November 4th, 2015 23:31

UX: Adding people to a group

Richard D. Bartlett
Richard D. Bartlett Public Seen by 539

The most pressing UX problem we've discovered from our user testing over the past couple weeks is the process for adding people to your group.

To my mind, this is split into two parts:

  • the group settings for access/permissions/privacy are confusing and restrictive;
  • and, the invitation form is overly ambitious and under designed, so the end result is a confusing form that we've watched multiple users fail to navigate.

The devs are well underway on a much improved group settings form, which will be live in the next few days. This includes a change which will mean new groups will start with "Anyone can ask to join" enabled by default - one component of making groups easier to access.

Simplifying the invitation form

There are lots of jobs we want to do with this form. In order of priority:

  • (must have) user types email address, presses enter or clicks submit, invitation is sent
  • (must have) it's easy to bring in multiple people
  • (nice to have) it's easy to select people without knowing their email address, e.g. by providing a list of Loomio users that share a group with you, or by integrating with your email address book
  • (nice to have) add a custom message to explain why people should join the group

Right now, we're focussed on fixing the very pressing UX problem of the first 2 bullet points, and building up from there.

Update: I shared one design, got some feedback, and have now updated a second design here:

I had a look at how Slack handles invitations...

...then went through a few loops and got to this iteration of the invite people form:

...which lets you add a custom message:

And if you are inviting someone to a subgroup:

...you just click to add parent members:

Additionally, we're exploring the idea of adding a "team sharing link", which will work like Google Doc's "anyone with link" setting:

(That is a question we'll look at more deeply in the next week or two though.)

We're planning to build it and run a couple of user tests ASAP.

I'm keen to hear how you respond to these mockups before we build anything - does it look to you like an improvement on the current form?

Matthew Bartlett

Matthew Bartlett November 5th, 2015 00:25

It looks like an improvement.


James Kiesel November 5th, 2015 05:35

I personally think this really needs multi-select, and sending out all the invites at the same time. I was imagining taking a list of emails in a spreadsheet and inviting people one by one (ick), as opposed to copy-pasting them into a field (yay!)

Yeah it's do-able with the shareable link but I'd much rather be able to bulk invite people with copy-paste too... especially given that most of the time we'll be wanting to invite multiple (often many) people, since this is part of the 'start a group' workflow.

Alanna Irving

Alanna Irving November 5th, 2015 19:42

Why is this posted in Contributors and not the general Loomio Community group? Surely this is an ideal discussion for getting general user feedback?

Overall I think it looks like a good improvement. The one minor thing I would change is that the confirmation message that the person has been invited should appear in the box where the user is focused, not in the bottom corner of the screen. It's likely people won't notice it, and in the box they're looking at, it just looks like their data has disappeared. It should say something like "1 User invited! Invite more?" so it's clear why that same input field is still in focus.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett November 5th, 2015 20:56

@jameskiesel I have a hunch (which I'm not sure how to test) that having a user share an access link with their team is likely to be significantly more successful than having Loomio send out invitation emails.

Yesterday I invited three (high profile) people to a test group and none of them received their email. I don't know which point in the chain failed, but it was embarrassing and deflated a lot of the initial energy for trying Loomio.

Then I switched the group settings to 'anyone can ask to join', shared the group link, and told the three of them that they could come in that way. When the first person arrived, he saw that the group was publicly listed and immediately asked me to switch it to private. Wompf.

The 4 of us had already established communication in an email thread. I would have vastly preferred to just send a link along in that email thread and know that everyone could easily get in, the way I can with Doodle and Google Docs.

I agree we want a good system for inviting multiple people, I just haven't seen a great design for Loomio yet.

From my research this week, Google Inbox has probably the best bulk invite system I've seen (supports names and emails, validates emails as soon as they are entered, plays nice with keyboard, works equally well for 1 or 100 people). The only hesitation in following that UX is that we don't have the UI element for it in Loomio yet (in Material design terms they call that element "chips").

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 8th, 2015 06:07

aside: I think we'll need to be able to generate and cancel team links. Could sit with "pending invitations".

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett November 10th, 2015 23:45

Ok I have done some more research and design, keen to push this along ASAP.

I had a look at how Slack handles invitations...

...then went through a few loops and got to this iteration of the invite people form:

...which lets you add a custom message:

And if you are inviting someone to a subgroup:

...you just click to add parent members:

What I like about this: all the same functionality as Beta, but with (I hope) a cleaner and more accessible UX because there are no custom UI elements in there. Everything is just normal forms and there are no tricky autocompletes.



James Kiesel November 11th, 2015 08:15

Whoop, love it. Wonder if first iteration can ignore the parent group stuff.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett November 11th, 2015 19:16

Hey @alanna thanks for the prod, I'm moved this thread into the Loomio Community group now. It was an oversight starting it in the subgroup :)

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett November 11th, 2015 19:21

I just got a really informative message from someone, expressing their concern at having been added to a new group without their permission.

The way this currently works, if you and another person share a group in common, they can immediately add you to another group, i.e. you don't get a chance to accept or decline the invitation first.

This has proved to be a convenient way to administer multiple groups and subgroups, and I don't recall hearing any other complaints of abuse before today.

However I think it is reasonable to consider changing this behaviour at the same time as we are looking at rebuilding how invitations work. What do you think @robertguthrie?

Greg Cassel

Greg Cassel November 11th, 2015 19:32

I hope Rob does chime in, but I have a very strong opinion on your last comment @richarddbartlett adding people to social and/or political groups without their knowledge or consent is often a recipe for disaster. I've dealt with the resulting messes a number of times.

Greg Cassel

Greg Cassel November 11th, 2015 19:36

P.S. truly love this work Rich :)

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 11th, 2015 20:12

@richarddbartlett yes we have had this come up a few times in the past. In situations of high trust it's a better experience but these cases where people are not happy about it can cause a lot of trouble.

I think this UX could solve the problem.. (imagine ..... )
You can instantly add members to subgroups, when they already belong to the organisation, but you must invite people who are new the the organisation (ie: parent group) even if they have a loomio account.

Greg Cassel

Greg Cassel November 11th, 2015 21:04

I actually don't think it's generally healthy for people to be added even to subgroups without an intentional click on their part. However it's easy for us to unintentionally end up addressing several distinct issues here.

I'd definitely love an option to make parent group members automatically eligible for subgroup membership, depending on the nature of the subgroup. Some subgroups are supposed to involve trust - based, team- based task management process-- where everyone is especially comfortable with everyone else --and some are supposed to involve specific areas of expertise and/or credentials. I would love to downplay the latter, but I do think it can have a place in otherwise inclusive communities. I would love for Loomio to be flexible enough to accommodate such use-cases.

I'd personally prefer a special option for subgroups only, which makes all parent group members eligible for membership upon a single click, which could be either by invitation or independent initiative.

Rob Guthrie

Rob Guthrie November 11th, 2015 22:40

The idea of another setting, to me, it sounds like too many options, and very hard to explain.

I think it comes from a lack of clarity about the role of a subgroup, and the absence of another type of group relationship - the network.

If you're adding people to a subgroup and they're so unhappy that they're complaining.. then I reckon the subgroup must be inappropriate for the group.

Greg Cassel

Greg Cassel November 11th, 2015 23:28

Well I'm kind of extreme in my emphasis on intentional joining even at the subgroup or committee/task level. As long as subgroups have the option to require approval of their new members, I guess things will be fine.

Ultimately I think groups should be able to have various types of relationships, including but not emphasizing the typical uses of 'subgroup'. However, that's a longer term issue which requires its own focus. Sorry for muddying waters here!

Jochen Walter

Jochen Walter started a proposal November 13th, 2015 21:02

Do You want to invite people by mail sent by Loomio? Closed 9:07pm - Tuesday 17 Nov 2015

Therefore You must know their mail addresses and type them - one or more - into a form.

After this proposal:
1. Do You want to add people without having a choice for the invited?
2. Do You want to invite people by your own mail with a link and the description of what Loomio is for and the description of the group, even for private groups?

Agree - 2
Abstain - 2
Disagree - 2
Block - 2
-895 people have voted (-29900%)
Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett
November 13th, 2015 21:22

I don't understand the proposal.

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett November 13th, 2015 21:29

I just updated the thread context with the second iteration of the design.

Greg Cassel

Greg Cassel November 13th, 2015 23:03

^ good magic, man :)

Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino)

Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino)
November 15th, 2015 10:19

Both options seem good, it would be better though to vote on these point separately and better explained.

Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino)

Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino) November 15th, 2015 10:23

About the automatically adding to a subgroup or to a group in general, maybe have a general setting "I want people to be able to add me to subgroups etc/I want to confirm everything first.". I know enough situation where people are like "can't you do that for me?". You could even extend this to something like "enable the admin to change my settings where necessary". This could be implemented with similar care and UI warnings like access delegation to Gmail accounts.

Steve Bosserman

Steve Bosserman
November 16th, 2015 21:20

I want to be able to invite people by email sent from Loomio. As @Joop Kiefte suggested, we can consider the two options separately afterward.

Jochen Walter

Jochen Walter November 18th, 2015 07:59

Automaticaly adding to subgroups:
I think Loomio should be a tool to empower people in democratic action. Wouldn't @lapingvino's proposal include a passivity of the people? I don't like functions that support passivity. We all have to learn, that democracy is getting better by activity of people. What do You all think? But I also want Loomio to be easy to use for that there won't be a handicap for any kind of people (only for those who don't have access to private or public computer :-().

My proposal better explained:
As I read the comments in this discussion I felt that we need to give a sign to Mr. Richard "The Code" Bartlett (@richarddbartlett Thanks for Your good work!) and the Loomio team for what we think that is needed what kind of Adding we don't want. So I started with this one. With "After this proposal:" I just gave a hint, what proposal I would try as next. But as You all know - its not my discussion, its ours.
I thought that it is a kind of fact, that we would like to have the possibilty to add/invite people to groups/subgroups. For this it wont be necessary to ask "Would You like to be able to invite/add people to groups/subgroups?" and then ask for the possibilty to invite by mail. Do You understand what I try to explain?

So, only 3 have voted this proposal is collapsed by a hair's breadth. ;o)
Should we start this one again in better explanation or is there another proposal useful?