New Feature: Review-Chair Submission Approvals

We’ve got another exciting new feature for call admins! Now, you can allow review chairs to approve submissions for review.

ScreenshotPreviously, only call admins could approve submissions. Now, if you would like to delegate that responsibility, just pull up the settings for the review chair (in the appropriate review group) and check the "Allow?" box for the "Approve submissions" setting. (See the screenshot to the right.)

One important thing to keep in mind: Submission fees are paid when proposals are approved for review, so anyone who has permission to approve submissions will be able to charge the submission fees (but nothing else) to the credit card on file.

New Feature: Returned Submissions for Review Chairs

We’ve added a new feature to the Tracker: Now, review chairs can see submissions that have been returned for edits.

Previously, only call admins could see returned submissions. We heard from a call admin, however, that she didn’t want to promote her review chairs to admins just so they could track returned submissions. We thought it was a great idea, so we built it in!

Once again, this shows that the best ideas come from our users. If you’ve got an improvement you would like to see, feel free to pass it along. We’d love to hear it!

New Feature: Copy Options for Calls

We’ve got another new feature to announce! Call admins can now fine-tune the settings that are included when copying a call.

Copy-Options ScreenshotPreviously, all of a call’s settings were copied except the administrators and review groups, which had to be added back to the copy. Now, you can tell the system to include those settings in the copy (see the screenshot to the right) or to make a copy without those settings (in case you want a different set of administrators, for example).

Also, if your call has a custom review form, there’s now an option to include the custom form with the copy or to use the default form.

Check it all out and let us know what you think!

New Feature: Reviewer Messages

new reviewer messages optionCall admins can now email reviewers using the Messaging Module!

Just go into the Messaging Module and click the New Message button, like you always have. At the top of the form, you’ll see a new field labeled “For” (right). To send messages to reviewers, just select “Reviewers” from the drop-down box, then select which review group(s) and roles (review chairs and/or reviewers) to send the message to.

As with all messages sent using the Messaging Module, the system archives the message and provides delivery receipts.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

New Feature: Activity Reports

If you’re a call admin, the next time you sign in you’ll see a couple of changes we’ve made to the Administrators page for your call.

We’ve changed the layout of the page (right) to use cards instead of a list. Each card contains the admin’s name, organization, email address, and whether they are signed up to receive activity reports (“Notifications”).

When you mouse over a card, a menu appears (right) with three icons that let you do the following:

  • modify the admin’s settings
  • email the admin
  • remove the admin

If you click the settings icon, a popup window will appear (right) with options that allow you to control what type of notifications the admin receives and when they’re delivered.

If the admin is signed up to receive notifications, it’s reflected on their card with a green checkmark (right).

You can sign up or cancel notifications at any time, and there is no additional charge to receive them, so why not try it out and let us know what you think!

Session Titles That Shine

An abstract’s title, description, and learning objectives are the core of every presenter’s “sales pitch” to both reviewers and attendees. However, very few presenters have an understanding of how to sell their presentation using even the most basic marketing techniques. Perhaps as a result, 95% of meeting organizers report having to rewrite speakers’ submissions1.

ProposalSpace allows admins and review chairs to edit submissions directly or return them for editing and resubmission.

While organizers may have the best intentions when adding a little shine to a session, they also run the risk of overdoing it and promising more than a presenter can deliver, which in turn can disappoint the audience. So ideally, presenters would submit proposals that need little or no editing at all.

To help accomplish that, here are some tips for presenters (and organizers) when crafting session titles. (We’ve decided to focus on the title because it serves as the “hook” for drawing in a reader’s interest and leading them to the description and objectives.)

  • Keep it short. Attendees often skim over session titles to see if anything grabs their attention. A shorter title is simply more eye-catching. To check your title length, consider how easily you could use it to invite someone in passing to attend your session. If you cannot get it all out in a few seconds, then continue editing.
  • Target it to a specific audience. When writing your title, you should have a specific audience in mind. Craft your title in such a way as to convey what that group can expect to get from the session.
  • Employ intrigue. Spark the reader’s curiosity by teasing a short list, privileged knowledge, or a personal story.

Tell us what you think! If you ‘ve had particular success with title writing/editing, then share with us in the comment section below or on twitter (@proposalspace).

1Cobb, Jeff, Jeff Hurt, Dave Lutz, Sarah Michel, and Celisa Steele. “The Speaker Report: The Use of Professional and Industry Speakers in the Meetings Market.” Velvet Chainsaw. http://velvetchainsaw.com/pdf/Velvet-Chainsaw-Tagoras-2013-Speaker-Report_v2.pdf.

Save-Changes Changes

ScreenshotWe’re rolling out a few improvements to the way call settings are saved.

  • Instead of requiring you to scroll all the way down the page to get to the "Save Changes" button, we’re displaying it as a sticky element at the bottom of the screen (right). That way, no matter where you are on the page, you’ll have direct access to it.
  • The save-changes button will only appear on the screen if you have changes that need to be saved.
  • Changes are saved in the background, avoiding the need (and time it takes) to reload the page.
  • You’ll now have an option to discard any unsaved changes and revert back to the previous settings.
  • The system will warn you if there are unsaved changes and you attempt to leave the page (either by clicking a link or reloading the page).

For now, we’ve only applied these changes to two settings pages: Dates and the Publishing Module. Once we’re comfortable everything works OK, we’ll start to apply the changes across all of the settings pages. (We’ve got some other big improvements in store for the call-management side of things, but I’ll save those juicy details for another time.)

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.