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Old forum, new Xenforo, help members navigate or lose them?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by creativeforge, May 20, 2015.

  1. creativeforge

    creativeforge Active Member

    So you converted a (enter forum software) forum to a Xenforo forum - how are you going to help the 10,000+ members get familiar with the new interface and functions so you don't lose them? I would love to know!

    I look at the upcoming launch of our beta Xenforo and wonder if there are resources or services offering tools to help the transition go smoothly. If you found a formula, service, resources, etc. that have helped you help the first wave of members using your forum daily, please share...


  2. dieketzer

    dieketzer Well-Known Member

    i created some informational threads that outlined the differences between the old and new system. things like, conversations are PMs, hover mouse over navbar name to get a menu, here is how to set some common permissions, you profile page is your wall, etc.
    granted, the info is dated as it was written at the beta release of xf.1.0, but it still gets the idea across (the stickied threads): http://gotvirtual.net/community/forums/gv-engineering.7/

    edit: one thing that i wish i had included was something to indicate to people that clicking on a thread title would take them to the oldest unread post. its a drastic departure and confused a lot of people.
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    creativeforge likes this.
  3. creativeforge

    creativeforge Active Member

    Thanks! that's helpful! So where did you convert from?
  4. dieketzer

    dieketzer Well-Known Member

    i didnt convert, the board was born on xf beta. but since nobody had seen xf before, and the other forums within our larger social sphere were running vb, the posts were written as if we had converted from vb.
    creativeforge likes this.
  5. creativeforge

    creativeforge Active Member

    gotcha, thanks!
  6. rafass

    rafass Well-Known Member

    With a big forum, before migrate, I could hire a good group of friendly and sexy girls with beautiful avatars to assist and guide users in the first weeks. Seriously.
  7. creativeforge

    creativeforge Active Member

    @rafass - not the direction I'm heading, man... but the support team hiring is an idea...
  8. rafass

    rafass Well-Known Member

    Yes, sure, depending of the forum, you can hire certain kind of members in that support team.
    members with experience managing the new software, willing to respond question and assist the users first weeks is the idea.
    All that question / replies will be indexed and will be easy to find for other users, and other users can help too.
    I think is a good idea.
    instead create long-boring thread / zones, explaining the new functions.
    But it always depends of the forum / niche.
  9. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Well-Known Member

    The one thing I'd offer (and I stress, this is 100% a personal view) is
    Just because you can do something new or clever or different, doesn't mean you have to do so.

    There is, I suspect, a huge temptation to try and make use of as many bells and whistles as there are available in order to bring the site "up to date". Trouble is, up to date isn't necessarily better. It may be nothing more than different and not actually producing a true advantage.
    creativeforge likes this.
  10. creativeforge

    creativeforge Active Member

    Harpers Tate, did you drop as few words? "The one thing I'd offer (and I stress, this is 100% a personal view) is "

    And my main focus is to basically give members the very same functions they used for years on the old forum. The rest can take a bit longer, that's fine with me. But maintaining the flow and simplicity of engagement is key. Many already look forward to being able to have access to modern tools they already use on other forums... I agree with streamlining!
  11. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    From personal experience of doing a number of migrations:
    • Keep the style, colours, logos as near to what you currently have as possible - I know it won't match exactly, but keep the style as near to your current one as you can. Changing style as well as software platform all in one go is a sure-fire way to lose members; even long-term members who've been regular visitors for years!
    • Take a group committed regulars you can trust and set them up on the beta site so they can play with it - they'll be pleased to be asked to help out and should hopefully be familiar with it from day one of the migration; these people will be invaluable in helping other members to get familiar with the "new" site whilst you're busy with the technical / support queries that will no doubt come in.
    • Video previews - do an initial overview of the new software so people can see what it looks like. Then take a bunch of regular tasks like posting a thread, editing a post, searching, finding latest posts, etc. and make short videos for members to watch whilst they wait for the launch. It'll be interesting content for them to watch and should help prepare them for the change by taking out some of the stress associated with wholesale change.
    • Help threads - prepare, in advance, help threads that give step-by-step instructions on how to do common tasks in XF (include screenshots too so that people can visualise the steps in terms of the new layout).

    Equally important, and you're probably already doing this anyway, is getting your mods up-to-speed on the beta/test site so that they are familiar with XF and can maintain and manage the site as normal whilst helping out the membership over the first few days of the migration.

    Be helpful, be friendly, and keep pushing the positive points of the change; and understand that some people just won't like it, no matter how hard you try to make the transition easy for them!! ;)

    Good luck. (y)
  12. Gazhyde

    Gazhyde Well-Known Member

    Spent some time in CamStudio and made some informational videos which helped. Otherwise, plenty of new threads on "how to do" stuff.

    Run a 'snagging' thread to capture all the feedback and comments when going live, and make sure you have enough staff available to answer the questions (after making sure your staff take the time to learn it themselves!).

    There will always be those who hate change, and you may lose one or two because of it but you won't lose them all!
    creativeforge likes this.
  13. creativeforge

    creativeforge Active Member

    All great ideas thanks!

    Anyone you know has created how-to's video using the default theme, and that are accessible online, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Enough work to do, I'm only one guy carrying all this and it's challenging. If I could find basic universal info already packaged I'd be grateful. Some people have a knack for creating video tutorials (if you've been watching tutos on YouTube, you know what I mean.. :) ). I could supply what's missing after that.

  14. webmastersun

    webmastersun Member

    People come forums then they will know how to use forum platform or they can spend a little time to learn it

    Besides, you can write some short tutorials on how to use your forum as posting threads, posts, avatar, signatures, using BB code..etc.
  15. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Said the best. Video tutorials, a demo test site for all members to play around with the software, FAQ's with images to demonstrate things. The big one is to keep styling approximately the same, no radical style changes.

    I change my site style at times, though its always close to what it was, just more features and improvements, typically, and I always have a thread outlining subtle changes or for members to question something changed.

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