How to make this community more attractive & active?

Hey everyone :slight_smile:

I’ve created this international community for Gladys a bit more than a year ago, and despite all my effort, it’s still not very active…

I was wondering what I could improve to get more people here ?

@jason @alpha-rd as you were on this forum recently, what do you think is missing here ?

Hey Pierre, came here from a Reddit post. I suggested you be more active on Social Media, more open-source contributors like myself are surely willing to join on a project but they cant if they arent aware of it. Im a UI/UX Designer by the way, and I dont know if you need some design help on the project?

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Welcome on Gladys :smile:

We definitely need help on the UI/UX part, it’s maybe the n°1 thing we need right now!

The philosophy of Gladys is to build a smart home assistant that have a great UI and is simple to use by the whole family.

I would love your feedbacks on the current product so we could improve it!

Thanks. Oh great, can the UI/UX help involve probably redesigning some parts of the website, or the primary focus is on the assistant alone?

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As you wish :slight_smile:

We are fully open-source, both website & assistant, so any help is welcome !

For the website, we use Docusaurus, so we cannot modify everything (it’s a pre-made solution, we didn’t code the template)

Oh, I see. Alright I`ll try and create an account later, but do I need to have smart home enabled devices to be able to use it?

No you can just install it and try the UI without connected devices, but it’s always better if you try the full experience :slight_smile:

create an account later,

There is no “account”, it’s an open-source self-hosted software !

You can follow our getting started on the website:

Oh cool. I`ll go through it and see any UX Issues that can be improved on then.

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Hi @pierre-gilles ,

Hard question, I’m just typing along with my toughts, which can become a long read.

The Ideal World
In the ideal world there’s just one community, where posts are automatically translated into either English or French (based on the users preferences). Discourse has a Translator-plugin in the pro version, but even that plugin is far from this ideal world.

Some Analysis
I myself am reading along in the French forum with a translator-plugin. Not only is that forum much more lively, it also has more valuable content, like tutorials and problems being solved. Why is that? I think: some of the active French speaking users and developers are on both forums. But they’re more actively contributing on the French one. And I can imagine. If there were a Dutch forum, that would be my main hangout.

And I think that’s the core of it. Gladys is born as a French project. It has a big French userbase. With a French YouTube-presence, mainly French developers and over 720 French forum-users.
On the English side there is no YouTube-presence (yet), mainly bi-lingual developers (with French as their first language) and only 54 English forum-users (of which some are in both fora).

Possible Actions
So as long as the ideal world is still far away I think the key is twofold:

  1. to tempt current bilingual users and developers to get more active on the English forum.
  2. to attract more users and developers who are primarily non-French.

The second one can be achieved by creating valuable, cross-platform content in English like YouTube-tutorials and social media presence. This will direct people to Gladys. And also by adding more content to at least the Configuration and Tutorial categories in the forum. It has to feel as if there are

  1. answers available if you run into something, and
  2. constantly people answering to questions (by now I know that’s the case, but a newbe doesn’t know that).

Maybe the adding of information can in a way be automated, with fx. IFTTT and ChatGPT (didn’t dive into that).

Some Thoughts on Competion
Finally some thoughts on competition. Althought Gladys is much more user friendly than Open Source competitors like Home Assistant, OpenHab and Domoticz, they still are competition. The same goes for closed source (more or less user friendly) competitors like Smartthings, Hubitat, Homey or even Tuya Smart. All of these are multilingual. And the Open Source competitors also have a very active (in the case of Home Assistant even very vocal) English fanbase. So that’s some hard competition to deal with, also in attracting active users and developers. And that’s I guess a big difference with the French Gladys, as being the only rather serious French Open Source Smart Home platform. So the growing pace just might not be that fast.

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Maybe of value: how did I find Gladys?

I started with (oh shame) a Tuya Smart-clone. It was fast and cheap, came with some devices and supported other Zigbee-stuff like IKEA.

But I realized privacy would be a thing, so I started looking into other options.

  • WebThings/Candle Smart Home: great for privacy but unclear development situation
  • Homey: too pricey
  • Hubitat: too American (would it support all European devices?) and mixed opinions on the userfriendlyness
  • Smartthings: userfriendly and cheap, but privacy was unclear
  • OpenHab: couldn’t get the grip
  • Home Assistant: a 20 minute installation procedure and two full days of learning curve and I still wasn’t able to automate my radiator valves in the same way I did in Tuya Smart
  • Domoticz: slow development

So then I just checked what was in the Raspberry Pi installer: HA, OH, Gladys and Nymea. I remembered seeing Gladys before (I guess V3-) as French only. Nymea had a primarily English online presence and looked promising. I installed it, even did some translations, but as soon as it became serious I was locked out of the system and couldn’t get back in. Besides that I had some doubts like: the app-connection via a cloud-server that only could be avoided with great technical knowledge and an apparently single developer with a unclear business/payment model, seemingly full time working on it for years (is that future proof? I asked questions about it, but got no satisfying answers).
So that made me look into Gladys. To my suprise it had a clear business/payment model for the lead developer, some active voluntary developers, attention to privacy, a friendly community, great userfriendlyness (I can automate anything I want) and by now also coverage in English.

The only thing I can’t get easily set up with Gladys yet (but maybe I didn’t give myself enough time for it) is a developing environment. But if I would, I think I could quite easily add some missing features to existing (or new) Zigbee devices. Also translating to other languages like Dutch or German would then become an option.

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Thanks for the detailed answer @alpha-rd !

I agree it’s a bit of chicken & egg problem :smiley: To get more international users, we need an active international forum, and to get an active international forum we need more international users :grin:

But we’ll get to it!

For this part, I’ll need to make a choice because currently I communicate primarily in French on the Twitter/Facebook/Instagram of Gladys.

If I switch to English, I lose most of the french userbase (who doesn’t speak english sadly, that’s the reality of France :joy: ), so I’ll have to create another account for English content imo (like “gladysassistant.en” ?)

For YouTube, with a bit of work I might be able to translate all existing videos (voice + subtitles) with some AI so I’m not too worried :slight_smile:

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Is that still the case? I recently was in France for some work-thing. For most lectures there was indeed a translator. But many times it turned out the speaker did perfectly well speak English, but was just insecure about it. This goes mostly for the younger french (like 45-). Anyway. I think you’re right about losing your french userbase when switching to English, mainly because they are so used to French.

Something to consider for the socials: In The Netherlands we currently have quite a lot of expats and (lower paid) migrant workers, so we’re used to working in bilingual environments. This reflects in online marketing. On Facebook/Instagram we often have bilingual posts (“English below :arrow_down:” or “Dutch below :arrow_down:”). In that case you only need one account, which is easier to manage.
Which one of the two is first, depends on the marketing tacticts of the organisation and can change over time (like: when aiming to grow their international clientbase during a year, they put English first, but when they want to emphasize they’re Dutch, they start witch Dutch).
Stories are most of the time subtitled in English when the audible text is in Dutch, or subtitled in Dutch when the audible text is in English. There are AI-tools for this, they’re not perfect, but they work.
I’m not sure about Twitter/X, because I left it just before Musk jumped on it.

It depends in what segment of the population you’re talking about.

Young engineer living in Paris, sure they speak english :slight_smile: But from what I observed, Gladys FR community is not really this segment and many of them prefer french.

Interesting take ! I’ll think about it. I’ll ask the French community just to know what they think about all this.

Thanks for your feedbacks :slight_smile:

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Created a poll on Twitter:

And on the french forum: Communiquer en anglais sur les réseaux sociaux? - Actualités - Communauté Gladys Assistant

Let’s see! :slight_smile:

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Since I was already reading along with the sometimes clumsy help of Google, I joined the vote and thus the French forum (also with help of Google).

As it stands now, you’ll either create seperate accounts or switch to English. Although I guess you might in the end take a different approach between Twitter/X and Facebook/Instagram.

Anyway, we’ll see.

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The reason I am staying with GA is because it seems to work without glitches and bugs, so I do not need to search through forums for answers. I switched to GA for the new Alarm feature. HomeAssistant has active forums, however the setup feels technical for me, and setting up Alarmo was tedious. I work long hours each day and tinkering with tech after work can be a hassle. In my opinion, if someone published the very best How-To and advice videos in English every few months, maybe just two times per year, that would be great. As for technical conversations, personally, I think it’s fine that non-French forums are mostly quiet, because there are ambassadors like Pierre-Gilles who monitor them.

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@jason Thanks for the kind word! I’m happy that you appreciate the stability & simplicity of Gladys, it’s one of our core value.

For the videos, I’ll see if AI translations are good enough to release French content in English, if not I could create original content in english too !