a pretty straightforward compose page.

Friend Requests
Here’s the new friend request page:

The new friend request page will be accessible from your Admin Box (also known as the sign in/sign up box, which appears in the top right corner of your network), which like your Inbox, currently opens the Ningbar to your friend requests. After this change, it will open to a full page in your network directly and will show only friend requests that are specific to this network.

While you’ll still be friends with your friends on this network on any network across Ning that you join, this new page will have a quick link to the person’s profile on this network. You will also have the ability to send them a message before you make them a friend. This incorporates a ton of feedback we’ve heard from Network Creators since we launched, and we’re excited to (finally!) put this in place.

Your Member Ningbar Panel
One other key change we’re making to the Ningbar won’t be visible until you click on your Member Ningbar tab — the tab in the Ningbar that currently displays your profile image and name.

Rather than open to a panel that shows your friends across networks and the networks you’re using, we’ll take you instead to your My Social Networks page on Ning.com. We will also be working to ensure that this list updates faster than the current lagtime.

UPDATE: We’ve made the decision to link the Member Ningbar tab to your network profile vs. the Ning.com My Social Networks page. As part of this release, we are also going to add a link to Ning.com from a member’s My Settings page so that the Ning ID for authentication is clearly communicated. This link is not promotional, as it is account-related, and will not not be removed if you purchase the “Remove Ning Promotional Links” premium service. Here’s the addition we’re making to the Account page:

We’ll still be back with a greatly improved way to manage your friends and networks across the Ning Platform in early winter. In the meantime, you’ll be able to continue to manage your own networks from one view on Ning.com and, by mid-September, see all your friends across the Ning Platform from Ning.com.

New HTML Email Design
One last thing we’ll launch in early September is a simplified HTML email invitation. Here’s a sample:

We want your feedback
We’re previewing this early today in order to gather as much feedback as possible before we implement this change. We’ve created a discussion on Network Creators, but we want your opinion of these designs.

Let us know what you think!

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35 thoughts on “A Little Preview of Updates to the Ningbar

  1. Evan

    Hi Shirley!

    Yup, you will have to click on the member, and then click on “View all” in their friends module.

  2. Evan

    Hi R. Buijs!

    The messaging and friending center will now be in the Language Editor. That’s one of the best advantages of moving it out of the NIngbar! Hope you’ll put that ability to good use.

    We’ll look into the bug you mentioned.

    Thanks,
    Evan

  3. Evan

    Hi Huey!

    That’s a good question. As it stands, you can already make an event private. When creating the event, you have the ability to select between making the event private or public. In addition, when sending invites now, you will have the ability to invite friends across all networks or limit it to friends just on your network.

    Cheers,
    Evan

  4. Connie

    I agree that the little man / little envelope has to be more intuitive than that.” When I was a newbie I missed so many emails I never looked up there! duh! I like what you guys are doing!
    Thanks for hearing us!

  5. Shirley

    This does look fantastic! It really ties in with what my users have been looking for. I also wondered how difficult it was to easily see out of all the members who is your friend and who isnt. Currently, you have to click on the member and go into their profile. This is correct isnt it?

  6. VeryJoyful (VJ)

    Good Stuff! Thanks!!

    Especially like

    1. the Friend Request ability to message before accepting.

    ……HOWEVER…. INSTEAD of profile link, a link to their MY PAGE would be more useful

    ……from there I could check out their profile, photos, anything …ALL of which help ME
    ……to determine whether to add as a friend. The profile info is not enough AND is
    ……available on their My Page anyway.

    2. And the ability to select from Friends from the Compose Message.

  7. R. Buijs

    Thanks! looks great. (especially taking the messaging action out of the ningbar)

    Only have one question: Are all the new features also included in the language editor?
    To prevent that our members cannot use the new options.

    Looking forward to your reply and thanks again for all the hard work!

    Ronald

    (PS, there I was not logged in the 1st time i tried to post this message and the message was not published. The 2nd time I tried when i was logged in the message was not published because of the error message that I already published the message. So a little error found here.)

  8. Huey

    Will there be selective invitation or displaying of an event posting to selective group of people? I know you can post for all to see in the network. Can it be posted event to the selective few to see and to RSVP like a private party? Please response. Thank you.

    Huey

  9. Evan

    Hi Paul,

    Yup, you will definitely be able to link to the new the message center. That’s the point of the change — the message/friending center will now be on pages of your network, instead of a drop down from up top.

    Cheers!
    Evan

  10. Paul

    Will the new Inbox have a URL to which we can link so that we can create shortcuts to the Inbox (unlike the exsiting Inbox) from other places?

  11. dokun

    WOW!!!!

    This is what we been waiting a long time.. i LOVE it!!!
    specially the new message center!
    Again Ning you make me HAPPY 🙂 :):)

  12. Manny from TuDiabetes

    I am very excited to see these changes around the corner. Specifically tying things to the network at the Friends level seems a great direction to go into. Also, I like the very prominent button that recipients of invitation emails will have to Join.

    As usual, GREAT job guys!

  13. Vidal Acevedo

    Please just release it today, lol. It’s a great feature that everyone wants done already. Release it right after or during the Chat release. Thank you!

  14. Mark Carls

    Looks great, I can’t wait. I appreciate all you do and hope to start using these Ning environments with teachers this year more.

  15. Teetime

    Will these changes carry over to event invites? Unfortunately, the two most common ways I need to invite guests to an event are not supported. I need to be able to:

    1. Invite EVERYONE on THIS network.
    2. Invite a selected SUBSET of EVERYONE on THIS network.

    Currently I can select all or selected FRIENDS (but not all or selected MEMBERS). But all friends includes friends from other networks, and omits members who have for whatever reason never responded to friend requests.

  16. COOKSURFING

    Hi Gina,

    Good news !

    Is it possible in your next release to translate the ning bar in other languages : it’s very important.

    Congratulations again to the Ning team.

  17. ILoveThisKid

    I like the new inbox page and the message details a lot! I would like to have the text editor in the compose as well with nice fonts and colors and such…. that would be awesome. Love the updates to the Friends Request Page and that all of this is for friends specific to the network.

    New HTML Email Design – It’s really nice! I agree though with those who want to get rid of the network stats altogether. I like some of the members showing and the brief description, the stats are of no use at all and would make those with smaller networks happy while those with larger networks …. well, they have plenty of members so it shouldn’t matter to them one way or the other 🙂 To take up the extra space maybe it could feature a few of the groups that are on the network too!

  18. Roland Taylor

    Nice!!!
    Did anyone catch my post about an optional modular bar that could “replace” the Ning bar?

  19. Vidal Acevedo

    This is the best update so far, messaging & friend request are now easier. Congratulations Ning! Great success & thanks for listing to our messages & suggestions.

  20. Victor Ramayrat

    Hello Gina and the Ning team!

    I’m very excited about progress with Ning. I have been a fan since your launch (back in the days when you had clone apps)…

    Anyway, I can’t wait for this release as well as the Ning iPhone app.

    One wish that I could have though with messaging is the implementation of the text editor when composing messages. I see from the screenshot above that messaging is just plain text…

    It’s all good though… I’ll take all the improvements I could get…

    Keep rockin….

  21. Vaughn

    also love it!

    well maybe you can add an option to the appearance section for when you are typing a message changing text colors and backgrounds!

  22. Dan Albert A. Pacquiao

    nice one Ning! i really like the last one, the New HTML Email Design. because as we all know, our invitation right now is so dry, compared to the upcoming release, info about our network can be seen.. good work on that Ning!

  23. Clark Pearson

    That looks really good! One thing I would suggest is to make the mail and friends icons bigger/brighter/idiot-proof. Make sure that, particularly when the person has a message or friends request, that the icons really jump out at them. Maybe even an audio prompt. “You’ve got friends!” 😉

    I just know that newbie users many times miss messages and friend requests for days on end simply because they didn’t notice that the little man / little envelope was brighter. It has to be more intuitive than that.

    This looks like a great leap forward!

    Cheers,
    Clark

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