Archive | January, 2013

Introducing Workspace Summaries (and wiki page previews)

15 Jan

People use workspaces in many different ways–to manage projects, as an intranet, as a knowledgebase–and in each case, someone who wanted to develop a full understanding of what was happening on the workspace needed to look in a couple of different places.

The FrontPage, which is the default place to start, offers a great place to post messages and high-level information, but requires someone to keep it up to date.  Files provides a high-level view of all the uploaded files and wiki pages, but is a largely static picture.  Perhaps the most universal starting point is the Activity stream, but a stark list of recent changes doesn’t offer leaders and managers a way to provide context for all those actions.

That’s why we’ve created the Workspace Summary for our business products, which combines these different points of view into a single sweeping summary view of a workspace.  The Workspace Summary is a new initial screen for each workspace that includes the following:

  • Branding banner: A customizable graphic that runs the width of the screen, which you can use for branding and visual appeal
  • Workspace title and description: These used to appear only in settings, and on the Workspaces tab of your network; now they appear on the summary to provide the high-level description of your workspace
  • Links: You can specify key URLs, either to link to important parts of the workspace or to the external web
  • Recent activity: We’ve broken down your recent activity to recent uploads (file activity), recent pages and edits (wiki activity), and recent comments (comments on both files and pages).  And unlike the activity stream, this recent activity is graphical, taking advantage of the Gallery view of files that we recently developed
  • Workspace users: List key users like admins or guests, or simply provide the workspace roster on the initial screen

In addition to these features, you can also choose to include your existing FrontPage and/or Sidebar, so you can continue to leverage the content you’ve already developed.  The FrontPage is included by default, while the Sidebar is not.

The Workspace Summary is configurable, which means you can pick-and-choose which elements to show or hide on a workspace by workspace basis.  For example, the recent uploads section is probably essential for an asset repository, but the workspace users column is not.

If you’re an avid PBworks user, Workspace Summaries will let you make your workspaces even more valuable, especially for members of your team who need to come up to speed quickly.

If your team hasn’t yet adopted PBworks as an integral part of their workflow, Workspace Summaries are a great reason to re-introduce them to your network, they will help individual team members engage with the product.

If you’re using our freemium business product, you don’t have to do a thing; the summaries will just magically appear.  Because your existing wiki FrontPage will be configured to appear as part of the summary, you’ll still be able to see all the same information, plus all the new summary enhancements.  And if you want to configure a summary, just go to Settings > Advanced > Summary Tab.

If you’re one of our paying customers, you’ll be able to activate it for any of your workspaces from Settings > Advanced > Summary Tab.  If you decide that you want to turn them on for all your workspaces, contact our Support team or your account manager, and we’ll turn in on by default (you’ll still be able to toggle Summaries off on a workspace-by-workspace basis).

We’ve also released two other enhancements.

First, we’ve added wiki page previews to the Gallery View, folder contents plugin, and the “recent pages and edits” section of Workspace Summaries.  You’ve been able to see a preview of the files in those views; now you can also see a preview of any wiki pages in those files.  And of course, clicking on them will take you to the full page.

We’ve also improved the Workspaces list in User Profiles.  The old list let you see which workspaces a user had joined.  The new list incorporates the Workspace Cards we developed for the main Workspaces tab.  These cards, which appear upon mouseover, provide a quick overview of the workspace, along with a list of possible actions.

Thanks again for being a PBworks user!