March 2014: Big improvements for Social Q&A’s moderator workflow and projector view

Our initial approach to building Social Q&A as a standalone service was to replicate the implementation available in Conferences i/o. However, we realized  we had an opportunity to do more with a Q&A-focused product. So we sat back, evaluated what we have learned in three years of building audience response software, and began working toward a product that closely mirrors real-life Q&A workflow. To that end, we’ve just released an update that significantly improves both audience and moderator experience with Social Q&A.

Goodbye audience replies

Until today, participants have been able to append replies to a question, creating a mini discussion. The ability to reply is not always used, but occasionally it is, and used quite actively. Both use cases have  bothered us. If replies aren’t used at all, participants may be thrown for a loop when accidentally discovering the replies view. If everyone is appending replies, then the moderator has an onerous task of going into each question and reviewing comments.

Furthermore, in an active event, replies can steal attention from a presenter. We want Social Q&A to work harmoniously with a live presentation; that means a second screen that understands its role and acts responsibly.

Hello moderator responses

You didn’t think we’d remove audience replies without adding something better, right? Moderators now have the ability to append an official response to a question.

Here’s how moderator responses work:

  1. Moderator clicks on a question to load a detailed view.
  2. Moderator types in a response and clicks Save.
  3. Attendees can see that the question has a response, and can tap the question to see that response.

And for good measure, here’s a screenshot of what an audience participant will see when a moderator response has been saved.

new-feature-moderator-response

One queue to rule them all

Moderators have always had the ability to save a question by clicking a question’s heart icon. Saving is an awesome way to note which questions you’d like to address during Q&A. However, saving would also move a question into a moderator-only queue, meaning that participants could no longer see or vote for it, and sometimes they would re-ask that question. While saving a question is still available (more on that in a moment), we’ve removed the separate moderator-only queue for saved questions.

Save a question to add emphasis in moderation queue

While the heart icon remains an option for moderators, its action has changed. It’s now a moderator-only feature that adds emphasis to a question. Instead of moving this question to another queue, it is now distinguished amongst other questions. You can un-save a question by clicking the heart icon again.

new-feature-save-question

Mark a question as completed when it has been addressed during the presentation

Next to the heart icon is a new checkmark icon. The checkmark icon will mark a question as completed, de-emphasizing the question  in your moderator queue and removing the question from a participant’s point of view.

new-feature-completed-question

We added completed questions for use when Q&A is being addressed by presenters. Once a question has been answered, you can easily mark it as completed. This cleans up your participant’s queue and makes it easy to push a complete Q&A record to a Q&A Snapshot.

Removing a question can now be undone

Removing a question has always been dangerous because we have not had any confirmation step, or an option to undo question removal. Addressing this has been on our development backlog for a long time, and with our new undo-removal popup we give moderators the power to reverse a mistaken click.

new-feature-undo-removal

Moderators can change how their personal Q&A queue is sorted

Social Q&A’s default sort order has always been by question popularity, the number of votes ranked from most to least. Today we introduce an option for moderators to change their personal sort order. You can now sort questions by both popularity (default) and creation time. We plan to add more sorting and filtering options.

new-feature-toggle-sort

The new sorting toggle will apply exclusively to your personal moderator view, it will not impact anyone else’s sort order. Participants will not have the toggle option, and as always can only see questions ordered by popularity. We’re going to wait for additional feedback before considering making it available to participants.

Highlight a question in Live Action Mode

This is a very cool option for  Q&A sessions that use Live Action Mode, the alternative view of your Q&A Session that’s designed for projected display. Live Action Mode updates automatically and shows the most popular questions at any particular time. Audiences love this as they can see what’s going on in the Q&A session even if they aren’t actively participating.

We added highlighting for when questions are being addressed by a presenter. When a question is highlighted, it takes over the Live Action Mode screen so that everyone in the audience can clearly see the question that’s up for feedback.

new-feature-highlighted-question

You can use your moderator view as a remote control for Live Action Mode. Just click on any question to load its extended detail and you will see a button that says “Highlight in Live Action Mode”. This will switch Live Action Mode’s look to highlight the chosen question. You can easily swap the highlighted question using the same method, or switch back to the regular Live Action Mode queue.

What else is coming?

We are laser-focused on creating a breathtaking technology-mediated Q&A experience, and these improvements are a significant but still iterative step in Social Q&A’s evolution. Over the next few weeks will be seeking user feedback and tweaking the updated Q&A workflow.