See your impact and follow P4-powered campaigns: the “v2” Roadmap
How the Planet 4 tech will evolve over the next few months to allow engagement campaigning features
*This post is co-authored by Mark Campbell and Luca Tiralongo
A year ago, the “Past the Prototype” post fleshed out how the P4 Concept could come to life. Much has happened since then, and (besides being live in 38 countries) P4 is now integrated with a widely used digital engagement tool, has introduced 4 new blocks (Counter, Gallery, Social Media, Timeline) and got its initial prototype iterated over 60 times.
It’s now time for our platform to further evolve and include in its new core campaigning features, enhanced search capabilities (via ElasticSearch) and some engagement features (“see my impact”), along with a UI upgrade (Gutenberg), a global landing page, and tracking standards alignment.
v2: beyond a “Minimum Loveable Product”
Over the second semester of 2019, the Planet 4 team will switch its main focus from implementing and iterating the prototype to continuously improve existing features and integrate new functionalities to achieve the 2nd version: an engagement platform with uniquely branded campaigning features and counters, to allow supporters to visualise their impact and follow their favourite campaigns. All this, powered by a slick tech to allow easy content creation, development of new features, and advanced search.
P4 “v2” will also include preparatory work for the following versions, with a tech upgrade and an in-depth prototype study, because great visions must be tested using modern technology and with the right audiences.
The Planet 4 Campaign Generator (P4CG)
In October 2018, we announced the project to ship native, customizable campaign features within the P4 architecture. Well, it’s almost there, and this will radically change the way Greenpeace will digitally campaign in 2020 and beyond.
Starting with a pilot, four new key features will be available directly in P4:
- Customisation: P4 campaign pages will look totally different from the main site, allowing campaign-specific branding, colours and font, but keeping all core P4 functionalities. This feature will also allow campaigners and webbies to easily ship and import/export complete pages, as well as give design partners freedom to be creative within the overall Greenpeace brand.
- Global Counter — A solution for overall signups taken from different digital engagement tools will allow both global and local campaign tracking.
- Lead syncing to NRO databases — Replicating the native integration of the Block: Form, NROs will be able to integrate other digital engagement tools to receive signups and leads collected in P4, and dispatch them to local databases.
- URL redirects — greenpeace.org/savethearctic or similar domains will not only maintain the same campaign branding across P4 instances, but also allow (via country selector) a simple switch between individual sites (e.g. greenpeace.org/savethearctic/denmark).
Once the Planet 4 Campaign Generator (P4CG) pilot is live, a period of intense feedback and iteration will continue until the end of 2019, aiming to ship in 2020 a ready-to-use campaigning tool, with native dashboards, the ability to replicate content across P4, and more tools to change the world.
A post is coming soon to detail all of the above, along with design guidelines, editors’ training and campaigners’ guide.
Engagement prototype and “Impact features”
As mentioned, clickable prototypes are being tested as we write. These interactive mockups are bold and innovative, and may either confirm all the features of the original P4 concept or perhaps only part of them.
The Prototypes #1 and #2 will be tested according to specific scenarios, and demonstrate which features (e.g. “Take a personalised challenge”) are most inspiring for our audiences to take action, re-engage and bring others along.
Do you want to take part in testing? We’re looking for 15 to 25 year olds to play with the prototypes. Send us an email if you have a few hours to spare!
Regardless of the outcome of the prototype tests, however, “P4 v2” will lay the groundwork for supporters to visualise their impact. This will be achieved with a revised ‘Take Action’ page, which will provide (cookie-based) personalised visualisation of impact and options to follow campaigns without log-in.
Gutenberg and continuous deployment
To build all the engagement features the prototype will validate, we must upgrade the P4 technology, make it powerful, resilient and easy to merge with new versions.
The first part of this process will be the transition to Gutenberg, Wordpress’ new modular UI. Through its point & click interface, Gutenberg will not only make content generation in P4 more intuitive and allow instant visualisation, but also enable slick introductions and iterations of new features.
With a nearly-completed Planet 4 rollout, a Gutenberg transition over the next few months fits well with the “satellite” projects like the prototype testing, the landing page, the P3 archival and the P4CG pilot. Without being specifically related to P4 core development, all these initiatives will affect the overall progress and require resources from the product team.
Looking ahead, it’s unlikely that a similar window of opportunity will arise.
Watch this space, a post is coming soon on why, how and when P4 will embrace Gutenberg.
Along with the new UI, Planet 4 will switch from planned, weekly releases to a continuous deployment model, allowing agile iteration and respect of security standards. This will mean faster delivery of bug fixes and features, but will also require P4 admins to keep an eye on what is being delivered regularly and the product team to warn for major changes well in advance.
The greenpeace.org landing page
Over the next few months, when typing ‘greenpeace.org’ in any browser (without a /path/ following), a landing Page will allow users to either proceed to the site where they are located or easily go to other Greenpeace websites. Kind of what already happens with ikea.com.
Bringing visitors to a landing page which guesses (based on browser language and location) where someone would want to go will make it easier for users to end up on the site they want to, with less confusion and a better user experience.
The introduction of this landing page will happen step-by-step, and we’ll be studying the data each step of the way. Starting with an A/B Test to measure impact on the users’ experience, we will determine whether to introduce it quickly or progressively, as part of the P4 roadmap.
ElasticSearch and the archival of Planet 3
As part of its tech upgrade, “v2” will bring in a robust, open-source Search Engine and the decommission of the previous version of Greenpeace CMS: Planet 3 (or P3).
With its scalable, near real-time and multi-tenancy crawls, ElasticSearch allows not only 3rd party crawls, but also a high level of customization and complexity, giving tech savvy offices the option to invest resources in P4 search optimisation, and at the same time smaller NROs a powerful “out of the box” tool.
Furthermore, such a powerful engine will enable the archival, integration in P4, and decommission of Planet 3 (or P3).
Currently accessible via the footer of P4 websites, P3 content will turn into static HTML pages hosted in the Internet Archive. Those pages will be integrated in Planet 4 search results via the powerful ElasticSearch API.
When searching in P4, users will be presented actual AND archived content, because even if we look at the future, our history of activism will never be forgotten.
Global tracking standards
All the powerful campaign / engagement features and tech upgrades described above must be supported by a state-of-the-art analytics setup, allowing data-driven decisions powered by data standards to be used across offices and campaigns.
The solution is a unified tracking suite that we call “The Global Tracking Property”.
Beside adopting a modern and standard technical setup, such a unified tracking practice means fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and building data resilience inside the organization.
From P4 pages to external donation modules, from petitions built on 3rd parties tools to UTM values, all tracking parameters must be coordinated and harmonized to make the Global Property dream come true.