Approval feeds allow people responsible for a space to approve content before it is published. The feature can also be used to approve content updates.
In order to be on the same page, here are some key words to understand the content approval feature.
The act of approving a content. Note: Approving and publishing content are two separate actions.
The process starts with the request for approval until the content is published.
A request for approval of a content by a contributor. Either because the space requires it, or by spontaneous request from the contributor.
A person who has the right to approve content. Either because they are the administrator or coordinator of a space where approval is mandatory, or under specific request from a contributor.
Person initiating the approval request.
When designing this feature, we kept in mind that we wanted a simple and efficient system. There are two possible ways to approve content.
Either at the request of a contributor wishing to have a second look at his content before publication or update.
Either because the content must be published in a space where approval is mandatory.
A request can have three different statuses:
Waiting for approval: this is the initial state when the approval request is launched. In this phase, the approver is in control. He can decide to approve the request or to pass it on if it needs corrections because he considers that the content cannot be published as such.
Needs correction: In this state, it's the contributor who is in control. The approver asks him to make corrections before he can approve the content. The approver can use the global message or the annotations to make specific requests.
Once the correction requests have been met, the contributor can send the approval request back. The content then returns to the first phase "Waiting for approval".
Approved: This is the final state. Once in this state, both the approver and the contributor can publish the content at any time. If the contributor wants to modify the content in this phase, he will have to go back to the very first phase.
At each stage, the approver and contributor can leave a message to communicate with each other.
Note: There can be as much back and forth as necessary between the first two phases.
Mandatory space approval
In the "Approval" tab of the space settings, it is possible to activate the mandatory passage of all content and its update through an approval stage.
When the option is enabled, the settings page will display two additional blocks.
The first one with the list of the space approvers, by default the administrators and coordinators of the space (this is not changeable for the moment)
The second one displays the list of contents currently in the approval process
From this point on, all contributors will have to go through an approval process before their content is published. To do this, the publish option is replaced by an approval request option in the editor.
In the editor, the publish option is replaced by an option to request approval in spaces where approval is required.
When the approval request is sent by the contributor, it is displayed to all approvers who are responsible for approving the contents of the target space.
These requests take place in the "Approval" tab on the main menu level of the application, on the left.
The badge indicates the number of content in the approval process.
In this tab, the approver has an overview of all the contents under his responsibility, i.e.
The contents already assigned to it for approval
Contents currently without an assigned approver but waiting to be published in a space under his responsibility.
The pool principle
This second point allows us to introduce a key principle of the approval feature. When a user makes a request to publish in a space where approval is mandatory, its content arrives in the pool.
At this time, no approvers are yet assigned to this content. However, all approvers in the space can see it in their list of content to approve.
In the example above, the first content is assigned to the current approver. The other two contents are in the pool. They are not assigned to any approver. But since the current user is an approver of the spaces in which these contents should be published, they are listed in his approval table.
It is therefore a "pull" system and not a "push" one. That is to say that it is up to the approvers to select the contents they want to approve. It is not up to the contributor to choose who will approve his contents.
This system has several advantages:
Approvers know their area of expertise, so they know what content they can approve.
If an approver is not available (on vacation, sick, etc), the other approvers see all the requests and can take over if necessary.
It avoids the contributor to choose his favorite approver ;)
Note: This is only valid for spaces where approval is required. When a contributor requests a second look in a space without approval obligation, he can choose any user member of the space. See next point.
Approval on request
In addition to making approval mandatory at the space level, it is possible for contributors to ask other users to review their content before publication.
The most common example is the person who notices an error on a content that he does not own. This person can now decide to correct the error and submit it to the owner for approval. This way, the owner has the choice to publish or not the correction.
Another case being content that needs to be validated by a superior before publication in a space where it is not mandatory to go through an approval step.
Note: It is not necessary to be an approver of the space in this case. Contributors can ask any user in the space to approve content, as long as the space is not subject to mandatory approval of course.
We always consider four levels of reporting for workflow features: platform, space, contributor and content.
At the platform level
For administrators, a dedicated "Approval" tab is available in the administration panel. It offers an overview of the content in the approval process.
The page is composed in three parts.
The first part is an aggregation of approval requests for your entire platform. It shows in order the number of spaces where approval is required, the number of content waiting for approval, the number of content which need corrections and finally the number of content that has been approved but not yet published.
The second part displays the list of spaces where approval is mandatory. For each space, the approvers are also listed. This allows you to avoid bottlenecks in case no approver is assigned to the space (i.e. if the space has no administrator or coordinator). The interface will warn you if this is the case with a "No approver" message in red.
Finally the third part is an aggregation of approval requests broken down by space. Again, useful for noticing a problem in the processing of requests, if there is a pending request acculumation because an approver is absent for example.
At the level of space
The administrators and coordinators of the space can consult the list of content in the approval process at any time. To do so, go to the space settings in the Approval tab.
Note: Content remains in the approval process until it is published.
List of contents in the approval process in the space.
At the content level
The approval is displayed in several places on a content.
First of all in the content information panel. The approver is displayed below the owner and possible contributors.
Also, the approval date and its approver are displayed in the content versions. It is therefore possible to follow the approvals version by version.
At the contributor level
Contributors can track the status of their approval request in the "Approval" tab of the application's main menu.