August 2021 Updates Blog

3 weeks ago

Photo of Blog Author Kimberly Knight Kimberly Knight

The Log Blog

Details from this month's Change Log.

Ah, August. Where summer begins to dwindle and the first signs of Fall are on the horizon. Kids are going back to school- or their laptops, evenings getting shorter, and we at eCourtDate were busy making regular improvements, tweaks, and exciting additions to our platform. Hey wait- that last part is EVERY MONTH!

In light of that, we wanted to start summing it all up for you and telling the world about it- so WELCOME to our first monthly update-review blog post!

Here at eCourtDate, our developers never stop improving our platform. We are often inspired by YOU- by how you work and organize your time, your data, and your workflows. Thank you! August saw some super cool feature additions, updates, and minor tweaks that have enhanced the overall usability of eCourtDate.

And now, without further ado- and truth be told, I really love ado- check out what we were up to in August!

E-Signatures, Add to Calendar Integrations, and Dark Mode- Oh MY!

As you may have seen our social media posts (You DO follow us, don’t you? If not, be sure to add us to your Linked In network, be our friend on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.) we now offer the ability to get e-signatures from clients through our platform. Electronic signatures are just as legal and binding as handwritten ones in every state so this feature is a game changer in terms of how quickly and easily you will be able to obtain signatures for documents.

No more waiting for Fed-Ex or the mail-person. No more wondering if Mr. So-and-so is going to bring those signed docs in after work if his boss lets him leave a little early. Shoot Mr. So-and-so a text, with an eSignture box, and he can sign right there on his cell phone. You- and Mr. So-and-so’s boss- will be so relieved. And court operations can run like a fine tuned machine.

Another thing that helps operations run smoothly is being able to have all of your important dates and obligations in one place. For many of us this place is a personal calendar application, like Google, Yahoo!, Outlook, or Office 365. Well, guess what? Now, when you schedule an event that needs to be included on your personal calendar, you can add it with the click of a button!

All you have to do is click into the specific Event on the Events page. Once in the Event Details, the box “Add to Calendar” has a drop down with all of the options I mentioned above! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

And last but not least- at least in this section- is Dark Mode. Not to be confused with Dark Web, dark humor, or Donnie Darko, this is one I thought was cool- but after some digging, realized is actually Super Mega Amazing.

Remember last year when just about everyone was work-from-home, and kids were all doing remote learning, and we started seeing all these ads for BlueLight Blocker glasses? Well, it turns out that was because all of the screen time we undergo every day exposes our eyes to blue light and that is bad. Screen time and blue light have been associated with eye strain and fatigue, headaches, and even some more serious effects related to sleeplessness, heart disease and diabetes. (Check out this article from Harvard Health Publishing and Harvard Medical School. ) Scary stuff, right? So as I sit here in a dark room writing this with a dark filter on my laptop having completely freaked myself out, I am definitely thinking Dark Mode on eCourtDate is a pretty spectacular feature addition. And I am not saying that the development team here at eCourtDate are superheroes saving your very life from the dangers of blue light or anything, but has anyone seen them and the Avengers in the same room at the same time? No. I thought not.

Noteworthy Supporting Cast

Of course not every feature we add is going to save your eyes and, quite possibly your whole life (why yes, hyperbole is my absolute favorite literary rhetorical device), but we had some other stuff we did outside of the top three above that you still shouldn’t miss. Some of my personal favorite feature additions actually didn’t even make the top 3. Check these out.

I didn’t quite catch that…

So we have established that I am a little paranoid about protecting my eyes. But these are very good eyes. Now my ears- that is another story. They don’t work very well. Also a fact: people often talk way too fast when leaving a voicemail. They need to get it all in, so they become like the micro-machines guy, or those fellas who give the disclosures at the end of radio ads. But it’s a recording, so it’s not like you can ask them to slow down for you. Or can you?

Hint: The answer is yes. Yes, you can. Now you can adjust the playback speed on your voice messages that come through eCourtDate. We really are a full service communication platform.

Checking it twice- or as many times as you like…

I love lists, so The Setup Checklist feature has a special place in my heart. There are a lot of little things involved in getting your agency set up perfectly in our platform so that once you go live everything runs like it should. Many of you already know that the eCourtDate Team (and particularly the A-Team- Abe, Asma, and Anne) are with you every step of the way making this as simple and- dare I say fun -as possible. But a list? Still helpful.

Back in the olden days (before August), some court clerks would write these tasks down with pens and paper. Sometimes on notepads, or even sticky notes. Some of them used pencils. It was a strange and primitive time. All sorts of crude and archaic artifacts were important.

But we have reached a New Renaissance. Now, everyone in the organization can access a master list of items done and not yet done at any time, straight from the online eCourtDate Dashboard! Delegators can hold delegatees accountable, overseers can oversee, and I cannot possibly lose this To-Do-List (totally not a thing I would do.)

There’s a Modal for that.

Everyone loves a good modal. Modals are those informative and helpful pop ups. Often times in web applications modals are there as a last chance, double-check before some action is finalized or activated. Other times they just offer some clarification or more detailed information.

In August, eCourtDate was like Oprah in a Favorite Things episode- you know, the ones where she gives everyone in the audience a copy of her favorite book, a new set of luggage, or a new car? ‘You get a modal! And YOU get a modal!’

But seriously, check out all of these modals!

Message Status Modal
Access by clicking on an individual message’s status.
Shows the most recent status, and the dates a message was scheduled, created, and last updated.
About this Agency Modal
Access by clicking the agency name in the page footer.
Gives details about the Agency, and provides access to Setup, the Checklist, and the Settings Page.
User Preferences Modal
Access by clicking on the Preferences link in the footer.
User preferences remain consistent across all agencies the user has access to, and are available regardless of device or session.
Send Mode Modal
Change the Send Mode directly via the Footer Send Mode status. Users may still change the Send Mode via the Settings page.

More Extras

Can you believe I am still writing about updates and enhancements? It was a busy month! Here are some more great additions:

Reset Settings Console Tool
Console users may use the Reset Settings tool to quickly reset any existing settings.
Time Zone Merge Tag
Messages now support a [TimeZone] merge tag. This allows agencies who work with clients in different time zones to make it extra clear when the scheduled event is.
This feature can be especially useful for agencies using messaging for Victim Notifications, as it is not uncommon for victims to relocate.
Search Agencies in the Agency Switcher
Allows a User who manages multiple agencies to search agencies in the agency switcher.
While this primarily assists our workflow, Some municipalities do run separate eCourtDate agencies for different functions. For example, an agency for probation, and an agency for court, or different agencies for different courts within a municipality like traffic and family. If you are interested in adding additional agencies for your municipality, we would love to help.
Save Data Point Results as CSV
Use the CSV button above any Datapoint table to directly download the results to a CSV file.
A CSV (comma-separated values) file is a text file that has a specific format which allows data to be saved in a table structured format. This format enables the export of a high volume of data to a more concentrated database. As plain-text files, they are easier for the website developer to create, and easier to import into a spreadsheet or other storage database regardless of the specific software you're using. CSV files are also generally better for organizing large amounts of data
View All Message Opens
Allows a user to view all message opens in the Message Opens modal. Previously, only the most recent message open was visible in the modal.
View Recent Search Results (All Users)
Click on the Search field to view any recent search results. Recent search results are shared with users in the same agency.
Simulate Message Option for One-Off Messages
From the Message Form Options button, users can now select to Send a one-off message in Simulate Mode.
This is also where you would select to require or request an electronic signature in a message.
Auto Message Simulate Setting Applied to One-off Messages
If an Auto Message has Simulate enabled, a one-off message will default to Simulate Mode.
Users may switch to Live Mode by clicking on the Send Live button in the modal.

So, what’s next?

I don’t know about you, but all of these updates makes me wonder just what is on the horizon for your favorite Communication Platform. What will our developers think of next!?

Which leads me to two questions:
What do you think we should add in September? And
Which is your favorite August addition?