New-Message Feature Now Available in Archived Calls

Just a quick note to let everyone know that you can now send messages via the Messaging Module for calls that have been archived.

Previously this feature was disabled, but we had a request from an organization that wanted to send a notice about their upcoming call to everyone who submitted a proposal for their previous call. The previous call had been archived, so the only way they could send a message was to use the data-export tool to download the email addresses, which they could then use in a standard email client.

We agreed that was too many hoops to jump through for a pretty common practice, so we unlocked the New Message feature for archived calls. Now you can use the Messaging Module to contact authors or reviewers for any call, including those that have been archived!

Expanded Feature: Default Answers in Role Forms

Call admins can now use profile information for default answers in role forms!

Previously, the only two questions in a role form that could be auto-filled with information from a user’s profile were name and organization—both of which were hard-coded into the form. And with any other question you could only define static text for a default answer.

Now, the question-settings dialog has an additional Default Answer option for all text questions, including name and organization. You can still provide specific text to auto-fill the answer, but now you also have the option to select a data element from the user’s profile.

autofill settingIn the example to the right, the email address from a user’s profile will be used to auto-fill the question whenever someone is added to a proposal.

Currently, the following profile information is available:

  • name (first, last, and full)
  • organization
  • email address
  • phone number
  • address (street, city, state, zip, country, and full)

We’re hoping to expand the list, so if you’re a call admin and would like to have access to other information in user profiles just let us know!

BTW, when you create a new role, name and organization are still included by default as the first and second questions, with full name and organization as their default answers. Now, however, they’re fully customizable like all other questions, meaning you can move them to other positions in the form, change their default values, make them optional, etc.

Most importantly, if we just allowed profile information to be filled in automatically whenever someone adds someone else to a proposal, that would potentially give any user access to the profile information of any other user. To get around that, we’ve added a second component to give users control over whether their profile information is available. autofill privacy settingAll accounts now have a setting to enable or disable access to their profile information for the autofill feature (left). The default for all accounts is to not autofill information, so if you would like to take advantage of this new feature, just go into the Privacy Settings area of your Account Settings and check the box to turn it on!

New Feature: Proposal Histories

At the heart of ProposalSpace is the ability for teams to work on proposals and to manage calls. That collaborative environment, however, has sometimes made it difficult to track down exactly who made a change or took a particular action.

So we added proposal histories.

Now, every change to a proposal is logged. Log entries include the action taken, who took it, when it was taken, and if applicable, what the value was before the change.

history screenshotIf you’re an author, you’ll see a History link under the proposal’s Table of Contents, directly above the Print link (see screenshot, left). If you’re an admin or review chair, you can access a proposal’s history via the Tracker. In either case, clicking the link will pop up a window with actions listed in chronological order. (Note that the actions displayed are based on a user’s role: authors see all changes to a proposal’s content along with key admin actions, while admins and review chairs see all changes and all admin actions.)

We hope you’ll find this new feature useful. If you have any ideas for improvement, we’d love to hear them!

Expanded Registration & Sign-In Options

screenshotYou can now register and sign in to ProposalSpace using your Google or Facebook account!

  • If you’re new to ProposalSpace, just click the "Use Google" or "Use Facebook" option when you register your account. (You can also still create an account specifically for ProposalSpace if you prefer.)
  • If you already have a ProposalSpace account and want to switch the way you sign in:
    1. Sign out by clicking the Menu button in the top, right-hand corner of any page, then selecting "Sign Out". (If you don’t see a button labeled "Menu" in the top, right-hand corner of the page you’re already signed out.)
    2. On the Sign In page, enter the email address associated with your ProposalSpace account and click Continue. Then, instead of entering your password, scroll down and click either "Use Google" or "Use Facebook".

Note that if you use Google or Facebook to sign in and want to switch to using a password specifically for ProposalSpace, you’ll need to revoke the permissions from the Google or Facebook side of things first, then contact us to complete the process. You can find instructions for how to revoke permissions on Google’s website (under "Remove site or app access") and Facebook’s website (under "How do I remove an app or game that I’ve added?").

New Feature: Deadline Countdown

While we would all like to imagine a world where authors submit their proposals well before the submission deadline, the harsh reality is that a good number of them wait until the very last minute to click the Submit button.

Of course, ProposalSpace displays the submission deadline prominently at the top of every proposal and, if the deadline is less than a week away, also displays a notice with the time remaining:

Countdown Timer

While this is helpful, we’ve had a few authors mention that they felt cheated out of a few minutes because their computer’s clock wasn’t in sync with the "official" clock on the server, leading them to believe they had more time than they actually did.

To make sure everyone is on the same page (er, clock), we’re making some adjustments to the time-remaining notice and adding a countdown timer so everyone knows exactly how much time is left for them to submit their proposal.

Here’s how it works:

If the submission deadline is more than a week away, nothing changes. In other words, the deadline is displayed but no notice indicating how much time is left is displayed.

Starting one week before the deadline, a notice is displayed at the top of every proposal showing how much time remains—in days, hours, or minutes. This is the same behavior as before, but the notice has been styled differently to make it a little more prominent:

Countdown Timer

If under 30 minutes remains, the notice changes to a countdown timer that indicates the official time remaining (based on the server’s time, not the time on the user’s computer). The style of the notice also changes to draw attention to it:

Countdown Timer

When the submission deadline passes (i.e. the countdown timer reaches 0:00), one of two things happens:

If late submissions are not allowed, the Submit button is removed and the message indicates that submissions are no longer being accepted:

Countdown Timer

If late submission are allowed, the Submit button remains and the message changes to indicate the new deadline for late submissions:

Countdown Timer

We’re not making any wagers that this new feature will result in authors submitting their proposals early, but at least now they’ll know precisely how much time they have left to work with. 🙂

Real-Time Support Now Available

chat iconStarting today, all call admins have access to real-time support via live chat!

Just look in the bottom, right-hand corner of any call-admin page for the icon to the left. If it’s orange, that means the chat feature is live. If it’s blue, live chat isn’t available, but you can leave a message and someone will get back to you asap.

The best part? There’s no extra charge, and it’s available with all calls—active or draft.

Of course, you can still email or call for support if you like, but why not get help right when you need it?

UPDATE (June 2019): We’ve disabled this feature for now. The software wasn’t living up to our expectations. We’ll hopefully have a replacement soon.

Displaying Multiple Comment Fields

Another quick note to announce a new feature…

You can now display more than one comment field to authors!

Previously, the Notification Settings page only allowed you to select one comment field for authors from the review form (using a drop-down list). Now, all of the comment fields from the review form are available for display (using checkboxes). Just check the box next to the comment field(s) you want to display and save your changes.

One other small change: Instead of the comments being displayed on their own page, they’re now included at the bottom of the proposal, making it easier for authors to reference their proposal while reading comments.

New Feature: Multiple File Uploads

If you’ve ever included a File Upload field in your submission or role form, you know that it only allowed authors to upload one file for each field. To allow multiple files, you had to include multiple File Upload fields in the form.

For example, if you had a “Supplemental Documents” question, you would either have to guess the maximum number of documents an author might want to upload and include that many questions on your form (i.e. "Supplemental Document 1", "Supplemental Document 2", …) or you would have to instruct authors to create and upload a single archive (.zip) file that included all the files.

ScreenshotNow, the form builder includes an option for File Upload fields to allow multiple files. All you need to do is check the "Allow Multiple" box (right).

Pro Tip: The "Allow Multiple" setting allows authors to upload as many files as they want for a single question. If you want to limit the number of files that can be uploaded, just include that number of File Upload fields to the form, leaving the "Allow Multiple" option unchecked for each one.

Add to Calendar Feature for Publishing Module

We’ve just added a feature to the Publishing Module that allows anyone viewing session information on your site to add sessions to their personal or work calendar!

How to set it up:

  • screenshot of time zone setting in Scheduling ModuleIn the Scheduling Module, there is now a setting at the top of the Scheduled Sessions panel for the time zone for the sessions (right). Just set it to wherever your conference is being held. For example, if your conference is in Austin, Texas, click the edit icon and select “Central Time (US & Canada)” from the drop-down list.
  • screenshot of Publishing Module settingsIn the Publishing Module, you will now see an item in the Session Info section labeled “Add to Calendar” (right). Just like with the other settings, if you check the box in the Brief column, the feature will show up in the Brief listings and if you check the box in the Full column, the feature will show up in the Full listings.

That’s it!

screenshot of add-to-calendar featureOnce the feature is enabled, visitors to your site will see a calendar icon next to the date/time/location line for each session. Clicking the icon displays a list of calendars the visitor can choose from (right). All the user has to do is pick a calendar and the session is added to it!

(Although Google, iCal, Outlook, and Yahoo! are the only calendars in the list, selecting iCal or Outlook generates an ICS file, which can be used by virtually any type of calendar to add an event.)

Try it out and let us know what you think!

Locked Questions for Returned Proposals

Starting today, call admins can restrict which parts of a proposal are editable when returning it for edits!

For example, let’s say you want to return a submission, but you only want the author to edit the abstract and nothing else. Previously, they could edit any part of the proposal. Now, you can prohibit them from editing anything but the abstract.

ScreenshotThe screenshot on the right is a detailed view of the dialog window that pops up when you return a submission for edits. The window now contains an “Editable Items” section with checkboxes next to each question on the main submission form and all role forms. It also includes checkboxes for the “Add…” button for each role. By default, all of the checkboxes are checked, meaning the entire proposal is editable. To change that, just uncheck the boxes next to the items you don’t want to be edited.

When the author pulls up the proposal, questions that have been locked will be disabled and have “not editable” displayed next to them.

If you happen to change your mind after you’ve returned a submission, you can pull it up in the Tracker and select “Change editable items” from the options menu. From there you can easily add or remove restrictions.