I can distinctly remember 5 years ago reading a blog entry on this site about the "personal conversations" feature in IP.Board 3.0, which we were working on at the time. Up until then, the messenger system in community software and other websites was much like email - you sent one message at a time, with little continuity between messages. We were one of the first, on the entire of the web, to introduce what we called "personal conversations" - a sort of "private topic" between invited members - it was a really exciting idea back then.
For 4.0, we wanted to really focus on the experience of using the messenger - making it super fast and easy to compose, navigate and participate in conversations.
Starting a conversation
When browsing the site, you'll see a messenger icon at the top of every screen just like you do now. When hitting the "Compose Now" button inside though, the form to send your message will appear as a modal window, and when you send, it will disappear again with no page reload. This makes it incredibly fast and easy to send a message from wherever you are, without interrupting your flow. You can also send a message to a specific member by hovering over their name wherever you see it on the site and clicking the "Send Message" button in the hover card that shows.
We've completely redesigned the main messenger pages. You now see a (infinitely scrolling) list of all your messages on the left-side. Clicking on any message opens it up in the main pane. All the common actions are enhanced with AJAX so you can open a conversation, add a user and reply all really quickly.
We've not forgotten about mobile devices! The new responsive design in IPS 4.0 means the whole messenger works and looks great whether you're on a desktop or on your phone.
We recognise that when members send a new message, it is often as a response to content read in all areas of the suite. You can now send messages in place without disrupting your flow. We have improved all aspects of sending, receiving and managing messages and are confident these changes will make communicating with other members in private simpler and faster.
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[IP.Services] 4.0 - Messenger
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