By Jo Fraser, on Apr 30, 2019

What we shipped: 5 new business features which are (basically) a love letter to you

This post is part two in a series on the features, knowledge and insight that came out of our “Practitioner Love” hackathon in mid-February. What do we mean by “Practitioner”? If you’re a writer, editor, marketer content creator or non-technical user of Contentful –– that’s you! To read more, click here.

Love isn’t really a thing in the tech world. Mention love in a meeting of software engineers and you’ll be met with blank stares and someone quickly wrestling the itinerary back to CLI tools or router configurations.

So, what happens when a company introduces the idea of love to the mix? And not just in a glib way, but in a way where it becomes the year’s North star; a slogan which guides meetings, management decisions and the daily attention of a 200-strong employee workforce.

When Contentful declared the year 2019 to be the year of “Practitioner Love” — and the programmers shook off their initial feelings-aversion — we aligned on our mission. It was time to romance our business users. While developers were our sole focus in the past, our job now was to extend the same attention to our business users.

We wanted to have as many minds as possible thinking and obsessing about the problems our users have with Contentful. What are the roadblocks to their productivity? How could we inject a little ease into their daily workflow? How can we boost confidence, supercharge creativity and make governance more intuitive and simple?

Over the past month, we’ve answered some of these questions and rolled out six new features. As a result of a very productive hackathon (more on this later), these features are ready for use. They’re features which make your life simpler; they’re not big or flashy, because after all, isn’t love about the little things?

1. Implement an easy review and approval process within Contentful

Editors and authors can now publish with the confidence that their work has gone through all the necessary reviews and checks. Approval workflows let you review and approve versions before hitting the publish button. The feature allows responsibility to be shared, as team members can request a review without leaving the Contentful web app. Simply choose the people you want to review your piece from a selector in the sidebar and they’ll be notified with a message in Slack, Zapier or email. No need to check Contentful all the time or send links via Slack or email — by using the webhook, you have the freedom to connect any kind of notification functionality to this feature.

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As part of approval workflows, you’re also given access to a detailed version comparison which is not tied to publishing.

If you’re already using approval workflows built by your developer team, this feature won’t make a big difference to you. In the coming months this feature will be native and available to all users. For now, ou can install “Basic approval workflow” via the “Apps” marketplace, which is now available to all admins on V2 spaces.

2. Power users rejoice: introducing quick navigation

Just like Spotlight on Mac computers (CMD + Space), CMD+ K in Slack, or the Windows key, our new “jump to” feature takes you where you need to go with just a push of a button. You can launch your content entries, assets or types with just one movement. We’ve chosen the familiar magnifying glass icon in your top navigation. Click the magnifyinf glass (just like Spotlight) and navigate wherever you want to go. It allows you to stay in the context of your work and won’t pollute your history or alter saved search parameters. Having everything in one place is convenient and means that you don’t have to exclusively navigate with the search bar, a tool which is excellent for detailed search queries but takes time to use.

3. Go faster with rich text editor shortcuts

There’s a new way to embed structured content and assets in the rich text editor. Now it’s possible to press the forward slash key (/) to get a list of entries or assets. For users who love to be quick and agile, this is a shortcut for the +Embed button on the top of the rich text editor –– we’re talking about a reduction from five to seven clicks to just one to two keystrokes.

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For such a little command, it has some big benefits. You can reference different content without losing the context of what you’re writing; there’s no back and forth between the embedding pop-up and your page. While the command pulls your entries and assets, you can set it up to reflect your content types. For example, if you want to insert a gallery into your post, punch in / “gallery” and you’ll be able to insert it right then and there. Just like the / key brings up actions in Slack and Notion, you can also use this productivity feature within Contentful.

4. Declutter your translation process with single locale views

This feature allows translators to declutter their screens and create a cleaner view. Prior to the implementation of this feature, you could only view all your locales at once. If you had a lot of non-default locales this meant a very busy screen!

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Now, we’ve introduced an easy toggle to give you the ability to view a single locale. This feature is already built-in — just select ‘Single Locale’ from the sidebar of the entry editor and choose your desired locale. In the GIF above, you can see we went for Portuguese (pt). This removes the fields that aren’t in Portuguese — giving your Portuguese translator a nice, clean workflow.

5. Who did what and when — the ultimate governance feature

Have you ever wanted to know who else has been editing the entry you’re working on? Or have you ever wanted to know when a translator updated an entry that is pending publication? Maybe you’re a manager or editor-in-chief and it’s your job to know.

We’ve made it easier to track editing activity from within the web app. Anytime someone makes an edit to an entry or asset, including publishing/unpublishing, you’ll be able to track these changes in the bottom right of the sidebar. This is perfect for busy teams who work collaboratively, teams with translators, or just people who want to maintain control over their content.

This feature is currently available to some customers and we plan to roll this out to everyone in the coming weeks.

Jo Fraser

As managing editor of Contentful's blog, Jo is a power user of Contentful's product as well. She collaborates across our product and customer success teams to help editors and content creators find their way around Contentful and elevate the authoring experience.