The New Latest Activity Feature – A Quick Update

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Update: these changes should be live now. Thanks!

I just wanted to thank everyone for the feedback you’ve been giving us on the new Latest Activity feature that we’ve been rolling out since Sunday to the social networks on Ning. We’re making a few updates later today that I wanted to flag:

  • We are adding back in links to replies and comments today. This was an unintended issue on our part and we’re fixing it now.
  • We are replacing the profile comments excerpts in the Latest Activity feature on the Main page with a simple link. The comments on blog posts, photos, videos, events and groups will remain in the Latest Activity feature on the Main page.
  • We are adding back in line separators for individual feed items for better readability. We’ll also look to make these lines more subtle in a future release.
  • As for the member avatars, we will be relaunching them as rollovers in an upcoming release.

For those of you who don’t like the new icons, we’re listening to your feedback, however we’d also love to ask that you live with them for a few weeks first, and then let us know what you think. It’s definitely a change from the old activity feed design; however, we also believe in the end that it will make the feature much more dynamic and compelling. We appreciate your patience on it and keep the feedback coming. Thanks!

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49 thoughts on “The New Latest Activity Feature – A Quick Update

  1. Vicky aka VickStix

    Is there any way to change the colors of the icons? Even if I have to do it in the CSS code. I can’t stand the colors it chose to make them, on two of my networks. They are way off the theme colors. PLEASE let me know if there is a way I can change this.

    I already posted that question here once, but I guess it never got approved.. 🙁

    Thanks for all the great work you guys are doing.


    I LOVE LOVE the new Latest Activity Feature on our MAIN page, but also on the right or left side. The pics are smaller and look great. We are a close artistic social family and like to see what everyone else is doing, so the Latest Activity Feature on the right side is PERFECT. If anyone does not like, they can always turn it off. Please do not do away with this great management tool!

    Great Work! Keep it up!

  3. Russell Haney

    For those complaining that the new Activity feed takes up too much space – It is the same exact size as the other one… You just never noticed bcause those features were never used on the old set up on your network.

    I have a decent sized network and amzed at how much busier my network has become since the new Activity Feed was added. My Groups are busier, my Forums are much busier, and Video/Photo uploads are busier. I like to think this is because of the new activity feed.

    I personally like the new icons over the avatars because they stick out like a sore thumb which draws users to that area before any other part of the page. When it was the avatar, the feed looked too much like the forums feed.

    Again – Job Well Done Ning.


    I REALLY do not like the new Latest Activity setup.
    Every update Ning has done to the social networks was a step forward. This is a MAJOR step backwards. Makes the network look so much more inactive and bland. It also makes everyone feel like they are the “Same”, Which is not good since that member has already joined a social network that is not myspace or facebook. Also, another major reason to keep it the way it was is because I have learned in all my years of web design, That PEOPLE DO NO READ OR RESPOND TO TYPED WORDS. Pictures are what most people pay attention to. Especially with all the banners and ads that are put in front of their face on every web site they visit.
    Please re-think this update or at least give the network creators an option to choose on the manage page.

    Thank You.

  5. Janice

    Add my vote for a CHANGE BACK TO AVATARS IN THE ACTIVITY LOG ~ w/out them, the AL actually has less of a visual standout ~ thanks.

  6. Christine Ramirez

    Any chance the Group images listed on the left of the main page will display the Group name on rollover any time soon? It’s inconsistent with the way the member avatars work and would be very helpful to our members.

  7. Puzzler

    Hi Gina. I preferred the Activity feed when it showed the profile icon of the member whose action is relayed. I know you’ve requested that we all live with the new feed because Ning believe we’ll find it compelling and more dynamic. But why? What were the reasons? Performance issues? Others. Perhaps you’ve give the reason else where but a sentence that somes it up would be helpful.–Why not give site administrators the ability to choose what items show with the activity wire? Present the icons you have now and the profile photos/images as two choices? Tx, JRH siteadmin/founder,

  8. Akua Adaeze Okebulani

    When will ning create more unique site layouts like Veejay, Area 51 and Highrise? All the others are just differnt colors but the same boring layout. Also it was much easier to discuss something when the ning creators site had forums. It takes away the voice of the people.

  9. Jeff Gilder

    I didn’t like the change to the activety log at first….still trying to get used to it. I certainly do not like the space it takes…had to reduce the number of activeties viewed to make room for it. We need the avitars because we have many users of the same name.
    Thanks for listening!

  10. Harmony Kieding

    I think the new features are fantastic! Well done 🙂 I especially like the options for assigning different tasks to network administrators.

    I agree with John about the need for “last activity” to be shown- and in consideration of the need to get rid of inactive members, can there be (if there isn’t already) a way to simply delete members short of banning them? That is to say, inactivity as such seems on a different level than behaving unacceptably and needing to be banned. And an automatic email could be sent to the ex member which explains that they were deleted because of inactivity.

    Oh- a request on behalf of my members who have asked me repeatedly: when is the chat going to be refined? Will there be any fonts styles, sound notifications, etc?

    Thank you for all the terrific features you’ve developed at Ning!


  11. Amir Quraishi

    I would love to be able to use Paypal and various other Payment Engines to sign up and pay for Ning Advance features.

    Additionally, will there be a Subscription Module, where we can charge members for Content, Services, Other, etc.

    Thanks for creating Ning.


    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Amir – PayPal payment support and subscription options are coming later this spring or early summer. Thanks!

  12. Thammy Aldelan

    I think that activity is the life of the network…Everything turn around it. I think that the most important here is that could show more than 20 activities, or that I could see more pushing a button. I don’t understand what is RSS? Sometimes I can’t be in Internet one day, and I don’t know what happenned because everything dessapear, and I don’t know where to look…
    I don’t understand yet what was the change in activities. My network show the picture of the member and I like it in that way, I don’t want another…

  13. JohnKSR

    Can we have “last activity” indicated for members? That way we can get rid of members who are no longer making an active contribution to a network.


    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      John – this is planned for later this year. It’s not immediate but we do want to offer this as quickly as we can. Thanks!

  14. Lesa Moore

    First, let me say I love NING, my members love NING.. One reason we love it is that it is not like facebook and other social network sites. It is more professional, polished, etc

    Regarding the recent update, we really like being able to see the pictures of members in the activity feed – not just as a roll-over. Members like being able to click on a photo and jump to the personal page to learn more about them.. We like being able to glance at the activities and see profile photos that then compell us to go learn more about that particular person. Also, with the personal profile photos, we can quickly visually see that for example the last 5 activites were the same person since we can see their photo 5 times in a row… then we can quickly visually find the next person’s activity….

    Personally, I think it seems like more is happening when you can see all the different thumbnail versions of the profile photos – it is more colorful and engaging. The way it is now – everything looks pretty much the same – visually one person could be conducting all the activities. I especially miss the DID YOU KNOW header with the large questionmark icon for the messages… Right now Messages look pretty the same as all other activities – nothing visually different to grab member’s attention.

    From a NC point of view, we have over 200 members… when I glance at the activity I can quickly notice when a new avatar shows up or one I have rarely seen. I like to comment/respond to activities when I see that it is from a person who has not been that active on the site in order to encourage and reinforce their involvement. It takes me a lot longer to read through the activities than it did to glance at the photos. I do not want to have roll-over each one to see whose who.

    I agree with with the comment above about giving NCs the option of icons, avators or roll-overs. I would pick Avators!

    Thank you for all your hard work. I know it is impossible to please everyone! But thank you for trying!!!!

  15. Rich

    I like the new latest activity feature, but just cannot get used to the new icons. They look a little amauterish, and some of them just don’t look related to what they should mean (for example, what is the padlock group one for?). Some of the icons look cut off in some areas (delete icons on some pages just look like circles cut in half).

  16. BF * Krista

    While I like most of the changes (thank you!), I miss seeing members’ avatars in the latest activity feed. Now they just blend all together. It was much easier when I could see someone new or I haven’t seen in awhile just by a quick glance & not having to actually read text. I think it takes the individuality away.

    I’m most thankful for the easy tab navigation you released a few months ago! These smaller graphic changes are good…but please bring back the avatars in the activity feed.

  17. MAXX

    Thank you for bringing back the separating lines, and I am very happy to hear that avatars will be returning. Also, glad you removed wall comments from main feed……..BUT, I don’t understand why you are leaving wall comments on the profile page feed????? That makes no sense because now the comments are appearing twice on the profle page–in the activity feed and in the comment wall. Too much unneccessary clutter!!!

    The activity feed was GREAT the way it was!!!

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Maxx – we are removing comment excerpts from both main and profile versions of the Latest Activity feature.

  18. Russell Haney

    I absolutely LOVE the new activity feed. It’s fresh and very web 2.0 looking. I have noticed that since added, my groups are a little busier than normal (as far as comments) and I like how clean and different the feeed looks from the rest of the site – it stands out a lot better than the avatar.

    Job Well Done Ning!

  19. fitOlderMen

    some ideas – BTW – Latest Activities is great – one of THE best features on Ning.
    Why not

    a) Give NCs the option to pre-select the style of the latest activity feed on main
    Options: (x)avatar ( )icon ( )roll-over

    b) Hide the feature (for members) that they can interactively change the appearance of their activity feed. They can change it – the style and the content.

    c) Let NCs put another activity feed on other pages like groups, forums, mailings – marketing in general…


  20. Jim

    Hey Gina, thanks for the update. This is a great update to latest activity. Looks good, although I do agree with others it can still be improved. The one thing it really lacks is the ability to click “more” or something similar to show more posts. Now, I am well aware of the performance hit here, but I’m not really even asking for more than 20 items. I just want it so that we can show LESS initially, which frees up space on the page, but yet still lets users cycle through all 20.

    This in turn should actually be LESS of a performance hit since the page would only pull say 5 at a time, and only show the next five if a user wishes to show more. The next five could load in place of the original five. Thus keeping performance up, and freeing up page real estate for other items.

    I have suggested this several times in one way or another, but have yet to hear any feedback. What you guys think?

    Thanks, keep up the good work.

  21. Gina Bianchini Post author

    Chris – the migration is not complete. It won’t be until later this week or weekend.

    Daisy – thanks for your patience and feedback here. We appreciate it. We may not act as quickly as you’d like to bring the avatars back, but we do hear you and are watching this.


  22. Chris Saunders

    I’d just live to see the new icons on my network. They’re still not showing up.

    Is the migration complete? If not, I’ll wait, but if it is complete, I’ve got a problem.

  23. Daisy Grace

    I know the number one thing I dislike about the new site is not having the picture avatar of the latest activity on the page page, and on our individual MYPAGE. Our site had been set up at a glance you could see who has had activity in different strains we were choosing to follow.

    I know you said you will be relaunching them soon in an upcoming release. When will that be, so we can let members in our group know. Those avatars help identify who we are responding to. When you have more than one person by that name on your site—it makes it hard to identify. We use our avatars with pictures of our dogs—since we are a dog group.

    Can you please get our AVATARS back.

  24. FaJewel

    I love the new features that you’re adding to the network! Howerver; like lady venus I would like to be notified via e-mail when members add activity to my site.

  25. Gina Bianchini Post author

    Jebbanner – We don’t have plans for search and sort quite yet as that will create a significant performance issue. Ditto for showing more than 20 items. We will be trying to increase that in an upcoming release though. We’ll keep you posted.

    TOG – that’s the point of this release tonight. We’re fixing it so that we’ll add back in the individual links to specific replies and comments.

    JJ Hornblass – that sounds like a bug. We will investigate.

    As for translations, we will be adding those shortly. We totally appreciate that in our iterative approach, translations are coming out later than we’d all like.

    Thanks again!

  26. JJ Hornblass

    It seems as though there is a bug with the blog-listing function in Latest Activity. When we post a new blog, the Latest Activity list still cites previously published blogs as if they had just happened long ago.

  27. Lao Buddy

    Wait!…. I liked the new icons, It goes very well with my site… Please don’t take the new ones away.. 🙁

  28. TOG

    I wish each members comments to a forum Topic would be individual , like before, instead of lumped together. I would also like it when you click on an individuals reply in the activity list,it takes you to THAT REPLY instead of to the beginning of the replies,like before.

  29. Pam Givens

    I jumped fast on stating that I don’t like the new things in the Activity column…but none of my members have mentioned it and actually one person really likes the changes. I guess I’m not as comfortable with change as I thought I was. So I will wait a few weeks to see if I get any comments. Sorry for being well –

  30. jebbanner

    When is there going to be an activity page with more than 20 items, search and sort etc?
    That is what my members on really want.
    thanks Gina!

  31. Evan Goldin

    Hi Guy!

    That’s a good point. As Gina mentioned in the post, we agree that avatars have a place in the Latest Activity feed, and that’s why we’ll be adding them back as rollovers in an upcoming release. Thanks for your feedback!

  32. GuyThaLizard

    I don’t like the Icon idea in the activity feed area. I would like to have it switchable. Reason why is on my network and other networks it is allowable for users to have the same username ie: David I have 4 Davids on my site and without the Members profile photo I can not tell who sent the info. I also have 3 Jims on my network same thing. Making even more steps to see who I am messaging with is a real pain.

    So I think either there can not be duplicate usernames or the icon has to have a switch to enable the feature.

    My members are not icons they are individuals.


  33. Emilia Hollander

    Great to hear and how about the translations? When I translated the new activity-items more then the half of them did not appear in Dutch, and after translation neither in English.
    And also from the hidden groups the activity showed up on the pages.
    Are that two bugs also fixed now?
    We removed the activity feed in waiting for…

    Good to hear that you work all so hard on making everything fine!
    love, Emilia

  34. Lady Venus

    I like most of the new thinks in thhe Latest Activity, I do wish they individual and not lumped together when more than one person does something in an activity. I also would like my notifications back in my personal email when there is activity in my group Pagan Pantry. I am upset that I am no longer notified of activity. I cannot be online 24 hours a day and like the fact that I get emailed when a member adds something to Pagan Pantry. Can you please fix this. I did not clear a follow list for anything in Pagan Pantry.

    Thank you,
    Lady Venus aka Mary Brochu
    Pagan Pantry Creator

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