March DS Product Update – Improvements to Core Publisher, Composer 2, NPR One, and StationConnect

Mar 25, 2015

NPR Digital Services Monthly Product Update

Here is a summary of bug fixes and feature enhancements that the Digital Services Team has made over the last 4 weeks.

Core Publisher Updates:  

  • Inefficiency when merging categories or tags – Stations reported excessive wait times and time outs when trying to merge categories or tags. We improved the processing and performance of the merging tool so that stations can now makes changes to categories or tags as needed without the process timing out. This fix should improve efficiency for cleaning up categories and tags.
  • Long headlines extending over river ads - Stations reported that their headlines were extending over ads in the Homepage River on responsive theme sites. The design was creating editorial concerns about how ads appear related to the adjacent story. We made changes to how headlines behave where ads are displayed. Headlines now break into two lines when needed so that ads feel separate and clearly distinct from content. In addition to the vertical line separator to the left of ad blocks from the last update, this change should fully address the editorial concerns shared by stations.

Composer 2 Updates:  

  • Non-syndicated episodes menu – We have removed the “Syndication Options” menu item in the Episode page for episodes that are not part of a syndicated program. We believe this will simplify workflow for adding non-syndicated episodes. 
  • Daylight savings bug fix – We fixed a bug that was causing stations to see newly created episodes appear scheduled at the wrong time. This was related to daylight saving time, which is an issue that we have now successfully error-proofed Composer 2 against for all future time changes.
  • Program details editing issue – Stations were successfully able to upload playlists into a future episode. However, if they later edited the program details page for that program, any future playlists would disappear. This issue has been resolved. Stations can now edit program details without losing any future playlists.
    • Note: The rules for deleting airtimes on programs still apply: If you delete an airtime you will lose any playlist associated with that airtime.
  • Classical 24 playlists map correctly - It had come to our attention that Classical 24 playlists were not seeing the ensemble field populated although Classical 24 had given us this data. The ensemble field is correctly importing into station's playlists upon syndication.
  • End Dates can be deleted from programs - We came across an issue deleting an end date that had been added to an airtime. Stations can now delete an end date and have the program save this change.
  • Priority of programs now saves correctly - We were seeing that when the priority of a program was changed, the update was not saving correctly. Stations can now make a program display on top or below another program.
  • New user validation - Before, when stations were creating users, there was no validation. This allowed users to be created with usernames and email addresses. Now when creating a new user, usernames and email addresses will be validated against previously created users.
  • Overnight program display - Program names of shows that run overnight across the midnight hour were being dropped from the display. This has been fixed. Programs will display when airing over the midnight hour.
  • Remembering you stream - The last stream that was accessed by users with access to multiple streams will now be remembered to simplify and improve user experience. 
  • Improved user searching - We have added the ability to search for users by the stream or streams that they are able to access. This was done to improve functionality and simplify workflow. 

NPR One Mobile App Updates:

  • Improved feature cards – To help improve app performance and add flexibility in managing experiences within the flow, the team developed feature cards that can be used as promo cards, donation cards, and information cards. Feature cards work within a framework for delivering non-story cards more dynamically. Since they are part of our system rather than run through the ad network like Xapp, we can be smarter about when and where we place these elements.
    • Watch a quick video illustrating a promo card in action: 
    • Visual of a static informational card: http://bit.ly/1FK7mgv
  • Coming soon: Tap to Donation Form Pilot – The Digital Engagement Council in partnership with select stations will be A/B testing the email-to-form and tap-to-form workflows in April and May. Users affiliated with participating stations will be served either the form or email-based workflow. All other users will still see the email-to-form workflow. We will be measuring results both in how many users initiate the process and how many users become members. Once we get to that point, we’ll work toward expanding the tap-to-form donation process to all stations with full transparency about what, if any, changes in NPR One pledge performance they should expect.

StationConnect Updates:  

  • Viewing your station’s published stories – Stations can view and listen to the last 50 stories they’ve published to NPR One. This option appears as a “Stories” tab on the Station Edit page in StationConnect. Soon you will also be able to set the expiration date for your stories.
  • NPR One Pledge URL - Stations can provide an NPR One specific Pledge URL that will be used in the NPR One app. These fields appear in the Station Edit page in StationConnect. Any NPR One eligible station can start using this field. Stations who input a URL in the NPR One Pledge URL field in StationConnect will start seeing that form used in their emails the next day. If they don’t input a field, we’ll default back to the regular Donation URL field. The original Pledge URL in StationConnect is still used for other NPR products, i.e. NPR.org
  • Station podcast logo - Stations can now add a logo for their podcasts, so that custom branding can appear on NPR’s podcast directory. Logos must be 3000 x 3000 .png files.
  • Podcast iTunes Category - The Podcast “Topic” option has been replaced by iTunes category options in StationConnect. Stations with older podcasts won’t need to update anything, but any new podcasts can be assigned an iTunes category in the StationConnect Podcast edit page.

DS Marketing Forms Updates:  

  • Congratulations to WYSO, KETR, KLCC, KVPR, KVPS, and KUOW on launching their new responsive online donation forms.
  • For QuickPledge users, contact Jackie McBride to confirm your date for moving to the new form if you have not done so already. Email jmcbride@npr.org

NPR Digital Services SUPPORT 

Please continue to submit tickets about any questions or issues you have with Core Publisher, Composer 2, or NPR One. Please allow 2 business days for us to respond and address your questions. If urgent, please call us during business hours.