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.

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!

Autocomplete & Form Fields

Most current web browsers have a helpful feature called “autocomplete” that fills in form fields for you based on information you’ve entered into similar fields in the past. You’ve probably seen this if you’ve started to fill out a form asking for something like your mailing address… You start to type something in the first field (usually your first name) and the browser displays a drop-down list with suggestions for autofilling the form. If you select one of the suggestions, the browser magically fills in all the other fields in the form (address, city, state, etc.) without you having to type anything in.

The autocomplete feature can save a lot of time and effort when you’re filling out forms… but not in all cases. Take ProposalSpace for example. If you have a proposal and add yourself to it, autocomplete can be a huge timesaver. If you add someone else, however, autocomplete will try to use your information to fill in the fields meant for them. If you catch what happened, you can go back and correct the entries. If you don’t catch what happened, you could end up submitting a proposal with the wrong information for that user.

One option for getting around this issue was to disable the autocomplete feature altogether. That seemed a little extreme, however, so we decided instead to enable autocomplete only for your own information.

Hopefully this makes the autocomplete feature less of an annoyance and more of a useful feature. If you come across any problems with our solution, or have any suggestions for improvement, please let us know, either in the comments below or by contacting us directly.

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!

Proposal-Form Improvements

We are really excited to announce a major redesign of the proposal form!

  • All proposal components (instructions, contents, persons, and terms) are now on a single page, with a navigation bar for jumping between sections.
  • Answers are now saved individually. (No more scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the Save Changes button.) For text fields, changes are saved as soon as the user exits the field or clicks the field’s save button. For all other field types (radio buttons, checkboxes, etc.), changes are saved immediately.
  • The proposal header is now “sticky” and displays the last date and time changes were made to the proposal. It also displays how complete the proposal is.
  • Incomplete / missing answers can now be easily identified with a handy new tool that highlights exactly which answers need attention.
  • Authors can now rearrange persons in the proposal (e.g. speakers, authors) and save them in the desired order.

We know change can be disorienting, so to make the transition to the new features as painless as possible, we’ve¬†created a tour that walks users through the new design. A link to the tour will be at the top of every proposal for the next three months. There is also a permanent link to the tour in the Menu drop-down in the top, right-hand corner of the page.

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.