Khoros Next-gen community platform: A view from the strategistsphere

Brian Oblinger, Strategic Community Consultant

It's an exciting time for current and prospective Khoros customers. Their next-gen community platform is rolling out now. It's been wholly re-architected from the ground up to provide a modern experience for community professionals, developers, and end users alike.

From my unique vantage point as a long-time end user, a former employee, a two-time customer, and a strategic consulting partner, I'm enthusiastic about the Khoros community platform's current state and its future direction.

I've been fortunate to partner with Khoros product teams over the past few years to provide feedback and guidance on design concepts, feature/functionality prioritization, and more. In many ways, the next generation platform is shaping up to be the actualization of many things we've learned about community platforms over the past three decades and refinements of things that already worked well in the previous generation of the platform (now known as "Classic").

If you're a new Khoros customer getting your hands on Khoros Communities for the first time, you’ll find a robust community platform packed with thoughtful touches that will make building, launching, and scaling your community a positive experience that leads to a very real business impact.

If you're an existing Khoros customer upgrading from Classic, you will likely find a lot of familial DNA. Your existing admin configuration, structure, permissions, ranks, badges, and more should be fairly straightforward to map over. You'll be delighted with the all-new Analytics and Designer tools from there.

I’ve had my hands on a fresh platform instance for a few months now and have thoroughly explored every corner of it. Let’s look at my experiences thus far, what’s new, and what you can expect when you get your hands on the new version.

CMX Masterclass: Demystifying AI for online communities

User Experience

The first thing most people notice is the upgraded front-end user experience. Straight out-of-the-box, it looks, feels, and behaves in line with what you’d expect from a modern community UX. Everything is a little bit better, which adds up to everything being much better overall.

Copy of experience
The test instance I configured in an hour or two using only the onboard tools.

The other immediately noticeable aspect is how fast everything is. Pages, content, widgets, search, and user actions happen without delay. The Khoros Product Team tells me this is due to the completely rebuilt back-and-front-end architectures. It’s quite obvious and very satisfying.

Copy of speed
An example of the speed and responsiveness of the platform. A sequence of rapid clicks in real-time.

Want your pages to load even faster? There’s a new toggle on many widgets called Optimize page-load time that waits to load the widget and its contents until the user scrolls down. Smart.

As a community builder, your ability to control every aspect of the experience down to a highly granular level is vastly improved. More on that below.


Adiós, Community Admin. Hello, Settings.

Khoros has simplified and streamlined the administration experience while retaining Classic's power and customizability. It’s friendly, intuitive, and easy for seasoned veterans and brand-new users.

This is one area where you can clearly see the perspective and prioritization by Khoros’ product and engineering teams unfolding. They’ve done a good job of bringing forward the most popular and critical controls while hiding some that could get you into trouble in Classic. There are other places where they’ve bundled things that used to be separate and vice versa. It’s a tricky balance to strike, and I appreciate the direction they’ve gone in here for the betterment of most admins.

While it’s not my place to comment on the roadmap, I will say that I’ve been pleased with the pace of development, releases, and responsiveness to feedback. In the past few months alone, Khoros has delivered Ideas, Events, Badges, the Salesforce Integration, and many optimizations to my test instance. At this point, I have most of what I’d need to build a world-class experience if I were launching a community today.

Copy of structure
Gang’s all here — the core interaction styles (now called “Content Types”) can be organized here.

Long-time Khoros customers know that Roles and Permissions have always been one of the platform's most robust and customizable aspects. When I first heard about the newest version of the platform a few years ago, I was curious how they’d approach this vital aspect of managing the community. I’m happy to report that they’ve retained much of what made it great before and improved in other noticeable ways.

Copy of permissions
The same granularity and control you’re used to in a new packaging.

Speaking of keeping the good and improving upon it: Ranks & Badges.

Copy of rank style
Customizing the look and feel of Ranks and Badges on the fly is easier than ever.

There are so many great new touches here, including:

  1. Drag-and-drop to re-order ranks and badges

  2. New in-line visual styling, asset upload, and preview options (no more Studio pushes!)

  3. New Badge Sets functionality
    • Create “Sets” of like-kind badges for better organization and clarity

    • Ability to feature specific Badge Sets on members’ profiles

  4. More built-in criteria to select from for awarding badges:
    • Dates: Sign-in date, Registration date

    • Blogs: Publishing blog posts, Commenting on blog posts

    • Members: Sign-ins, Changed profile avatar, Consecutive sign-ins

I’m incredibly pleased with how Settings is maturing and can’t wait to see what’s next. In this aspect, it’s already a formidable challenger in the wide world of community platforms.


Like everything else, Analytics have been completely reworked and enhanced. As always, there are options for both pre-built dashboards and customizable reports that can be composed and exported for your reporting needs.

Copy of analytics
The new-look interface for data, analytics, and reporting in the latest version of Khoros Communities.

Here are a few bits that are really nice:

  1. Dashboards
    • All new dashboard interface

    • DAU/MAU data and chart

    • New vs. Returning Anonymous Users chart

    • Visits vs. Unique Visitors chart

    • Data and charts by Place

    • Observing vs. Participating vs. Contributing Members chart

    • Private Messages charts

    • Previous Period toggles on charts for easy comparisons

    • Filter employees by definable roles and toggles on charts

    • More granular data controls throughout

  2. Reports
    • More granular report types by Place

    • New data types and control in Members reports (replaces outgoing User Reports in Classic)

If you need to get the data out of the community and into your internal systems, the Bulk Data API and Analytics APIs have come along for the ride in the new version.


The all-new Designer tools are where the magic of the next-gen community platform shines brightest. There’s now a full suite of tools to make the community look precisely how and when you want without delay. Many of the things that you may be accustomed to writing custom CSS for are now pickers, buttons, and sliders in the Theme interface.

Click or drag, hit Save and Publish, and move on with your day. Excellent.

Copy of themes
A quick tour of the new Theme editor in Khoros next-gen community.

Beyond theming, the new Page Template editor offers an incredible amount of power. You simply choose a page to customize, drop it into the editor, and make it look however you want. Add new Sections or Widgets to the page, drag and drop them where you please, and configure them to your liking. It’s really slick.

In particular, the amount of control over specific widgets is pretty incredible. My favorite example that illustrates the true power of this experience is the Recent Content widget that you typically find on the community home and category pages. There are 37 individual toggles available for you to choose from, giving you an almost infinite number of permutations of how it should look and function.

Copy of page templates
The level of control in the Page Template editor is magnificent.

From my perspective, the team hit a grand slam here. I think you’ll love it, too.

I’m told there is even more functionality like Custom Pages (available at the time of writing via the Dev Tools) and more coming to the designer experience in the future, so it will only get better from here. Great news for Khoros customers!

Dev Tools

I am in no way a developer, but I did sit down with Larry Imgrund, a Khoros Product Manager, to see a demo of the current state of the platform’s development tools and where they’re going in the future. Larry showed me the tools they’ve created to extend and integrate your community platform and dive deeper than what the onboard tools offer:

  • GraphQL APIs

  • SDK

  • GitHub (your community will have a Git repository storing Designer configurations, components, and assets)

  • Metadata

  • Custom Components (Handlebars & React*)

  • Endpoints*

  • Custom Pages

  • Forms

*React and Endpoints support are on Khoros roadmap to deliver by the end of July 2024
copy of dev tools
The Dev Tools and SDK interface in Settings. Not pictured: your GitHub Enterprise account.

Suffice it to say there’s a significant amount of power available for anyone who needs it.

Looking To The Horizon

Overall, I’m impressed with what Khoros has delivered on the platform to date. As community platforms go, all the pieces are here to create something pretty special going forward. Forecasting ahead six months to a year on its current trajectory, it’s easy to imagine the updated version as the most fully-featured offering in the market for a specific set of community use cases.

I’m still sending a bunch of feedback to the teams as I discover more, and they’ve been very open to hearing feedback from both me and my clients. I expect even more features and enhancements in that direction coming soon.

The bottom line from me is that the Khoros next-gen community platform is already a super solid platform that will only get better with time. I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.

— Brian

Brian Oblinger is a strategic community consultant with over 25 years of experience in the industry. He’s worked with hundreds of companies like Acer, Autodesk, Comcast, eBay, The Home Depot, HP, and PlayStation. He helps brands engage their customers to increase satisfaction, lower costs, and generate more revenue through the power of community. He’s the Founder & Lead Instructor of Community Strategy Academy and a Co-host of the In Before The Lock podcast.

    Would you like to learn more about Khoros?