In November 2006, I wrote my first blog post for Direct2Dell. The purpose was to unveil new design and feature changes to the Dell Community Forum, which had remained in same design since 1999.
Update from Lionel: I know there are questions out there. We've set up an area for you in the Popular Topics section. Take a look at some of the discussions going on in that forum and or see several "how to" wiki tutorials.
I was excited and naïve two years ago. I knew the community forum site was not perfect—we got private and public feedback to that effect, but I believed in the strategy of getting enhanced tools into the hands of the community and refining it from there. I was naïve in focusing on the technology more than our members. With our launch today, we have worked to make the new site more about Dell’s community members. Like Lionel mentioned, we’ve published several posts on D2D to preview new functionality enhancements. In doing so, we’ve tried to communicate those changes beforehand and make them posts pretty easy to find for customers who might have missed them before. We’ve also hosted demos of the new site with some of our high-volume users and were glad to see much of that feedback has mirrored what Davet50—one of our Platinum users, had to say:
“It was neat being able to see the new Site layout and features… a lot of work has gone into this upgrade and it shows how much the Dell team wants to make this site the best support and knowledge site on the web.”
Functionality integration was the core idea behind this effort. Now you can access all of the content, across tools like blogs, forums, wikis and more on one platform. Profiles are one of the key things that enable that integration. They allow you to share key attributes and connect with other community members that share your interests. They also provide you an easy way to see your own activity (and that of your friends), across the Dell Community site.
Currently, our community site has about 1.4M registered members, and we expect to get about 250 million visits this year. With that kind of activity, it’s easy to feel lost. That’s part of the reason we established groups, which are smaller networks where members can connect with others who have similar interests. Another change is that on every page of our community site, the top of the page is YOUR information, stuff you care about (your status, favorite content, friends, and groups you join).
We also heard that navigation in our community can be daunting, especially for new members. So now we offer you a choice – navigate by a Popular Topic (a collection of items related to a specific topic on the upper left side of many community pages) or by tool (forum, wiki, blog, gallery).
The Dell team accomplished the community platform by aligning with a technology partner that shared our vision of an integrated platform and putting the community member first. Telligent is our technology partner and worked many months to turn our vision into the new Dell Community site.
One of the many things we’ve learned from social media is that Dell is a better company when we listen and engage with our customers. Keep the ideas and feedback coming our way. More updates and improvements will be coming as we tweak things. Based on your feedback, we will prioritize the improvements. Please join us.