January 12, 2016

Announcing 5 New Features Including Support for Markdown

Andrew Pitts

An Overview of Polinode

Before we talk about some of the exciting new features we have added let's briefly recap what Polinode is and what you can do with it. Polinode is a tool for mapping, visualizing and analysing networks in the browser. By networks we mean any kind of relationship data - Excel is about rows and columns and Polinode is about the visualisation and analysis of connected data. The source of the data you upload to Polinode can literally be anything including email communication, 360 degree performance reviews, enterprise social networks, social media, etc.

Polinode also has survey functionality built-in which allows you to collect network data. For example, you can ask questions such as “Who do you work with often?” or “Who do you go to for advice?”. You can then visualize and analyze this network data in one integrated and highly flexible solution. Applications are many and varied but include change management, identifying emerging talent, M&A integration and improving workplace layouts.

Announcing 5 New Features

We really enjoy receiving ideas and feedback from our users! All five of these new features originated from our users:

1. Markdown is Now Supported

We've recently introduced support for markdown syntax in a number of different places. If you haven't come across markdown before, it's a way of styling text and gives you the ability to add things like links, images, headings and tables. Here's a guide with some more information. And below you will find a screenshot illustrating a survey question in Polinode with both a link and an image added.   

So, where can you use markdown? Well, when creating questions for surveys. But also in the completion message that respondents see once they have submitted a survey. This gives you the ability to redirect respondents to another page once they have completed the survey. Those are not the only places though as markdown is also supported when creating a network. You can use it when writing a description for your network and it's supported for all node attributes. For example, you can now include a link as as an attribute or an image. This opens up a lot of exciting possibilities, for example, creating a network of networks where a link in an attribute opens up a new network.

We've given a fair bit of thought to mobile support as well. Images will resize automatically on smaller screens. And links will always open in new tabs so that respondents and others can easily go back to Polinode. We're really excited to see all of the creative ways that this new functionality gets used!

2. Open Access Option for Surveys

We've also introduced a couple of new advanced options for surveys. By default all surveys are private and in order for others to access them you need to grant explicit permission. However, we've had a couple of requests from users with some interesting use cases that wanted to be able to open up the explore view of surveys up to the respondents themselves. So, basically a respondent can navigate in the explore view, find their own response and complete it and then see the updated network reflecting their response immediately afterwards. You will now find settings to achieve this under Manage and then Settings for surveys.

3. Ability to Upload Excel List of Users

Collaboration has always being core to Polinode - since you access the application via a web browser it's easy to share your surveys and your networks with other users. You simply add them as users and grant them the permissions you would like them to have. Recently though we've made this even easier - you can now upload an Excel file with the names and emails of all of the users that you would like to have access to either a network or a survey. There's no need to add them one-by-one any longer. This enables you to privately share your networks and surveys with 100's or 1,000's of users quickly and easily.

4. Improved Force Directed Layout

Whenever you open a network or survey in Polinode, unless you have specified positions for the nodes yourself, the force directed layout algorithm will operate to position your nodes. Essentially nodes that are relatively strongly connected will be positioned relatively close together. We've now added a new feature to this layout algorithm whereby hidden nodes and edges are no longer taken into account. This means that you can filter nodes and edges (including multiple complex filters if you like) and then re-run the layout and the nodes will be repositioned according to the nodes and edges that are currently visible.

5. Improved SVG Export

Polinode currently supports a range of different export options, including both PNG and SVG images. The advantage of SVG images is that they can be rendered at arbitrarily high resolutions as the shapes themselves are captured rather than the pixels on the screen. We've just made our SVG export option a whole lot more powerful - it now supports almost all of the features that you see on the screen and gets you very close to what you see in a lower resolution PNG export. For example, here is a PNG image that we captured for a network that summarises the relationship between major human diseases and genomes: 

Get Started!

So, those are the five features that we've just added. If Polinode sounds interesting to you then you should sign-up here and get started yourself. And, of course, if you have any thoughts or ideas we'd love to hear from you: feel free to add a comment below or you can get in touch with us either here or by sending an email to info@polinode.com.

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