In the latest release of Recollective, every study has gained the ability to display a highly customized home page to engage participants (and clients) with rich multimedia content. On this new Home tab, you can add multiple types of Cards and those cards can be easily updated, resized, repositioned and re-styled as needed.
A study home page might be used to welcome participants (with text, photo or video) but it can also be used to introduce moderators, feature participant responses, show off concepts, graphically link to important discussions and more. Although some moderators might be tempted to treat it like a static greeting, innovative researchers will treat it as an editorial space for the study. Ideally, the home page of a study delivers relevant news and interesting findings as they occur.
Prior to the release of Recollective in 2011, Ramius had developed a number of leading community and social networking solutions for the enterprise. Lucky for us, online qualitative research has matured over the years and many of our customers are now seeking to engage participants in long-term studies and, as a result, are increasingly treating them like true online communities.
No longer is it sufficient to expose participants to a basic list of activities to complete. Participants need and want to understand the purpose and people behind the study if they're feel to engaged. They also want to understand how their input compares to others and how it results in tangible outcomes. Recollective is an ideal platform for engagement as it's now equally frictionless to collect and then feed back all the great insights one has collected.
Along with the release of the new Home tab, we've also improved the ability to customize the study's primary navigation tabs. These are the main options found in the dark stripe spanning the top of every page: Home, Summary, Activities and Discussions.
All studies now start with a Home tab shown but it's hidden to participants and clients until the first page is published. This is clearly indicated as shown below.
Study analysts and moderators can now rename, move, and even fully disable a study tab with ease. Open Admin menu in the study and select Study Settings and then select Basic Configuration to access these new controls.
Within the Study Features section, you can now uncheck any unwanted features. Select the pencil icon to rename a tab and you can drag the arrow icon up and down to re-order it.
If you plan to rename a tab, note that space is limited and any change should be tested. After renaming a tab, press Save and your changes will appear a moment later. You can now resize the width of your browser to simulate various screen widths and devices (even simulating a smartphone). As you resize the browser, pay attention to your newly renamed tabs to ensure their labels remains fully visible.
As offered previously, you can also choose which tab is the first one loaded upon entering the study, this is called the Primary Study Tab. Note that the Home tab will not appear to participants or clients until you publish the page the first time. Once you do publish a page, it becomes the primary tab but that can be changed.
Page Versions and Cards
An instruction area on the page will encourage you to press the Add Card button to get started. This button opens a menu of card types currently available.
More types of cards will be added in time but we've decided to launch this new feature with three basic content card types: Message, Photo and Video.
Like the modular nature of task types in Recollective, card types are flexible and interchangeable. You can mix and match as many cards as you like on a page. Each card can be stretched, styled and positioned as you see fit.
While you prepare a page, it remains in a draft state. Only study analysts and moderators can see and edit the draft, while clients and participants see nothing at all. When ready, you need only press the Publish button to reveal your page to everyone.
Once a page is published, you can again begin to add, resize, move, or delete cards without fear of anyone seeing your draft changes. Only once you're ready do you press Publish again.
While viewing your draft page, you can quickly toggle between it and the Live page (the last page you published which is visible to participants and clients). You can always discard your draft without impacting the live page.
By default, all cards placed on the page will be made visible to participants once it's published. To restrict a card's visibility, Recollective provides you with several Card Visibility options.
- Select Segments
- Analysts, Moderators and Clients
- Only Analysts and moderators
If you choose Select Segments, you can pick one or more segments and determine if participants must be in ANY or ALL those segments before the card is visible to them.
Pressing the Page Options button at the top of the Home tab let's you control the overall background of the new Home tab. By default it matches the colour theme of the study but you can make it white, or have it match the site's login page background (as previously configured in Site Administration > Site Setup > Site Appearance).
The card menu provides access to Edit and Delete but also a Change Style sub-menu as shown below.
For all card types, you can choose a style preset and enable a border. Cards can even be transparent which places its contents on the page background.
For Photo Cards, you can also set scaling options. You can resize a card by dragging its edges or corners. The card will snap to set increments which makes the card arrangement flexible but tidy.
TIP: If you want to insert a logo graphic, upload a transparent PNG image file. You can then set the card style to Transparent. If the graphic is 280 pixels or less in width, choose Do not resize to ensure it remains crisp.
Future Card Types
Our goal is to introduce more card types on a regular basis while also making the page easier to work with. For example, dragging photos onto the page will soon allow you to create multiple Photo Cards in a single step.
The next card type planned is a File Card that will let you host any file for download. For example, you could upload a participant guide or a presentation for your client.
UPDATE March 15, 2016: The File Card is now available as part of the Recollective March 2016 Update.
We also want to offer you the ability to re-purpose content in the study as cards. Profiles, leaderboards, charts, excerpts (and more) will be available in card format so you can guide participants and clients to the most interesting content.
We are looking forward to all the interesting home pages you will create. As usual, we appreciate any and all feedback you have to share with us.