Inside Brightspot: Increasing speed and efficiency with the Workstreams Widget

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.

Before discussing the Workstreams Widget, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to widgets, in general. In Brightspot, we define widgets as “modules that provide some kind of functionality that gives a publisher control over certain actions.” Dashboard widgets, for example, are widgets that allow an admin user to choose which widgets are displayed on the dashboard. Right rail widgets also fall into this category because an admin can determine if and where they display. On the contrary, the Search box in the header does not qualify as a widget because it doesn’t meet the prerequisites I outlined (there’s no admin capability to show or hide the header search box).

The primary use case behind the Workstreams Widget has always been this: We have a lot of publishing to get done, and it would be great if everyone could pitch in at once to get it done. That means allowing multiple publishers to collaborate without ever seeing the same asset (and potentially overwriting someone else's changes or wasting time on an asset someone else already fixed). As is the case with many other features, we created this widget to support one of the primary goals of Brightspot: to save our users time.

Now that you know the purpose of the Workstreams Widget, how do you actually start a workstream? It’s simple. Like many things in Brightspot, it starts with a search.

In Search, let’s say you filter by the “Gallery” content type and the “Brand Storytelling” tag because you know that all of those Brand Storytelling galleries need to have new lead images added to them. Or, in another use case, you might filter for the “Article” content type and the “Is Missing” tag—meaning, you’re asking search to show you all articles that are missing tags.

From that results screen, you can click "New Workstream" to open the workstream dialogue, which lets you name the workstream, write instructions and assign users to it. At that point, your workstream then appears on the Workstreams Widget on the CMS dashboard.

It will display some additional information about your workstream, including:

  • A count of who is working on the workstream, plus a tally of how many items in the workstream each user has published, as well as which asset in the workstream each user is currently working on.
  • A place where you can update the workstream name, clarify instructions for the task and assign more people to it, or delete the whole thing if you're done with it.
  • Workstream count progress (i.e., 2 of 20 complete).
  • Continue or Start buttons, which allow you to “enter” the workstream and begin or continue the task.

Now let's talk about what happens once you’re in the workstream. You'll see a new UI of workstream controls that show you:

  • A progress indicator that indicates where you are in the context of the overall workstream.
  • Who else is working on the workstream with you and where they are in the process.
  • Workstream instructions and assignees.
  • Actions that let you “Skip” (you’re on an asset and don't know how to fix it) or “Stop” (meaning you will be checked out of the user details).

To wrap up, one thing that’s super cool about the count (highlighted above) is that it updates continually as new items that match your original search are published. To clarify that with an actual use case, let’s stick with our earlier example, where we want to add tags to all of our articles that are missing tags. When we initially created the “articles with missing tags” workstream, let’s pretend that there were 12 articles. When we published all 12 and finished that workstream, the count updated to show 0 of 0 left. Days later, let’s say a publisher comes along and publishes another article without tags. Well, your Workstreams Widget is going to update to indicate 0 of 1 complete—serving as a trigger to remind you that you have another article without tags to go back and address.

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

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