Inside Brightspot: Why editors love our preview functionality

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.

Let's talk about Brightspot’s "Preview" functionality—and by “Preview” I mean “the way a certain thing is going to look when it is live on the website." Before we dive in, are you already wondering why previewing content matters? Well, take the case of the editor who needs her legal and compliance departments, who aren’t familiar with the CMS, to review an article before it goes live. Seeing content “live” before it’s published is a common need, and it’s one that our Preview functionality delivers.

If you walk away from this update with nothing else, let it be this: Preview is very, very important to editors and writers. We come from a long lineage of professionals who have paid a great deal of attention to every word and every letter, including how those letters and words are laid out on a page, which letters are capitalized and which are not, where one line of text ends and a new line begins, and so on and so forth. That obsession to detail hasn't left us in the digital world—if anything, there's more to pay attention to than ever.

Enter Brightspot Preview.

Brightspot Preview

First and foremost, Preview is going to show you real-time updates as you are writing and editing content. Whether you’re adding a new module to your homepage, dragging and dropping to reorder modules on the page, or building an article from scratch, preview is going to show you the changes, additions and deletions as you work. Those are the table stakes. Let's get into the "extra" work Preview can do for you.

1) Share Preview

Share Preview offers what its name implies. This feature creates a link to an asset that you can share with someone else. What I love about Share Preview is that the person you share it with doesn't need to have a Brightspot login. In other words, the recipient can just peek at the content without needing an admin to set her up as a user, send her a password, and so on. This comes in handy if you need your content reviewed by someone external to the company. My favorite example of this is a customer who used Share Preview on their sponsor content. Sponsors got a Share Preview link to make sure their sponsored articles looked great, but they never logged into Brightspot. Why is this noteworthy? Because it saves you time.

2) Scheduled Preview

This one is tricky. Let's take a homepage editor who has to schedule weekend updates to automatically go live on Saturday at 6:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Scheduled Preview (which is accessible behind the Now/calendar icon) gives you that ability. That homepage editor could set the Now to Saturday at 6:00 a.m. and instantly see how the homepage will look at that time. Depending on how your homepage is constructed, this can get really tricky, really quickly. That’s because the homepage may have changes scheduled, and the modules that make up the homepage may also have their own changes scheduled. This complexity really depends on the business requirements of your editorial team. (Is your homepage full of embedded modules? Does a separate team have a shared module that they own?) Now you see why scheduling functionality needed to be able to preview scheduled events.

3) Device-Level Preview

The other great thing you get with Brightspot Preview is the ability not just to preview your content as it’s going to look on a desktop site, but also how it will appear on tablet portrait/landscape and mobile portrait/landscape. In 4.0, we also added the ability to preview native devices (via an integration with And in 4.1, we added capabilities that allow you to control the order of the device list in Preview—meaning if you don't care about desktop, and mobile portrait is where you want to focus, you can make that the default preview display


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