Social intranet software, collaboration and knowledge management specialist Axero released an upgrade to Communifire, its intranet software solution for small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs).
Communifire 5.2 delivers an array of new features designed to improve the user experience for administrators, plus offers new gamification capabilities that allow users to recognize other users by granting them badges. Users can earn badges by completing customized series of actions within the community.
The biggest addition to Communifire 5.2 is the Page Builder, a drag-and-drop interface that administrators can use to create page layouts, and simplify the process of designing the homepage, space pages, and CMS pages.
"There is always a struggle between power, functionality, and flexibility on the one hand and user friendliness--often a synonym for simplicity or intuitiveness--on the other hand," Axero co-founder and President Tim Eisenhauer told eWEEK. "Both are hugely important if you want people to use a new tool designed to encourage greater interaction, sharing and collaboration and give up their old familiar tools."
Eisenhauer said the answer, in addition to providing a compelling user experience out of the box, is to give customers and intranet managers the flexibility to tailor the user experience to their users’ way of thinking, so things just make sense for them.
"Communifire has always been an extremely flexible system," he explained. "In the early years, that flexibility was accessible to developers. Then it became accessible to Web designers with a casual comfort level of HTML and CSS. And now with the Page Builder, it becomes accessible to everyone. It allows users without IT support to tailor their intranet pages to their specific culture and use case."
He said one of the key lessons to be learned from the high failure rate of other social collaboration and intranet systems is tailoring the environment of the intranet to the company, how it is used to working, it's culture, and how users interact is key to success.
"The Page Builder extends the ability of non-technical site administrators to create an ongoing tailored user experience based on the feedback of the people using the system," he noted.
The chat and instant messaging user interface also got a refresh with many stylistic updates, giving users the ability to turn off notification sounds, add a chat as a favorite, and view Is Typing to indicate when others are typing.
The company also overhauled the attachment uploader, and photos and attachments can now be styled and formatted, and users are now able to change the name of a group chat to anything they want and edit, remove, and quote in individual messages.
"We revamped these components because our customers use them," Eisenhauer said. "Plus, the fact that our customers are phasing out email internally, the chat component of Communifire becomes more and more important to them for internal one-to-on messaging."