In Q4 of 2017, the classic Send and Authoring pages will be retired, and no longer available in the Adobe Sign system.
Anticipating this change to the system, the integrations that rely on embedding the Send and Authoring pages need to be changed over to the new experience. These integrations range from standard Adobe Sign packages like Adobe Sign for MS Dynamics, to home grown API solutions custom crafted for specialized use.
Changing the embedded page will do more than simply change the look and feel of the Send and Authoring process. It will open several new features for users, as well as removing older technologies that have been replaced by more robust solutions.
This switch to establish the new Send/Authoring experience as the standard is scheduled for the Q2 2017 release, and new accounts will no longer have an option to view the classic pages. In Q4 2017 it is anticipated that all customers will be on the new experience, and the classic pages will be fully retired.
The Send page is central to the Adobe Sign service, and upgrading to the new experience brings significant changes in terms of functionality, as well as some potential process changes.
With only one exception, users are able to accomplish everything they could in the classic view. However, there are additional options available, that may or may not be enabled by the Account Admin.
The notable exception is that the Written Signature workflow (replacing the classic Fax workflow) will not allow a Sender to send directly to a phone number.
For Senders, the overall look and feel of the new page will be the most striking change. Though all of the classic features are present on the new page, just having a new visual field to scan will cause users to slow down and be more critical of their process.
However, the general page layout is the same, reducing the impact of the “newness”, and users find that the practice of sending an agreement is mechanically the same (notwithstanding the new features that are exposed), and habituate quickly.
Below are the two experiences side by side. And though the images are too small to see the details, you can see that the framework is essentially the same.
To examine the fine differences, the pages are broken into the four functional sections:
- The Recipients
- The Message
- The Files
- The Options
The topmost section of the Send page defines the signature cycle, or the list of recipients, and how they may interact with the agreement. Below you can see the classic page on top, and the new page on the bottom.
The Default Workflow Switch
The default workflow switch determines if the basic signature flow is Sequential (Complete in Order) or Parallel (Complete in Any Order).
The option has been moved to the top of the Recipient list, the text that identifies the options has been clarified, and the graphical “switch” provides a less subjective understanding as to which option is selected.
Functionally, the setting has not changed.
You will notice that the signer index is exposed to the left of the signers Role when the signature flow is sequential.
When the signature flow is changed to parallel, the signer index is removed as all signers are granted access to the document at the same time.
I need to sign
The “I need to sign” option allows the Sender to add themselves as a Recipient to the agreement in either the first or last signer position.
The option has been renamed to “Add Me”, and moved from under the list of Recipients to the top-right side of the Recipient stack.
Functionally, the Add Me link will insert the Sender into the Recipient stack in any position, not just as the first or last signer.
Additional Recipient Role - Delegator
The new Send page supports an additional Recipient role: Delegator.
The Delegator role allows a Sender to create Agreements when the ultimate Signer or Approver isn’t known up front. A delegator is designated, and that delegator will ultimately relay the Agreement to the final Recipient.
The Account Admin can enable the Delegator role by navigating: Account > Account Settings > Send Settings > Allowed Recipient Roles
Per Recipient Identity Authentication
Previous authentication methodology grouped Recipients into internal or external classifications, and applied authentication accordingly to the whole group.
The application still allows the Account Administrator to set the default authentication methods for internal and external Recipients.
Now, Admins can enable Senders to modify the default authentication method from a list of enabled methods, on a per recipient basis.
Account Administrators can configure the default authentication methods, and enable Sender adjustments, by navigating to: Account > Account Settings > Send Settings > Identity Authentication Methods
Per Recipient Private Messages
Senders can create unique messages for each Recipient in the signing process before sending documents for signature or approval. If private messages are enabled, senders can click the Add a private message button.
The private message is included along with the global message in the "Please Sign" email to the Recipient.
The ability to create private messages is disabled by default.
Account Administrators can enable it by navigating to: Account > Account Settings > Send Settings > Private Messages to Recipients
Enabling the Recipient to read the private message within the signing environment is enabled by default when the feature is enabled.
Account Administrators can disable it by navigating to: Account > Account Settings > Signature Preferences > Additional Settings
A recipient group allows multiple team members to have the authority to sign or approve on behalf of the entire group. Add a “recipient group” as a single signing step, then add multiple recipients to that group.
Any one of the recipients listed can participate on behalf of the entire group and ensure your transactions aren’t being held up waiting for just one person. Recipient groups can be defined as signers or approvers, and authentication methods can be individually designated for each member of the group as needed.
Hybrid workflows allow for a sequential workflow to include one or more signature steps of parallel signers.
In the below image, you will see that the #2 signature step includes three Recipients.
These three Recipients will all be notified at the same time after the first Recipient has completed their signature, and all three must apply their signature before the process can move to the third signature step.
Account Administrators can enable/disable hybrid workflows by navigating to: Account > Account Settings > Send Settings > Signing Order
The Message section is where the name of the Agreement is defined, and the global message (the message provided to all Recipients) is written.
Below you can see the classic message section on the left, and the new experience is on the right.
Recipient Language Selector
The Recipient Language selector determines what language is used for the Recipient email and on-screen guidance during the signature cycle.
The language list has been renamed from “Language” to “Recipients’ Language”, giving the Sender a more precise understanding of the settings function.
The drop-down list has moved from the Message section in the classic layout to the Options section in the new experience.
Functionally, the setting has not changed.
Message Templates Improved
The Message Template selector has moved and altered the indicating text.
In the classic page layout, the name of the default applied template was inserted as text next to the Message label, followed by a clickable “change” link for Senders to select a different template.
The new Send page has moved the template selector to the top-right of the Message section, and changed the text to the static value “Message Template”.
In the new Send experience, the Message Template selector has been improved to show the text of the template to the right when you mouse over any one of the template names.
The Files section is where the document files are attached to the Agreement.
Adobe Sign supports a “drag and drop” method to attach files, as well as an app-resident library, file upload from the Senders local system, Box, Dropbox, and more.
Below you can see the classic file section on the top, and the new experience on the bottom. Both display an inset of their expanded options to the right of the clickable link.
All of the clickable upload/attachment options have been moved from the root Send page to the pop-out window (triggered when the Add Files link is clicked).
- External file sources (Box, Google Drive, etc.) link directly to the service provider, so Senders will need to authenticate explicitly to that service
- Evernote is no longer a supported upload option in the new experience.
Preview & Add Signature Fields
Preview & Add Signature Fields is a selectable option for routing the attached files to the Authoring environment, where signature and form fields can be added or edited.
The text label for the option has changed from “Preview, position signatures and form fields” to “Preview & Add Signature Fields”.
The position of the option has moved from bottom-center of the classic page to the bottom-left corner of the new experience.
Functionality for the option has not changed.
The Options section is to the right of the Message and Files sections.
This section is variable in appearance from account to account based on the options that the Account Administrator has enabled for Sender configuration.
All of the options are exposed in the below images, with the classic page on the left, and the new page on the right.
The Completion Deadline has moved from the top of the Options panel to be just under the Password setting.
The associated text has changed from “Set an expiration date for this document” to “Completion Deadline”.
The interface no longer asks for a "number of days", and instead pops up a calendar where the user can select a deadline date, as well as the exact time (based on the senders timezone).
Time is expressed in "military" or 24 hour format.
It is possible to type in the date and time explicitly instead of using the pop-up interface.
The Password Protect option has moved to the top of the Options section, and changed associated text from “Set password to open signed PDF” to “Password Protect”.
The “Written” signature type has substantially changed from the classic “Fax Signature” option.
For Senders, there are two significant changes:
- Prefill fields can be entered by the Sender when the document is designed to accept prefill content
- Phone numbers can no longer be used in place of email addresses in the Recipient section
Signers will have a much improved experience that leverages the Electronic signature process where possible, and ensures a higher-quality document is returned.
The Authoring environment is the core of the user generated document library. The new environment provides template creators an improved layout for applying and managing fields, as well as accessing the tools useful for producing a well-polished final document.
The changes to the Authoring environment are primarily structural, with tools being moved to have better exposure and easier access.
It’s worth noting that the Authoring environment has two interfaces in both the Classic and New versions:
- The “ad-hoc” interface
- Launched from
- The Send page when the Preview, position signatures or add form fields box is checked
- The Manage page by clicking the edit link for Agreements in a Draft status
- Participants are explicitly identified by their email addresses (imported from the Send page)
- Template properties are fixed and cannot be adjusted
- Launched from
- The interface for creating templates
- Launched from:
- The Dashboard page by clicking the Add Template to Library link
- The Manage page by clicking the edit link for a library template
- Participants are defined as “Participant 1” through “Participant N”
- Template properties are exposed – Name of the template and the distribution of the template can be edited
- Launched from:
Below you can see the two environments side by side with the classic layout on the left:
Fields have moved to the right rail
The fields section holds all of the discrete fields you can author onto the document. Most have a special purpose, like Signature, Signer Name and Hyperlink. The generic fields are in the Data Fields section and include the Text box.
The fields section has been moved from the top of the screen, to give more workable space on the form, and placed on the right rail.
Nothing has changed functionally for the fields.
Field Size/Alignment/Navigation tools exposed
There are three field tools aligned across the top of the page:
- Snap to Align - four options exist to align on any side of the guide field
- Snap to Size - three tools exist to snap to width, height or both of the guide field
- Navigate to field – lists all fields alphabetically by field name, and will move cursor focus to any field you select
These fields have been permanently exposed vs having been a pop-down section that was hidden under a button.
Functionally, these tools have not changed
Field Template access is improved
Zoom feature moved
Page Selector moved
Page selection allows the user to select any page and have that page brought to the viewable space.
This feature has been changed from presenting tiny thumbnails on the left had side of the screen to a more discrete control at the bottom of the page where the sender can either page up/down using the arrows, or enter a page number and skip directly to that page.
Send / Reset moved
The Reset Fields link will clear the form of any fields added during the current Authoring session. Fields that were part of the document prior to opening the template in Authoring will remain, or be added back if they were deleted.
The Send button finalizes the Authoring process and sends the Agreement to the first recipient.
Both of these objects have moved from the top-right of the page to the bottom-right.
Functionally, they both operate the same.
Improved field level error detection
When a new document with text tags or Acrobat fields is uploaded, Adobe Sign will perform a verification of all field properties to ensure that no errors (invalid font size, circular calculated expressions, etc.) exist. When errors are found, a banner will be presented indicating the number of errors, and navigational icons so you can easily move between field errors.
Below is an example of a form field with a validation rule looking for a social security number, but the default value provided was text.
By clicking the Next Error button on the right, the next erroring field is opened with the validation error explicitly stated at the top of the field.
Template Properties moved
Template properties allow you to change the template name, determine what type of template you are saving (Document or Form Fields), and how the document is distributed (personal use, group use or account wide use).
The link to access the template properties has been moved from the top of the page, and placed to be more conspicuous on the right rail, just above the form fields.
Functionally, the group of settings within the Template Properties are the same.
"Participant" list renamed to "Recipient" and moved
The Recipients drop down enumerates the various participants to the Agreement. In the Create Template interface, recipients are identified as “Participant 1” through “Participant N”.
In the ad-hoc interface, the agreement recipients are already defined, and the email address values for each recipient is inserted instead of the “Participant” placeholders.
In both cases, the participant list provides the vehicle for viewing which fields are assigned to which recipient. By selecting any one participant from the list, the fields assigned to that party will remain bright on the page, while all others are grayed out.
Additionally, the participant list can be used during field placement to define the party the field should be assigned to. By selecting Participant 2, and then placing any number of fields, those fields will automatically be assigned to participant 2.
In the classic environment, the field was titled “Select Participants” and has been renamed to “Recipients”.
The drop-down field has been moved from the upper-left of the window to the right rail, just above the form fields.
Functionally, the participant list has not changed.