Since Ning launched Ning 3.0 back in March, new NCs have had a dilemna: Do they invest dollars in their social network now, accepting that they are investing in an unfinished product, or do they wait and see how Ning 3.0 performs when complete and, crucially, stable.
This situation has posed issues for Ning developers, too. I’ve spoken to many potential clients since Ning 3.0 launched but many have been disappointed with Ning 3.0, frustrated that a core feature they believed they’d have available is not ready, and discouraged by negative feedback on Ning Creators. The upshot has been that most clients have decided that right now Ning 3.0 is not for them and design work dried up a little.
However, I was delighted that after some lengthy discussions with my client over at The Military Veteran Resource Network, they decided to migrate their Ning 2.0 site (freshly designed by Ning’s own design team) to a new Ning 3.0 site.
They liked their Ning 2.0 design (and had invested money in various images and icons) so wanted to keep the same look and feel but the challenge was to build out a site that looked good on all devices, utilised the flexible blogging modules and retained a simplicity that would enable their diverse range of members (some with little tech prowess, I’m told) to use the site easily without being overwhelmed.
They were happy to reinvite members of their 2.0 over to their 3.0 but didn’t want to wait until their 2.0 was mature before having to migrate. They were also focussed on blogs so Ning 3.0 made complete sense.
One of the challenges with a responsive website is ensuring that your icons, images and backgrounds all render well on the various layouts and devices that they adapt to. There are also some quirks of Ning 3.0 that needed to be ironed out on iPad. Drop down menus don’t behave as they should when rotating the device for starters.
But overall, working with a client that was prepared to be flexible in approach and utilise what Ning 3.0 currently offers meant that we could create a content rich site that was easy to navigate and clean to look at.
Here are some of the specific site requirements.
- Google Custom Search was installed.
- A lovely responsive slider was used with bold calls to action (the slider was too small on some phones so any screen size under 400px wide gets more basic icons displayed).
- A print button was required on blog posts.This only prints the blog contents not the whole page.
- A back to top button was installed.
- A responsive contact form was implemented via JotForm.
- A more central and larger mobile menu than the default Ning 3.0 version was designed.
The site is still being fleshed out and old members are slowly rejoining so it will be fascinating to see how the community develops, but I enjoyed the challenges and process of my first non-sandbox Ning 3.0.
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