THOUGHTstream 1.3 provides a number of major enhancements as well as myriad smaller improvements based on feedback from customers.The latest version is 1.3.4.
F1. Express Share. It is now possible to send out an email with a clickable link that brings the participant to an express browser window for the share activity. The participant can view the thoughts of all the other participants just as in the full application. Only read mode is supported.
F2. Question Chaining. Chained questions allow for one email to be sent to participants that results in one express application usage with the participant providing thoughts for all the questions, or viewing all the share information or doing choose for all the questions. Question chains are created in the Stream view by clicking a "create chain" button on the question to be the head of the chain. This provides a dialog where the end of the chain question is selected. These questions then act as a cohesive group all with the same activity active - ie setting completed on the head question Thoughts activity sets all of the chained question Thoughts to completed.
Major Feature Changes:
C1. Reporting. We have completely rewritten reporting. There is a new report dialog that provides substantially more options for choosing what information should be in the report. The report contents have been completely redone to improve readability. In addition we have incorporated 2 new graphical summaries. One summarizes the choose activity via a pie chart. The other summarizes the Thoughts activity using a "Thought Cloud".
Reports can now be generated on an individual activity for Share, Converge and Choose via the facilitator command dialog described below in C2.
Reports can be either viewed in place (as in 1.2) or else emailed to some or all participants of the ThoughtStream.
Reports have a customizable graphic for customers who have the customized branding option.
As part of reporting it is possible to download all of the data from a ThoughtStream to your desktop in csv format which can then be read by excel and other applications.
C2. Facilitators & Stream view. We have simplified how a facilitator interacts with Stream view. Rather than hovering over an activity globe to get the commands for that activity they now click on the activity to get a popup with command buttons for that activity. We have renamed the "configure and email" command "design".
C3. Express design. Express design has been made wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) so that the facilitator sees the actual express user interface while they configure. As part of this the Background activity information can be entered during design rather than as a separate step.
C4. Create ThoughtStream Wizard/Design. When creating a new TS the facilitator can now press a "Design" button and get a wizard which is similar to the Express Design wizard described just above which steps the facilitator through creating questions, adding participants and designing express thoughts and sending email.
C5. Full application Thoughts activity. We have incorporated the "widget" from the express application into the full application as have found users find the express widget much more intuitive. Thoughts are now composed of only a summary (75 char max) and details (1000 char max) when entered in the full application. Existing bullet points have been automatically migrated into details.
C6. Server Statistics. We have added to the statistics we track: number of express usages, count of participants, count of facilitators, last system usage, disk space free. These are available as a nightly email to anyone interested. Contact us to get this configured on your system. As part of 1.3 upgrades we will configure the primary system administrator to receive this email. We can add others if you email us their email address.
C7. Facilitator and Participant User Guide. We have written a guide for all of THOUGHTstream functionality primarily intended for facilitators. It is accessible via the help command button the left side of all the views of the Full Application.
C8. We have changed how we display "doneness" in the Full Application. Now the activity globes are always green if the activity is active and blue when completed. The color of the outer ring around the "n of m" lozenge now changes based on the done state of the current user - green is not done, blue is done.
C9. We removed the "All Thoughts" tab inside the Full Application Thoughts View since no-one ever seemed to find it there. Instead if you are a facilitator we allow you to enter into the Share View while Thoughts is active so that you can see what participants have entered so far. In addition when Choose is active the facilitator can click on the results tab of the Choose View to see the votes so far.
C10. There is a new option on facilitators settable in the Manage View: "private". Private facilitators do not get the "all contacts" tab in the participants dialog. That is they only able to see contacts that they have already worked with or enter new email addresses for new contacts.
C11. The background activity is now never active. Although still accessible in the full application so that participants can read th shared background it is not longer actual step in the process.
C12. Adjusted our spelling to be THOUGHTstream (Ts) for our product and process and ThoughtStream (TS) for the data entity.
C13. In express thoughts when the 75 character limit is reached in the summary text box we automatically wrap the input to the details text box. If a user notices this they can alter their text to be how they wish. If they don't notice then we haven't frustrated them by no longer accepting keyboard input. If details already exist we don't do the auto wrap.
C14. In express thoughts if a summary is left blank we now silently fill the summary with the first 75 characters of the detail. No more error messages for this case.
C15. Converge improvements: Converge Improvements:
Full application share view now has the activity instructions displayed and for a facilitator defaults to showing participant names and then remembers (within a single sign on session) the previous value of the check box.
Bug Fixes and Smaller Changes:
B1. Question text limit has been increased to 300 characters and the amount of the text displayed in stream view has been increased. Hovering over the question text creates a tool tip showing all the text.
B2. Activity instructions have new defaults that incorporates the question text and instructions specific to each activity.
B3. We have added a "navigation blocker" to the Full application. If you try to navigate away from the THOUGHTstream application you will receive a warning that you will need to sign on again when you come back.
B4. We have simplified our email format to lessen the chance that email servers and programs mangle our email contents. We also adjusted the email header sender fields as we found cases where misleading sender information was displayed.
B5. Report generation and email sending are now done asynchronously. This will prevent timeouts for users if these things take a long time.
B6. Viewing of attachments (from full or express) will now use a browser window (rather than downloading) for pdf, jpg and png files. Native file formats (like word .doc) will still need to be downloaded and viewed on the client machine.
B7. A number of changes to the Converge View to address problems found in the field.
B8. Improved the look of the info popup in choose view.
B9. Colorized the status column of My ThoughtStreams and some other improvements.
B10. Start page default text. We have added the questions text to the start page default text as we have heard from participants they would benefit from seeing an overview of all the questions before entering thoughts or voting on each question individually.
B11. Express users who use a web based email client had problems with the express application loading in the preview sub pane rather than openning a new window or tab. We now request the browser to open a new window or tab (depending on the user's browser settings).
B12. Full application and Express choose view. We found that some users were not noticing the info symbol (i inside a blue circle) and also not noticing that they could click on description to get an info popup. We added a column called "Details", placed the info button/icon in this column and made the icon larger to make it more obviously clickable.
B13. When a bad thing happens in our application we give a "Bad Thing Happened" dialog. We have added more information to the dialog and clarified the instructions. When a BTH dialog appears it is really helpful if we can get a screen snap of the whole browser dialog in order to diagnose what went wrong.
B14. We have added a new feature for system admins that allows them to import a file of contacts into the system. The file must be in "comma separated" format (aka csv) which can be output from excel and many other programs. Each row of the file is read and if that email address or first name / last name combination doesn't exist a new contact is created. If the record already exists the email address or names are updated. Note that the column names must be exactly: "Last Name,First Name,E-mail Address"