We are thinking about the opportunities and challenges of moving an established community to a new platform. Does anyone have a specific experience to share, or a particular question or concern that you would like help with?
- Be sure the change is demand driven and not supply driven.
- Be very careful switching platforms unless the new platform comes with more stability, easier to use functionalities than the previous platform.
- Engage users in the change; especially design user interface.
- Test, test and test using different browsers (IE, Chrome, Safari Opera); and from different continents.
- Plan conversion overnight from previous to new and make sure content is migrated as well.
- Possibility to have both platforms (old and new) running alongside for a few weeks.
- Communicate, Communicate and Communicate well in advance the change, ratio, and allow sneak previews for early adopters who can turn into advocates.
- Accept that you will loose users. The number depends on the steps aforementioned.
One very small experience:
My 8 member cycleclub consist of digi-conservative members with an extreme high sense for privacy (is that typically Dutch? it seems to, though foreigners would disagree seeing all those open curtains living rooms at night behind un-walled tiny gardens in densely populated Netherlands ;-).
We were on Yahoo!Groups for years, since 1999. Me being the steward (by default) wanted to move to a more powerful (search!) Googlegroup platform. And we did, though at the expense of not having managed to move the Y!groups archive to Googlegroups. I tried all kind of online fora, but - though it seems possible - I didn't manage.
We are all very happy with our googlegroup platform, but miss the easy access to the archived Y!Groups discussion of the years before.
Patricia Arnold, Bev Trayner, and I wrote a paper title “one more tool” that should add a bit to this discussion: