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Forums changes - updates thread!

ProjectTeam
Beyond Blue Staff
Beyond Blue Staff

Hello everybody

Really excited to reach out today with an update about your forums. To cut to the chase, we’re undertaking significant work to upgrade and re-design the platform to be a space that better supports you and your needs.

I’m aware there have been some announcements like this in the past, which haven’t resulted in the change you were hoping for, and we appreciate that can be very disappointing.

However, while there is always the chance that things don’t work out as planned, this time around we are confident that we’ll be able to deliver significant improvements to your online experience. This has us really excited here at Beyond Blue and we’re so happy to start sharing with you more about what we’re working on, how we’re working on it, and when you’ll be seeing changes.

What we’re working on

Simply put, we’re setting up a brand-new technology platform to power these forums. We’re working with a great technology partner, who specialise in forums, to deliver a more modern experience with improved features (many of which you have been asking for for a long long time).

In setting up this new technology, we have a lot of work to do to make it align to your needs, to make it a safe space and to make it really valuable to you. But at the end of this process, we hope to launch with a fresh, modern website which looks and feels like a warm, supportive space, and which allows you to really get the most out of your interactions here.

To say we’re excited about this, truly is an under-statement 🙂

How we’re working on it

We know we cannot do this without your input and feedback. Beyond getting deeply acquainted with the existing feedback you’ve provided in these forums, we’ve also set up a ‘community group’ with seven of your peers to support this project. At the moment, we’re meeting weekly to talk through a range of questions, workshop out ideas and ensure we’re really representing community need with the work we’re doing.

From this point on, we’ll be using this space in the forums to provide updates on the work that’s in play, to get your feedback and comments and really bring you along this journey.

While we know we won’t get everything right the first time with this work, we know that involving you along the way, will help create a much better outcome in the end.

Please look forward to seeing more posts (hoping to update you all weekly) in this space!

When you can expect changes
At this point, we’re hoping to deliver the new platform in 2022 and are working hard to reach that goal. We’ll of course be updating you along the way if that changes.

Given we’re moving to a brand new technology platform, a lot of changes will come all at once, and this could be a bit of a shock when you log-in. We’ll be doing our best to share sneak-peeks of the platform as we’re working on it, so you can see ahead of time how things are shaping up and to help smooth that transition.

Although there will be new things to learn and explore, we’re confident that the platform will provide much improved functionality and really improve your experience overall.

Interacting with this thread
We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and questions! While we can’t respond super quickly to all questions, the aim is to send answers to any questions we’ve received weekly on Fridays - so be sure to check back in then
Next week, we’ll share some early updates on some of the new features that are coming with this platform and start talking about what we’re currently working on.
Thank you so so much for your support and we’re so happy to be finally making improvements to this space for you.

69 Replies 69

Hi Project Team

Thanks so much for the update. It’s great to know the project is progressing well.

This is the only forum I’ve ever participated on. And when I first joined, I found the language and forum design unhelpful.

Words like “thread” were foreign to me in this context. And the actions required to participate (eg start a thread) we’re not intuitive to me.

The experience was stressful. I actually joined but didn’t participate for over a year because it just felt too hard to figure it all out. Honestly, I felt like I was too old to be here (in my fifties).

I realise others would have had a different experience but need to point out there is a digital divide between users and it impacts on participation and the quality of experience.

I think the language used needs to compliment the design. In other words, loosen it up to help create the calm and relaxed place you want the forum to be. This should also help to make the forum more accessible to all Australians.

I like the idea of inviting people into a place to talk. Simple. Everyone can understand this process.

I suggest the word hub. So I would be saying:

“Join us in the anxiety hub on the beyond blue forums and have a chat …”

or

“Pop into the depression hub on the beyond blue forum and join the conversation”

Or

“Check out what’s new in the Staying Well hub and share a yarn”

So, when people arrive they would start a chat or a conversation not a thread.

Just some food for thought.

Kind thoughts to you

summer rose.

I didnt go on the forums until over 2 years after I joined. I didnt even know I had joined until a person in blue voices told me!!

At my age it all seemed to hard . Once I started using the forum I was quite timid at first .

I like your use of words,

“Join us in the anxiety hub on the beyond blue forums and have a chat …”
or
“Pop into the depression hub on the beyond blue forum and join the conversation”
Or
“Check out what’s new in the Staying Well hub and share a yarn”

I think there needs to be a one stop very easy place to log in and then able to post.

Hello Project Team, ........ The Forum......or The Beyond Blue Anxiety Forum-----for All, however, I do like Chat room on Anxiety.

For those who have not been involved in the community advisory group, as I'm not, will any changes be made if other people agree or disagree with what has been decided or believe another direction may be more benefical?

Geoff.

Hi Quirkywords

Nice to talk with you again.

Thanks so much for your post! I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me who struggled with the forum when I joined!

Project Team: do you have forum user data from previous surveys to demonstrate any “ease of use” or “comfort” measures? Just curious to know if Quirky and my experiences are common.

Kind thoughts to you

re An open question
Interested in your feedback on the following: if you were talking to someone and said:
"Check out the anxiety ______ on the beyond blue forums"...
.... what would you call that "______".
Do you call it a board? A topic? a forum?

I would call it any of those, for they are just all labels for groups of user content.

I would say things like, I write at bb forums in the anxiety section, in the thread titled suchnsuch.

I post up at the anxiety space on bb forums, in a thread called suchnsuch.

I have responded to your topic/thread in that section/place.

I use the words, forum, thread, post most of all, and "write" quite a bit too, for truly it is all just writing these days - we have yet to shift much to the voice/video side of things. Though many software does, like discord, skype, slack, zoom, Mteams, apps can take advantage of vulnerable people.

I think the term "no-reply" should be utterly erased from bb software, it is rude and needs a better phrase please, and I am aware that it is standard practice for so many online services and is actually quite hard to erase! Like I cannot even erase it from my own website autogeneration software. c'est la vie.

cheers dng.

I would say

Check out the anxiety section on the beyond blue forums.

I would also be mentioning stories in the same sentence to get it away from IT talk, even though that is what I work in.

Hi bb forum updaters, It has taken me quite some time to think about a solution to the "no reply" problem mentioned above.

Try "updates@____".

It's neutral, it's informative, and it does not imply go away, or not listening, it is quite beautiful.

Hello DNG, in regards to 'no reply', if you want to reply back to them, just press 'forward' and address it to

'modsupport@beyondblue.org.au' and delete 'no-reply@beyondblue.org.au'.

Geoff.

Guest9337
Community Member

I do know how to respond back, but thanks anyways.

I will see the evil of "no reply" gone, and utterly gone.

Hi everyone

Thank you for generously providing your feedback on our last post. All of the feedback is so useful for our content team. Really interesting to see the different perspectives and also how the language can have such an impact on peoples' comfort to engage.

Thanks david'n'goliath also for your perspective on the 'no-reply' email address. I totally agree with your sentiments here - I've created a note for the team to look into the feasibility of changing it.

Summer Rose, you asked about having previous survey data on ease of use. I am not personally aware of this in survey form, however, we have conducted a number of interview sessions and user-testing sessions to view how people find the content, the language and design. Your experiences are in fact fairly common and this is why we have such a good opportunity here to improve the forums to make it a warmer more welcoming space 🙂

Geoff - thanks for the question about decision making and the advisory group, its a really good question. We're working with the advisory group to try get a good representation of the community perspective, but understand of course that A) decisions that come from this won't always be perfect and B) the decisions won't necessarily work for everyone.

For some decisions and areas, we'll look to survey the broader community over the coming months, and we'll also be inviting a few more community members to engage in platform testing before the launch - as an opportunity to gather feedback.

But the most important thing here is an acceptance on our part, that we will need to be able to make changes and updates into the future based on feedback we see with the community using the platform. We'll try to collect good feedback from the advisory group and some others before go-live, but that period after go-live will be really important for us to hear from the broader community what's working, what isn't and how we might be able to adapt things to work better.

We're really open to the feedback as we acknowledge we won't get everything spot on first try 🙂