Inside Brightspot: Keep track of who’s publishing what, where & when via the Recent Activity Widget

screenshot of Brightspot CMS UI

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.

What’s new? What’s going on? What’s happening? What have you been up to lately? How about your colleagues?

Any of the questions above could be answered via the widget we’re covering in this post: the Recent Activity Widget. This widget offers a dashboard-level view into all of the publishing activity that’s going on around your site.

Some important things to keep in mind about the Recent Activity Widget:

  • There's a missing inferred word in the name of the widget; think of it as the Recent (Publishing) Activity Widget.
  • If you're working in the global site, you're going to see Recent Activity across all your sites.
  • If you're working in a specific site, you're going to see Recent Activity for just that site.

Let's review six of the ways you can filter the Recent Activity Widget to customize what you're seeing within it.

1. Watching: You can restrict it to just show you content that you’re watching. (We’ll learn more about watching in a future update, but you can read our documentation here.)

2. What: You can restrict the widget to show publishing activity across all content types, or just a single content type, like articles or images.

3. Who: You can restrict it to show publishing activity by just you, by a particular user, or by a certain role.

Recent Activity Widget

4. Where: You can restrict the widget to show publishing activity based on status, which means you can look at already-published content, content in a specific workflow state, or content that’s in any workflow state at all (in archive, in draft, etc.).

5. How Many: You control how many results you see, so you can take the results 10 at a time, 20 at a time, 50 at a time—and you can paginate through the results.

6. Who's Looking: One last thing to mention about the Recent Activity Widget is the display of viewers. If you look at the screenshot above, you'll see two circles in the row that shows the article called "This Legendary Climber Is Still Plotting Routes." This indicates that two users are actively viewing the article right now. On certain customer implementations of Brightspot, the opening and closing of assets can start to get pretty busy, with users opening files up and closing files out. The widget’s visual representation of editorial teams getting their jobs done makes the widget start to look a bit like an ant farm—and it’s a pretty neat thing to see.

Within the widget itself, on each row, you'll see the avatar of the user who took the last action, the content type, the date and time of the last action, as well as the title of the asset—which you can click to go directly to that asset.

Bonus Feature: The Unpublished Drafts Widget

Since we covered Recent Activity, let's also talk about Unpublished Drafts because it’s essentially a distillation of that widget—one that’s focused on exactly what it sounds like: draft content that hasn't been published yet, including content that has been scheduled to publish.

The Unpublished Drafts Widget includes much of the same functionality as the Recent Activity Widget. For example, you can limit to just content you are watching, you can view by workflow status, you can view by content type, and you can view by user or role.

Within the widget itself, you'll see the content type and the status (note that some things are Scheduled in the screenshot below, some things are Drafts, and some are Rejected). And as is the case with the Recent Activity Widget, to make Brightspot users' lives simpler, when working within the Unpublished Drafts Widget, you can click directly from the widget to a given asset, and get right to editing.

Unpublished Drafts

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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