I have recently gone through the exercise of going over every feature request that we have documented over the last 4 years and I am happy to say, this release covers A LOT of them! After spending quite a long time working on stability and accessibility enhancements we are excited to introduce significant enhancements to our Announcements project as well as a series of Group-level permission, including one that can completely alter the way a group looks and feels in Pronto.
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Announcement Feature Enhancements: Group Announcements, Read Receipts, and Contextual Tags
When the Announcements feature was originally conceived, the pain we were solving centered on the need to send organization-wide communication that created a push notification and was more likely to be seen than an email or other bulk message. Over the years, we have found a need for a similar mechanic, but with more precision and a desire for an additional level of accountability. For this release, we have made a slight change to the account-level permission of "managers" to move group-level announcements down to the group owner. Any user with a group owner role will now be able to send Announcements to only groups that they belong to without the need for an organizational manager role. This is particularly meaningful for anyone using one of our Integrated accounts, where Group Owners are provisioned automatically via the integration.
In addition to this, we found a great desire for the sender of the Announcement to have insight into who has seen or not seen, the information rather than a simple widespread send approach. Now, the same great read receipts that you see on every message, can be seen on any announcement that you send.
In addition to the change of permission, and the addition of read receipts, we have made a few other visual enhancements to give context to why the end user is receiving this announcement in the form of context tags.
You'll see there is now a header that states which group(s) the announcement has been sent to, or if it is for the entire organization. Corresponding headers can be found in the announcement list on the left side of the announcement window.
Another request around announcements that came up quite a bit over the years, but was not a definitive enhancement for everyone, was the ability to have announcements that a new user would be able to read, even if the announcement was made before they joined the organization or group. While we did not make this a setting in the announcements function due to customer feedback, it is something that can be accomplished with a brand new group-level permission around more "read-only" groups.
New Group Permission for who can send messages in a group
As we have interviewed hundreds of clients, we have found that there is a time and place for rapid communication as is facilitated in a standard Pronto group, and there is also a place for a stream of messages from a certain few members of the group, usually a group owner or administrator. To accomplish this, we have added a permission that can be found in the Groups Settings section that will determine who can reply or send messages in this group, while everyone will continue to be able to react to the message.
This creates an opportunity for Group Owners to send targeted, important information to just this group that will abide for all new users and long time users alike. Any user can add a reaction to the message, but only group owners will be able to post. We have heard this described as a "read only", "Message Board", or "News Feed" type of group and can be used for announcements, to celebrate achievement, to disseminate important content to large groups of users without creating a lot of "noise" in the app or having things open for comments. If I am a user in such a group, my message actions at the bottom of the group will be replaced by an indicator that I do not have permission to post in that group, but I can still "react" to messages.
To create a "Read Only" group, simply create the group as you would typically do, and then open the group settings and adjust the permission for "Send Messages" to be "Owners Only". Additional Permissions that have been added in addition to "Send Messages" this release to the Group Settings menu include:
Sending Group Announcements