Inside Brightspot: User stories

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.

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We recently talked about Permissions in 4.0, so now it's time to talk about Users—because, after all, what's a Role without a User attached to it?!

The first thing you should know about Users is something that almost no one knows: If you go to Admin > Users and Roles and to the Users widget, there’s a little magnifying glass in the top right of the widget.

That takes you to an advanced search page where you can see a list of all your tool Users. Using the custom fields setting, you can see which Roles those Users are associated with (plus any other attribute on a User you're curious about, such as notification delivery methods, etc.). You can then export these results, you can perform bulk actions and, heck, you can actually see how many tool Users you have in the first place.

User advanced search:

This is probably the best admin Easter egg hidden in all of the CMS. Keep that little trick in your back pocket.

The other thing you should know about Users—which is brand-new in the 4.0 Permissions system—is that inside the Gear, there's an option to "Impersonate a User." This means that once you've created a Role and assigned it to a User, you can Impersonate that User and see the CMS exactly how a User of that Role will see the system.

Before we had "Impersonate," there were two ways to test and validate a Role in Brightspot:

  1. You assigned the Role to you, your personal User, and then you logged out / logged back in and validated the Role. You generally tested Roles this way only once, because you quickly learned that if you were testing a Role with very limited Permissions (aka a Role that didn't have access to Users and Roles), you had now locked yourself out of the CMS.
  2. You created two Users for yourself: one Role, probably your email address, which you kept to admin, and then your personal email address, which you used for your Role testing. This way you were never locked out of the CMS.

Both of these validation paths were multi-step and honestly kind of a big pain, so when we started to rebuild Permissions, the ability to Impersonate was tops on my wish list. I love Impersonate because it makes admins’ lives a little bit simpler.

When you’re in Impersonate mode, you'll see a little warning strip at the top of the CMS. You can turn it off from that strip as well:

Brightspot in impersonation mode

Ok, so those are the two very cool features about Users. Let's talk about the basics.

Under the Main Tab:

  • Role: Here's where you associate a User with a Role. Note that a User can only be associated with one Role at a given time. Because there is no limit to the number of Roles you create in the CMS, you can always create a special Role that has combined privileges for those who might need to span two different Roles.
  • Change Password On Login: This forces the User to change her password to something new when she logs in. I recommend toggling this to "on" if you’re distributing passwords to customers for the first time. You can always reset them if they forget later.
  • Avatar: This lets Users upload an image. Once uploaded, Users will see their avatars in the CMS header next to their names, and other Users will see their avatars in the "Viewers" bubble.
  • Locale / Time Zone: This gives the User the ability to customize the CMS language and time zone to their native habitat.
  • Content Templates: Applying Content Templates on the User makes these settings available to only this User.

Under the Dashboard Tab:

Within this tab, you can set a custom dashboard for a User. You can also configure the content types and contents that this User will see in the Quick Start Widget.

Under the Advanced Tab:

This is precisely what it sounds like: advanced functionality. Within this, you'll find:

  • Two Factor Auth: This shows whether or not this Role will be required to use it to log in.
  • UI Version: You can use this setting to toggle back and forth between the V4 and V3 UI. This is really here for those of us who want to validate bugs against the V3 UI, but it may come in handy as clients upgrade to V4.
  • Return to Dashboard on Save & Return to Dashboard on Workflow: These will "close" an asset and send a User to the dashboard when they save or complete a workflow action. I don't find these settings useful, however, customers who don't want an asset to be "locked" for the next User in line to make edits find these helpful.
  • Disable Navigate Away Alert: This prevents the CMS from warning you if you are able to leave without saving.
  • Enable Prose Mirror Rich Text Editor: Another new UI toggle, this one lets you switch between the Code Mirror (V3) and Prose Mirror (V4) rich text editors.
  • Disable Work in Progress: This lets you turn off WIPs completely.
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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