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!

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!

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!

Review-Module Improvements

We’ve just released a software update that includes some really exciting improvements to the Review Module (which comes standard with every call). Here are just some of the new features:

  • You can now add reviewers and review chairs to a review group even if they don’t have a ProposalSpace account.
  • The search function for reviewers and review chairs is built into the review-group page, making it more efficient.
  • To improve privacy, reviewers and review chairs need to confirm their addition to a review group before they are actually added to it.
  • The layout of the review-group admin page has been updated, making it easier to manage for both call admins and review chairs.

As always, let us know how the new features are working out, and if you have any ideas for additional improvements!

Changes to the Data-Export Tool

One of our users recently reported a problem with the way our data-export tool was handling special characters. Abstracts for his call often contain mathematical symbols, which were being displayed correctly on the ProposalSpace website, but were becoming garbled in the output file generated by the data-export tool. For example, Δ (delta) was showing up as Δ and ± (plus-minus) was showing up as ±.

We fixed the issue by changing the character encoding for the output file. Now, any character that is displayed correctly on the website is also displayed correctly in the output file.

(A special note: Some programs, like MS Word, might ask what encoding to use when opening the file. If that happens, select “Unicode” on Windows or “Unicode 6.3 (Little-Endian)” on Mac.)

Also, we’ve removed the “strip HTML” option from the data-export tool and made that the default action. If you miss having that option, just let us know and we’ll be happy to put it back!

New Option in Data Export for HTML Tags

The data-export feature now has an option for controlling how HTML-formatted text is exported. You can find it on the data-export page (Tools -> Data Export) right above the Create Report button:

screenshot

So if you’ve set up any of your forms (submission, role, or review) to include a formatted-text field, you can now tell the data-export feature whether you want that text exported as formatted text (with HTML tags) or as unformatted text (without HTML tags).

For example, let’s say you have a field in your Presenter role form for the presenter’s bio. You’ve set up the field so the user can format the text, but you don’t want any of that formatting when you export the bio. Now, all you have to do is check the box at the bottom of the data-export feature and voilà—all of the HTML code is stripped out!

Improved Data Export Feature

We’ve just released some exciting improvements to the data-export feature in ProposalSpace!

  • Proposal information is no longer spread across multiple rows. All the information for a proposal—including role data, reviews and scheduling information—is now on the same line.
  • You can now select individual questions from the submission and role forms to include in the export file.
  • Special characters (like é) now display correctly in the export file.
  • The “Proposals to Include” section now shows totals for each category so you can tell in advance how many proposals will be included in the export file.
  • We’ve streamlined the code so the export file is generated even faster.

All of these changes were in response to feedback from our fantastic users. Keep the ideas coming!