New Formats for Balloting Components

Workspace Publishing is out and the response has been very positive -- thank you for that! However, we’re not ones to rest on our laurels.  Our development team is now hard at work on improving and enhancing the ballot functionality of Workspace. Some features we’re working on are:

  •     Ballot templates - reusable ballot configurations
  •     Downloadable ballot results
  •     Secret ballots
  •     Improved ballot archives
  •     Email improvements
  •     Improved results display
  •     Easier voting

The last two features involve some evolutionary changes to our ballots interface. Since this is such an important area for our customers and we've gotten great feedback from you when we ask you for your input to proposed changes, we’d like to again solicit your feedback!

The screenshots attached below are mock-ups of the ballots list view and ballot details view. (You'll have to either use the 'quick view' or download the attachments yourself in order to view them right now - we'll embed them into this post as soon as we're able to do so.)  They are not exacting in how the final design will be delivered, but do accurately display some functional and information display changes.

We anticipate rolling out these changes early in Q1 of 2011. Please feel free to ask questions or make comments about the design below!   

There are a few changes that need some elaboration on the Ballot Details View attachment:

III.C Ballot navigation - these arrows will move the user between the next and previous ballots based on the list view. When moving the mouse over the links a drop down of the next or previous 5 ballots will also be displayed. This will enable the user to quickly move between ballots. We think this will be useful for voting on large numbers of ballots as well as reviewing the results of recently closed ballots.

III.E Vote button - We moved it! This button will change based on users eligibility and ballot status.

III.J Ballot results details - The voting section will now include current ballot results as well as indicating how and when you or your company voted. Of course these are all based on the ballot results sharing settings.

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  • Avatar
    Donna Cohn

    The new changes look great.  One isse we see alot that I don't see addressed is "crossover" of ballots between groups.  Are there any plans to add the ability to share ballots among groups (we have several who work together on some projects and being able to share a ballot would be much more efficient than having to generate duplicate ballots for each group).

    Thanks for all your great work.

  • Avatar
    The Green Grid Administrator

    Looks good! We had a couple of small comments though. Can you please still include the number of comments made in the voting results in the list view and I'm not sure it is necessary to have "Official" and "Approval" in their own different colored bubbles.

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    NISO Staff

    Overall it looks like a nice interface. I've attached a document with some detailed comments and questions.


    Cynthia Hodgson


  • Avatar
    Kavi Product Management

    Thanks all for your comments. Let me first state that we have not removed the comment count from the ballot list view, it was just left off of the compositions.

    There was a lot of concerns based on these preliminary compositions, which we have already addressed. I will upload new screenshots from our current UI on Friday.

    Donna - We didn't add the ability to create cross group ballots. The engineering challenges around managing permissions and rights across groups are great. I have not previously heard a lot of interest in cross group ballots. Is this something that organizations desperately need?

    Cynthia, as always thank you for your thoughtful and thorough questions and observations. I've included responses enumerated to match your points.

    Ballot list view -

    1. Org primary/secondary indicator (I.B.) – The text on the design composition is not accurate. It should refer to company primary and alternate voter. We have many organizations that utilize the one vote per company model. By providing information in the list view that either an alternate has voted or the primary voter has voted, the voter can quickly decide whether they need to vote on an open ballot or not. Previously they would have to go to the ballot details and then look at the vote details table to see if someone else from there company had voted or not. If the ballot was configured to not show results until the ballot closed, then the user wound not know whether their company had voted or not. Now they will know on the list view as well as the details page.

    2. Ballot types (I.C.) –Honestly, the official flag did nothing. You couldn't search or sort on it and it had no business logic associated with it. The comp shows an official bubble, but we've decided not to use it. We decided that since the official flag did not affect the ballots in any way that now highlighting ballots as official we might cause issues for customers that had inadvertently set the flag. What we are doing is proving an official ballot filter. By selecting this option you'll see just official ballots.

      The new ballot templates can be named, but we have not provided filtering capabilities based on ballot templates.

    3. Visual indicator for ballot status (I.D. and I.E) – Voided has been renamed Withdrawn. It is a new status of a ballot. It closes a ballot with a note and marks it as voided, so we preserve the record, but also indicate that no decisions were made based on the ballot.

      Pass and Failed have also been renamed Passed and Not Passed. This is also new functionality that allows the ballot creator to define the pass percentage for a ballot. It will only be available for dichotomous (yes/no) types of ballots. If the creator sets the Yes percentage as 67% then that becomes the criteria for a ballot being passed. If no value is set, then no Pass/Not Pass determination will be made. In other words, it's optional. We will continue to highlight (bold) the option the received the most votes.

    4. Comments – Just an oversight. We have not removed the comment count from any view. In fact we added the count to email close messages and the main section of the ballot details page.

    Ballot details

    1. Ballot navigation (III.C) – Based on your feedback and others we are rethinking this design. We will continue to provide navigation to move easily between ballots.

      We show 5 previous and next ballots. The ballots displayed in the navigation are based on your list view. If you were looking at the all open ballots list sorted by close date and clicked on a ballot then your previous and next ballots would all be open ballots. The we would be organized based on closed date. The navigation also supports the filter settings. Again if you filter by Project or Date, then your navigation list will reflect those settings.

    2. Ballot Actions (III.D.) – The ballot actions are based on user permissions. The complete list is, manage ballot, amend ballot, close ballot, withdraw ballot, delete ballot, edit eligible voters, edit votes, download results, view email archive, create ballot archive.

    3. Ballot Title Bar (III.E.) – Good idea, we're adding a second vote button further down the page. We're not showing the official designator anymore.

    4. Ballot Instructions (III.F and III.G) – We currently have global ballot instructions, which are always displayed on a ballot. Your organization may not be using it.

      Since some organizations have very long ballot instructions as well as descriptions, we are giving them a lot of room, but truncating them at a fixed length. Fortunately, a user can easily and quickly display the full content with one click and no page reload.

    5. Ballot Description (III.H) – As I mentioned above, description will be truncated but easily expandable. We also modified the link to expand the content to be much clearer.

    6. Ballot Closing Date (III.I) – We are looking out at how we might make this more readable. I'm interested in hearing from others as to whether the white on red is attention grabbing or not.

    7. Ballot Details Vote Column (III.J) – Unfortunately, the users vote indicator is not shown in the composition. You'll see  your vote or your company's vote next to the option selected as well as a timestamp.

      We'll take a look at adding column headings, but I think they might be unnecessary.

      The ballot options are grayed out when the ballot closes or you are ineligible.

    8. Related Projects (III.L) – Projects are related when creating the ballot. They can also be related when editing the ballot. This allows individuals contributors to identify items as being part of a project. It's existing functionality.

    9. Remaining Collapsed Categories – The collapsed categories displays are effectively the same, but we've made improvements around votes and comments. The voting details table is now sorted first by vote then my user or company. The comments section now includes the vote  of the commenter and the same sort as vote details.


    1. We have not changed the fact that the primary voter is listed as the person which has not yet voted. However, I think the other visual changes make it clear to a user that they can vote.

    2. We have not changed the comment permissions for multiple choice ballots; however, your comment is causing us to rethink our commenting permissions.

    3. We've done a lot of work with Interest Categories. First, you can turn them on/off per group. Next we provided the ability to set user interest category when their vote is edited (aka Proxy Vote). Users can still change their interest category on an individual ballot if that setting has been turned on in the groups configuration.

  • Avatar
    Kavi Product Management

    One of the significant improvements we've made with this release is aggregate ballot notifications. If you're in a group or more than one group that has several ballots opening at once, we'll now just send you just one email notification with all the ballot details. This is going to cut down significantly on email volume, but it also means we had to change the subject line of the ballot notification. Please take a look at this screenshot of an aggregated reminder ballot email notice. The text between the square brackets [] is the org name.



    We would also like to remove the phrase "Groups -" from all email subject lines. It's unnecessary information, but this change may affect users mail filters and rules.

  • Avatar
    Kavi Product Management

    Our compositional screenshots have now become part of the application UI. These three screenshots show current UI for ballots development work as well as some features. We plan on stopping UI changes in a few weeks, so if you have comments please submit them as soon as possible.

    Ballot List View

     This screen shot shows the official ballot filter, new UI for ballot status, comment count per ballot. Not shown is the Primary/Alternate voter indicator.


    Ballot Details Navigation & Approval Ballot

    This shows the navigation for moving quickly between ballots.

    Documents up for approval also have an action menu. Clicking on the document name now downloads the document, just like everywhere else in Workspace.


    Ballot Details

    Shows ballot instructions, which are truncated. Clicking on "read more" smoothly expands out the instructions without reloading the page. This keeps the interface manageable, but also allows for long instructions or descriptions.

    Under Ballot Options you can see that there have been two comments made with no votes and that an alternate voter for your company has already voted no.

    Also note that this individual cannot perform management actions on this ballot, so there is no action menu to the left of the Ballot Details.


  • Avatar
    The Green Grid Administrator

    Just to clarify - will the option still be available to show a detailed list of voters and their votes?

  • Avatar
    Kavi Product Management

    Yes of course. The detailed list of voters has been retained an enhanced. We now sort by vote, then voter. We've also improved the comment display.


  • Avatar
    Peter Symes

    Looking good and, as always, great comments from Cynthia.  I'm not sure that I agree with her that alphabetical listing of ballots is a good idea . . . I know mine would be a complete mess if organized that way!

    I'm also not sure how I feel about aggregated ballot notifications, or how that would work.  Does that mean "ballot opening" emails would be sent once per day?  (Potentially adds a day to ballot cycles if voters are not notified until after midnight.)

    I think many of the questions and uncertainties would be resolved if we could see the full set of options available in defining a ballot (or a template) . . . or have I missed something?

    In case it got missed . . . PLEASE (at least the option to) default the comment display to ALL comments, not just voter comments!

    Keep up the good work

    Thanks, peter

  • Avatar
    Peter Symes

    By the way -- I think "Approval" is a special case of "Official" and would advocate keeping both choices (but not displaying two "tags")



  • Avatar
    Kavi Product Management

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your feedback. 

    We're reworking the ballot quick navigation. The rework has the ballot list organized by close date, with the soonest first.

    The aggregated email notifications go out every 30 minutes, just like the current notifications. If you have a ballot that opens 15 minutes after the hour and one that opens 30 minutes after, then you'll get one message containing both ballots. So, there is no delay in notification, just fewer of them.

    We'll post up a knowledge base article with all the specific settings for a ballot template, but you can assume that if it's a ballot setting, then it's part of the template. For example, Ballot Question are not part of the template, but ballot options are part of the template. 

    We were going to address the non-voter comment display during the comment tracker development, but I'll try to squeeze it in during this release.

    We're not going to display the "Official" tag, but you will be able to filter by it.


    Greg Schramm 

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