Session Materials

Our Publishing Module now includes an option to include/exclude session materials.

Session materials have always been part of the Publishing Module, but there was no way to control their display.

Session Materials OptionsNow, call admins can enable/disable the display of session materials in both the brief and full listings by checking the boxes in the first row of the Session Materials section of the Publishing settings page (left). If the box is checked, all of the default details for each item (label, type, name, and size) will be displayed, and the option to also include the Item Description is enabled. Leaving the box unchecked will prevent session materials from being displayed at all.

As always, we welcome your feedback on this or any other feature!

Reviewer Conflicts of Interest

We’ve made a few changes to make it easier for reviewers, review chairs, and call admins to identify conflicts of interest.

Although conflicts are not very common (accounting for about 0.1% of reviews in ProposalSpace), we understand that it’s critical for reviewers to be able to flag them clearly as conflicts and for call admins and review chairs to be able to identify them easily.

Previously, the only way for a reviewer to report a conflict was to leave the review unscored and to provide an explanation in the Comments field. This would mark the review as complete, but it wasn’t clear to call admins and review chairs that a conflict had been reported unless they pulled up the review’s details.

Conflict of Interest QuestionTo make it easier for reviewers to clearly report conflicts, we’re adding a checkbox to the review form for every new call (left). Reviewers can still provide details in the Comments field, but if the checkbox is checked, the system disables the scoring option and flags the review as a conflict.

Progress IndicatorFor call admins and review chairs, we changed the way conflicts are displayed throughout the Tracker to make them easier to identify. One way we did this was by adding a progress bar to the In Review page (left) that shows at a glance how many reviewers have scored the submission (green), how many have reported a conflict (yellow), and how many have not yet reviewed it (grey). Hovering over the progress bar displays a summary of the scores, while clicking on it gives access to individual reviews.

Note: The conflict question will only be added automatically to review forms going forward. We can add it manually to any existing review form, however, so feel free to let us know if you would like to use it and we’ll be happy to include it for you!

Invitations

Here’s a quick tip for call admins when adding an admin, review chair, or reviewer:

Use a complete email address (e.g. “harry.potter@hogwarts.edu”) to search for the user’s account. That way, the user will be added immediately and won’t have to confirm the action.

If instead you search using all or part of a user’s name (e.g. “Potter”) or a partial email address (e.g. “harry.potter”), the user will have to confirm the action before actually being added.

In case you’re wondering, we added this step to strengthen privacy on the site. We figure if you don’t know someone’s full email address, we shouldn’t display it to you until they say it’s OK to do so. If, however, you already know someone’s full email address, there’s really no reason to require an additional step. In that case, we just send them an email letting them know they’ve been added.

Snapchat Pro Tips

Snapchat has changed the way we think about video content on social media but has been challenging for many associations to understand and use for their audiences, while also being worth their time, energy, and resources invested into the app. Even still, it’s an important platform for associations to utilize as more people use Snapchat than Twitter, in terms of daily use. Disappearing content and unedited video are extremely popular with millennials, and Facebook, the most popular social media platform, predicts video content is the future of online engagement.

Here are the best practices we’ve found to work for associations:

  • Make A Story. While sending individual snaps would be an excellent way to engage users, creating snaps specifically for your story is a much more effective use of your time and energy. Your Snap story could feature a keynote speaker, poster presentations, networking event, or even lunch! Just make sure your story has an attention-grabbing start, solid narrative, and concise conclusion that drives your overall content strategy. In short, create a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It is also important to note that quality is more important than quantity.
  • Let Someone Else Take Over. A Snapchat takeover is when you give your account information to someone else and they promote your brand or product in a new, unique way. Oftentimes, you are able to reach a much larger audience than you might otherwise reach by having an “influencer” involved. If you can identify a popular social media influencer, with commonality to your brand/industry, then you should consider having them promote your conference or event. Many influencers will work in exchange for free conference registration or their annual membership. Of course, they are also willing to market your function for a paycheck! If unable to identify a popular media influencer or pay one, then consider having different association staff/interns, members, or volunteers do a platform takeover. (And don’t forget to change your account password after each takeover is complete.)
  • Create Geofilters. Geofilters are an excellent way to get your business in front of people and create brand engagement on Snapchat. They allow a great opportunity for users to engage with your brand who would otherwise not do so!

Snapchatps_snapchat_asae-01To the left is an example of a Geofilter ProposalSpace created and ran during the 2016 ASAE Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.

Is your association on Snapchat? Comment with a great snap you’ve saved and any additional ideas you have!

Review-Module Improvements

We’ve just released a software update that includes some really exciting improvements to the Review Module (which comes standard with every call). Here are just some of the new features:

  • You can now add reviewers and review chairs to a review group even if they don’t have a ProposalSpace account.
  • The search function for reviewers and review chairs is built into the review-group page, making it more efficient.
  • To improve privacy, reviewers and review chairs need to confirm their addition to a review group before they are actually added to it.
  • The layout of the review-group admin page has been updated, making it easier to manage for both call admins and review chairs.

As always, let us know how the new features are working out, and if you have any ideas for additional improvements!

Improved Process for Adding Call Admins

Call Admins ScreenshotWe’ve made a few changes to the site that hopefully make it easier than ever to add admins to a call!

Previously, adding someone as a call admin was a multi-step process. Now, the Call Admins page has an integrated search feature (identical to the one we recently introduced for Organization admins) that allows you to search for a user’s account without leaving the page.

If the user has an account, just click the matching search result to add that user to the list of admins.

More importantly, if the system can’t find an account for the user, you no longer have to ask them to create one first; You can now create one for them! Just click the link in the search results and enter the new user’s name and email address.

We’re really excited about this improvement and are working to include it on the Reviewers page soon, so stay tuned!

Open-Ended Calls

We’re happy to announce that ProposalSpace now fully supports open-ended calls!

Previously, every call had to have a submission deadline, which was OK for most calls. However, for open-ended calls, that date had to be set way in the future or updated periodically to keep it in the future. So to make things easier, we’ve made the Submission End setting optional, which means any call can now be open-ended just by leaving that setting blank!

To get this to work, we had to make a few other notable changes:

  • All Dates settings, other than Submission Start, have been made optional. We encourage everyone to provide dates for informational purposes, but now you can activate a call with just a Submission Start.
  • Previously, calls had to be archived manually and could not be unarchived. Calls may continue to be archived manually, but if not done within a year of activation, the system will do it automatically. After a call is archived, admins still have full access to its settings and data, but may not change any settings other than those for the Advanced Scheduling Module and Publishing Module, if activated. If you have a call that needs to be active for more than a year, it can be reactivated for as long as you like with additional one-year extensions.
  • The Late Submissions setting has been moved from the General Submission settings page to the Dates settings page. (This wasn’t really necessary; We just thought it made more sense there.)

We really hope these changes make it easier for admins to manage open-ended calls using ProposalSpace. As always, feedback is welcomed.

More exciting changes are in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

New Feature: Strict/Loose Text Limits

text limit screenshotFor a while now, the ProposalSpace form builder has allowed call admins to place limits on text fields. For example, you could set a 200-word limit for a bio field or a 75-character limit for a title field. Any limit, however, was purely informational, which meant an author could exceed it and still submit the proposal. (The system would highlight the answer for call admins and reviewers, though, so they could easily tell if the author went over the limit.)

Now, if you set a limit on a text field, you can tell the system what to do if the answer exceeds the limit:

  • Allow the proposal to be submitted and highlight the answer for call admins and reviewers.
  • Consider the proposal incomplete and do not allow it to be submitted.

Thanks to the call admins who suggested this improvement… Keep the great ideas coming!

New Feature: Public Description

ScreenshotIf you’re a call admin, the next time you go into the general-settings area for your call you’ll see a new field (labeled “Public Description”) that you can use to customize the text that gets displayed on the public call-details page (aka the call landing page).

Previously, there was only one field (Call Description) that was used for both the public call-details page and at the top of the new-proposal page. Some of our users pointed out that displaying the same content on the two pages could be confusing, so we added the second field. Now, the public call-details page will display the text from the Public Description field instead of the Call Description field. (The text in the Call Description field will continue to be displayed on the new-proposal page.)

We’ve made sure the change is backwards compatible, so if there is no text in the Public Description field, the text from the Call Description field will continue to be used on both pages.

Conference Live Streaming

Posting pictures after an event can engage your attendees once they return home, but what about engaging a larger audience—both present and remote—during your event? Here are some sites/apps that make it easier than ever to broadcast events, like major announcements, keynotes, breakout sessions, and panel discussions.

Periscope (Twitter)

Periscope LogoIf you’re on Twitter then you might have seen or heard of Periscope, an app that connects with Twitter to broadcast live video from from a smartphone, GoPro, or even a drone. Named the Apple App Store’s Best App of 2015, Periscope reinvigorated social platforms to focus on live content and even classify it higher in their algorithms. According to their website, Periscope is “the closest thing to teleportation” available.

Audience feedback can be sent to the content creator in real time via comments and heart images, which disappear after a few moments after appearing in the lower, right-hand corner of the video. Moderation of chat spam and abuse is managed by the audience watching each broadcast. Videos can either be saved indefinitely (now the default) or automatically deleted 24 hours hours after broadcast.

How to use Periscope for a speaker session:

  • Send out a tweet letting people know that you are broadcasting live. (Be sure to use the conference/session topic or location in the title of your broadcast).
  • Respond to in-app audience questions as they are asked, or write them down and have the speaker answer them at the end of the session.

Facebook Live

facebook-live-logo-vector-download-400x400Leave it to Facebook to quickly adopt a social trend and work incredibly hard to outdo other platforms. With Facebook Live, you can broadcast from your phone and your friends can comment and react using Facebook Reactions that slide across your video. Once you go live on Facebook, the platform’s algorithm places your video at the top of your friends’ news feeds, which can be huge for your live content and page. Once you end your live streaming session the video will be available for playback on the profile page of the account you used to film. You can even “boost” the video after it has been posted to increase views, likes, and comments.

How to get the most out of Facebook Live:

  • Thank users as they join and try to answer as many comments as possible.
  • Include as many social-media influencers into your stream as possible (with interviews, Q&A with live viewers, networking session footage, etc.) and tag them.
  • Use your conference hashtag in the title of the broadcast.
  • Keep it shorter. Facebook prioritizes live video higher in their news-feed algorithm, so unlike Periscope, many of your viewers probably were not expecting to see your content when they signed on. Keep it short to keep their attention.

Youtube Connect (Google)

YouTubeYouTube has been the internet’s video giant for years. Owned by Google, it makes sense for them to get in on all the live-broadcasting action. Live broadcasting is definitely not new on YouTube (it’s been available to certain users since 2011), but Google has been working to build out increased live streaming functionality for its app to compete with Periscope and others. This app update has not yet been released, but many are counting on it to up the ante for other live streaming apps.

How to increase engagement using YouTube:

  • Classify your videos into public playlists per conference/event.
  • You can record for longer periods of time on YouTube and still maintain viewership (unlike Facebook).
  • Embed the video into your own website.

 

We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to live-streaming products, focusing on the ones we think will get you the highest engagement for your time and energy. There are plenty of other apps out there, though, many of which might be a better fit. Leave a comment and share with us if you use something else that has brought you great results or have additional questions about live streaming.