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Wild Apricot Software News August 2012

Client surveys

We used to run client surveys pretty regularly, about a couple of times a year. This was always a great source of insights - I read every survey and replied to everyone who provided comments.

However, it was taking its toll -- for the survey we did in November 2010, it took me a few weeks to review and reply to all of the surveys. So when it was time to launch the next survey, I kept postponing it because blocking off a few weeks of my time was getting hard.

To solve this problem, we've decided to change our approach to surveys. Instead of surveying all clients at once, we've decided to survey a portion of them every month - according to their account anniversary date. We launched the new survey in July 2012 and have now also run it in August. We got a good number of replies:  July had 157 and August has 208 and counting. 

It was much easier for me to review and reply to 157 surveys, so I am really excited that we can now track on a monthly basis how are we doing for our clients.

Stay tuned -- once we gather the September data as well, we will publish the results of these surveys and replace our current outdated page.

In the meantime, let me share with you a few interesting tidbits from the July survey:

General Comments
  • "...I like the improved accounting features. Members can now see what they owe and their history."
  • "...The Help File while big, is excellent!"
If you were to recommend Wild Apricot to others, how would you explain the benefits of using it?
  • "...1. Handles our membership 2. Handles our conference registration 3. Consolidates all member information across many databases 4. Separate administration allows me to view information beyond what the general membership can see."
  • "...It is a great tool for managing events and membership information online. By allowing members online access, they are able to connect with each other without having to call the office and have someone else search the membership directory. No need to print a directory - the online directory is always current..."
  • "...My partners and I love Wild Apricot! I can't begin to tell you how much time it has saved us. I use it for two organizations. The member management and events management are flawless and we really appreciate the integration between the two. Your customer support is outstanding. I have noticed many changes in the latest release that make things easier..."
What aspects/functions of Wild Apricot do you find the most useful and why?
  • "...1 Being able to have a non-technical person edit web pages easily 2 Events module - we used Regonline previously - WA is so much easier to use and functions perfectly 3 Member management functions - saves huge amounts of time 4 Ability to give different levels of access to webpages and events based on membership level and tags - it is very cleverly done!..."
  • "...The integration of the website, events and member management saves a tremendous amount of time. It is easy for non-technical people to update the web pages, add events, add members and search for information in the contacts database..."
  • "...Self-service for our members is great. Really nice for our members to be able to see their own financials. Love the combination of event management and member administration. Price is awesome. Value-to-benefit is outstanding..."
  • "...The system isn't perfect, but it comes closer to doing what I need, at a better price, than other programs I've seen...."
  • "...It makes membership management terrific compared to the nightmares of doing it in Excel...."
  • "...Although you are a small company, I think you are surprisingly responsive to questions, bugs, and improvement ideas. I also like the live tech phone support from people that are NOT in an overseas call center and that speak very good English...."
  • "...I love the templates for the emails, great update!..."
  • "...No need to wait 24 hours for a web design company to make edits to web site. Web updates can be done in real time..."

And no, it's not like all of the comments were nice and rosy...we got quite a few criticisms as well and many ideas for further improvements. Here are some examples:

  • [RE: Help Docs] The explanations are frequently obscure. Often basic underlying concepts and terminology are not explained. The documentation assumes too much prior knowledge. Please remember that most volunteer organizations choose Wild Apricot precisely because they are NOT techies.
  • "...1. SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY 2. Listen to your users. 3. Do not assume that you know how groups work. 4. Ask your users what they really need and how their groups really operate...."
  • "...It is a very useful, low cost solution for nonprofit organizations. I would have reservations about its report making abilty...."
  • "...For what it is, it does a great job. But a great looking website is done by profesional designers and UI front end developers and I think it is hard to overhaul the default views. It seems like you need a professional site for general presentation and WA for a dedicated members-only page. It is tricky and risky to override the default buttons and styles. I know it is possible though. Still the best combination of features and customization out of the box though...."
  • "...Excellent membership management, cost effective website for people who are mid-range tech savvy (too confusing/too technical of explanations for beginner user and not enough flexibility for an advanced web manager)...."

Also I found it very gratifying that so many of our clients originally learned about Wild Apricot from their friends and colleagues:

How did you first learn about Wild Apricot?

I greatly appreciate ongoing feedback from all of our clients, and you have our firm commitment that we will keep working to make Wild Apricot better, while also making it easier to learn and use! (tall order, huh?)

Product quality

One of our senior developers has recently come up with a way to visualize and benchmark our software quality:

Bugs Density

This chart shows # of bugs per 1000 lines of code (KLOC)

This is pretty commonly used in the software industry and comes closest to the objective benchmark for software quality. (See this blog post about industry benchmark for this metric.)

So, what can we say about Wild Apricot?

  • Overall, this ratio has been trending up for the last few years. Not by a huge margin - but still.
  • Compared to industry averages, we are doing well (under 5 bugs/KLOC vs. 15-50 industry average); but we are behind the industry titans like Microsoft who are reported to have 0.5 bugs/KLOC
  • Our most recent release 4.4 had about the same ratio as the previous one (4.3) but the proportion of high priority bugs was lower (good!)

I would say we are doing reasonably well, but definitely have lots of room for improvement!

What's next for Wild Apricot

For the next few months all of our attention is being devoted to the next Version 5.0, which will have a fully redesigned CMS (Content Management System -- editing of web pages and customization of the website). We have mentioned it in some of the past posts and provided screenshots of some of the new features and changes. Development work will continue full speed at least until the end of October, and then we will take several months for testing and final polish.  So, my current expectation is to see it released in March-April 2013. 

Starting next month we will be publishing more information and screenshots of changes in improvements coming in Wild Apricot CMS in Version 5.0

For now, let me share one of the new design themes that is being currently implemented and will be included in Version 5.0:

New Template

 

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Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Posted by Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 11:08 AM

Comments

  • Alan

    Alan said:

    Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:43 PM
    The new theme design looks great. Is V 5.0 going to have a image slider/rotator widget? Please say yes!
  • Chief Apricot

    Chief Apricot said:

    Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 3:51 PM
    Thanks Alan. Our current plans for 5.0 don't include image slider widget, sorry. However we will publish some updates to our help pages in the next few weeks with detailed instructions on using a couple of popular image sliders with Wild Apricot right now.
  • Cliff Kerr

    Cliff Kerr said:

    Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 4:36 PM
    Any plans for a shopping cart or auction widget?
  • Adam Wurst

    Adam Wurst said:

    Wednesday, 29 August 2012 at 5:23 PM
    I've enjoyed the updates to date! I'm seriously hoping for the sniley to program the lansing page once members login. This has caused some confusion for our members and doesn't allow us to put a professional polish on our site. What's the word, WA? I know the community's been requesting this for a while.
  • Community Software

    Community Software said:

    Thursday, 30 August 2012 at 6:08 AM
    Thank you so much for sharing this information to us. Keep posting...
  • Chief Apricot

    Chief Apricot said:

    Thursday, 30 August 2012 at 9:17 AM
    Cliff - Shopping cart (or rather, online store) is on our roadmap, though not likely to happen until next year. No current plans for auction widget yet - not enough input to figure out what it is / how it should work.

    Adam - looks like you had some typos which made it pretty hard to figure out your question :-) OK, I get lanDing page, but sniley? Anyway, my best guess is your question is about redirecting members to a particular page after they log in. There is a decent workaround for this now - put a page redirect code into the member-only section page. Contact support@wildapricot.com and they will be happy to help.
  • Chris Gierymski

    Chris Gierymski said:

    Thursday, 30 August 2012 at 9:22 AM
    I really enjoy working with the software for member management and Website editing. Although there could be some minor improvements for web editing, overall it is well done. Kudos to your team. keep the upgrades coming as I look forward to them.
  • Picky Apricot

    Picky Apricot said:

    Thursday, 30 August 2012 at 12:09 PM
    Alan, we decided to go ahead and upload the updated help topic on sliders ahead of schedule. You can view it at http://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Adding+animated+alideshows
  • Rick Kerner

    Rick Kerner said:

    Friday, 31 August 2012 at 8:43 PM
    Kudos, folks. Keep up the great work!
    Rick
  • Mccreary

    Mccreary said:

    Monday, 19 November 2012 at 12:17 PM
    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your
    webpage? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would
    really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Regards!
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.
 
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