Randy Rensch

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  1. 8 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  2. 3 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Wishlist » Contacts  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  3. 12 votes
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    4 comments  ·  Wishlist » Website / Content  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    I suppose in my workaround suggestion the "not all process" I mentioned were those that are gadget-based.

    Further note: the workaround needs doing only once per editing session. Do it once, and you can open HTML code repeatedly anywhere in your content, and it will display correctly. However, when you save your session and re-open it, you will have to run the workaround again.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    IMO, there is no excuse for not having fixed this long-standing bug by now, but FWIW, here's the work-around:

    Click the HTML editing icon. In some WA processes (oddly, not all, IIRC), the code will be without linebreaks -- a big block of run-on code, impractical to read.

    Add a space somewhere where it will not affect the HTML output. E.g., as the first character of the code, or in any HTML tag where an extra space will be ignored.

    Save the "revised" HTML.

    Re-open the HTML. Whatever linebreaks were in it will now be visible.

    Since the code IS shown properly on the second opening, how this indicates a problem with "modern browsers" is a mystery to me.

    I would propose, as a kludge, that WA make the edit itself, except I suppose WA would not be able to save the edited code transparently? If WA can transparently run this workaround, what are we waiting for?

  4. 76 votes
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    32 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    In addition to its marketing and usability value, it would also make email clickthrough logs much more intelligible.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Agreed. WA already recognizes the importance of this, because WA gives the option of our naming web pages meaningfully.

    It's nice that the URL is automatically set up, but it's absurd that we MUST send people to /event-2638106.

    Would WA consider this sensible salesmanship in marketing its own site?

    Randy Rensch supported this idea  · 
  5. 6 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Still wishing for this. Sorry more other people don't see the need. Especially with regard to newsletter formatting. There is no provision in Wild Apricot for a long, robust newsletter that has multiple sections for past and future events, Member news, etc.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    In my proposal I mentioned that "centered text is more readable." That's a typo. Centered body copy and/or bullets is definitely LESS readable.

    My main concern is to more easily create complex emails, but consistency and email client compatibility are also factors.

    Some of our people who post events insist on making their own formatting choices, or (more often) ignore formatting altogether or are not good at it. Every organization needs to have some consistency and control. We can create how-to's till people's eyes glaze over, but in a volunteer organization some people refuse to "get the memo."

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  6. 146 votes
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    49 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    More robust (and sensible) email processing, including automatic events newsletter. We have sometimes two and even three events in some weeks. Rather than sending out 9 emails per week, multiplied by another months' worth of events (resulting in a humongous number of announcements, and the reason that hundreds of people have opted out), we'd rather send one comprehensive weekly summary of all coming events. This would probably need a combination of macro text insertion and manual editing, as most events' webpage descriptions are WAY too long for this purpose. But it would be VERY helpful if we could start with an automatically populated newsletter, that we could then simply edit down.

    Randy Rensch supported this idea  · 
  7. 9 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  8. 2 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Wishlist » Usability  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Another example:

    File names that are not fully displayed (e.g., when selecting from images). It would be very helpful if you would allow longer file names for some things (e.g., saved searches), but even when names are relatively short it's often hard to tell which file is which. I'd settle for being able to see the full name when hovering.

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  9. 9 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  10. 3 votes
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    4 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    I've posted a similar wish. Unfortunately even such sophisticated platforms as Wordpress and HubSpot don't support adequate page description. Although some sites might get away with one description (etc.) for every purpose, many sites will benefit from speaking to the user in the user's specific context. For example, a Search Engine Result Page description needs to explain what will be found and encourage a click. Once at the site, any description serves a different purpose and should be worded accordingly -- often very differently, with a different message. Ditto for titles. An H1, for example (although thankfully not one at WA) does NOT make a good file name or even page title.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    I've posted a similar wish. Unfortunately even such sophisticated platforms as Wordpress and HubSpot don't support adequate page description. Although some sites might get away with one description (etc.) for every purpose, many sites will benefit from speaking to the user in the user's specific context. For example, a Search Engine Result Page description needs to explain what will be found and encourage a click. Once at the site, any description serves a different purpose and should be worded accordingly -- often very differently, with a different message. Ditto for titles. An H1, for example (although thankfully not one at WA) does NOT make a good file name or even page title.

    Randy Rensch supported this idea  · 
  11. 14 votes
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    5 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    As it is, "back" means "abort," "next" means "back" and then next means "submit." And people overlook the Confirm button because on a large screen it's way off to the side. They think they're looking at an acknowledgement page, go away, and the registration is lost. Worse, nobody knows it.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    I'd settle for being able to customize the button labels globally. And/or being able to place explanatory text next to them, or as a pop-up or hover text. When people get confused, we lose registrations ... and money ... and waste a lot of time sorting out and explaining the issue.

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  12. 15 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Wishlist » SEO  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  13. 4 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Support has suggested I add these thoughts to the wish list. As it's related to segmentation and should be part of a general mailing-process overhaul (sorry, I don't really see any significant improvement in the recent update, but will look into it further when I can), here goes:

    I would still welcome a major overhaul of mailing capabilities (to include segmentation, consolidated click reporting, etc. better Advanced Search list organization), but meanwhile a couple of suggestions regarding “Send Now” (and possibly other modes).

    * Twice now, after doing a Send Now with a previously schedule mailing, I’ve forgotten to cancel the scheduled mailing, which means that the mailing went out again. (And I AM the guy who wrote the memo reminding others to do this! :-( ) Usually this might not be so bad, except my reason for having sent manually was that each time I revised the message for segments of our list (Members, Non-Members, and Former Members). As a result, the unwanted scheduled send said “Dear Former Member” to everyone on our Contacts list.
    SOLUTION: After a manual send of an Event Announcement (or on clicking Send Now), pop up a reminder: “Do you first want to cancel the Scheduled mailing? Otherwise it will go out as scheduled, even if you also send it now.” (That could probably be shortened.)

    * When Sending Now to a Saved Search, don’t send immediately after the search is selected. First, report the selection and the number of targeted addresses and ask for confirmation. This will help assure that the correct Search was chosen, or at least make me feel less nervous as the emails go out. You might also include a reminder that the actual number of recipients will be reduced by any already registered or who have opted out or been found undeliverable. (Because our Saved Searches are also used for the “Templates” mailing mode, the searches do not have these filters built in.)

    * And finally, as almost every one of our mailings results in someone opting out, I wish the opt-out process were more configurable. I’m certain some people think they’re opting out of all our emails when they are only opting out of one type of mailing. We should be explaining the options to them, should be giving them a chance to change their mind (that is, to confirm), and should have better reporting. (However, a thank you to Support for showing me today how to find out who opted out of a specific email.)

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  14. 55 votes
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    6 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    It seems that the nature of the Registration button depends on the site's design/setup, because ours is kelly green and huge, right next to our events' descriptions. Also unmissable on the list of events. I suggest anyone with a button design/location issue first talk with Support as to why buttons differ.

    But while on this subject, I do have some minor beefs:
    Can we change the button label? Traditionally in our 75-year-old organization we make "reservations" and the volunteers who handle them are still called "reservationists."

    In the mobile version of our site's list of events, if I remember right, the button comes above the event. Although nobody has complained, as a usability concern this seems very wrong. User should first be offered the details of the event, etc., before seeing the Register button. We have too many people coming from the Internet and reserving before they know the details of the event, let alone having a full picture of our club.

    Our motif is red and white, with some blue. It would be nice if we could change the color. (I didn't set up our site and am not Webmaster, so offhand I don't know if this is an easily changeable option. I suspect it might be.)

    BTW, I'm pleased that the word "free" no longer necessarily appears when a reservation doesn't require payment in advance, although WA previously provided us with a JavaScript workaround to hide the word in most cases. Now there are a lot of other things in the Registration process that need changing or variability ... but that would be another wish. :-)

  15. 129 votes
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    10 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    I wholeheartedly vote in favor of this wish generally, although our organization's newsletter needs will differ from those of, say, a church group or credit union. Some elements that I would consider essential are:

    1. Absolute simplicity in the creation process. A template does not provide the necessary ease unless the email is too simple to resemble most newsletters. I suggest providing an actual CMS, so that, once the newsletter is formatted, the editor merely has to "fill in the blanks." Tweaking the layout in current templates still has too steps and still requires some graphical ability to do well, especially given the quirks of WA formatting system and differences between email client displays.

    2. Unlimited length. We're using a template that I've custom made based on a raw example that Support kindly provided. So our newsletter is no longer limited to three sections. In a CMS approach, if a field or section isn't filled in, no blank space occurs in the layout. Unfortunately, WA's HTML editor doesn't quite understand that.

    3. Automatically adjust image files for this purpose. The images should be actually resized to whatever display size is specified. (It is dismaying but not surprising that some of our people still don't get that they can't drag a photo straight from the camera and "make it smaller" in WA.) And I'd want the process also to add specified white space around each image, as the CSS margin values are not respected by some email programs (e.g. Outlook 2010 et al).

    4. Duplicate web page version automatically created by WA system.

    5. Ability to format it using sound graphic arts principles. For some organizations this will be a simple look. For others it might look like your typical drug store circular. What right will depend on the organization and the nature and extent of the content.

    5. Specific opt-in/out. The entire opt-out system needs enhancement. Currently we learn nothing from it, and for that matter neither does the user. They opt out of one type of email, yet still get the other type, and we get angry missives.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Some newsletters are a combination of news and promotion. For the promotion segment, it would be helpful to have an Event description field that is shorter than what might be on the website's detail page for the event. Events could then be inserted via macro. Newsletters are already time-consuming enough to compose.

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  16. 51 votes
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    12 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Not recalling that I had already requested this, I started to submit it again. No sense in requesting it twice, but there are some additional thoughts in this, so FWIW:

    Give admins a master calendar view of all scheduled emails. This will serve three CRITICAL functions:

    1) schedule can be adjusted so that our club doesn't send out too many per week, and not all on the same day.

    2) we can see what's going out in the next day or two and double-check. When dozens of events are set up at the beginning of our season, mistakes slip through. Proofing each as the come up is practical. Proofing everything at once, sanely, is not.

    3) Lets us see graphically if we are sending too many emails per week. Probably we are, and then there are gaps. Since we have no way of tracking opt-outs, it is that much more important to avoid being an annoyance in the first place.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Yes, please! Our organization has three people authorized to schedule "announcement" emails, plus one or two authorized (or at least able) to send "manual" emails. I am one of each, and (theoretically) I coordinate the sends. But it's such a chore and any notes I make are so quickly outdated, I've pretty much let things go as they will. In addition, our organization uses Meet-Up and Facebook, resulting in much of our list getting several more emails regarding each event. I suppose it would be way too much to wish we could integrate all three mail schedules in one view, but if I could at least view all our scheduled WA emails at a glance that would be VERY helpful.

    I see you're testing the ability to schedule Manual emails. That's nice, but for me, system-wide coordination (not to mention INtegration) is a higher priority, and I hope your scheduling upgrade will include a schedule view.

    (PS: Thanks for asking for testing volunteers, but this week in the States has been rather hectic, and anyway I don't have the required web cam.)

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Need a master list (report, chart, calendar, whatever) of all schedule Automatic Promotional Announcement emails, so that at a glance we can see what emails are going out, when. Otherwise, we're very likely to have several emails (for various events) going out at the same time. Our organization does not have one person organizing and entering data for all events. Spamming our list is not cool, and manually gathering and continually updating a list from up to half a dozen active events is not efficient.

    PS: Meanwhile, it would be helpful if the control panel would display the scheduled date, not just "X days before." It would at least save me the trouble of having to calculate every mailing date.

  17. 5 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Correction/clarification: I said that an image will be displayed at various sizes depending on the page, giving an event description vs an event calendar listing for example. This happens only if the image tag has NO height and width parameters in it. In that case, a very large image will scale up or down to fit whatever space is available to it in the layout. This is nice on a web page, but in my Outlook email display, it is HUGE, even though the type is normal size, and on (at least) an old iPhone some humongous images have mystified the display, unless size parameters are used, which, as I've just noted, misses the point.

    My overall point remains.

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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Scaling down an image is relatively easy. I'm talking about changing the actual dimensions (in pixels) of an image, not just changing the size of its display (which is what the sizing of an image in WA's editor does).

    There are various utilities for this online, but you (like me) might shy away from recommending this to your organizations' users, for security and standardization (training, etc.) reasons.

    However, if you're using Windows 7 (the only current OS I'm familiar with), you can resize an image by using the "Paint" program that is part of Windows 7. (Start > Search programs and files > choose Paint. The results are entirely professional looking.

    Sizing UP, however (and the main reason I'm posting this) is problematic. Unless your increase is small (roughly a maximum of 200%, assuming the original is sharp), the image will become blurry. This can sometimes be managed by using an image editor's "sharpen" tool, but without image editing expertise and suitable software, the results might not look so professional. Even so, you might like the effect, but I wouldn't rely on it as standard procedure.

    You can also upsize the display of a small image by using the same HTML code that WA uses to downsize them. Assuming your photo is (for example) 100x200 and you want to make it show as 200x400, the code would be:
    <img src="imagefilename.jpg" height=200 width=400>
    However, a browser's upsizing algorigthm might not give you quite as good a result as upsizing it in, say, Photoshop, and definitely will make it more fuzzy the larger you go.

    Test your results on a wide variety of devices, software, and versions. I realize that's what you're really asking for, and I'm agreed, it would be nice if the exact size image could be served depending on the device requesting it. To some extent, WA already does this: for example, you can insert a very large image, and size it to fit the small (about 375 pixels wide) event description workspace, but in the calendar display of all events, a much wider version will appear. Beware, however, that an image that is actually very large (e.g., 1200+ pixelseamight be slow to load or confusing to some small screen devices.

    Compared with other things on my own WA wishlist, this is very low priority. For now, it might be better to educate your users on the advantages and artistry of well used "white space."

  18. 70 votes
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    25 comments  ·  Wishlist » Members  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    We want to include various types of organizations in our Contacts mailing list, but they will not be "Members" in any way. Can we add such a subcategory, and (whether or not) that is possible, we would want special fields that are applicable only to an organization. We do NOT want these fields to be Common Fields, because the Common fields appear on all forms everywhere ... and as marketers know, the more fields on a form, the less likely people will tackle it, even if the extra fields are not "required."

    I realize that maybe we could make the Organizations a sort of "pretend" Member category, and set our billing and Advanced Search parameters to suit, but that seems an open invitation for unintended consequences. For example, we would not want any Organization to receive emails or dues notices intended only for Members. Surprised this isn't already an option, so maybe there's a way to set this up?

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  19. 78 votes
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    28 comments  ·  Wishlist » Emails  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Repeatedly, we've seen our Automatic Event Announcements go out at midnight, eastern time. (We are located on the US East Coast, and WA is in our time zone.) That's a terrible time to send most emails. If an event has a start time, its announcements go out at that hour on the day schedule ... and 8 p.m. isn't a great time to send, either.

    Either send emails at optimal hours (dayparts), or state your sending policy clearly and up-front. Optimal times vary by organization, industry and message, but generally 10 a.m or early afternoon are best. Far better, anyway, than the middle of the night!

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  20. 6 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Wishlist » Events  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Randy Rensch commented  · 

    Agreed, this happened to us, too. It is not too difficult to take the extra step of cancelling the original schedule, except that I would be worried that the "override" email might disappear. Sometimes we carefully customize them, and losing the custom version would be a tragecy.

    Why would I be concerned that an email could disappear? I figured I'd manually (in the automatic announcement setting, not manual emails from templates) send to our list in segments (members, then non-members). I sent to Non-Members, revised the email then sent to Members. But the Non-Members send was still in queue at the time that I saved the Members version. So when the Non-Members emails went out (not long later), THE NON-MEMBERS GOT THE MEMBERS VERSION! There are way, way too many surprises in this system.

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