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: 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.

Revised Delivery Criteria for the Messaging Module

We’ve made a slight change to the way messages are sent with the Messaging Module.

Previously the module always sent one copy per user per proposal. Unfortunately that could be confusing if an individual had more than one proposal because someone could receive multiple copies of the same message and not understand why.

The module continues to send one copy per user per proposal, but only if the message contains proposal-specific merge fields, like the proposal ID or title. That way, if someone receives multiple copies it should be clear which proposal each copy is for. If, however, the message does not contain proposal-specific merge fields, then the module sends just one copy per user, regardless of how many proposals that user is associated with.

To help understand the change, here is an example: Mary is associated with two proposals. In one she is a speaker and in the other she is both a speaker and the primary contact. You set up a message to go to all speakers and primary contacts for all proposals. If the message includes proposal-specific merge fields (e.g. the proposal title) Mary will receive two copies (one copy per proposal). Otherwise, she will receive just one copy.

screenshotWe’ve also made a slight change to the module’s interface (right). When you are editing a message, the module still provides a count of how many messages will be sent but now that number is an active link to a popup that displays the full list of recipients. (BTW, the screenshot shows 19 copies for 21 draft proposals because the message does not contain proposal-specific merge fields. That means only one message is sent per user, regardless of how many proposals each user created. In other words, 19 users created 21 proposals. If one or more proposal-specific merge fields were added to the message body, the number would increase to 21, or one copy per proposal.)

Pro tip: Always include proposal information (ID and/or title) in the message body. It really cuts down on confusion, especially when a recipient has more than one proposal in the system, which most do. Take for example someone with two proposals: one unsubmitted (draft) and the other submitted. If you were to send a message only to draft proposals but did not include proposal information in the message, the recipient would have no way of knowing which proposal the message was for and might think the proposal they submitted was not actually submitted.

Archive Extension for Postponed Meetings

Normally in ProposalSpace calls are automatically archived by the system one year after activation. But things aren’t exactly normal right now, so we’ve decided to extend that period for a year.

The extension applies to calls activated January 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020 with a submission deadline on or after January 1, 2020.

For example, let’s say you activated your call January 1, 2020 and originally had a submission deadline of April 1, 2020, but you needed to extend the deadline a year to April 1, 2021. Normally the system would not allow you to accept submissions after December 31, 2020 because that’s when it would automatically archive the call. Now, however, the system won’t archive the call until December 31, 2021, giving you plenty of time (hopefully) to extend the deadline.

Hopefully this change will allow meetings that had to be postponed enough time to keep their calls open without having to pay for an extension. If you’ve had to extend your deadline by more than a year, please let us know and we’ll be happy to work something out.

Also, note that this change only affects calls that are automatically archived. You can still manually archive a call any time you like.

Stay safe and healthy.

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: 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!

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!

Open-Ended Calls

We’re happy to announce that ProposalSpace now fully supports open-ended calls!

Previously, every call had to have a submission deadline, which was OK for most calls. However, for open-ended calls, that date had to be set way in the future or updated periodically to keep it in the future. So to make things easier, we’ve made the Submission End setting optional, which means any call can now be open-ended just by leaving that setting blank!

To get this to work, we had to make a few other notable changes:

  • All Dates settings, other than Submission Start, have been made optional. We encourage everyone to provide dates for informational purposes, but now you can activate a call with just a Submission Start.
  • Previously, calls had to be archived manually and could not be unarchived. Calls may continue to be archived manually, but if not done within a year of activation, the system will do it automatically. After a call is archived, admins still have full access to its settings and data, but may not change any settings other than those for the Advanced Scheduling Module and Publishing Module, if activated. If you have a call that needs to be active for more than a year, it can be reactivated for as long as you like with additional one-year extensions.
  • The Late Submissions setting has been moved from the General Submission settings page to the Dates settings page. (This wasn’t really necessary; We just thought it made more sense there.)

We really hope these changes make it easier for admins to manage open-ended calls using ProposalSpace. As always, feedback is welcomed.

More exciting changes are in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

New Feature: Text Limits  

We’re really excited to announce a new feature in ProposalSpace: text limits.

Text limit screenshot
Text limit screenshot

Call admins can now assign a word or character limit to any text field in a proposal submission form or role form. Just select “Word Limit” or “Character Limit” from the pull-down menu in the question settings (right, top), then enter the number of words or characters you want for the limit (right, bottom).

We designed the feature to follow Twitter-like rules, so responses are allowed to exceed the limit. Text limit screenshotExtra text is displayed with ellipses, which can be clicked on to reveal the full response (right).

Check it out and let us know what you think!