With Christmas and New year holidays, our team used the opportunity to get some well-deserved R&R.
Thus, the first release of 2008 did not include any significant enhancements - we have focused our efforts on cleaning up loose ends, rooting out bugs and improving system speed.
December 2007 also saw a client survey we have conducted - which brought in a lot of very important feedback. Overall we were very happy to see our clients reporting that Wild Apricot does save them lot of manual labor hours, saves money by replacing a bunch of other systems - and giving us good marks for support. We have also received a great deal of input and insight regarding what is missing yet and what is not working perfectly smoothly - or hard to figure out. It was not all rosy - we did have several people expressing their strong dissatisfaction with our product and our support.
Every survey reply was carefully analyzed, reviewed by our whole team and we have personally followed up with each survey respondent. We took particular effort to analyze those few negative responses to make an effort to analyze the reasons, find a way to restore our client faith in our product and technical support - and develop measures to prevent such problems reoccurring.
All in all, this was extremely valuable in helping us to adjust our development plans to address some hard-pressing needs. As a consequence we have made the following decisions:
- Speed up our work on additional design templates and look and feel customization capabilities
- Make changes to better address exceptional situations - such as manual entry of transactions by administrators (vs. a regular workflow of members using self-service) and better handling of online payment failures.
- Invest into infrastructure upgrade and other tasks to further improve system speed and stability
- Slow down development of new social networking features to address high-pressing current needs
Here is some if the most interesting functions we are working on right now and will release in early February:
- Ability to save searches and re-run in one click. For example, you can create a search to select people who live in Toronto OR Mississauga OR Scarborough OR Richmond Hill, save it as 'Greater Toronto Area' and run it with one click at any time. There are many situations when this can save a lot of time to busy administrators
- A number of enhancements to Advanced search, including the ability to search by exclusion ('Is not'). For example, you can find all records where state is anything except California
- Editing meta-tags - for the whole site or page by page. This is helpful for search engine optimization of your Wild Apricot website - and for some special cases like site verification, for example to use Google Apps email or Google Webmaster tools.
- Adding multiple private website sections, e.g. one section for regular members, another one for premium members, yet another for the board etc.
End of February - early March will see another round of improvements. Here are some of the enhancements tentatively planned:
- Adding donations manually
- Custom currency
- Administrator function to register people (members or not) right on the event attendee list page
- Administrator function to manually renew members
- Adding records without email addresses
- Ability for members to use rich text formatting in blog and forum posts
Keep your feedback coming!