New Feature: Upload Restrictions

Call admins now have the ability to restrict which types of files are allowed for uploads.

The new setting is in two places: the form builder and the Publishing Module. In both cases it is a safelist (as opposed to a blocklist) meaning authors are only allowed to upload files with extensions you specify. Or put another way, authors are prohibited from uploading files not in the list.

For example, if you are collecting speaker headshots and only want JPEGs, you would enter “jpeg jpg”. That way, only filenames ending with “.jpeg” or “.jpg” would be allowed.

Screenshots of new filetypes settingThe image to the right contains two screenshots. The one on top shows how the new setting looks in the form builders while the one on the bottom shows the setting in the Publishing Module.

Here are some other important details about the new feature:

  • The following file extensions are included by default whenever a file-upload field is added to a form or the Publishing Module is activated:
    • Compressed archives (.zip)
    • Images (.gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .tif, .tiff)
    • PDFs (.pdf)
    • Powerpoint presentations (.ppt, .pptx)
    • Videos (.mov, .mp4, .wmv)
    • Word docs (.doc, .docx)

    Feel free to add or remove the default extensions to suit your needs.

  • Extensions may be entered any number of ways:
    • uppercase or lowercase (e.g. “JPEG” and “jpeg” are identical)
    • with or without commas (e.g. “jpeg, jpg” and “jpeg jpg” are identical)
    • with or without a dot (e.g. “.jpeg” and “jpeg” are identical)

    You can even mix and match! (e.g. “jpeg .jpg, gif, .PDF”)

  • Enter as many extensions as you like. There is no limit.
  • The feature is designed to catch any file with an extension that does not match its actual type. For example, if you only allow files ending in “.gif” and someone uploads a file named “upload.gif” that is actually a PDF, the system will reject the file.
  • It is only possible to safelist extensions. (Blocklists are not as secure.)
  • Leave the setting blank if you do not want to have any restrictions. It is extremely important to understand, however, that this is not recommended because it allows users to upload any type of file, including executables (.exe), which are extremely risky.
  • Lastly, consider limiting the list to common filetypes. Doing so might place a bit of an extra burden on authors but it will make life easier for reviewers. Take presentations for example. You could allow Powerpoint (.ppt and .pptx), Keynote (.key), Prezi (.exe), and Visme (.zip) files but this can cause two problems:
    1. Reviewers would need all of those applications to view files.
    2. A couple of the extensions (.exe and .zip) are not limited to presentation applications and would allow any executable or compressed archive to be uploaded.

    Instead, consider allowing only PDFs (.pdf), which can be generated from any of the above applications and can be viewed by reviewers in any web browser.

I hope you will find the new setting useful. If you have any feedback please do not hesitate to let me know. And if you have any tips for other call admins, please be sure to leave them in the comments below.

New Feature: Admin Session Copies

Calls using the Advanced Scheduling Module now have a new option when creating admin sessions:

Previously all admin sessions had to be started from scratch. This posed a bit of a challenge, however, if someone wanted to combine multiple submissions into a single session (for a panel discussion, for example).

Now admins have the option of either starting an admin session from scratch or making a copy of a submission or another admin session. Hopefully this helps to minimize the need to copy and paste most, if not all, of the content into the new session.

Submittable Reviews

Update (27 Feb 2021): The changes outlined below are now in place!

One of the Review Module’s most useful features has always been the ability for reviewers to save incomplete or provisional reviews. It’s especially handy for reviewers who want to record their initial assessment of a submission then finalize it later, after they’ve analyzed their other assignments.

Up to now, though, there was no way for reviewers to “lock in” their reviews. Unfortunately this meant call admins and review chairs couldn’t be 100% certain a review was ever final, even after the review deadline had passed.

That’s about to change! Soon reviewers will have the option to submit completed reviews, marking them as final for call admins and review chairs. Reviewers will still be able to save their work and return to make changes later, but only until they submit a review. Once that happens the review will be locked, allowing the reviewer to view it but not to make further changes to it (unless a call admin unlocks it).

screenshots showing Tracker dataOn the admin side, values for reviewer progress and average score will no longer be calculated based on all reviews. Instead, the default will be to calculate those values using only submitted reviews. The Tracker will, however, have a handy toggle that will allow admins and chairs to include unsubmitted reviews. (See screenshots to the right showing information for the same two submissions. Each submission has been assigned to two reviewers. The reviewers have completed their reviews but have not submitted them. The top image shows the default view, which is based solely on submitted reviews. The bottom image shows the same view but with unsubmitted reviews included.)

Other new features for admins and chairs include the ability to submit reviews on behalf of reviewers and to unlock/return submitted reviews to make them editable. The data-export feature will also include the review status of each review in the output file.

Reviewers will see changes in two places: the main review form and the page that displays their review assignments.

On the main review form, reviewers will no longer have to click a button to save their work. Changes will instead be saved automatically. Because of that, the Save button will no longer be needed and will be replaced with a Submit button, which will be inactive until the review is eligible for submission (i.e. the reviewer has answered all of the required questions on the review form).

review-assignment page detailOver on the review-assignments page, reviewers will see two new columns in the assignments table: Review Status and Actions. (See the screenshot to the right.)

The Review Status column will display one of the following four values for each review assignment:

  • Not started = None of the review questions have been answered.
  • Incomplete = Some review questions have been answered but at least one required question is missing an answer.
  • Complete = All required review questions have been answered. The review is eligible for submission.
  • Submitted = The review has been submitted and may not be changed.

(BTW, these are the same values used in the data-export file.)

The Actions column will always display a button to edit the review (or to view it if it’s been submitted). If the review is complete but has not yet been submitted, the column will also display a button to submit the review.

I really hope these changes will improve the user experience for call admins and review chairs by making it possible for them to know for certain when reviewers are done with their work while not taking away any of the features and functionality already enjoyed by reviewers. As always, if you have any feedback about the changes or want to pass along ideas for other improvements, please let me know!

New Feature: Display Proposal Labels to Authors

Call admins now have the option to display proposal labels to authors.

Previously, labels (tags) assigned to proposals were only visible to admins. Now there’s an option in the call settings that, when enabled, will also allow authors to see the labels.

The default setting, BTW, is not to display labels to authors, so if you’d like to change that just check the checkbox under the new "Visibility" section on the Labels settings page (under Settings -> General -> Labels).

Got questions or feedback? Please don’t hesitate to let me know!

New Feature: Enhanced Activation

Quick update for call admins: Now, when you go to activate your call you have the option to activate optional modules too!

Previously, a call had to be activated first and then each optional module (Advanced Scheduling, Publishing, Custom Submission Receipt, etc.) would have to be activated individually. With this update, you can now choose which, if any, optional modules you want to include with the initial activation.

You can still activate optional modules individually like you could before; This just gives you the added convenience of including them with the initial activation.

Multilingual Support

I’m excited to announce the initial release of multilingual support in ProposalSpace!

So far the effort has centered on a handful of pages—sign-in, sign-up, Dashboard, and the Review Module—in French and Spanish, but that’s just the start. Soon, call admins will also be able to manage call settings—including forms—in multiple languages.

Want to view the site in another language? Switching couldn’t be easier:

screenshotIf you are not signed in, you’ll see a language selector in the top, right-hand corner of every page (screenshot, left). Select your preferred language from the drop-down and voilà… the site will appear in that language from then on.

screenshotIf you are signed in, you can set your language preference in your profile settings. To get to your profile settings, click your name in the top, right-hand corner of any page. Then click the Edit Profile link and select your preferred language in the Language section (screenshot, left).

As always, feedback is welcome! If you have additions, corrections, suggestions for improvement, or requests for additional languages, please don’t hesitate to send them to translations@proposalspace.com.

New Feature: Publishing Module Customizations

Call admins can now select specific questions to use for session titles, role-user names, and role-user organizations in the Publishing Module.

Previously the system made its best guess which questions to use. (Basically it used the first question in the main submission form for the session’s title, the first question in each role form for an individual’s name, and the second question in each role form for that individual’s organization.)

screenshotNow you can select which field(s) to use for each value. Just click the Settings… link next to the field you want to change. (See screenshot to the left, which shows the Settings link for the Session Title field.)

screenshotFor session titles, you can select from any question in the main submission form that uses a text field. (See screenshot to the right, which shows an example of questions that can be selected from the call’s main submission form.)

For each role, you can select one or more questions from the role form to use for both the role-user’s name and organization.

For example, if your presenter form has a Full Name question, you can just select that question and nothing else. If, however, your form uses two questions (e.g. First Name and Last Name), you can select both fields. You can even sort the questions so that the last name comes first.

The same goes for the role-user’s organization: You can use a single field from the role form or multiple fields, sorted however you like.

If you select more than one question, there is even an option to separate the answers with commas, which comes in handy if you want to display the last name first (e.g. Smith, Jane) or the organization with the name (e.g. Jane Smith, ABC Co.).

One other thing to note: The question(s) you select for the role-user’s name field not only affect how the information is displayed in the session’s details, but also how each role-user’s name is displayed in the search form’s Person field.

New Feature: Messaging Module Draft Recipient List

The Messaging Module now includes a feature that allows call admins to view the list of recipients for a message before the message is sent!

screenshot of linkJust create your message like you always have. When you go to preview the message, you’ll see a link at the end of the "To" header (right) indicating how many messages will be sent. Click that link and a window will open with a list of the recipients and how many copies each will receive. (Recipients receive one copy per proposal, so someone with multiple proposals would receive more than one copy of the message.)

The link is also displayed for draft messages on the main Messaging Module page.

After a message has been sent, the link is replaced with a list of actual recipients and the delivery status for each one.

New Feature: Labels in the Messaging Module

Call admins can now use proposal labels when defining message recipients in the Messaging Module!

screenshot of labels option in Messaging ModuleWhen you create a message for proposals, you’ll notice the "To" section (right) now has a "Labels" option to the right of the status and recipients options. (Unlike the status and recipients options, the Labels option is optional and only displayed if your call actually has labels. Also, it’s only available for messages to proposals, not reviewers.)

To use the new labels option, just click it and select the label(s) you would like to include in your selection criteria. As before, the "Total emails to be sent" counter will immediately update to reflect the number of recipients that match your criteria.

If you select more than one label, it’s important to understand that a proposal will only be considered a match if the selected labels are a subset of the proposal’s labels. In other words, a proposal’s labels must contain all of the labels you provide. For example, if you want to send a message to all proposals labeled "a" and "b", a proposal labeled "a", "b", and "c" will be a match, but one labeled just "a" will not. Nor will one labeled "a" and "c".

As always, if you have any feedback—especially ideas for improvement—please don’t hesitate to let us know!

New Feature: Proposal Labels

Have you ever wanted to organize your call’s proposals using your own taxonomy? Well now you can, with labels!

Call admins can now create and apply custom labels to any proposal. They’re completely under your control. You decide what to call them and which proposals to assign them to. You can then use them to find proposals according to the labels they’ve been assigned.

And the best part? They’re included as a core module at no additional cost and with every call, new or existing!

For now, labels can only be used with the Tracker’s search function. They’ll soon be available in a lot more areas though, like the Messaging Module and Data-export Tool. We’ve also got plans to extend them to user profiles and to make them available to review chairs and reviewers. (We’ve also got plans to add tags to the system, but that’s an entirely different topic that I’ll cover in another post.)

To get started, pull up any call and click Settings -> General -> Labels in the navigation. From there, you can create new labels and edit and delete existing ones.

screenshot showing proposal labelsWhen you’re ready to apply labels to a proposal, just pull up the proposal in the Tracker, click the ellipsis button immediately below the proposal’s title (see screenshot detail, right), and select the labels you want to use.

There are two ways to find proposals using a label: From the Labels page or from the Tracker’s search feature.

  • From the Labels page:

    screenshot showing link in Labels pageEvery label listed on the Labels page shows how many proposals are associated with it (see screenshot detail, right). Clicking that text performs a search of all proposals that use the label.

  • From the Tracker’s search feature:

    To include a label in your search criteria, preface the label with "Label:". For example, to search for proposals labeled "Poster", use: Label: Poster. If the label has more than one word, surround it with quotes. For example, for "Poster candidate", use: Label: "Poster candidate". (Pro tip: Searches are not case sensitive, so using Label: Poster is exactly the same as Label: poster, label: Poster, or label: poster.)

    You can also include labels with other search terms. For example, to search for proposals labeled "Poster presentation" and containing the phrase "financial planning", use label: "poster presentation" financial planning. (Pro tip: Order doesn’t matter, so financial planning label: "poster presentation" would give you the exact same results.)

We’ll keep everyone posted on our progress adding labels and tags throughout the site. In the meantime, let us know what you think!