Dear QuestionPoint Users:
The attached describes new features, changes, and fixes we will install on Sunday, 23 November 2008. Note especially the new look and feel for the Flash-based chat interface.
We do not yet have details on the downtime required for the install, but will post that as soon as we have it. Typically, downtime begins at 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time (0700 GMT) and lasts for only 15 minutes.
Watch for updates on this list!
Paula Rumbaugh and the QuestionPoint Team
1. New Features
1.1 New Look and Feel for Chat Monitor
Although the workflow has not changed, you will note a difference in the look and feel of the interface and overall responsiveness of the service. NOTE: You must have Flash Player version 126.96.36.199 or better installed in your browser. A different Flash Player install program must be run for IE and Firefox. To check your current version today, right click on your chat monitor and select the Flash Player option from the drop-down menu. If you do not have version 188.8.131.52 or later, you will receive an error message and a link to the download site when you attempt to bring up your chat monitor following the November 23 QuestionPoint install.
1.1.1 Initializing. You will notice the new look immediately on bringing up the monitor, as QuestionPoint initializes and loads the queues available to you. The QuestionPoint logo will briefly appear, then change into an out-of-focus background.
1.1.2 Queue selection. After initialization, the queue selection box automatically appears. You must select queues before you can do anything else. Queue selection follows the same process as before; however, a Select All link expedites the process for librarians monitoring several queues at the same time. Once you select your queue(s), you must click the Save button to continue.
1.1.3 New clock. After queue selection is completed, the monitor screen comes into focus. Note the new clock beside the Queues link telling you how long you have been logged into chat.
1.1.4 Mouse over Queues link. Mouse over the Queues link to see the queues you’ve selected.
1.1.5 New tabs. A new set of tabs, one for Patron Chat and one for IM (see illustration above), facilitate control by more clearly distinguishing chats with your patrons from IM chats with other online librarians.
1.1.6 Slider for font size. A new slider feature in the Settings function allows you to adjust font size (try it out!).
1.1.7 New alerts. To help reduce confusion between the current two options of “Flash based popup alert” and “Browser based alerts (popup and system sound),” the settings options have changed as follows:
If you choose “Flash based popup alert” you will see a new look to the pop-up window.
If you choose “Browser based alerts (popup and system sound),” your alert type will depend upon the Browser you use. IE users will see ***New patron** appear in the task bar at the bottom of your machine monitor and in the IE title bar at the top. If you use “tabbed” browsing in your IE window, it will also flash in the tab.
Firefox users will also see the QP icons flash in address bar and tabbed view.
1.1.8 IM tab. IM is now placed under a tab (beside the new Patron Chat tab) rather than behind a link at the top of the monitor. The pop-up IM alert has been changed enough that it cannot be confused with a new-patron alert. Another improvement is the inability, now, to accidentally IM yourself!
1.1.9 Transfer IM message retention. Instant Messages between librarians engaged in transferring sessions will be posted in the chat history visible to the librarians as a Librarian Note. The transcripts visible in the QuestionPoint Ask module will also contain these IM chats as Notes.
The “Notes” will NOT be visible to patrons in their chat history or in emailed versions of the transcript.
1.1.10 Librarians tab. You can sort the list of librarians and this sorted list will be persistent until resorted; it will not change when the screen refreshes. Also be aware that you can no longer begin an IM session with this tab open: IM sessions can only be initiated from the IM tab (see 1.1.8) or at the start of a transfer.
1.1.11 Drawers instead of tabs. The patron information area is organized now into “drawers” (see illustration below). Info, Scripts, URLs, and Notes no longer appear as tabs; this maximizes screen real estate and improves usability.
1.1.12 Drawers instead of boxes! Resolution Codes, Description Codes, Send Librarian Note, and Send Patron Note are all also organized as drawers. And, since assigning a resolution code is of paramount importance for cooperative groups, we have made it hard to miss!
1.1.13 Error notifications. You may notice new error messages under certain, infrequent circumstances:
· Chat monitor loading errors: if the chat monitor load sequence fails, you will receive an alert. Follow the “Reload Chat Monitor” instructions in the window, and the sequence will begin again. This guards against incomplete monitor loads in which only a portion of the screen loaded and then perhaps froze.
· Connection losses: should you lose your connection to the chat server for some reason, you will receive an immediate and unmistakable pop-up box informing you of the dropped connection. The window will appear until the connection reestablishes automatically; you don’t need to close out or refresh, and when you are reconnected you can retrieve your existing patrons.
· Dublicate logins: in the case of an accidental duplicate login, the instruction dialog box will outline the steps to follow. You will need to close the chat window, exit QuestionPoint, and relog in. You will be unable to launch a new chat monitor without first exiting QP.
1.1.14 We believe you will experience noticeably improved response time with this interface, including the immediate echo of your messages to patrons in the transcript area.
1.1.15 The new interface enables you to resize the frames of the monitor for your convenience. In the illustration below, the “handles” for resizing are circled in red. The second illustration shows the transcript window greatly enlarged, so the librarian doesn’t need to do so much scrolling during a long session.
1.1.16 Finally, the scroll bar remains “parked” if you need to change tabs or open another drawer. In the old version, you often needed to rescroll to the part of the page you were reading if you clicked on another tab. The monitor now holds your selected position for you.
1.2 Send Message to Librarian
When a question or chat session transcript has been referred to more than one library, it is not always easy to discern who the message will go to if you click on the Send Message to Librarian link. This is especially true in situations where one library picked up a chat session for another, then referred it to a Shared Follow-up folder, from which a third library claims it and forwards on to yet another library! If the last librarian needs clarification, to whom will the message go?
No more guessing. The TO: line of the e-mail is now displayed, complete with address. When you click on Send Message to Librarian, you’ll see who the message will go to.
1.3 Forms Manager Enhanced and Now Available for Chat
Administrators: The third phase of the QuestionPoint Forms Manager is now available: Chat web forms. QuestionPoint can now host all patron intake forms for your library’s QuestionPoint service, chat as well as e-mail.
1.3.1 New chat form manager
Chat forms for every queue in the group can be individually configured by the BME administrator. The BME admin picks the default languages, colors, information fields, and “chat closed” messaging and links. Thereafter, if desired, institution administrators in the group can further individualize colors, branding, and the message users see when the chat service is not available for their institution. Thus the forms can have the local look and feel, matching different website presences, while collecting all the information needed at the group administration level.
Note: 24/7 Coop members can only create chat forms for their Queues in English, due to the nature of the cooperative chat service. Those whose libraries also participate in the Spanish language chat cooperative, will not build chat forms for that particular service, as the “Spanish Queue” is managed by OCLC directly.
1.3.2 Modifications and corrections to phase 2, email form manager:
Several modifications were made to the institution level email web form manager.
Institution administrators can create a basic email web form with Name, email and Question, in as little as three steps if desired. For those needing greater customization, instructions are now clearer, and more tailored to each type of configurable field. Drop down menu fields now can be configured with as many as 30 values, and the values of all types of dropdown fields can be “ordered” however desired.
Language options for Chat forms have been separated out from those on the email web form, allowing institutions to offer email forms in whatever languages they wish to support, regardless of any language restrictions in their live chat service.
Border images, banner colors and additional links can also be different for email forms than they are for chat forms.
The advantages in having QuestionPoint host forms that you can manage yourself are:
· The Forms Manager is easy to use; using it reduces the need for IT staff involvement in your forms.
· Your institution or group can customize your forms.
· Your form can be provided in multiple languages (Exception: 24/7 Coop members can create only English-language chat forms.)
· The option supports improved access to data about reference transactions.
· The option provides improved protection against spam.
Complete instructions for forms set-up will be available in Administration module Help, as well as at http://questionpoint.org/support/documentation/gettingstarted/index.html . A walk-through tutorial is also available at this site.
For group administrators, forms management is accessible at Administration >> Subscription Group >> Chat Forms Manager. For institution administrators, management of both e-mail and chat forms is available at Administration >> Institution >> Forms >> Forms Manager.
Once you build new forms using the forms manager, decide when the best time to deploy them will be, depending upon whether you use information from Form Field Reviews (Ask >> Transcript Reviews >> Form Fields). The new forms will no doubt use different field ID labels, (This is unavoidable due to its automated nature. We cannot tell what field IDs your current forms may be using, because there are too many variations on the currently used forms out there!) If you switch to a new form in mid month, or quarter, it will be harder to get consistent data from the downloaded Form Field Reports, so we recommend building the form at your leisure, and then picking a date certain for switching the links on your website.
Although having QuestionPoint staff manage your chat forms for you remains an option at this time, administrators are encouraged to experiment with building their own forms.
2.1 Reports: Response Time, Session Length
Within the Chat section of activity reports (My QuestionPoint/Reports/Institution or Group), line items for Avg. Response Time, Greatest Response Time, and Avg. Session Length are being discontinued. These values, originally developed for one-on-one chat services, are calculated in a way that is not really applicable in the cooperative setting. Since both session length and response time are values that can be reviewed, reported on, and averaged through the Ask/Review Transcripts feature (both online and offline), they are no longer necessary for activity reporting.
2.2 Qwidget Chat-Not-Available Message Discontinued
Libraries are increasingly mounting the QuestionPoint widget (the Qwidget) on their websites on multiple pages. However, since Qwidget requests are routed only to the local level (i.e., an institution’s primary queue), they are rarely picked up around the clock. Heretofore, when the software detected a Qwidget request but no one was monitoring the primary queue, the message “Chat Not Available” automatically appeared as pictured below.
But libraries often want to direct their patrons to their chat form, which may well be monitored 24/7, so they can add instructions in the Qwidget message area to that effect. Libraries have reported that when patrons see “Chat Not Available,” they either read no further or are confused by conflicting instructions telling them to go to the chat form.
The automatic “Chat Not Available” message is therefore discontinued. If you have not done so already, QuestionPoint administrators offering the Qwidget will need to ensure they provide their own “closed” message at Administration/Institution/Forms Manager/Qwidget (Preview) Configuration, in the “Offline Message” box type the message you want to appear to your patrons when no one is monitoring the Qwidget. To see examples of closed messages, please visit our Qwidget tips page at http://wiki.questionpoint.org/Qwidget+Tips.
2.3 Virtual Groups Automatic Submittal to GKB Discontinued
Institutions from disparate BMEs (groups) can form their own groups for the purposes of referring questions to one another and to cover for one another during closed. Some early QuestionPoint subscribers can even form their own chat coverage groups. While these options are still available, the automatic submittal of Closed transactions that were routed via this mechanism to the Global Knowledge Base is discontinued with this install.
Automatic submittal of Closed transactions routed through the Global Reference Network does continue.
2.4 Additional Descriptive Codes
Two new descriptive codes have been added to the drop-down menu available in the chat monitor, upon closing sessions, and from the Ask/Full Question/Question Descriptive Codes page. They are Citation and No email. As always, these codes can be used in whatever manner is consistent with local practice. 24/7 Cooperative members are cautioned to not assign descriptive codes to sessions they have handled for other libraries.
3.1 Qwidget Report Label
Reports on Qwidget activity are now correctly labeled Requested.