Designing a better content experience for online communities

As a product designer at Superwave, I have the privilege of working closely with community managers to understand the unique challenges they face. One theme that we frequently hear in these conversations is the difficulty of managing and creating value from a community’s content library.

That's why I’m excited to introduce you to Superwave's Content feature, a rich library that helps members discover content that’s relevant to them, while also generating valuable insight for community leaders.

Why content matters 📰

Content is an effective medium to bring people to a community for the first time, and to keep them coming back. Yet we often hear that community managers are struggling to really make content work for their communities. We see a few clear patterns in our conversations:

  1. My members don't find my content because I don't have a content library in my community (it lives on my blog, in Notion, etc).
  2. It's painful to import all of my content into my community.
  3. Content only exists in messages or posts, and it quickly loses value as it scrolls out of view.
  4. I don't have any data on what my members are paying attention to, so I can't improve my content over time.

These pain points led us to ask ourselves a couple questions:

“How can we incorporate content into the platform to make a community more valuable to its members?”

“How can we help community managers leverage their content to better understand their members?”

Designing for better content 🎥

When starting this project, we set ourselves a rather ambitious goal: to design a content library that would 10x the member and community manager experience. We believed we could accomplish this by delivering the following:

  • Providing a streamlined and efficient way for community managers to import and organise their content
  • Helping community members to discover relevant content more easily
  • Connecting content to other parts of the community (e.g. allowing cross-posting to a channel to spark conversation)
  • Providing community managers with actionable insights on their content so that they can improve their content over time

For the first iteration of the content library we decided to focus on the content types that community managers and members find most useful: videos, files, articles and podcasts.

We made it simple to import content via a URL, which automatically pulls in the content metadata. The result is that community managers can easily organize and distribute their content, while members are more likely to find things that they care about, without leaving the community.

Podcast shared to a channel

This creates a positive feedback loop where members are more likely to find the content that's valuable to them, which in turn provides information to community leaders so that they can create yet more valuable content. Additional features like bookmarking and sharing to a channel further accelerate the feedback loop.

Looking ahead 🔮

Something I enjoy most about product development is that it’s a continuous cycle of iteration and improvement, and some of the content features I am most excited about are still in design discovery. As a team, we're excited to explore ideas such as AI-powered content recommendation and categorization, automated content uploads, integrations, browser extensions and more… stay tuned for more developments coming soon!

The design process is nothing without the feedback and research from our own community and customers, so to wrap up this post, I would like to invite you to take part in any of our co-creation sessions to help shape the future of Superwave! You can request beta access via the button on the top right to take part.

About the author:

Helen Stead, Product Designer @ Superwave

Hello! 👋 I'm Helen. I've been working at Hopin for the past 2.5 years across events, onboarding and now community :) I'm always open for design collaboration and learning from community managers and members about ways to improve the product experience. 🚀