Reply by Email & New Responsive Design Templates

By Mark Eichler posted Oct 14, 2014 10:40 AM


Higher Logic’s COO, Ben Goodkind, has blogged three times. All of these blogs were written in the past year or so. Each time he has written on the same topic. What subject is exciting and essential enough to inspire blogging by a busy technologist/executive with an endless to-do list? Email. And today I’m happy to join Ben with a blog on the topic.

Why? We have made some changes.  There are a number of reasons email is worthy of attention.

1) Email is universal.  Nearly everyone has an email account.

2) Email is mobile. Most email opens happen on a mobile device.

3) Sharing on the Higher Logic platform usually begins with email. Most end-users become aware of and consume Discussion content through email. Apps, RSS updates, and “remembering to go check the website” are all paths to reading new content.  But, as Higher Logic products are currently used, email is the big funnel for engagement.

What happened? Three things.

1) Discussion email is reworked and responsive. The email templates have been completely overhauled to ensure that the content can be easily read on a mobile device. Further, our team took a weed-whacker to the format. The links that previously camouflaged the path to reply are now gone.

2) Reply by email is live and universal. The ability to click “reply” in Outlook, Gmail, or your native phone mail client leaves no barrier to contributing. To turn this on, simply go to CCAdmin > Communities > Discussions > Mail Processing Rules > Follow the screenshot below.

3) Library entries are created from the attachments to Discussion email.

Together these changes enhance the experience of users and incent engagement:

1) Zero product familiarity is necessary to contribute. “Reply” means reply in the native email client and for the Higher Logic Discussion. “Attach” means attach in the native email client and the Higher Logic Discussion/Library. There is nothing to “understand”. A user can just use it.

2) The twist-and-pinch you might have previously done to optimize the mobile reading experience was too much for some users. Removing that element of friction means more users are reading at notification.

3) More users reading plus a clearer interface means more users responding.

4) Nothing requires a browser. The button “reply via email” means no delay as another program opens and no confusion due to differences in interface presentation.

5) Posting to a Discussion does not require a live internet connection. You can read/reply whenever with email. Now Discussion posts can take advantage of this. Write a bunch of posts on the plane, they will go out when you land.

6) Accessibility is enhanced. We made a ton of changes to help those with varying levels of visual acuity consume and create content on the Higher Logic websites. Email platforms present a simple and direct path to engagement independent of browser tools.

Yes, email is exciting, especially for Higher Logic users. After only a week multiple clients were reporting increased engagement via email. All this goodness is ready for you. If you haven’t read Ben’s blogs on email changes I encourage you to give them a look and understand the changes and your configuration options more deeply.




May 07, 2023 08:31 PM

Hello! I can't find Mail Processing Rules in my Online Community admin settings - did this move?

Nov 25, 2014 04:39 PM

Check out this discussion thread to read about client successes with the new reply by email functionality: