Roles Explained

RolesRoles are an essential component of ProposalSpace. Not only do they allow for greater flexibility when collecting proposal information, they also make certain functionality possible, like the Advanced Scheduling Module’s conflict checker.

Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most misunderstood and misused features.

So what are roles?

Put simply, they are how individuals are associated with a proposal. Some examples include:

  • Presenter
  • Co-Presenter
  • Primary Contact
  • Speaker
  • Contributor
  • Nominee

For each role you create, you get to define the following:

  • Name: What you want to call the role (e.g. “Primary Contact”)
  • Description: An explanation of the role (e.g. “The Primary Contact is responsible for all communications regarding the proposal.”)
  • Minimum: The minimum number of individuals required for the role (“0” makes the role optional)
  • Maximum: The maximum number of individuals allowed for the role (“0” allows an unlimited number)
  • Role Form: Each role has its own form for collecting information about individuals added to that role (e.g. name, organization, and bio). Note that this form is different than the main submission form, which is intended for core information about the proposal, like the abstract and learner objectives.

For example, let’s say you are collecting speaker proposals for a conference and want each proposal to have a primary contact, a lead presenter, and up to five additional presenters. Traditionally, that meant the submission form had eight sections: one for the main proposal information (title, abstract, etc.), another for information related to the primary contact (name, organization, etc.), another for the lead presenter, and five more for additional presenters. All those sections took up a lot of space, especially if a proposal did not include any additional presenters.

With ProposalSpace, you just create three roles as follows:

  • Primary Contact, with a minimum of 1, a maximum of 1, and a form with questions for name, organization, and email address
  • Lead Presenter, with a minimum of 1, a maximum of 1, and a form with questions for name, organization, email address, bio, and speaking experience
  • Additional Presenter, with a minimum of 0, a maximum of 5, and a form with questions for name, organization, email address, and bio

With this setup, questions related to a role are not displayed unless the author chooses to add someone to that role.

RolesOne way to think of roles is as sheets of paper that get attached to the main proposal to compose a complete submission. The image on the right shows hows the various components from the example above are related, with the Main Proposal Form (which displays the core proposal questions, like title and abstract) and the Primary Contact, Lead Presenter, and Additional Presenter forms (which display role-specific questions, like name and organization). The key is that the role forms are only added to the main submission if needed, keeping the overall submission uncluttered.

Role ScreenshotThe screenshot to the right shows how the roles mentioned above would appear in a proposal. (Click the image for a larger view.) Only when an author clicks one of the “Add…” buttons does the system display the questions for that role… again, keeping the overall submission uncluttered.

A couple of other important things to keep in mind about roles:

  1. Every call must have at least one role. You may call it anything you like and even make it optional, but there must be at least one role. (Typically we see organizers use “Primary Contact” when there is only one role for a call.)
  2. The system does not assign anyone to a role automatically, so even if you create a role for something like “Submitter”, that person would still need to be added by someone working on the proposal. (The system does track who creates each proposal, but only displays that person’s name and organization from their profile.)

I hope this helps to explain what roles are and how to use them effectively. If you have any questions—about roles or anything else—feel free to contact us. Also, we offer free evaluations for every call as part of our unlimited support, so if you ever want feedback about how your roles are set up, just ask. We’re here to help!

Publishing Module Change

ScreenshotIf you’re using our Publishing Module, there’s a slight change you should know about:

In the search box, the names that are displayed in the name-search field (right) are now pulled from the sessions instead of from user profiles.

One of the key benefits of this change is that admins (and review chairs, if they have permission to edit proposals) can change the way names appear in the list. Previously, any change had to be made in the user’s profile, which only the user could access. Now, admins can simply edit a proposal and the change will be reflected immediately in the drop-down list of names in the search fields.

Conditional Review Questions

We’ve made an exciting update to the Review Module that now allows conditional questions as part of a custom review form!

What’s a “conditional question”, you might ask? It’s a review question that’s only displayed when a certain condition is met in the proposal being reviewed. For example, if your submission form includes a question for “session type”, with options for “roundtable” and “poster”, you might want reviewers to see one question for roundtables and another question for posters.

Before, the review form had to include both questions with instructions like “If a roundtable…” and “If a poster…”. Now, the Review Module is smart enough to know which question to display based on the answer to the session-type question. In other words, if the proposal is for a roundtable, the reviewer sees the roundtable question; If it’s a poster, the reviewer sees the poster question.

The new feature works with just about any type of question in the submission form. Of course, it works best with questions that have pre-defined answers (radio buttons, checkboxes, and drop-down lists) and not so well with open-ended questions (text, date/time, and file-upload fields).

Give it a try the next time you’re working on your custom review form!

Dashboard Updates

Dashboard ScreenshotJust a quick note to announce some improvements to the Dashboard:

  • Smart Archiving: If you don’t manually archive a call, proposal, or administrative session, the system will automatically archive it for you. (You can still access archived items, they’re just on a separate archive page.) Calls are automatically archived one year after being activated, while proposals and administrative sessions are automatically archived when the call is archived.
  • Additional Details: The call, proposal, and review listings now display the organization(s) responsible for the call, while call and proposal listings now display when they were last edited and by whom.
  • Direct Actions: Select actions for calls and proposals are now available directly from the Dashboard. Key actions, like viewing reviewer comments and managing session materials, are always visible. Secondary actions, like delete and archive, are hidden by default but can be made visible by clicking on a toggle.
  • Call Logos: We’re expanding our branding efforts for calls once again, this time by displaying call logos along with each listing.

We hope everyone likes the changes. If you have any feedback, be sure to let us know!

New Feature: Customizable Submission Receipt

Submission received!As soon as our system receives a submission, it immediately emails a receipt to the person who submitted the proposal and, if different, the person who created the proposal. Previously, the contents of that email weren’t editable.

Now, with our new Custom Receipt Module, you can customize the receipt by editing the Subject line and adding text to the body of the message. The message will continue to contain boilerplate text that can’t be edited, like the call name, proposal title, and link to the ProposalSpace Dashboard, but you can add as much text as you like to supplement it.

The new module also allows you to edit both the formatted (HTML) and plain-text versions of the receipt. (Most email clients display HTML-formatted email, but we also include a plain-text version for those that don’t.)

And to help with branding, we’ve added the call logo to the design of the formatted version!

You can find the new module under Settings -> Submission -> Submission Receipt. If you have any questions or feedback, be sure to let us know!

Layout Improvements for Reviewers

We’re improving the layout of the review page to make it easier than ever to review proposals in ProposalSpace!

Starting Wednesday, July 11, reviewers will no longer see each proposal’s contents displayed in tandem with the review form. Instead, the two will be side-by-side. In case you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s a comparison of the old and new layouts. (Click on a layout for a larger view.)

Old Layout: New Layout:
Old Review Form New Review Form

And here’s a larger view of the new layout with details about specific improvements:

New Review Form1234567

  1. The panels are independently scrollable, so you can navigate to specific areas of the proposal or the review form without one affecting the other.
  2. The panels are resizable. Just slide the divider between them to the left or right.
  3. We’ve removed the “No answer” option for scoring questions. Now, clicking a score once selects it and clicking it again de-selects it.
  4. If the review form has more than one scoring question, each question’s score is displayed to the right and the total score is displayed at the end of the scoring section. (Not shown in this screenshot.)
  5. The Save Review button becomes active only after you’ve made a change to the review form. (If you try to leave the page without saving your review, the system will prompt you to save your work.)
  6. Navigation buttons at the bottom of the page allow you to move to the previous or next proposal in your list of assignments, or to return to your list of assignments.
  7. An indicator across the top of the control bar helps you keep track of your overall progress.

We hope the new layout and functionality will make it even easier for reviewers to complete their work. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below!

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!