Updates to Chat & Latest Activity are on the way

Updates to Chat & Latest Activity are on the way
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Next week On June 25th, we’re updating your social network’s Chat and Latest Activity features. Chat will now have multiple display options: you can give it its own tab, and choose whether to place it on the Main Page or keep it as a bar at the bottom of your social network on Ning.

As for Latest Activity, member photos are back in the Main Page’s Latest Activity feed, which will replace the icons. Additionally, member photos will be displayed in the Profile Page Latest Activity feature. These updates will be rolled out in a release scheduled for June 18th 25th.

More Display Options for Chat

With this release, you’ll be able to give Chat its own page, and even embed it on the Main Page of your social network. Here’s how it will look like embedded on the Main Page (click on this image to see a larger version):


And here’s how it will look in its own page (click on this image to see a larger version):


Here’s how Chat will look when you’re signed out of the social network. And this is how it will look to Chat moderators.

If you have Chat enabled today, a Chat tab will automatically appear in the navigation for your social network. It’s easy to keep Chat but remove the tab — just go to the Tab Manager and click the “x” button next to the Chat tab. Your social network’s Chat bar will still appear across the bottom of every page on your social network.

To control whether Chat displays just as a bar at the bottom of your social network or additionally as an embedded feature on the Main Page, just go to the Manage page and click Feature Controls:


Member Photos are Back on Latest Activity

We really appreciate everyone’s feedback earlier this month on the Latest Activity feature. While there were strong opinions on all sides, we ultimately made the decision to return to member photos without the option to keep the icons. The data is stark showing the effectiveness of clickthrough rates to Profile Pages and content from the Latest Activity feature when member photos are displayed vs. the icons.

While we try to give as many options as possible in the creation and management of your social network on Ning, we also have to balance the options we present against the data that we see across over 1.2M social networks in terms of what works.

When something is going to get in the way of maximum success of your social network, we’ve erred on the side of ensuring success over offering more choices. It’s not an easy decision, but one that makes sense in the pursuit of creating a platform for the most successful social networks available anywhere on the web.

By default, Latest Activity on Profile Pages will display member photos. On the Profile Page, you will have the option as the Network Creator to remove people’s photos in the Latest Activity feature. Here’s how it will look with member photos (click on this image to see a larger version):


Here’s how it will look without member photos. To make the change to no profile photos, just go to the Manage page and click the Latest Activity link and customize.

Please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to hearing from you in the Ning Help Center.

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36 thoughts on “Updates to Chat & Latest Activity are on the way

  1. Lisa

    I was wondering if we will be able to increase fonts size defaults? In various groups I belong to older members or those with vision issues have a lot of trouble reading the chat as the type is much too small.

  2. Shane


    Is it possible to embed the chat bar at the bottom of other web applications? We have a web application where end users use our ning to share how tos, etc and it would be great to connect the two more directly by embedding the ning chat bar in the bottom of the user’s home page within our web app. Even if this was a paying service, it would be a tremendous help for us and benefit for our end users.


  3. Jonathan

    Chat feature: While it’s nice to know who is “online”, our users would rather know who is IN CHAT. Clicking on the red button to enter chat, popping the bar up, popping the chat out, or going to the chat page logging you into chat instead of it automatically putting you there would be great, or if this is how it already works, an inactivity boot would be nice.

    Ning is kewl.

  4. All Dirt

    Great job Ning, keep up the good work, we know you still care about your peeps! don’t let a few drag you down with them!

  5. eCoronado

    Great progress. Nick, you will be my HERO if you can get a teeny, tiny featured added soon to the Ning platform: repeating events. It would be the best present ever to have this added to Events. I’ve seen it asked for many times and I’m sure it’s complicated, but please ask your best developer to knock this feature out soon. Many thanks and go NING!

  6. Breeze

    Hey Nick

    Can you tell me if the pm issue will be fixed with in the new release. When a person is pmd in chat they are not given the option to accept or decline the pm request. There is no alert to inform them that they have pmd other than a new window automatically opening out which is easily missed by the member getting the request and we have received many complaints about this.


  7. Mackenzie

    Hi Shy!

    For the time being, only Network Creators and Admins can moderate the Chat on your social network. Thanks!

  8. Shy Matsi

    Oooh, I noticed you said Chat Moderators. Does this mean we’ll get a Chat Management Role in the Manage Members screen?

  9. Mackenzie

    Hi DigiPimp!

    These updates are scheduled for late next week. They aren’t live on your social network yet 🙂 We’ll post an update here on the Ning Blog once that release is live. Thanks!

  10. DigiPimp

    I dont know about anyone else but I dont have a chat tab or the chat options in the Feature Controls section and my chat is enabled but only showing at the bottom of the screen.

  11. Alex (MUL)

    1. Please offer an option to embed the chat into a text box.
    2. It wouldn’t hurt to offer the option of icons vs. thumbnails in the activity feed.
    3. When are we getting status updates and mutual friends?

    Thank you!

  12. Nick Post author

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback. The bug that you flagged with people disappearing from Chat will be fixed with this release. Also, you can have Chat in its own tab and also have it as a bar across the bottom of your social network. In fact, if you have Chat enabled today, this will be the default setting.

    While a Chat Moderator role isn’t possible just yet, it’s a great idea and we’re definitely exploring it as an Administrator role down the road.


  13. Jim

    Seems like all 3 of my ning networks are slowly dying, with almost 10,000 members. Activity on all of them has almost stopped. I see other ning sites with this low activity problem. Hiding the old chat on the bottom, honestly, did not do much to liven these networks up.

    Hope my members decide to try the new chat. the old one has been basically useless, as members could not find it, and did not like it.

    Thx! Jim

  14. Starseeds.Net

    I think the chat bar should be removed completely it is such an annoying additions and makes all my site members complain they all say that they miss the old chat a lot and just wish ning would revert and I have to agree.

  15. Central Coast Today

    I LOVE the decision to bring back the member photos in Recent Activity, and am looking forward to the new chat. The current version of chat was a real disaster for our members, but I think they will like the new version much better since it seems a lot like the original version. Thanks for making the changes!

  16. David Mitchell

    I like the new chat changes you all are making.

    Let me alert you to one thing though wrong with the chat at the moment that needs to be addressed as well.

    When a person leaves the chat it makes everyone in the chat disappear but the person leaving. This needs to be fixed or changed asap as people are thinking that everyone is leaving the chat and signing off as a result.

    Also i think it would be good if we could choose to use all the possible chat locations which will be offered. personally i would like to have it in its own tab page and as the static bar accross the bottem

    few more things i think we still need a kick from chat option that does not ban them and the abiity to choose less than a 4 hour ban

    also the ability to appoint just chat mods would be great.

    thank you for listening

  17. Oness

    Please increase the sound of the chat alert system. People try to chat with others and because the sound alert is not loud, there is no way to know someone is trying to chat with you unless you keep checking which it is a thing members won’t do. For example even if am on another web page and somebody is tying to chat with me on facebook, it’s easier to know coz you will hear the alert thing.

  18. erin

    I still absolutely HATE having the photos back in Latest Activity, and agree whole heartedly that we should have a choice between photos and icons.

  19. Nick Barr

    Hey Robert & Dave:

    Robert: Chat will go in the center column only — the side columns are too skinny to achieve the usability and clarity we’re looking for. But if you choose to embed Chat on the main page, all other pages will still have Chat appear as a bar at the bottom, so this will ensure that members can Chat on all pages.

    Dave: For now, having Chat *only* on a page won’t be an option. But the underlying concern here — performance — is definitely a top priority for us. We’ve continued to improve speed on pages with Chat and will continue to make that our focus moving forward.


  20. Dave Iannone

    Is there going to be a setting to have chat but NOT display it on the home page at ALL and NOT have the chat bar in the bottom of any pages. The majority of complaints when we enabled chat were that it slowed things down. We’d like to have chat, just not in either of those two places.


  21. Robert ( The POZIAM Community )

    Nick …
    I am excited to see this release… can you answer me one question I didn’t see covered.
    Can we embed the chat in the right hand column to appear on all pages…. like the old chat ??


  22. Nick Post author

    Hi all,

    Roni, yes — member photos are back on the Chat roster.

    If you’re seeing any international character issues, please contact us directly in the Help Center. We’re rounding up any outstanding issues and working to resolve them.

    As mentioned in the post, we do try to give you as many options as possible when it comes to managing your social network. In the case with icons, the data shows that the Latest Activity feature is more effective with member photos. We’ll definitely continue to monitor this data!


  23. Puteri Nur

    Thank u for listening to our views. I am very thankful and excited that the chat room is coming back.

    Just another suggestion, please also provide more emoticons in the chat room like YM and MSN. It would be fun. If I may suggest that for forum and blogs, the emoticons is a very useful feature and tool. I saw other webs are having it. Hope Ning can improve on that too.

    Thank you

    Puteri Nur
    Creator of duniamelayu.ning.com

  24. Δημήτρης Τ

    Please fix the international characters issue! Otherwise, chat is practically useless for us.

    Thanks a lot, the changes are positive!

  25. j. wings

    we’re always going back and forth. Why not make the icons/ photos thing an option?

    For chat, it would be cool if there was just a plain embed code for the chatroom, then we could put it on the front page, construct our own page with a tokbox webcam right above it, or even add it in facebook or another web area. The bar at the bottom would just be smart enough to know when its not needed.

  26. Airblais

    please….please, please….do NOT take away the Activity Feed Icons….my members (and me) love them.


  27. roni

    Pleas just do not hurt the language caercter’s on the chat
    It is very importent to us

    Will this chat bring back the avatars of online so we don’t need to click in order to see them?

  28. Nick Post author

    Hi all,

    Great questions. Julian: yes, profile pictures in the Chat roster are back. This release won’t fix the private chat issue you mentioned, but that’s scheduled to be fixed in late June/early July.

    Alex: You can choose to have Chat embedded on the main page or a bar at the bottom, but not both. Either way, you can still give Chat its own page.


  29. Alex (MUL)

    Also, when will we have the ability to comment on items in the Activity Feed similar to Facebook?

  30. Alex (MUL)

    Any way you can allow us to keep chat on the bottom bar of every page AND have the ability to display/embed it on the home page or its own page?

  31. Julian

    Sorry I forgot to ask have the bugs with chat been fixed. In particular the one that closes private chats when you continue to navagate around the site?


  32. Julian

    On the chat screen shots you show the profile pictures as being included. Is this coming back or is it staying as it is now where you have to click on the name to see the picture.


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