New Dashboard Support, XFF, and more in Blue 8.0.2 & 7.21 – A Q&A with Director of Product Management, Nitin Sharma

Written by Lorcan Archer, Explorance.

Screen from Blue 8.0.2

Blue is Explorance’s best-in-class Experience Management (XM) platform. Blue helps organizations to comprehensively manage feedback, realize crucial insights, and make better data-driven decisions.

May 2021 saw the implementation of the very latest version of Blue – Version 8.

Representing a revolutionary step forward in Experience Management, Blue 8 delivered exceptional accessibility for all users, lowered the barriers to engagement, and delivered even better decision support for both Higher Education institutions and Enterprise-level businesses.

This week sees the release of Blue 8.0.2, the next waypoint in Blue’s continued evolution, as well as the release of Blue 7.21, representing our continued support for clients still utilizing Blue Version 7.

What’s New in Blue 8.0.2 & 7.21

Feature Merging

  • 19 and 7.20 feature provision – Features added in 7.19 and 7.20, developed in parallel to the release of Blue 8, are merged into this release.
  • Compatibility with the upcoming Blue Dashboard V3.0 – The prerequisite database and API changes necessary for the upcoming release of the Blue Dashboard 3.0 have been included in this version of Blue.

Additional Enhancements

  • X-forwarded-for (XFF) implemented for the Response Rate Monitor analytics – The built-in Blue analytics used in the Response Rate Monitor now take advantage of the X-forwarded-for standard, which allows Blue users to identify how a rater arrived at their questionnaire – even when being routed through a proxy.
  • Blue now speaks Welsh and Catalan All end user tasks in Blue can be created and distributed in Welsh, and Catalan, as well as 23 additional languages.
  • Improvements to self-enrolment, including demographic filtering and skipping invitations When self-enrolling, users can more quickly locate the right course, conference and other evaluation thanks to demographic filtering. In addition, the initial invitation notifications for users who self-enroll ensuring that they will only get a reminder if they don’t complete the survey soon after opting in to complete a survey.
  • Ability to filter user search by any field.
  • Further enhancements to single-selection table visibility and presentation, and more!

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Hi Nitin! This update concerns two separate patches. Can you remind us as to why there is a division, with some users updating to 7.21 rather than 8.02, as well as the features of 7.21?

Nitin: Sure. We would still have a considerable number of clients who have not availed of the update to Blue 8. This is because they may be currently running important, on-going, and complex surveys / feedback processes, which may be running on an annual basis.

We understand that, and we’re fully committed to supporting these clients until the optimum time for them to make the update to Blue 8.

Essentially, the key aspect of this release is that new 7.21 update, just like 8.0.2 update for users who have already updated, will be able to support the upcoming Blue Dashboard V3 and for X-Forwarded-For. That means users updated to 7.21 can look forward to that great new functionality. The other aspects of 8.0.2 will only be available to users who have upgraded to that very latest version of Blue.

Let’s dive into this new functionality, starting with the changes that are present in both 8.2.0 and 7.21.

Nitin: Absolutely. One of the most important aspects of the 8.0.2 update is that it will allow for the support of the next version of the Blue Dashboard, that being Dashboard V3.

The Blue Dashboard is an extremely popular feature that is at the heart of Blue 8’s Decision Support capabilities. This upcoming version will ensure that clients can make even better decisions based on feedback and rapid analysis, and this release lays the groundwork for that.

The other important feature that has been added is support for X-Forwarded-For, or XFF. This is a well-known protocol that will allow clients to identify where a person actually responded to a survey from, be it on-campus, or off-campus – in terms of IP addresses – even if they are using a proxy. Previously, RRM allowed us to track these points, but XFF allows us to track this even if their institution security policies enforced XFF – so now users with XFF get those same benefits

This is a nice extra support feature, allowing institutions to better identify trends in terms of geographical locations and devices.

Finally, when we were releasing Blue 8, we needed a cut-off point for development, and that was designated as 7.18. However, this meant that customers that then upgraded to 7.19 and 7.20 and began to enjoy the enhanced reporting enhancements of those releases did not get to utilize these improvements when they made the jump to Blue 8.

Now, we’ve remedied that, with Blue 8.0.2 including all this functionality that was delivered in 7.19 and 7.20.

So it’s fair to say that 8.2.0 really offers the optimum experience now?

Nitin: That’s a good way to put it! It allows you to really leverage all the great reporting enhancements that we released in 7.19 and 7.20, including the ability to change data sources, raw response data inclusion, and lots more.

What are the other aspects of this release that are exclusive to 8.0.2 that we should know about?

Nitin: The first of those is the ability for even more powerful self-enrollment filtering. In the past, with Blue 8, you were able to search and filter the subjects for self-enrollment.

Now you can search via whatever fields you like, including demographic fields. This flowed from a scenario where a client’s workforce was exhibiting a lot of names that were quite repetitive. There may be dozens of people with the same name. The ability to filter by company and department, and then by name, would be a lot more useful. So users can filter by any field that available.

The second type of enhancement was a more configurable self-enrollment invitation notification. Previously, if you self-enrolled, you would automatically receive an invitation notification.  In fact, if you were fast about providing feedback to someone, you might receive that invitation email while giving, or even having completed, feedback provision. So now, this is a setting you can control, turning these notifications on or off.

The other change was an improvement to the layout of single-selection tables. In Blue 8, this was made fully responsive, but we’ve made even further enhancements, to try to fully avoid the need to scroll. It’s all about responsiveness and ensuring great accessibility. It looks pretty slick, and we can automatically display even larger scales, without the need to scroll (see screenshot above), and we’re excited for people to get to use it.

The provisional of additional languages such as Welsh and Catalan looks set to broaden Blue’s appeal in regional markets. Were client requests the impetus behind these additions?

Nitin: In a word – yes. Blue is truly a world class solution and as such, we will continue to expand our scope of supported languages as we enter new markets and territories.

Is there anyone on the Explorance team who you’d like to credit for their work on these new updates?

Our Dev & QA teams are the ones that bring new features and enhancements to life, so a very big thank you to them! I also want to thank Pierre, Francine and Khyati for helping with our 8.0.2 release!

 

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About Nitin:Blue Product Manager Nitin Sharma

Nitin Sharma is the director of product management, Blue and Bluepulse, at Explorance. He is a technology enthusiast at heart and has been an Explorer for over four years. He enjoys the challenges and teamwork involved in creating useful innovations which offer memorable experiences. When not reading up on new trends or technologies, he enjoys spending time outdoors and experiencing new cultures.


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