Inside Brightspot: The Environment Ribbon and Broadcast Message

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Let's talk about the environment ribbon. Not sure what that is? If you look in the upper right corner of the CMS header, you'll see a diagonal strip with some text in it. It probably says QA or Production or UAT or UAT DAM 1 or Sandbox or POC, or something like that. It’s something you can configure in Sites & Settings > Global > Environment.

The Environment Ribbon

This ribbon is important for a very simple reason: It's a visual indication to Brightspot users where they are working.

Take, for example, a project that's currently in development and a month out from launch. Developers, product managers and QA engineers have a host of environments they're switching between: their locals, development, QA, UAT and usually pre-production. It’s also likely that clients are even working in UAT and pre-production at this point. The environment ribbon is there to serve as a reminder to users where they are publishing—because nobody wants to test a bug fix on UAT when they were supposed to be testing it in QA, just like nobody wants to publish a bunch of content for launch in UAT instead of pre-production. (Sure, you also get this from the URL, but who pays attention to that?)

The Broadcast Message

While we're on the topic of small but extremely useful features, let's talk about the CMS broadcast message.

Also located in Sites & Settings > Global > under "Broadcast," this lets you publish a message globally, meaning it displays at the very top of the CMS, above search, across all sites, across all pages and assets. You can also set it to Global, meaning only users who are working in Global will see it. In addition, you can go into an individual site and set a site-specific Broadcast Message. Last but not least, you can set an expiration date and time on any Broadcast Message.

The Broadcast Message

Why is this useful? Consider its impact in the following scenarios:

  • Global: There's an install happening today at 2:00 p.m., and the CMS may be impacted for a short period, so editors shouldn't use it. Use a Broadcast Message to let them know. Even better, set your message to expire at 2:15 p.m. so you don't have to manually turn it off.
  • Global Only: Users keep accidentally working in Global, which means content permalinks aren't getting set properly. Publish a Broadcast Message in Global that warns users, "Hey, you're working in Global, you sure you want to be here?"
  • Site Specific: You're working on a multi-site project, and the editors of the Food site need to UAT some content. Use a Broadcast Message to remind them of their deliverables.

I think you get it. It’s a small but important communication tool that reduces errors, helps CMS users save time and makes everyone more efficient.

About the Author
Meredith Rodkey is VP of Platform Product Management & Solutions at Perfect Sense. She has focused on product management for nearly 10 years, contributing to major Brightspot engagements from U.S. News & World Report to Source Media and Healthgrades. In her previous life, Meredith worked as a homepage editor and writer for AOL.com, curating a daily experience for millions of users.
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