Winter 2015 Release Notes

We are excited to provide these notes on our first Quarterly Feature Release.  The Winter 2015 release will be deployed to all HandsOn Connect Customers on the evening of Monday, December 21. These notes detail the features that are part of this release and any actions you need to take to enable them.

1. HandsOn Connect is now mobile responsive

1. HandsOn Connect is now mobile responsive

The HandsOn Connect public site and volunteer portal are now mobile responsive! This means that volunteers using the site on smaller screens, tablets and phones will have a greatly improved user experience on those devices.

In the phone version of the site, HandsOn Connect uses the standard navigation system used by mobile devices.  The upper left "Hamburger" menu, is used to reveal the site navigation.  which slides open to provide navigation.

Mobile navigation (when clicking on the 'hamburger' menu on a page.

Mobile navigation (when clicking on the 'hamburger' menu on a page.

Thanks to all our beta testers who helped us refine this release and improve the mobile usability. We have addressed as many of your comments as possible in this release and are very excited about the ease of the use of HOC on mobile devices.  Right now, the overall functionality of HandsOn Connect is currently available through the mobile version of the site:

  • Registration
  • Log In
  • Search and Sign-Up for Volunteer Opportunities
  • View and manage your account and volunteer sign-ups.

That said, due to the individual site customizations possible through the CMS, there may be some limitations or issues with your organization's flat content pages when rendered on mobile.  You may want to make changes to your larger images and custom forms you may have created to perform better for mobile users.

We will be publishing shortly, as a comment to these notes, a best practices document on how you can ensure your site is as mobile responsive as possible for your custom content.   But for basic functionality - HandsOn Connect is now far easier to use on mobile devices!  

We welcome any feedback or issues you discover on your mobile site. Just open a Zendesk ticket.  There will be continued improvements to the mobile site in future releases based on your feedback.

2. Improved Security and Email Deliverability

2. Improved Security and Email Deliverability

HandsOn Connect has been upgraded to make it possible to convert your public site to a secure site using Secure Sockets Layer, which changes your site from http:// to https://  and encrypts all transactions on the site.  

To convert your site to a secure site, you must purchase an SSL certificate for your instance and configure your site for security.  Converting your site to a secure site is required if you wish to enable another new HandsOn Connect Feature - Social Log In (see item 3 below).

We have also identified configuration steps that will improve the deliverability of emails sent through HandsOn Connect.

If you have IT Support or a technical consultant familiar with working with DNS records, then you can enable both these features yourself.

To make these improvements accessible to those of you without skilled technical staff at your organization, Avviato will take care of the whole process for you if you wish.  For a very nominal $150 fee, Avviato will purchase a two-year SSL certificate for you (the certificate alone will cost about $100) and handle all the technical configurations for you.

(Note: After two years you'll be sent a reminder and instructions on renewing your certificate to keep your site secure!)

To initiate a request for Avviato to upgrade your site to SSL and configure your email deliverability through your domain provider, please use this form:

HandsOn Connect Winter 2015 Release Request Form

For those of you who wish to purchase your own SSL certificate, and configure Salesforce to make your HOC site secure here is the documentation on how to do this, as well as the documentation for updating your DNS and SalesForce for better email deliverability:

Implement SSL for HOC Sites (self-configuration)

Improve HOC email Deliverability (self-configuration)


3. Improved Public Site Login Experience and Social Login with Facebook

3. Improved Public Site Login Experience and Social Login with Facebook

Several improvements have been made to the login experience on the public site making it less confusing and easier for volunteers and partner staff to log in!

  • If the user puts in the wrong username, they get an improved error message identifying that they are using the wrong username.
  • If the user puts in the correct username but the wrong password, they get an improved error message explaining they have the wrong password and advising on how to reset the password if necessary.
  • For sites that have been upgraded to SSL - users can link their account to Facebook and subsequently will be able to log in quickly via their Facebook account

3.1 If a user puts in the wrong username - error message

3.1 If a user puts in the wrong username - error message

Note: The Login with Facebook option only appears if you've converted your site to SSL and requested we enable the Social Log In Feature.

3.2 If the user puts in the correct username but the wrong password - error message

3.2 If the user puts in the correct username but the wrong password - error message

If you put in the wrong password, your username will remain populated so you can try again with your password, or click on the Forgot Password link to have a reset password email sent to you.

3.3 Social Login via Facebook (Beta)

HandsOn Connect now offers its first Social Login option - logging in with Facebook  This is being released as a public Beta Feature and is available only to sites that have been upgraded to SSL

(The fact that it's a Beta indicates that there are still some rough edges on the social integration, but rather than delay its release, we are following the practice of many organizations, and making this available as a public beta. This lets your users know that the feature will be undergoing improvement over time.)

Here's how Social Login works:

Before using the "Log in with Facebook" button, a user must link their HandsOn Connect account and their Facebook account.  

Before being able to use the Login with Facebook button, a volunteer must associate their HandsOn Connect account with your Facebook account.  To do this a user should do the following:

1.  Log into HandsOn Connect normally.

2.  In "My Account" click on the new menu option called "Social Login Settings" in the left navigation.

(Note:  this menu item can be seen in the CMS system.  It is associated with a new page in HandsOn Connect called /HOC__Connections that describes the process for associating your accounts, explains that this is a Beta feature at this time, and leads you through the process).  Do not rename this navigation as it is referenced in the error message that appears if you try to login via facebook before connecting your accounts

3.3.1   How to link your HOC login with your Facebook Account

Social Login Settings page

After reading the info, users click the "Link with Facebook" button to associate their accounts:

They'll be walked through the steps to link their facebook account to their HandsOn Connect account.

Once that's been done once.  They'll be able to login by clicking on the "Login with Facebook" button on the login widget on your site!

Social Login Settings page

If they are not already logged into Facebook when they click "Link with Facebook" - they'll first be taken to a Facebook login page.

If they are already logged into Facebook they will be taken directly to the screen shown below.  

Clicking on "Link Account" will complete the process and the volunteer will now be able to use the "Login with Facebook" button in the login widget for future logins!

Clicking on "Link with Facebook" will take the user to a Salesforce page to create an Open ID Connect account"

Once a user has associated their HandsOn Connect account with their Facebook account, they'll be able to use the new Login with Facebook button on the login widget.

Clicking on Log in with Facebook on the login widget will do one of two things:

  • If you are not currently logged into Facebook on your computer, you may be asked to log into your Facebook account.
  • If you're already logged into Facebook, you'll be taking to the "Continue as ...." screen.

3.3.2  Logging in via Facebook after your accounts are linked

Now that your accounts are linked - you'll be able to click on the Log in with Facebook button and quickly be logged into HandsOn Connect with no password required.

3.3.2  Logging in via Facebook after your accounts are linked

Continue as confirmations screen

You'll be presented with a "Continue as...." screen.  Click Okay and you'll be logged in to HandsOn Connect.   That's it!

Continue as confirmations screen

3.3.3 What happens If a volunteer tries to login with Facebook, before they have linked their account?

If a volunteer clicks the Login with Facebook button before they've linked their account, they will be asked to login to facebook and continue -  but upon doing so they will see an error message:

The error message will explain to them the process for linking their account:

3.3.3 What happens If a volunteer tries to login with Facebook, before they have linked their account?

3.3.4 How to enable Social Login with Facebook in your HandsOn Connect instance

This is a feature that must be setup and enabled on a site by site basis for you, so you'll need to make a request that we enable this feature for you. It can only be done for sites that have SSL enabled.

You'll have the option of requesting that social login is enabled when you request that Avviato enable SSL and Improved Email deliverability on your site.

If you have self-enabled SSL, you can use this same link above to request that Social Login for Facebook be enabled after you've converted your site to SSL.

Recommended Action:  Once Social Login has been enabled for your site - we recommend that you email your volunteers and partners and let them know how to link their accounts and start using social login!

4. Integration with Outlook, Google, Apple Calendar and other Calendars

Volunteers will now be able to easily add their confirmed connections to volunteer opportunities to their personal calendar.

Links to add an opportunity to your calendar will appear in three places:

  • On the Success Page after signing up for an opportunity (for full sign up opportunities, not for express interest)
  • On the My Account / Upcoming Opportunities grid for all confirmed connection
  • On the Project Detail Page for date and time specific occurrences that you are already signed up for and confirmed.

Here's how each of these will look and work: 

4.1 On the Success Page of full sign-up opportunities

A link to "Add to Calendar" will be visible on the Success Page after you sign up for a full sign-up opportunity.  (Expressing interest will not present the link, as you don't want volunteers putting dates onto their calendar until they have been confirmed as volunteers.)

4.1 On the Success Page of full sign-up opportunities

Selecting ICalendar or Outlook will generate an attachment which, when clicked on, will add an item to your calendar.  (ICalendar is an .ics file, used by Apple Calendar and a number of other calendar applications).

Selecting Google Calendar, Outlook Online, or Yahoo! Calendar will take the user to their online calendar with an option to save it.

Clicking on the 'Add to Calendar' link will provide a choice of calendar formats:

4.2 In My Account / Upcoming Opportunities

Confirmed connections on the My Account / Upcoming Opportunities page will have the "Add to Calendar" link available.

4.2 In My Account / Upcoming Opportunities

4.3 On Opportunity Detail Pages

If you're already signed up and confirmed for a date and time specific opportunity - the Add to Calendar button will be shown for those occurrences, along with the message "You are already signed up for this opportunity."  

The Add to Calendar button will not be present on To Be Scheduled Opportunities because a volunteer may have multiple connections for TBS opportunities.  They will however have the option to add to calendar on their my account page where each occurrence is listed separately.

4.3 On Opportunity Detail Pages

A note about To Be Scheduled Opportunities:  

The link to add to calendar will appear for all confirmed TBS opportunities in the "My Accounts" page.  Caution your partners that when they confirm a volunteer for a TBS opportunity, they should be sure to set the start date and time and end date and time for that connection. Otherwise, the volunteer is confirmed for the entire span of the TBS opportunity - and the calendar link will create a rather long-term event on someone's calendar.  

We recommend reminding your partners to always set the correct time span when confirming TBS connections.  (We plan to make this easier for partners in the Spring '16 release.  Stay tuned!)

5. Improvements to Team Functionality

In this release, we've addressed two of the most requested improvements to team functionality!  We've also fixed a few smaller items that will make managing teams clearer and easier for volunteers.


5.1 A Volunteer can  create a team connection, even if they were previously signed up as an individual.

If a volunteer has already signed up for an opportunity as an individual, and then wishes to switch to a team connection they can now do so.  (Previously, once you had declined your individual connection you could not sign up again.)  

To change from an individual connection to a team connection a volunteer simply needs to:

  1. Go to "My Accounts" and remove themselves from the occurrence (this will mark them as declined for the individual connection)
  2. Go back to the opportunity and click "Sign Up with A Team"

The volunteer will now be able to create a new team connection and the former connection will be updated as confirmed and be associated with the team!

This update also allows volunteers to change their mind about signups in other ways. If a volunteer removes themselves, changes their mind, and then decides to sign up again, the system will now permit this.  As long as the decline reason in the connection is "removed themselves" - volunteers can sign up again.

Note: if the volunteer is in declined status for any other decline reason (i.e. the opportunity manager has declined them for failing a background check or not having needed skills), they will not be able to sign up again.

5.2 Clearer naming conventions for managing teams and who on the team is participating in a given occurrence

In the past there has been confusion about the difference between managing your team (i.e.  adding, removing or emailing team members) and updating who on the team will be participating in a given occurrence.

In My Account / Upcoming Opportunities -  for any connection a team captain has, they will see it labeled as a team opportunity, and there will be a link to "Participants" - that shows who is signed up.  (Previously this link was labeled "Manage my Team" which is not what the link really did.)

Clicking on Participants allows the team captain to change who is signed up for that occurrence. 

5.2 Clearer naming conventions for managing teams and who on the team is participating in a given occurrence

On the "My Teams" page

On the My Teams page, captains will see any opportunities their team is signed up for (whether they as a captain or signed up or not!), and can modify the team sign up by clicking on the Participants link.   To Manage the team membership or email team members, click on the "Manage Team" button.

On the "My Teams" page

The Participants pop-up screen has clearer language

The Participants pop-up screen has clearer language

5.3 Team Captains can manage team signups, even if they are not connected themselves!

Previously, if a team captain signed up a team but did not have a connection themselves, there was no way for them to manage the team's signup any longer.  Now team captains can manage the participants for an occurrence even if they are not connected themselves!

On the My Account / Upcoming Opportunity page, a team captain will see the 'participants' link for any opportunity that they are signed up for.

Any team captain however, can go to the "My Teams" page, click on the team name and they will see any opportunity their team is signed up for, whether or not they themselves are signed up.  The captain can then click on the Participants link and manage the team signup for that occurrence.

In short:  If you, as a team captain have signed up team members, but not yourself.  Go to "My Teams" and you'll be able to edit the participants for any occurrence your team has team members signed up for!

5.3 Team Captains can manage team signups, even if they are not connected themselves!

5.4  Team Names now appear in Alphabetical order on the teams page

For volunteers belonging to or managing many teams - team names now appear in alphabetical order making it easier to find the team you're looking for!

5.4  Team Names now appear in Alphabetical order on the teams page

6. WYSWYG Editor Improvements

The WYSWYG editor in HandsOn Connect has been modernized and improved in the following ways:

1. The editor has been modernized for improved browser compatibility correcting a number of limitations some users have experienced.

2. Previously there were different editors in different parts of HOC.  Now, the same editor is used throughout HandsOn Connect:

  • CMS pages
  • Static Page Editor
  • Volunteer Opportunity Description
  • Special Event Description
  • Business Description

3. When the editor is open, you'll see the name of the record you're editing.

4.  System admins and staff can now upload images frviaom the "Image" icon in all spots the editor is used.  (At last: you can add images quickly when editing volunteer opportunity descriptions, business descriptions and special events!)

6. WYSWYG Editor Improvements

A note about Images and the Partner Portal.

In the partner portal - there is no access for partners to upload images for volunteer opportunity descriptions.  (This is intentional, as they may upload overly large images which will affect your data storage, and their images would be shared by other users.)

If partners want to use images in their opportunity descriptions, they can do that by providing a URL from another site where they are storing their images.  See this post for details on how a partner can do this.

The "Browse Server" button IS visible to all partners, in case you want to allow them access to use images you've uploaded for use on the site.  By default however, access is restricted and the partner will get a permissions error if they use the "Browse Server" button.  This prevents them from accessing your library of images.

If you DO wish to allow partners to browse and use the images you've uploaded you can grant permission for partners to Browse the Server by doing the following:

  • Go to Setup / Develop / Visualforce Pages
  • Look for the VIsualforce Page  "SiteFileBrowser" and click on the security link
  • Add the Partner Staff Profile to the Enabled Profiles list.

It's up to you organizationally whether or not you wish your partners to be able to view and use the images you've uploaded to the server.

A note about Images and the Partner Portal.

7. HandsOn Connect is now Salesforce Communities compatible

As a first step in the continuing movement by Salesforce to Communities - we've made HandsOn Connect communities compatible.

This means that in the future, instead of using your current licenses for volunteers, volunteer leaders and partners, you could switch to the newer Salesforce Community-based licenses, which will make it possible to use community-based features like Chatter.

At the present time we do not recommend switching to communities for the following reasons:

  • Community licenses are more expensive than the current licenses you are using with HandsOn Connect
  • Switching to community-based licenses would not yet give you access to any additional features within the HOC public site and volunteer portal.

We are currently in discussions with Salesforce about community license costs for HOC users, and if we feel the pricing barrier can be overcome, will begin development on integrating chatter and other community features into the public site.  

For the time being, we recommend customers continue to use their existing SF licenses.  But, the groundwork for an eventual conversion to communities has been laid!  Stay tuned for further news on communities in the coming year.

Enjoy the new release!

If you have any questions about the new release or encounter any issues - please open a ticket in Zendesk or come to lab and let us know!  

Happy Holidays to all our users and we hope you enjoy this holiday gift of new HandsOn Connect functionality!  


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