Wild Apricot Software News November 2013

Lori Halley 27 November 2013 3 comments

As we discussed a few months back, the major effort for the entire Wild Apricot development team is on finally releasing version 5.0, which involves a complete redesign of our web content management system as well as other changes. However in the meantime, our design and analysis team has started laying the foundations for future versions beyond 5.0.

Recurring Events

PLEASE NOTE: the following is an example in the VERY early stages of design, and is at a minimum 6 months or more away from being added to Wild Apricot.

A common request is for “recurring events.” Sounds simple enough, but it turns out that “recurring” can mean different things to different people. To take one seemingly simple example, if someone asks us “can you please make it so we can set-up a recurring event that happens every Wednesday evening for 6 weeks”, what are they really asking?

  1. To create something like a course, where there is a single listing for the whole 6 week session, and you register once to attend every session.

    OR

  2. To create something like a series of discrete weekly seminars, where each week has it’s own separate listing on the calendar, and an individual registers for multiple sessions individually.

And it can get even more complicated of course -- what some folks REALLY need is a hybrid of these two things, where there’s a complete series listing but also the ability to sign-up for individual sessions!

This is a great example of where our wishlist forum and customer surveys are absolutely invaluable. When we reviewed the many requests about recurring events, we found many along these lines:

“We run weekly programs/classes... we want people to register for the whole session so we cannot create separate events. And when you create a continuous event, then on the monthly calendar it appears every day from the start date to the end date making the calendar view useless.”

“My organization provides cat training classes. We have contacts registering for the class but the class runs for 6 weeks on 6 consecutive Wednesdays for example. It would be incredibly helpful when creating the event to indicate that it repeats 6 times on Wednesday, and that registration is for the event but the event consists of 6 sessions.”

Based on these comments and many others like them, we identified this as being a very common requirement for many organizations, and decided it would be an appropriate one to tackle first. By reviewing a number of of these comments and doing additional research and thinking, we are able to create some common scenarios for a particular kind of recurring event along the lines of option A above, creating a single event with multiple sessions.

(By the way, if you need something completely different for your recurring events with your organization, please don’t worry -- we will be doing a lot more work on event registration scenarios, this is just common example that we decided to tackle for now.)

Once we analyze the requests and create some appropriate scenarios, we can start to mock up designs and describe how the system will behave. Here are a few early design ideas to give you a sense of how we’re thinking about supporting these kinds of recurring events within Wild Apricot (although please note, the final version will very likely look QUITE different from these designs.)

Currently within Wild Apricot, you can only enter a start and end date and time for any given event. Our idea for creating an event with multiple sessions is that you could either add them one at a time or automate the scheduling, thus accommodating recurring sessions. Here’s an example of what the screen might look like:

Set time and location for a recurring event

So, you can either click “Add new session” to automate sessions manually, or click “automate schedule” to trigger a series of options along these lines:

Recurring event scheduling

After clicking “Generate”, the schedule would appear something like this:

Finalize times and locations for a recurring event

As you can see, there would be an opportunity to manually adjust the schedule (to accommodate holidays, for example) and an option to provide individual session names. These would appear on the calendar and the event listing schedule:

Public display of a recurring event

As mentioned, we are still in the VERY early stages of developing this feature (and many more!) but if you have any comments, please leave them here or add them to the wishlist thread on this topic.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 27 November 2013 at 1:27 PM

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Comments

  • Bart Palamaro said:

    Thursday, 28 November 2013 at 9:25 AM
    Your scenario number 2 is exactly what we need for our annual writers conference. By next year? Please!
  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 28 November 2013 at 11:47 AM
    Hi Bart -- scenario number 2 is definitely in the queue for future analysis and development, but unfortunately at this point there's no way to say for sure when it would be done. I honestly wouldn't count on it being completed next year, but we will do our best.
  • Bridget said:

    Friday, 29 November 2013 at 10:44 AM
    Looks great!
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