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Getting Started with Forums

Friday January 12, 2024 - 16 min read

Introduction

With Appward’s Forums app, organizations can simplify communication through our centralized platform. Employees can coordinate and engage in discussions within main forums, sub-forums, or through direct messaging. Boost productivity and efficiency by exchanging messages, sharing files, and collaborating in real-time effortlessly, making it easier to find and retrieve information within context. 

Let’s get started

To open the Forums app, navigate to the Productivity section of the main navigation bar and select Forums.

This guide frequently uses the terms “Forum” and “Subforum.” Let’s go over what these terms mean.

Forum: A forum is a designated space where discussions take place. You can use forums to engage in conversations, share files, and help keep information organized.

Subforum: On the other hand, a subforum is a subset found within a larger forum. It is considered to be a more specialized area, focusing on a specific theme or subtopic within an overarching discussion or topic.

When you first open the app, you’ll be greeted by the main app screen. In the upper left corner of the app screen, you’ll notice some tabs. Let’s go over their features.

Browse – In browse, you can view all the forums and subforums that you have access to. Access is determined by the creator of the forum.

Chats – Within the sidebar of your workspace, you can create custom chats that will be sent to individual or groups of contacts in your organization. You can think of this as direct messages that are private and only visible to the creator or recipient of the chat. In the Chats tab, you can view a comprehensive list of all the chats available to you. 

Subscribed – A list of all the forums or subforums you are subscribed to.

Insights – Utilize this tab to analyze data derived from your organization’s forums. Insights, available within this feature, empower you to uncover valuable information regarding forum types, subforums, and member names. If you’d like to delve deeper into Insights, we recommend reading our Getting Started with Insights guide.

How to add a Forum

To add a new forum, click on the + icon at the top app screen while in the Browse tab.

This will bring up the Add a Forum popup, where you can enter all the necessary details of the forum you are creating. Let’s go over the available fields.

Type – You can categorize the forums you create by the Type you assign to them. Types appear as labels with custom names, colors, and images that can be directly associated with records throughout all of Appward. You can organize your data in a fully flexible, customized way to suit your business. As an example, a forum associated with OSHA safety standard updates, could be categorized by the type “Safety.” For more information on Types, please check out our article Using Types

Title – This is where you can specify the title for the forum. Titles are generally brief yet informative, providing readers with a clear idea of the content before they select the record.

Description – In this field, you can provide a description to provide context and information related to the forum. 

Image – You can customize the display image for your forum in the Click on image to change field.

Access level – In this field, you can define the privacy level of the record. By selecting the checkbox for Public, you are making this forum accessible by anyone in your organization. When Members only is selected, you are indicating that the forum will only be accessible by contacts who you have designated as members.

Owner – This field represents the individual from your organization who is responsible for creating and owning the Forums record. You can define the individual displayed in the field by clicking the external link icon in the Created by field. This action will bring up a list of available contacts from your organization, allowing you to designate who is displayed in the Owner field.   

Members – In the Members field, you can curate a list of contacts from your organization who will have permission to access a forum. This field can be left blank if the access level of the record is set to Public.

Departments – In Departments, you can use the external link icon to select from a list of your organization’s departments. These departments are directly imported from the Departments app. For more on Departments and how they seamlessly integrate throughout many of the apps within Appward, please check out our Getting Started with Departments guide.

Positions – Just like Departments, you have the option to click on the external link icon to choose from a roster of Positions within your organization. These Positions represent distinct job roles established by your organization and can be created using the dedicated Positions app. For more on Positions, please check out Getting Started with Positions guide.

Tags – Visually, tags are labels with customized font and background colors. They are used throughout Appward to provide better organization and searchability of your organization’s forums. Furthermore, tags offer additional context to individuals within your organization, enabling them to gain insights into the content of a record before they even access it. For more on Tags, please check out Using Tags.  

Move forum – When making a forum, you can choose to set up the new forum as a subforum and place it under another forum. Subforums act like children forums within a main forum, letting you organize forums inside one another. You can select an existing forum by clicking the external link icon and selecting from a list of forums.

Submit – When you are ready to publish the forum, you can press Submit button. 

How to start a chat Forum 

There are multiple ways to create a new chat forum. The most common way is to do it through the sidebar located on the left side of your workspace. To start a new chat through the workspace sidebar, select the forum icon and press the +New button.

This will bring up the Add a new chat forum popup, where you can define the necessary details of that chat you are creating with your team members.

You can find your newly created chat within the Chats tab in the forum menu in the sidebar.

To add a message to the chat forum, simply click on the record and click the +Add post button.  This will give you the opportunity to create a new chat message within the forum and notify the intended recipients.

Upon pressing +Add post, you’ll be shown the Add post popup where you can type your message and send it to the recipients. Let’s cover what fields are available when you are writing a response.

While writing your chat message, it’s important to take advantage of Appward’s tagging system. Simply begin with the “@” symbol to select from a list of contacts and departments and tag them, ensuring that they receive a notification when you send out your message. Another helpful tag to use is @members, which will tag every member of the forum you’re writing your new message in.

Add images or files –  When it’s relevant, you might wish to incorporate media like GIFs, images, or videos into your messages. To seamlessly add your own media, simply click on the + icon within the + Add images or files field. This action will open a file explorer, allowing you to navigate through your file directories and pick the specific files you intend to include in your message. 

Quick responses – Frequently, you may find yourself answering messages in similar ways. To streamline your response time and improve efficiency, you can generate quick responses.

By clicking the + icon, a popup will appear, allowing you to create and personalize your own quick response. 

Clear – Clear the editor of all text and media.

To start a new chat from within the Forums app, press the icon at the top of the app screen while in the Chats tab.

This will bring up the same popup that we encountered earlier when creating a forum chat from the sidebar.

Frontline features of Forums

Posts – In Appward, a post is a comment that can be liked or replied to directly by other members of your organization. 

Files – Through the Files tab, you can attach essential documents to a Forums record. You can add files directly from your computer or from the Appward cloud. After adding a file, you can view it through an integrated document preview within the Files tab. Individuals within your organization with access to the record can view and download the file to their personal computers.

Notes – Within the Notes tab you can write, save, and share written records that help capture and convey your thoughts. You’ll be able to stay organized, provide better context to Forums, and improve communication between you and your team.   

History – In History, you can view an activity log related to the Forums record you are viewing. You will see a list displaying the modifications date, activity description, modification author, and the application in which it was made.    

Additional features of Forums

Help – Look for the help button in most of the apps in Appward.  This resource offers insightful tours and information collected specifically to guide you through the app’s functionalities. Interactive, step-by-step tours are designed to give you the foundation to start using all the robust features within Appward.  

Subscribe – You can subscribe to a forum to put it in the subscribe tab in your sidebar and within the forums app. This is a great way to focus on specific forums that are important to you.

Archive – Archiving is a common feature within the majority of apps in Appward. Archive serves as an effective tool when you wish to remove a record from sight without permanently deleting it. Archived records are essentially concealed from the main screen but remain accessible through specific search filters.   

Delete – To delete a Forums records permanently, you can do so using the Delete button. These records will not be recoverable.


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