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As with the entire NEAR Ecosystem, the NEAR Governance Forum is Community-driven and sculpted.
Currently, there is no data in regards to the user experience of the NEAR Governance Forum. Although we can access basic metrics regarding usage, there is no quantitative or qualitative data in regards to UX.
The following document serves to outline a proposal for a medium-term revamp of the Forum in which decisions will be made using a data-driven approach. Data will be extracted from user feedback, currently tracked metrics, and user research.
Goal: Provide users of the NEAR Governance Forum with the best user experience possible.
Date: 1st October (pushed back to today, 5th of October)
Goal: Complete, and publish, the plan for the NEAR Governance Forum Revamp.
This phase began with internal (NEAR Foundation) ideation with regards to the future of the Governance Forum.
We’d like to make it clear that this document is entirely living. After the publication of the plan, we invite the Community to leave feedback, comments, and criticisms, regarding the Revamp Plan.
- Completion of the Governance Forum Revamp Plan
- Publication of the plan on the NEAR Governance Forum
- Open up the plan for feedback
Goal: Implementation of QoL Discourse plugins & the undertaking of user research
User research will be conducted through the issuance of a user-research-focused survey and if deemed appropriate, the undertaking of a number of user interviews.
Here, we’ll be aiming to understand the following:
- Why users are using the Forum
- What they like
- What they dislike
- Their expectations
- Their needs
- Their motivations
The data we derive from the user research will be leveraged in Phase 3 to implement these initial updates to the NEAR Governance Forum. Updates can range from UI or cosmetic changes to deep fundamental changes, and your feedback and patience will be appreciated through them all.
We’re aiming to implement a number of QoL and usability-focused plugins from the Discourse Plugin suite.
Plugin integration has been rolled up into Phase 1 as many can be considered ‘low hanging fruit’. Those implemented will take a minimal amount of development time and resources whilst awarding enhanced usability and quality of life for Forum users.
This plugin allows admins to run SQL queries against the live Discourse database, including parameterized queries and formatting for several common column types
Benefit: Admins are better equipped to extract data from the NEAR Governance Forum and use that data to improve the overall experience
This is a theme component that will allow you to add custom text-based links to the header easily.
Benefit: Flexible customisation
The Discourse Solved plugin allows users to accept solutions on topics in designated categories.
Benefit: Further clarity when seeking a solution that is available in a thread
The Stop Forum Spam plugin can help weed out human spammers who are able to bypass Discourse’s built-in spam tools
Benefit: Reduced risk of spam posts
In anticipation of onboarding Community Moderators, this plugin enables regular non-staff users of a group to moderate and review content in specific categories
Benefit: The ability to enable Discourse users to moderate specific categories without surrendering moderator privileges
Allows us to host zoom webinars and have an easy way for community members to join the webinars from the community forum
Benefit: Increased potential for community engagement
A plugin that allows staff users to send individual personal messages to several users at once
Benefit: QoL improvement for staff members/mods
Creates a topic that summarizes the previous year’s activity on the forum
Benefit: Engaging thread & collated metrics
Allows you to assign topics (both private and public) to staff members
Benefit: Improved organisation and more efficient collaboration
The Custom Wizard Plugin lets you make user wizards for your Discourse forum. You can provide information, take user input, and perform actions, like creating topics, updating profiles and much more
Benefit: Improved onboarding experience for users, increased flexibility for expanding the user journey when performing actions on the forum
Integrate chat systems, including Discourse and Slack, with Discourse
Benefit: Increased transparency and accessibility through a dedicated Dicsord channel/category
Translate posts on Discourse using Microsoft, Google, or Yandex translation APIs
Benefit: Increased accessibility for non native English users
- Completed integration of 50% of the above plugins
- 50 responses to the user-research survey
- 20 user interviews conducted (these may be extended throughout numerous phases)
Goal: Synthesise the data to tangible action points from the user research and present this to the Community for feedback. Hold a workshop with Guild Leaders and other Forum power users to prepare for implementation.
Guild Leaders are encouraged to use the Forum for updates, proposals, and any other relevant news regarding their Guilds (and beyond).
As such, we believe that Guild Leaders (and other Forum power users) are the ideal subset of users to whom we can deliver a preliminary report of our findings to.
Forum power users will be determined by the amount of time read, topics viewed, and posts read.
Power Users are determined by a number of metrics in regards to their usage of the NEAR Governance Forum.
Collating, analysing, and synthesizing the data which has been collected from both the user interviews and the distributed survey.
Following successful synthesis, we’ll have produced a tangible plan which consists of action points in preparation for Phase 3.
- User research data synthesised into action points
- Synthesis refined and published to the community
- Workshop held with Guild Leaders and Forum power users
Goal: Execute the action points derived from feedback synthesis in Phase 2
It’s likely that a significant portion of the action points derived from Phase 2 will require developer attention. As such, we’ll be leveraging internal development resources from the NEAR Foundation if possible. If there are no internal dev resources available then we will pursue this externally, likely through the Discourse Marketplace.
- 80% completion of the action points derived from Phase 2
- Continuous user feedback after the completion of each action point
Date: December +
Goal: Continuous monitoring and analysis of the NEAR Governance Forum user experience and usage.
Currently, the governance forum plays an essential role in the facilitation of discussion around Guilds, projects, and the NEAR Protocol itself.
We value the Governance Forum highly and, as such, will endeavour to ensure the user experience is optimal whilst encouraging growth in usage of the NEAR Forum.
- Regular (quarterly(?)) user research surveys
- Implementation of an in-forum feedback system
- Quarterly Governance Forum usage posts
On that note, I encourage feedback from the entire NEAR Community in regards to the Governance Forum Revamp Plan and the future of the NEAR Governance Forum.
We’ll be starting to implement the plugins as of this week (shout out if there are any others you’d like to see). User feedback will begin in the form of an open survey very soon.