Every three months we’ll be posting a review of the work we accomplished in the prior quarter. It’s an opportunity to highlight improvements and new features you may not have discovered yet. We’ll also touch on any upcoming projects that have reached the final planning stages in the “What’s Next” section at the bottom of this post.
Today we’re reviewing the projects we completed in the second quarter of 2015.
We made a large number of “under the hood” improvements to the code that powers our financial features (invoices, fees, financial reports, etc). You won’t see most of these changes visually but you will see improved stability and speed when dealing with things related to money.
Of the financial changes you can see, most of them center around invoices. Our goal this year is to reduce the number of extra invoices being created per student. To that end we’re no longer creating new invoices when a student transfers from one class to another. Instead we’re just adding the new class and any adjustments in fees to the existing invoice.
And for extra invoices created prior to that change, you can now merge any two invoices together, provided they’re both associated with the same account. This can be helpful when you want to keep all of a student’s transactions on the same invoice.
We’re also consolidating some of the information that appears on your invoices. For example, all adjustments made to items on an invoice (adding/canceling lessons, editing class fees, etc) are now consolidated under an “Adjustments” link at the top of the invoice.
Speaking of adjustments, you can now make adjustments if you need to to any item on an invoice, or even to a discount after it’s been applied. Click the “Make Adjustment” link at the bottom of the invoice, then select the item you want to adjust and enter the adjustment.
With more of our clients involved in the performing arts than ever before we decided we needed to spend some time improving our events management feature. To begin with, we redesigned all of our public-facing events pages (the ones on your online registration site) to make it easier for your customers to find events and purchase tickets.
We also added a number of new features to help you manage your events more easily. If you hold events that take place on more than one occasion, like a play, you can now create a single event with multiple dates and times, rather than having to create a separate event for each date. And you can now provide refunds for individual tickets rather than having to refund the full purchase amount and then resell the customer the correct number of tickets.
We also fixed a number of lingering issues, such as a problem that prevented users from being able to sell as many of a particular ticket type as they wanted. And we fixed an issue that prevented events from appearing on our events calendar on the same day that they were taking place.
Events will continue to be a focus for the remainder of the year. The next thing we’re working on is the ability for you to set start and end dates for particular ticket types, allowing you to sell “early bird” tickets at special rates.
We implemented a few long standing requests to our registration forms this past quarter. For starters, you can now rearrange the order of all of the questions on your registration forms. Just grab the big + sign to the right of the question and move the question up or down within it’s section (make sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the page when you’re done).
We also made it possible to ask the same question of both a parent and a child at the time of registration without having to create a duplicate question to do so (those of you who have done this know what I’m talking about). Click on the name of the question in your registration form builder (“Birthdate” for example), and select “Both”. The question will now appear on both the first page of the registration form (the parent or “primary” page) and the second (the student or “child” page).
We added a way for you to force your existing customers to at least review the demographic information when they return the next time to sign up for classes. On the Reg Form, click Edit and then check the box to “Prompt for Update”.
Lastly, if your school offers classes for children, the “First Name” and “Last Name” fields on the registration form now say “Parent’s First Name” and Child’s First Name” where applicable, to help avoid confusion as to which field is for which name.
Among the improvements to our private lessons feature the most significant was the ability to more easily schedule unscheduled lessons from the Unscheduled Lessons tab on the private lesson detail page. Just click the Schedule link, schedule the lesson, and you’re done.
We also made a number of improvements to how lesson packages are displayed on your public site, making them much easier to purchase for your students.
Lastly, you can now email all of your private lesson students (or particular groups of them) from the private lesson enrollments page.
Next we’re focusing on making it much easier for returning students to re-enroll in lessons, more on that to come.
We’re always looking to make it easier for your students to get themselves registered. This last quarter we made the following changes:
- Students can now view all the dates a class is taking place by clicking the “See complete list of dates” link on the class detail page.
- We streamlined the design of the class detail page.
- You can add a custom message to the top of all three public registration form pages.
- Students can now view their own attendance for their online account.
- Students can also access any waivers that they’ve signed or still need to sign from their account page.
- Students can view their full private lesson schedule from their online accounts as well.
- Lastly, we clarified our waitlisting and recurring billing messaging to make it easier for students to understand
A number of improvements don’t fit into a single category:
- It’s now *much* easier to change the time, date, or even the instructor for a specific instance of a class. Click the “Schedule” tab on the class detail page, then click the Modify link to make your changes. You can even add a random date to the schedule by clicking “Add Additional Date”.
- You can now have ASAP notify you by email when a spot becomes available in an at-capacity class that has students on the waitlist (Configure > My Settings).
- We’ve organized the Preferences page to make it easier to read (Configure > Preferences).
- Our calendar got a facelift and a new set of filters.
- Staff members listed as Additional Instructors can now search for their classes within the system.
- The class roster report has a number of new date range options, in addition to a new account ID column which makes it .possible to group family members together.
- We also added an email address column on the enrollment report.
We’ve got some very exciting stuff in the pipeline for the second half of this year. The nature of software development makes it difficult to predict what we’ll accomplish in that time span, but here’s what we’re currently planning for:
- A web-based mobile app for instructors to view their schedules and submit attendance from their phones. This is the first item on this list that we’re tackling so stay tuned for more information shortly.
- Think of all the reports you currently have to run (and all the steps you have to go through to run each of them) to get the numbers you need to run your school. Now imagine a single page where all of those numbers are available any time you want. That’s the Insights dashboard, and we’re hoping to have it ready for you later this year. Insights will display all of the important KPIs (enrollment counts, revenue, etc) plus trends, retention data, and much more.
- We’re also working on something we’re calling Dynamic Reporting: pick the data you want to see, run the report, and then save it as a template. The next time you need that data just click a button and there it is.
That’s it for now, we’ll see you in three months with more news.