JULY 18, 2018
More functionality, new look, and persistent access
The Announcements feature has had a major overhaul in functionality and appearance. You now have much more flexibility to control how, where, and when announcements are seen. Here are a few examples: 1) prioritize announcements as mandatory, high, or normal; 2) set them to open in their own pop-up tied to a TMS page, and 3) expire them or completely remove them on set dates from the newly renamed Message Center. In addition, changes have been made to how announcements look and how users access them. More on these changes later.
New fields have been added to support the expanded functionality. These fields are shown below.
First, you can set the Priority of an announcement to ensure the most important announcements are evident and easily accessible. The Priority controls when the Message Center opens, how announcements are sorted on the Message center, and whether the end user can mark the announcements as read (see End User Experience). There are three Priority Levels (default is Normal):
- Mandatory – Use for necessary announcements such as calls to action or other critical items
- High – Use for important announcements such as upcoming event items
- Normal – Use for informational announcements such as best practice items.
Mandatory announcements cause the Message Center to open automatically at login, cannot be marked Read, and stay on the Message Center until they expire.
Second, you can set the dates when announcements move to the Previous Messages page and when they are removed entirely. The Expires Date is the date you want an announcement to move from the Message Center page to the Previous Messages page because it is no longer relevant, but you still want your users to see it. The new field, Remove Date, is the date you want the announcement removed entirely. The announcement will no longer be available to your users unless you edit the announcement and change the date.
Finally, you have two new options at the bottom. The Show this message in own pop-up checkbox will make the announcement show up in its own dialog, not in the Message Center. It is explained below in the Targeted Announcements section. The Show automatically at login checkbox will make the Message Center open at login even if there are no mandatory announcements present. That is a great way to get your users’ attention for a message that is time sensitive but does not need to be mandatory.
The Show this message in own pop-up is new functionality that you can use to target an announcement to where it is needed the most in the TMS. This is done by checking Show this message in own pop-up on an announcement and entering the specific TMS page in the Attach to Page field. This will cause the announcement to open in its own dialog only when the user navigates to that page.
This gives you the ability to put information in front of your users exactly when they need it. Use cases could include new process reminders regarding a specific page for your administrators and Welcome pages for clubs/subscriptions for your students.
New Filters and Output Options on Find Announcements
To help you find announcements based on the new fields, several new filter and output options have been added and two filters/output options have had their labels changed to match field names:
- Filters and output option columns
- Attach to Page
- Remove Date
- Show automatically on login
- Show this message in own pop-up
- Role (choose) filter for availability based on role
- Label changes
- Announcement Start is now Starts Date
- Announcement End is now Expires Date
End User Experience – Message Center
For your users, the overall appearance and accessibility of the Message Center has changed to be more intuitive and helpful. When announcements are available in the Message Center, an envelope icon appears next to the user’s name. A number will appear on the icon representing the number of mandatory or unread announcements available.
The Message Center opens when the user signs in if there are mandatory announcements or ones marked to open automatically on login. The user will see the new Message Center title as well as these changes:
- A new link above the announcements to the Previous Messages page.
- Mandatory messages at the top. The Start Date is next to the bolded title for every announcement.
- A Check to mark all as read checkbox for high and normal priority announcements Read. Alternately, they can mark individual announcements as Read using the checkbox next to the announcement. Read announcements move to the Previous Messages page when the Message Center closed.
- A more… link is visible when an announcement has a URL or HTML Content associated with it or the summary is too long. This link opens the information in a new dialog.
- A scroll bar on the right side when there are too many announcements for the size of the Message Center window.
When the user clicks the Previous Messages link, the Previous Messages page opens containing all announcements that meet any of the following criteria:
- Marked Read (and the Message Center closed)
- Older than 14 days (for High and Normal messages)
- Have expired
Announcements are sorted in the same way they are on the Message Center. Those announcements that have been marked Read can be unchecked to mark them as Unread, which moves them back to the Message Center. Announcements that have expired will be tagged as such. All other announcements are those that are older than 14 days. Like the Message Center, there is a scrollbar on the right when needed and a link at the top to navigate to the other page. Those announcements that have a URL, or HTML Content or whose summary is too long still have the more… link.
End User Experience – Own pop-up
Announcements set to open in their own pop-up will do so every time the user navigates to the attached page.
- The announcement title is at the top of the pop-up and there is only one announcement per pop-up
- The HTML Content is the body of the pop-up with a scroll bar at the right when needed
The user can mark the announcement as read by checking the “Do not show this message again” box. This moves it to the Previous Message page for future access until it is removed. Like other announcements that can be marked Read, the user can also mark these announcements as Unread. This will cause them to open again the next time the user navigates to the associated page.
Help Center Article
Check out our Help Center for assistance with creating announcements.