Not too long ago, we laid the groundwork for our member categories feature by streamlining the management of your existing and prospective members. Now, we're almost ready to roll Member Categories out, and we wanted to give you a preview of the feature and get your feedback on its functionality and a few improvements that we've added along the way.
Create up to 50 categories and assign members to them. All of your members will begin in the default category, called Members. You can create and edit new categories via the Member Categories tab in the Member Management section. A couple of important limitations to note up front: the default category can't be edited, and members can only belong to one category at a time.
When you create a category, you have an option to create a listing page exclusively for the members in that category, and you can create listing pages for up to 5 10categories. When you do this, a new submenu item for the category will appear in the submenu items for Member pages. You can choose the text for the submenu listing, so that you can pluralize or customize it. This is a great way to highlight specific members on the network.
Image and Text Badges
Each category that you create can also have an optional image or text badge that gets added as an overlay on a member's profile picture. Whether you create badges of honor or badges of shame, this is an excellent way to identify admins, reward special members, or just make it easy for visitors to identify different types of members. Text badges are based on the category name, and can be placed at the top or bottom of the profile picture. You can set the text color, background color, and the background opacity for each badge.
Images badges can be positioned in one of the four quadrants of a member's profile picture. We've included 22 badges to get you started, and you can upload and manage up to 50 of your own custom badges.
Text and Image badges will appear in most places in your network, but not everywhere. Right now they won't appear in Chat and in a couple of other places, like the profile images on sign in and sign up pages.
Designers and Network Creators who are comfortable with CSS will be pleased to know that each created category is associated with a CSS class that we're adding to the #xg_themebody div in profile pages. This means you can create CSS styles that will be applied to the profile pages of members in a category. This will let you do things like adjust the background or color scheme of every member of your network who's in a specific category.
Once you've assigned your members to categories, you can use new functionality in the Broadcast Message feature to send a broadcast message to just those members. Choose any category you've created and proceed from there. The current broadcast message includes a subheader with the words "A Message to all members of Network Name". Now that you can target individual categories for messages, that text is no longer accurate, so we'll be removing it with this release. If you like that message and want to retain it, you can add it in manually like this:
<h3>A Message to all members of Network Name</h3>
We're currently targeting Thursday for this release. We'll update this post if that changes. We're excited to see how NCs will use Member Categories, and we'd love your feedback. There are a few enhancements we may add to member categories like the ability to connect a Paid Access subscriber list with a category. There are also a few longer term things you've already told us you want, like category-specific feature permissions (e.g., Blog-only members). Let us know in the comments how you plan to use Member Categories, and once it's gone live, let us know how we can make it more useful for you.
I just got back on, I had just changed the name, I've just deleted the category completely and it's gone now, so thanks for the help guys...
I first thought: meh? What do I need this for? Then the lightbulb went off. I started categorizing members months ago when I created professionals pages to highlight members, but it was a lot of work. When I realized categories would do the same thing, I was all over it! Nice addition. It's going to save me a bunch of work.
Now if there was only a mobile template for the categories ...
I am playing around with this new feature and once I upload my own graphics, this will be a great badge for my members who help to fund the website. I have Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze members who donate to the site and then a whole bunch who don't. The subscribers will be able to have a badge on their profile picture. It's great! Thanks for this. it seems to be working just fine for my network. I don't need multiple categories for members as I am keeping it simple.
I am doing something similar on my website. I created 4 categories for Site Donors... Maroon, Bronze, Silver, Gold, with each color representing the level of donation, i.e., $1-50 = Maroon and so on. I am using colored stars for the badges and my members love it!! (Thanks, Ning and Ceddy J!)
This is FANTASTIC!!
Is there a way to have people added to these Categories by opting in, or automatically? Or do we have to manually add, organize, and maintain these lists?
There isn't a way to do this automatically yet, no, but we're thinking about ways to implement that.
Thanks for the quick response, Phil!
So wait, that's only now being thought out? That seems it would be a priority step, considering the hundreds or thousands of members we have.
Well, for now, since we have to do this manually, is there a way to sort out Members based on a certain criterium, and then add the badge in bulk? That would be the next-best solution to get us through.
Otherwise, good lord, this is daunting, and immediately cuts short the possibilities for implementation and practical use.
"So wait, that's only now being thought out?" You're kidding, right? Initially we will make it easy to hook paywall subscribers up to a category, and beyond that there are a couple of different ways to enable this that we're exploring.
"make it easy to hook paywall subscribers up to a category" = Yes!
Some might appreciate automating the process - I do NOT want my members selecting their category and would prefer to assign/reward them even if it means manually to start.
Have close to 4000 members and the assignment process is coming along really nicely by simply moving through a plan of doing several a day. Glad this was released instead of Ning waiting till it satisified everyone's needs - which might be impossible.
One advantage I am finding by doing these in small batches is that the reward process is more noticible by members and is creating some buzz and I'm receiving some great emails of thanks. Bulk processing might not allow for this extended buzz.
MEMBER IN MULTIPLE CATEGORIES?
I noticed that a member can only be added to a single category. Is that going to change?
The reason I ask is because I'd like to have the more public badges for members, but also the "quiet targets," such as a list of those members local to me for local events, etc.
If we do something like that, it won't be in the short term.