Much has been written and said over on the Ning Creators community about the perceived deficiencies of Ning 3.0, and there have also been a couple of disgruntled early adopters who have migrated from Ning 2.0 over to Ning 3.0 and experienced serious issues.
So it was with a slight feeling of nervous excitement that I recommended to one of my clients that she migrate her private community over to Ning 3.0 from Ning 2.0. My reasons, though, were simple. Firstly, my client had seen a similar University Ning community site that I had developed and like the overall look and feel of the new Ning 3.0 platform compared to 2.0. Secondly, my client’s community is for young girls who are used to using their mobiles to add and view all sorts of content on a variety of slick social networks. Her 2.0 site could not compete.
I have a good relationship with a few of the staff over at Ning so I was confident that working with them to migrate what is admittedly a relatively small community would be a painless experience, and so it proved to be. I was concerned that the five-day limit that Ning had talked about imposing in their announcement here for migrating sites would not be enough but the advocacy guys I worked with (Juliet, Jennifer, take a bow) were flexible with their timelines.
The migration itself was amazingly efficient. The site is group and blog based and all that data came over just as I expected it to. All content ports as ‘Unlinked pages’ and clearly identified as Blog 2.0, Groups 2.0 etc. All profile questions, categories, avatars etc migrated over nicely, and the one small glitch I had with the ‘topping off’ process was ironed out quickly and without fuss.
Of course, as expected the design elements of the site needed to be completely re-worked, as did all the custom code and funky jQuery stuff. But we knew that going in and the purpose of the migration was always to give the site an aesthetic and UX overhaul.
One of the main advantages of Ning 3.0 is the ability to mix private and public aspects of the site. Being a community of young school girls, their privacy is paramount, so the site is largely private. But we also needed public areas of the site, like a blog, to demonstrate what the community was all about and what went on behind the privacy wall.
You can get a flavour of the new site on their public homepage here and can compare the old site with the new below.
One of the aims was to ‘Appify’ the site and give the kids a mobile experience that was inline with their experiences on other mobile social sites and apps. Simple things like an icon-reliant menu that slides in the from the left, a members page that loads more members on scroll, and large cartoon characters with bold calls-to-action have given the site an App-like feel on mobile.
Side Menu on iPad:
Overall, the client is delighted with the new site and can’t wait to get it buzzing when the kids return from summer breaks. From a migration point of view, I have to give ning kudos for the slickness of the process. Good job all-round!
What they say …
Richard listened carefully to our goals, objectives and ideas for the GAINS network and was able to translate those thoughts into a wonderful design that has the functionality we were looking for. Along the way, his insights into the aesthetics of the site as well as his knowledge of the Ning platform’s potential was key. He completed the project well within the time we had specified and within budget. We love both the look and functionality of our network!
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