One of the prominent features of Newsroom is alerting users when a notable event is occuring on a publisher’s article. Newsroom has alerts across all dashboards in the app including Overview, Front Page, and Network Insights. The alerts include many different scenarios, providing both positive and negative feedback, including traffic increases/drop offs, instant hits, old articles with new traffic, and several alerts for social media traffic including Facebook and Reddit.
Alerts are displayed within Newsroom:
- Web app: in the activity section and right rail throughout the app.
- TV display: in the activity section and right rail throughout the app.
- Mobile app: in the activity section and as an iOS notification.
User Experience Design
Publishers and users have no way to turn off alerts outside work hours and while on vacation without completely turning off alerts, an impractical solution. Depending on the publisher, their employees could work a consistent weekly schedule and their work schedule could be any time off the day, and differ day-to-day. Not to mention, a work shift could start in one day and end in another day. These were all edge cases we had to design for.
After considering all the use cases, I decided to give the user two paths to set up a their time windows. The first path, and the most simplistic, was for users who had a consistent schedule. Generally speaking, this would be for the 8-5 weekday shifts.
The second path was for the user who had a more complicated schedule, I called this the varied time window. This path covers all the edge cases that the first path couldn't cover. This includes the user who has a inconsistent weekly schedule, a part-time employee, or a user who works "graveyard" shift that runs past midnight into the next day.
An editorial staffer could add alert windows by clicking on the start hour, then clicking on the end hour (it was decided the increments would be one hour for simplification). When a staffer clicks on the start hour, it would turn blue with an arrow pointed forward and would highlight all the hours between the start time and where the position of the cursor is. When the user clicks an end hour in the alert window, the user interaction is complete, with all the hours in the window highlighted. Once the alert window is established, the user can hover over the end hour and a delete button would appear so it is possible to remove alert window(s).
Above the weekly calendar, the weekly alert schedule is displayed in natural language for clarity.
There was one small edge case that we found this design didn't cover well. When a night shift ran from Sunday evening through Monday morning the user would have to click on the first date and then move the cursor a long distance back up to Sunday. As a workaround, the user can just create a window from Sunday evening until midnight, and then create another window Monday morning until the end of the alert window. It's a small amount of additional work for the user but we decided it was an edge case not worth providing a design solution for.
Also included in this feature was vacation mode, this would allow anybody on the editorial staff to set a one-off period of time in the future where alerts will be muted (with considerations to the alert windows). If vacation mode is only one day, then the end day (second select box) is optional.