New ALA Connect Platform Community
Word version attached.
September 13, 2016
A recap of the features/benefits and losses include:
- Division Spaces
Division members can post, discuss, and search within their own space
- Round Table Spaces
Round Table members can post, discuss and search within their own space
- Federated search
Users can search for content, discussions, and files site wide, between all thirty-three (33) micro-sites
- Robust file libraries
Which are connected to discussions
- Robust Member Profiles
Users can populate profiles dynamically with Linked-In. Users can also link their profile to their personal blogs and eight (8) other social media accounts
- Greater Control over Privacy
Users will experience more granular control in privacy settings, determining who can see what on their profile on the field level
- Greater Control over Communication Preferences
Users will experience more granular control in what notifications they will receive and frequency from each of their groups via communication preferences
- Robust Reporting
Site wide and group level statistics, most of which have handy exports to Excel are available and intuitive. Also, roster management options
- More control at group level with micro-site admins
Micro-site admins will have a greater level of administrative control to work directly with managing group issues
- Robust mailing list-like functionality
Responses to discussions that a user receives via email will be sent via email to group members, in accordance to their notification settings.
- Group matching for users
Suggested matches to groups, based on an array of demographic fields
- Member matching
Suggested network connections between members based on location, title and an array of other fields, including demographics are available
- Site wide calendar
Event lists, although available at the micro-site level, can be configured and available site-wide at the parent level.
- Support from a Proven Community Management Service Provider
Higher Logic has experience as a vendor who’s business is Community Management; with a focus on Associations hosting 25 million members in over 200, 000 communities across 650 associations.
Recognition by ribbons and badges, powered by Automation rules can be configured and impact member engagement.
What We’ll Lose
- Public/Private settings for content
For the protection of our members, all groups will be private, by default. Content to be viewed by the public must be in a public group. Publicly posted content must be posted to a public group.
- Native group-based polls
We can install third party poll widgets that will show results within the tool, but those results will need to be saved as an extra step and are not searchable. Polls are currently in development at HL.
- Native group-based text chat
We would need to meet in Adobe Connect or other web-tool outside of the New Connect to host live chat sessions, and then archive and upload the recordings.
- Native collaborative documents
We would need to use and outside wiki or document collaboration tool and include links to or archive the final
- User calendars
Users will need to book appointments on their own calendars
- Ability to follow a group and receive notifications of new public content
You have to be a member of a group to see it is content, unless it is a public group.
- Doodle-like functionality
Widgets, that work like Doodle can be installed on your site
- Email notifications for new group calendar events or files
There are no direct notifications for the creation of an event or file. Notifications derive from discussions. However if a discussion is posted in conjunction with an event or library file being created, it would include whatever information was included in the discussion. So you could use discussions as a means of publishing event information or document information.
- Personal URLs for member profiles
Although you can share the URL to your profile, there is no personalized perma-link to it.
- Ability for a member to hide membership in some divisions, round tables, & non-iMIS communities
Although users can elect to take themselves out of all directories, they cannot pick and choose which directories they will a part of if they choose to display their profiles in directories. It is all or nothing display.
- All URLs will change. We are looking for a way to manage this programmatically, but paths shared externally will be pointing to a new location after the migration.
- All public content will become private, so any links to public content will stop working. There is an opportunity to utilize a standalone library for public facing content. We have the ability to allow some content to be public for the purposes for SEO, but more as a teaser. Or specific libraries visible.
The migration is making progress, despite the delays we experienced that were outside of the control of ITTS. A recap of the delays includes:
- Inability to start creating micro-sites on the model site to integrate with iMIS, until changes needed to the back-end were completed by Higher Logic, weeks later than expected.
- Diversion of internal resources in ITTS needed to support the launch of the e-commerce Dues and Donations project, further delaying the iMIS integration of data into the Higher Logic site.
- Inability to finish the RFP for navigation and design until we could review the nesting micro-site functionality.
In light of these challenges, we are pleased to be able to report the following wins/progress:
- The RFP for Design is complete!
Released on Friday, August 19, 2016, we have referrals on four (4) design firms with Higher Logic experience, who have indicated their intent to respond. The RFP is attached to this update for your review.
- Round Tables will now have their own micro-sites in the New ALA Connect!
Thanks to the negotiating power of Sherri Vanyek, every unit in ALA will have their own space to collaborate in Connect. This development will have positive implications for searching (and finding) content, on a micro-site level as well as a more consistent navigation path.
- iMIS Integration of data into the new site is back in progress!
Now that we have the additional licenses for the Round Table sites, we are working with Higher Logic on the specifics of how they will be provisioned as well as reviewing how permissions will work, along with the implications of nested micro-site model. We are reviewing ADA compliance with navigation as well as defining processes that will need to be revised, revisited and/or eliminated with the new Connect as we finish up confirming the data sync between iMIS and Higher Logic.
- Drupal content import is being tested.
We are thrilled to report that archived chat and poll data will be able to be imported as discussions and or library entries instead of text/pdf files. This means that content within the archived chats, polls will include links to the profile of the person that added them as well as have content that is searchable.
- What about our Groups?
At the last Stakeholder update, the stakeholders were promised a way to verify if they had responded to the initial call for review of groups in Drupal. Those results, if you responded, can be found at: S:/Shared/ALA Connect/Groups. Stakeholders who responded will see two versions of the excel file that they were asked to review, entitled with their unit name and the word “Revised”. If you see two files, then that means you did respond. The revised document is the list of groups you wanted to keep at that point in time.
- ALA Connect Implementation Schedule
We will launch POST-Midwinter. Our detailed project plan proposes the following schedule :
Confirm iMIS Data Sync
18 July 2016
14 September 2016
Migrate Drupal Content (Round 1)
19 September 2016
3 October 2016
Hire Designer; Complete Interface
10 October 2016
12 December 2016
Conduct ADA Testing, Design Tweaks, Profile Redirects, User Acceptance,
13 December 2016
20 January 2017
Demo Interface at Midwinter
20 January 2017
24 January 2017
Final Migration from Urban Insight
6 February 2017
13 February 2017
Troubleshoot Issues; Deploy User Training; Soft Launch
14 February 2017
20 February 2017
Users can add content; Marketing;
21 February 2017
8. What will my Staff need to do in this process? How much time will you need from us?
Depending on the size and number of groups you manage in Connect, we can contact Pam Akins for an estimate of the time, but a minimum of three (3) hours that will include discovery as they:
- Learn how to login and add content to their space
- Learn how to do basic troubleshooting for their users
- Preview their Connect space, confirm they can see and direct users to groups
- Understand how and where to post finalized governance documents
- Learn how to conduct basic admin tasks
I have taken a first stab at the attached Logo Questionaire from Production Services. Lauren needs more details before she can conceptualize any sample logos for us to review.
In order to make forward progress on the Interface, we need Production Services to provide us with a few sample logos that we can quickly review and make a decision on to accept as our new logo for the interface.
Your input by end of business Wednesday, September 21, 2016, is the last chance you will have to weigh in on new logo concepts before Production Services starts work on sample logos for us to review. Please take a look at the attached and respond with any additions or revisions by referencing the question number in your comments below.
Thanks so much for your help.
I've heard the suggestion that we should change the name of the site from "ALA Connect" to something else. I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts on this because if the majority feels this is a good idea, we'd have to get started on a new name, logo, and marketing plan right away.
On the one hand, I can see getting away from the baggage the current name has (we deliberately renamed the old "event planner" to the "conference scheduler" for this reason), but I'm not sure how we'll explain the new site other than "ALA Connect but better," which to my mind doesn't justify spending so many resources on new materials and a whole new education campaign.
But I really want to hear from all of you - change the name or keep it?
For those who may not have heard, I'm now the Executive Director of LITA, so while I'm helping to keep the migration on track, I can't lead the project the way I did since 2007. I've pretty much been the only staff person dedicated to Connect since it started, which is one reason that things like training and marketing have fallen by the wayside.
Until someone new is hired to replace my position in ITTS, there won't even be one person fully dedicated to the new Connect, so we're going to need volunteers to help lead and contribute to make the pieces we feel are important successful.
Off the top of my head, I think we need subgroups for:
- Marketing and promotion
- Redesigning the interface
- Standardizing some template elements, especially for the division sites
Thankfully Pam will be able to help with training, and we all know how awesome she is so I feel confident that piece will be handled well. Pam, I know firsthand how much work this will be and since it's just one piece of your job, do you need a training advisory group to help create materials?
I think the group as a whole will need to discuss configuration settings and other broad topics, but what other topics for small group work have I missed?
In addition to the files I've added in the Background Documents folder, I also wanted to point you towards the summaries of Connect usage and activity I posted for the first couple of years it was live. They're all available on the ITTS News blog.
Note that the 2015-Online-Community-Software-Selection-Guide PDF I posted was published by a company that does consulting on this topic, but I found it very valuable for learning about the systems on our shortlist.
I should have the draft RFP ready by the end of the today, so please submit any further suggestions/ideas as soon as possible. Now is the time to dream big!