I. New Features
A. WYSIWYG editor introduced into QuestionPoint
One of the most requested enhancements toQuestionPointis now being gradually introduced into the interface.
1. Librarian Response Screen in Ask module
Previously Librarian responses were sent out to patrons in plain text only. No formatting of any kind was allowed. The Librarian Notes field in Ask was similarly –limited to plain text.
With the introduction of a WYSIWYG editor, you will now be able to format responses and preview them in the Ask module.
- Ordered list
- Unordered list
- Increase Indent
- Decrease Indent
- Font Color
Editor does NOT support
- H1 heading tags
- Block quote or text
- Code format
- Insert of the following
- Anchor tags
- Script tags
Answers will be sent out in “multipart”, meaning that two versions, HTML and plain text, will be included in each email sent. Depending upon how a patron’s email handler is configured, it will display the preferred version to the patron.
B. Librarian Notes field
Librarian Notes field in Ask was similarly constrained to plain text. Now it too has the same WYSIWYG editor, allowing links and formatting to be included.
C. Patron email replies functionality completely redesigned.
Four new features are being introduced in the patron reply workflow.
1. HTML replies
Since we are now able to allow the librarian to send formatted responses to patrons, QuestionPoint –will now be able to accept, edit and display formatted replies sent in by patrons. Up to now, QuestionPoint only allowed patron replies into QuestionPoint if they were sent in plain text. However today more and more users are sending their email replies, in many cases unknowingly, in html, which causes the patron’s email to be rejected, (and frustrates patrons who are not clear on why their replies are not accepted). With the May 18th install, that restriction is now lifted. Patron replies formatted in plain text and/or html will be accepted and displayable in QuestionPoint.
In order to protect the system and the librarian’s computers from nefarious activity (known or unbeknownst to the patron), the QuestionPoint system will strip out certain html elements, such as scripts, executables, etc. from patrons messages. Any hyperlinks will be expanded to show the URL that was hidden in the code, allowing the librarian to decide if/what links - to open on their computers. Embedded images, screenshots, and attachments will still be filtered out from the communications.
2. Parsed reply content
Viewing the patron’s email reply has now been simplified in the Ask module. Up to now, the reply contained not only the patron’s comment but also a repeat of the Question History, original librarian reply, and any other exchanges between the patron and librarian that had been communicated back and forth via email/QuestionPoint exchanges.
Now, when a patron receives an Answer or Clarification request from QuestionPoint, at the top of the message there is an instruction:
When the patron email reply is processed into QuestionPoint it will import all content above that message. Instead of the question history, the new reply will include this statement where old material was deleted:
“--- Previous transcript history deleted ---“
3. Option to “Save as-is” has been added, along with clearly identified buttons.
Previously, you had only two options when a patron reply came into QuestionPoint, Edit or Delete. No further activity could be pursued on the session (such as simply closing it) until either Edit or Delete was selected.
Now that the patron reply has been shortened to remove as much unnecessary repetitious content as possible, there is a new third option available: “Save As-is”. Selecting Save as is - preserves the patron reply as sent, allowing you to then close the question, or send it to the Knowledge Base, without having to take the extra step of viewing an edit screen if you don’t want to edit.
4. Edit Patron replies with WYSIWYG editor
Choose Edit to edit the patron reply for format or content, using the new WYSIWYG editor if desired.
You -can remove blank spaces, unnecessary formatting, or content such as personally identifiable information, and then save the reply, which then becomes part of the permanent QuestionPoint transaction. If you decide to delete the entire message, you can do so by either backing out of the editor, or deleting everything in the window, clicking Save and then clicking Delete from the original view of the patron reply.
D. Introduction of new look and feel in the QuestionPoint librarian workspace
It’s time for new design, and not just a facelift.
Over the next several months as we continue to update the QuestionPoint features, we will be introducing the new look of QuestionPoint. Our goal is to simplify and reinvent the QuestionPoint experience, page by page and module by module. Larger fonts, less repetitive clutter! We have begun with the login screens and the QuestionPoint Home page.
Stay tuned as we progress throughout the QuestionPoint interface!
In August of 2013 we introduced the V4 Qwidget, optimized for mobile devices and ADA compliant.
Thanks to suggestions made by several enthusiastic supporters, we have worked on improving the Qwidget interface to make it easier to use.
We have added the following to the Qwidget code:
- Add TITLE attribute to Qwidget's internal iFrame
- Changes to the CSS file so that custom Qwidget builders are not hampered by local customization
- Alt tags added where missing, for the benefit of screen readers.
B. Mobile devices
Several years ago we introduced the Accessible Chat interface, designed to facilitate the use of regular chat via screen readers by eliminating the Viewport. We recently learned that mobile devices, such as the iPad, were not recognizing this interface and that the traditional chat with viewport screen was being delivered to tablets even if the Accessible Chat link had been clicked. We have fixed that and the chat only interface (no viewport) is now seen when that link is clicked.
III. Insights on patron OS and browser combinations.
Many libraries are interested in knowing how their patrons access the service, and wonder if investing in other technologies would benefit their libraries. Here are the results of some recent research on browser usage patterns of patrons using Chat and email as offered through their libraries via QuestionPoint:
Chat stats during a recent week of activity.
We will continue to monitor these stats and focus our energies on improving the experience for the greatest number of users.