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A new way to communicate with your participants

We recently released our new feature Booking notes, which allows an Activity Owner and User to communicate on the user’s booking. This paved the way for some improvements on user communication on activities in general.

How did users communicate with an Activity Owner before?

Bilby was built and designed to supersede an older system run by our first client. To make sure we developed quickly, some parts of the old system were copied in a “clean” way, knowing that we would eventually deprecate or improve these parts. This is a fancy way of saying that Activity Owners and Users did not really communicate on the old system, they just had a small rudimentary field where either an Activity Owner or a User could enter some text.

When entering text into these fields, Users or Activity Owners would often have no idea that the other had sent a message or responded. Some Activity Owners were super diligent and checked for responses, but at the end of the day this made communication difficult and was very clunky.

How did participants of an activity communicate with each other?

In this early build of Bilby, we built a quick messaging feature that allowed Members to write notes on an activity. The idea was to give Users the ability to engage with each other and see if anyone was interested in the feature.

The short answer is, we saw only few users engaging on the activity and more often than not, their messages went unnoticed or unread. On the flipside an Activity Owner would often engage with their participants on most activities using a “Notification” style message. This would create a message on the same notes thread, but the difference was a User would be notified that the note was created. But this led to some confusion for some Users who would respond to our no-reply emails.

What is our solution to improve on the participant engagement?

So, we are excited to introduce our new feature, the “Message Board”. This will take the best part of our old Notification system and allow any User with a valid booking to engage with other participants. The best part of this, users will be able to tag each other and be notified of the note!

How to access the Message Board

Any User with a valid booking will be able to access the message board in the next release of Bilby. You will simply need to sign into Bilby, click on your booking and you will see a new tab for the “Message Board”.

For Activity Owners, you will simply need to go to your participants screen which is in the Activity Management section, and you will see a new tab for the “Message Board”.

How to tag another user

We have provided some comprehensive steps in our wiki docs (released the same day as the Message Board feature) which you can search for anytime. Tags are based on a User’s username and you will find that we will be using those more often. We have added several ways to trigger the tagging behaviour and we hope you will find it all nice and easy to find those other participants and tag them.

When is this change due?

We will be doing the release early February. If you are an Activity Owner we recommend jumping in and keeping an eye out for that “Message Board” tab. When you see it, jump in and start tagging those participants and see if you can get them to engage!

Thank you for reading and we hope you like it!

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