Digital Services' Product Update for May

Jun 2, 2015

NPR Digital Services Monthly Product Update

May has been a busy month here at NPR Digital Services. Here are the highlights of what we’ve been up to. (As always, bug fixes are included at the bottom of this post.)

The Core Publisher team has been putting the final touches on the Persistent Player, which enables your readers and listeners to keep the stream going while cruising around your site. We have it in limited release to shake out any bugs; you can see it live with our brave friends at WVXU and Michigan Radio. We have a few more stations on deck to help us next week too. We expect it to be in general release in the next couple of weeks pending any major bugs. Stay tuned for instructions on how to turn it on. 

103 station sites are using the new responsive design! We continue to move stations to the new responsive design, and we plan to have all stations on the new design by the end of summer. Thank you for your attention and commitment to this change. Hat tip to New Hampshire Public Radio for excellent use of the new homepage layout and blocks.

Coming this summer for Core Publisher: We expect to roll out a series of new homepage blocks including: NPR News, Category, RSS, Program promotion, and one or two more. Stay tuned for more details in our next product update.

On the horizon: we are in the early stages of defining the new event and community calendar features inside Core Publisher, which will replace the Public Events application this fall. A big thanks to WYSO, Spokane Public Radio, KPLU, SDPB, and Delmarva Public Radio for their participation to help scope this work. Plus, we are exploring native Core Publisher API endpoint integrations that would provide ways for stations to develop features for their Core Publisher sites. As always, reach out to Justin Brown, the product manager for Core Publisher, with your thoughts.

The Composer 2 team has done a tremendous job finishing the new playlist widgets and squashing many bugs, which means this application is now feature complete. Going forward, we will not be building any additional features, however we will continue to review issues and address critical defects. We are shifting the team’s focus on developing the new event calendar and improving the APIs for many products. Please let us know if you have any questions.

The NPR One team has launched the donation workflow pilot with station partners KCUR, KQED, and soon WPR. This means that we’re testing various direct-to-form and email-to-form flows, to see which paths drive the most memberships for stations. Expect the results in a couple of months. 

The Digital Marketing Suite team has launched Sage Vault integrations for DS Marketing Forms. This enables many more stations to come on board to the benefits of the responsive pledge forms. 

We have also installed honeypot software to dissuade scammers from trying to use stolen credit cards. Your accounts were never at risk, but this is an added level of security to trap suspicious patterns — like lots of $1 donations from Brazil, for example.

See an example of the DS Marketing Forms on a station site; visit WYSO’s form here.

We are updating security to QuickPledge on June 1, this will change the way admins log into their accounts using two-factor authentication. Read the FAQ here.

Reminder! All QuickPledge stations need to be on our new DS Marketing Forms platform by July 31. Please reach out to Jackie McBride with any questions or to confirm your move.

Are you going to PRNDI? We are too! Steve Mulder will be showcasing some great metrics and insights from our recent PubMetrics 2015 webinar around content and audience behaviors. Eric Athas will be speaking about content in an atomized world. With all the buzz around social platforms hosting content for brands, this is a timely session you don’t want to miss.

Below is a summary of bug fixes that we have made over the last 4 weeks.


Bug Fixes

Core Publisher:  

  • Mobile site redirects - We fixed the way that mobile ( sites were handling redirects on iOS devices. This operation should now occur without any issues for site visitors. 
  • Content importer - The content importer was not processing the XML files to import content into sites. This has been fixed. Station Relations will work with stations to complete any unfinished imports. Rakiesha and Christine will be reaching out to stations waiting.

Composer 2:  

  • Affiliate link song purchase text – The "Buy on" text was showing up within the playlist widget even if stations had disabled their affiliate links. This bug has been fixed and this text will no longer appear unless affiliate links are enabled.
  • Syndicated Program Updates– Programs like Classical 24, Jazzworks, and PubJazz will now reliably populate stations' episodes. We also went back and filled all empty episodes for these programs with playlists that failed to populate.
  • Sharing Playlists – We have fixed the "Share playlist" and "Tweet this" links so that they now link to a playlist that is localized to that specific episode and not to all programs. 
  • Editing playlist start time – An issue that was inhibiting stations' ability to edit the start time of Composer episode playlists has been fixed. The start time can now be set as needed.
  • Blank metadata fields – We have stripped blank metadata fields from the Playlist widget so that the unnecessary fields no longer clutter the widget display. 
  • Erroneous program conflicts – We fixed a bug that was causing stations to see programs conflicting with themselves on the calendar. 
  • Incorrect am/pm indicator – Songs were appearing with the wrong am/pm designation in the playlist search results. This issue has been addressed and songs are now appearing with the proper indicator. 

Station Analytics System:  

  • Account Activation link fixed – The activation email contained a URL that led to a nonexistent page. This URL will now direct new users to the correct page so that they can activate their accounts. 
  • On Demand metrics fixed – We have fixed an issue that was inhibiting On Demand metrics from appearing in stations' dashboards. These metrics are available and now appear as they should within SAS. 

NPR Digital Services SUPPORT 

Please continue to submit tickets about any questions or issues. We ask that you allow 2 business days for us to respond to tickets. If your issue is urgent, please call us at 617-622-5400 during business hours or our ER line at 888-225-3419 for after hours and weekends.