Watch our demo video to see how a Disciple-powered community app works.
Put simply, the Disciple platform consists of two parts - the Disciple hub, which you can access to manage your content and community using a desktop computer, and the Disciple-powered app your members will use to connect with you and other community members.
The Disciple hub is your personal dashboard where you can manage the data, content and members of your community. This is your own personal space that only you (and your team) control.
Your app will have the features and branding you choose - it will be your own-branded community app, available on both iOS and Android.
This article covers the features you and your community members will find in your app.
First let's talk terminology:
- Host - that’s you! A community leader whose brand, content, interestor location provides the main purpose of your community app.
- Member - an individual who downloads your app and is able to interact with the community's features and content.
- Feed - a vertical wall of posts from you or your members
- Notification - a notification that appears on your member's phone
- In-App Purchase (IAP) - a digital purchase via the App Stores that grants access to your app’s premium content.
- Paywall - In-App messaging preceding In-App purchase and access to an app’s premium content.
- CTA - Call To Action button
- Deeplink - A link that takes you from one area of your app to another
The community member’s experience.
Let's start with the members’ app experience, step by step, from downloading and launching your app from one of the app stores, through registration and onto the ways you can publish content, connect your community, and create revenues.
Once someone has downloaded your app from one of the app stores and opened it, the first thing your members will see is the launch screen. This will be skinned to present your brand. This screen is shown for a few seconds while the app is loading in the background. Please note, this image can only be changed with an app update.
The registration process.
Your members will be prompted to login or sign up. To sign up, all they need is an email address and a password before deciding on their username and adding a profile picture. After choosing whether or not they want to see notifications from the app, they're good to go.
Following Apple’s App Store guidelines, members can also choose to skip the registration process. This will limit the levels of interaction available to your members. For example, they will not be able to comment or post without registering.
We also offer email verification. If this is turned on, the member will receive an email with a link which they will need to click on to validate their email address and become a verified member.
We also offer the ability to only allow specific people to become a member of your community. With our invite-only feature, you can send invitation emails from the Disciple hub to specific people who can then register their profile using a discrete web portal.
If someone downloads an invite-only app from one of the App Stores, they will not be able to access the community without that invite. The only option given in the app is to login.
Disciple uses a left hand navigation system, and supports 6 basic types of section - feeds, folders, events, messages, live streams and web links. These are the standard items featured in the left-hand navigation menu:
- Member Profile
- Host Feed
- Community Feed
- Live Stream
- Archive / Media
- Audio/Music library
- Friends & Messaging
- Support FAQs
The order of these items can be changed to your liking, and the names are completely up to you. For more information on deciding your menu structure, take a look at this article.
The member profile.
By tapping on the username or avatar at the top of the menu, members will be able to access their profile. This is where members can change their picture, as well as access general settings. Members will have the option to adjust their notification settings, change their password or logout.
In subscription or IAP based apps, members are able to view their purchase status as free or premium.
Members are able to see their own feed of posts they made on the community feed. All members can also visit another member's profile to view the content they have posted and send a friend request.
The host feed is a restricted type of feed used for 'official' content. Only members with specific administration permissions can post to it. This is typically the host, artist, key admins.
There can be more than one host feed. This works particularly well if a host wants to segment themes of content. For example, Luke Bryan’s band have their own feed, called the LBO (Luke Bryan Organisation).
A range of content can be posted to a host’s feed, including text, video, images, weblinks, in-app deep-links, polls and GIFs (supported by giphy.com). All media posts can have a text description.
Posts on the host’s feed can be flagged as sponsored, for instance, if you have a paid partnership with another organisation.
Each post can trigger a standard or custom text notification. Standard notifications are generated by the type of content shared. For example, for text it is “Community ABC posted an update." Custom text notifications are more flexible and can contain any text. We recommend keeping a notifications to less than 80 characters in order for the recipient to see the full message on lockscreens.
When a post is shared via social networks or email, a web view of the post page is automatically generated, displaying the post, comments and marketing information on how to download your app. You can, however, make posts 'exclusive' which turns off the sharing option and keeps content only available in your app.
An immersive feed is another type of host feed where content is displayed in full screen mode with minimal copy / text to accompany this. This format is similar to Snapchat or Instagram stories.
The simple difference between a host feed and a community feed is this is a space for members to tell their story - it is unrestricted and members can publish their own content into this feed. Members can comment on any post with text, photos, memes and GIFs, just as they can on the host’s feed.
Community feed posts can be selected by a hottest / latest filter at the top. Hottest posts are the ‘best’ posts, defined by the number of likes, comments and shares they receive within a certain time period.
The "latest” tab simply display posts in a chronological order.
If you really like a certain member’s post it’s possible to boost that post to the top of the hottest section via the Disciple hub or reshare it to the host feed. 😉🔥
We’ve developed a variety of ways for members to connect with you and with others.
For example, we use an @-mentions system. Hosts and members can tag other community members in the text or comment of a post. Tagged members will then receive a notification telling them they’ve been mentioned. We also use hashtags & hashtags search. When a member is creating a hashtag in their post (#) they can also see existing hashtags to carry on the trend. Members are able to search for existing hashtags and if a member clicks on a specific hashtag, this will generate a separate feed for this hashtag.
We care about maintaining positive relationships between members, but sometimes some people may not want to hear from others. To support those members, they can report and block other member's posts if they need to.
There’s many other ways of managing and moderating posts and content from community members, through the Disciple hub.
Friends & Messaging.
Click on another member's name or avatar to add them as a friend directly from their user profile. If accepted by that member, you will be able to start a direct messaging conversation. You can also search for other members based on their username.
Host profiles have the option to allow invitations to connect or disable invitations, depending on how accessible you want to be by your community members.
To encourage positive community behaviours, we set up a ‘welcome’ message alerting members to key features in the app such as how to add friends or how to stay safe online.
Private messages are not available to view in the hub due to privacy regulations but are logged for admin access if required.
Live stream is a live video section of your app where hosts can broadcast live from their phone. More complex Live streams can also be set up through a laptop / camera.
To start live streaming, the host will press the 'go live' button on the hosts app interface – this will trigger a notification to all members saying "[app name] is streaming now”.
You can then press 'go live' again to confirm, starting the stream. Once the stream has started, you’re able to see how many people are watching the stream.
Members can send comments in live chat which you will see on your screen and all other members see on their screens to enable direct communication between host and members.
Usually there is chat limit set to 200-500 members. This is to keep the chat feed readable for all members.
After the live stream is over, the video, the viewing numbers and all chat comments are saved to the Hub and can be retrieved and reposted into your app from there.
When there is no live stream, the broadcast box displays “No live stream happening right now” message. This message can be customised in the hub to say something else. You might want to for example, provide information on when the next live stream is happening.
Folders & Music.
Folders is unsurprisingly a folder-based system of presenting media in your app. You can have multiple folder sections in your app, that are named differently in the left hand navigation.
Folders can contain sub-folders. A folder can either contain either sub-folders or digital assets, but not both.
The structure and content of the folder or folders can be edited in the hub in real time.
Access to each folder or folder’s content can be restricted by a paywall, allowing you to monetise specific content.
Content in folders can be displayed in 2 ways:
- As a vertical list with file names.
- As a gallery with no file names (see below).
Folders can also link to external web pages or a specific section in the app.
Each folder can contain these types of content:
- Documents (PDF files that can be opened within your p. PDFs can be shared or added to reading list / bookmarks on iOS in a similar way to iBooks)
- Audio (Tracks etc. This will continue playing when the member leaves the folder, allowing them to continue listening when moving around the app)
- Articles (long-form blog-type view consisting of text, images and videos. This is fully customisable in the Hhb and includes a selection of formatting options)
For more information on managing your folders, click here.
Your back catalogue and any new exclusive music or podcasts can also be held here. This section can incorporate MP3 files which will be played inside your app in the native music player or can link out to Spotify or Apple Music.
All music folders can be automatically organised by albums, EPs, singles and exclusives.
A folder with a native music file such as an album displays tracks in your desired order with the name and length time of the tracks. If a music folder links to Spotify / Apple music, then the member will have the choice of streaming service they prefer.
When a member clicks on an album thumbnail they are deeplinked to the corresponding album on their chosen streaming service, but can click back to the publisher's app with the back button.
Your events page contains any past and future events you’re holding (i.e. gigs, classes, book signings, meet-ups, fixtures).
Each event displays the calendar date, name and location of the event. Specific artwork can be added into each detailed event view.
Each event can have a maximum of 3 buttons which link to web pages such as ticket merchants or booking forms.
The left-hand menu can include an item that opens a web page framed within the app. Hosts can use this to link out to an online store, or a specific website.
You must include a complete website URL here - such as https://www.disciplemedia.com
FAQs & Support.
Your FAQs & Support section is a web page provided by Disciple. This is where you can answer questions that members may frequently ask, such as:
- Common member questions
- Posts & content
- Friends & messages
- Live streams
- Purchases, subscriptions, accounts
- Audio streaming
You may also add your own copy in relation to the app's theme. There is also a ‘contact us’ button linking directly to the dedicated support email address.
Visit our Launch Guide to start building your community!