Inside Brightspot: Why We Auto-Populate Headline and Image Fields

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Each week, our Vice President of Product shares an email with the company that’s filled with the background story on why Brightspot’s features are the way they are. It’s not just how Brightspot works but why its features were engineered the way they were. Not one to keep secrets, we’re sharing her insights with you here, in a weekly column called “The Whys.” From creating vanity URLs to knowing the difference between a document and an attachment, these posts answer the questions anyone who publishes digital content has likely pondered.

Most, if not all, Brightspot content types (Article, Gallery, Blog Post, etc.) were created with a standard set of fields:

Main Tab

  • Headline
  • Subheadline
  • Lead (Shared > Image)

Overrides Tab

  • Promo Title
  • Promo Description
  • Promo Image
  • Share Title
  • Share Description
  • Share Image

SEO Tab

  • SEO Title
  • SEO Description

These fields come with built-in inheritance, and what I mean by that is, without doing anything "extra," an editor gets these fields populated "for free" (and by for free I mean, with no extra work aside from writing a headline, sub-headline and adding an image— i.e., the work an editor must do anyway to create an article).

The Inheritance works like this:

  • Headline >>> populates Promo Title, Share Title, SEO Title
  • Sub-Headline >>> populates Promo Description, Share Description, SEO Description
  • Lead Shared Image >>> populates the Promo Image, Share Image

Let's make sure we're all on the same page about what these fields are for:

  • Main Tab Fields: These are the on-page display words that are associated with the asset.
  • Promo Fields: These are the words that will be used to "promote" this asset around the site (in things like dynamic list modules and search results).
  • Share Fields: These are the words that will be used to describe this asset when it is "shared"—for example, when a front-end user emails an asset to a friend, these are the words that will be included in that email (or tweet or Facebook post, etc.).
  • SEO Fields: This one should be self-explanatory. These are the words that will grease the SEO gears and help users find their way to this content.

So, that brings us to the whole point of this update—why did we include this functionality in Brightspot?

1. Editors are busy. Having to craft custom text for each of those placements is time-consuming. Also, sometimes people forget, and these inheritance methods act as a fail-safe. We did this because we wanted to save editors time.

2. Editors also want control. This method allows easy customization of the Promo Field language, the Share language and SEO language. Those things can all be exactly the same or they can be completely different from each other. As you know, many editorial teams want to use different language for different audiences. A Facebook user will engage with a social post in a different way than a visitor who has navigated to your site. We did this because it supports editorial flexibility, and built-in flexibility makes editors happy.

3. Editors aren't developers. Editors don't know they want this feature until they realize that they don't have it. We did this because we believed it would save time.

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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