ClassCreator.com | Blockbuster sites, amazing reunions

Share Tips

New Topic Subscription Options  

The new email-the-class -- Some suggestions

Forums: Suggestions and Feedback
Created on: 08/26/10 06:26 PM Views: 2197 Replies: 27
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 6:26 PM

The new email-the-class is pleasant. I have some recommendations, some of which may be easy for you to add, and some more difficult.

1) The selection box needs to be MUCH longer. The way it was before was considerably faster to use. When I'm selecting, say, 30 or 40 names out of a list of 600 people, there's far too much scrolling and mouse-moving. If the selection box contained perhaps 3 times as many times, the finding-clicking-next process would be considerably faster.

2) When the messages have been sent, we are presented with a list of the e-mail address to which the messages were sent. Far more useful would be a list of the classmates' names to whom it had been sent. I like to cut-and-paste this list so I know who I sent that message to.

3) This has been requested before: A way of storing the messages that we send. That would be helpful, especially given 4 and 5, below. What I do is to go to the source code, and cut-and-paste it into an e-mail which I send to myself. I save that along with one of the bulk messages that I sent to myself. So I have a copy of what I sent and I can paste in the source code again if I want to send the same bulk message.

4) The way it was before, once I sent the message I could press the back-key on the browser, and my message and subject would be there... and I could select some more people, etc. Now, perhaps because of the addition of the search feature on the selection box, my browser wants to refresh the screen when I go back to the e-mail page (Firefox). Then, when the screen is refreshed, the contents of the e-mail that had sent is gone. This becomes a very disagreeable issue, as explained in the next paragraph -- if there is a workaround or something you can suggest, I would highly appreciate it. The workaround that I have found is simple enough: Don't use the search feature, and then the browser doesn't refresh when I go back.

5) The editor has major flaws. This has been mentioned from time to time on these forums, and I am surprised that more people haven't complained. It's possible that users think that they have done something wrong, when in fact it is the fault of the editor. Basically, it will add extra line spacing and change size and font -- and it does this when it sends the e-mail. (When editing webpages, the editor does this alterations of what's there when the page is saved.) It doesn't do this all the time, of course... the source code gets filled up with and pairings and perhaps it leaves one end off or something. The result can be an e-mail with 3 or 4 blank lines between the paragraphs, and odd fonts here and there. Not very appealing. What you see on the screen is definitely not what you get. To stave off an obvious question, this is not from text that is imported from MS Word. I often do cut-and-paste text -- but this is occurs even on paragraphs typed in directly.

Because of the flaws in the editor, I will send several iterations of an e-mail to myself, to find out what it's really going to look like. In the past, I could send it to myself, press the back key on the browser, do some editing and tweaking and get rid of some of the extra line spaces that the editor inserted, and try it again. Now, because the screen gets refreshed, I lose my edits.
So I save them (cut-and-paste) into a separate file, so I have them, so I can paste it back.

-- If the selection box were longer (at least a screen-length, or maybe 100 or so), then there'd be less need to search.

-- If there was a save feature, then returning to the enter-email screen would have me lose the contents.

-- If there was a preview, then I might have more confidence and wouldn't have to do the trial sendings.

-- If the editor were better, I wouldn't have to do the back and forth iterations.

I do about two-thirds of my bulk e-mailings out of ClassCreator, and the rest using MS Outlook using addresses concatenated on a spreadsheet and plugged in as a BCC.

Hope this has been helpful.

Cheers,
-- Fred

Reply
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM - Response #1

For #2, I suggest BOTH names & e-mail addresses, that way you will still have the e-mail addresses it was sent to and not remove something that someone else liked.


Reply
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:24 PM - Response #2

Thanks, Kyle ! Even better, these 4 columns:
FirstName Lastname Lastname Firstname e-address

Being able to save the source would be helpful -- and the longer selection box would be MUCH better. I'm at the stage with our reunion (43 days away) that I am sending targeted e-mails to various groups, such as "paid for Saturday but not for Friday" and "have a guest coming but didn't tell us the name for our nametags."

Thanks !

Reply
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:40 PM - Response #3

Fred, I will go through all of this, but we haven't posted the new Email The Class system. We just did some updates to the way the Class groupings looks/functions. Out of town at the moment but will get an update when I get back next week.


Reply
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:48 PM - Response #4

Although we can discuss any of these at greater length after the rest of the new email system launches, here's some quick comments about your points:

1) I'm sure we can do that.

2) Sure we can do that too.

3) This and a lot more in remainder or new system.

4) Not entirely sure on this one but the new system requires an email be saved before it can be sent, making it easy to send it to a different group of people whenever you want.

5) I haven't seen any extra spaces but I'm not disputing that it's happening to you. This editor is known as the FCK Editor, and is now newly redone as the CKE Editor. In our "spare time" we'll upgrade to the new version which is far more CSS based and hope this problem discontinues. Guess we'll see.


Reply
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM - Response #5

Thanks, Brad -- it's not a problem for me; I'm just offering some feedback from the field. Getting the "old" classmate profile reports back (as a small-print option on the report screen) would be appreciated.

Thanks !

-- Fred

Reply
Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 8:30 PM - Response #6

Can we work in what that one did into the current one? I'd rather not try to maintain and explain 2. Unfortunately this is a project I really haven't had my finger on so I need to get better versed when I get back to the office. Maybe you can give me your thoughts on options we could add to the current version that would allow you to do what you want without having to permanently maintain a link to the old one.


Reply
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 12:01 AM - Response #7

Fred Weis wrote:

1) The selection box needs to be MUCH longer. The way it was before was considerably faster to use. When I'm selecting, say, 30 or 40 names out of a list of 600 people, there's far too much scrolling and mouse-moving. If the selection box contained perhaps 3 times as many times, the finding-clicking-next process would be considerably faster.

2) When the messages have been sent, we are presented with a list of the e-mail address to which the messages were sent. Far more useful would be a list of the classmates' names to whom it had been sent. I like to cut-and-paste this list so I know who I sent that message to.

3) This has been requested before: A way of storing the messages that we send. That would be helpful, especially given 4 and 5, below. What I do is to go to the source code, and cut-and-paste it into an e-mail which I send to myself. I save that along with one of the bulk messages that I sent to myself. So I have a copy of what I sent and I can paste in the source code again if I want to send the same bulk message.

Just 5 hours later (or less) ... and all that is there, ready to be used and be useful.

Are you guys going to congratulate yourselves, or do I have to be the one to do it ? Congratulations on an excellent program.

I am impressed ! Thank you much ! I am sending out more targeted e-mails tonight.

Cheers again,
-- Fred

Reply
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 1:26 AM - Response #8

Looking good...

http://screencast.com/t/MjJhZjlhOW

However, some selections fail the test. Adding those who have not registered yet, brings in all those who haven't registered yet -- including those for whom we don't have an email address. We ARE sending emails, so that selection would have to be narrowed to those who aren't registered AND we actually have an email address.

I didn't actually send a test mail to this selection, so maybe that gets sorted out at the SEND end.

Rolling Eyes

Reply
Edited 08/27/10 1:27 AM
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 1:34 AM - Response #9

More:

Our attending the reunion question has four choices:
1 Yes
2 No
3 Maybe
4 (no answer)

The selection named "have not indicated they are attending the reunion" really are those in category 4. But that choice really brings up those who indicated they are not attending.

Perhaps those four groups should be treated separately. I'd email something differently to a person who hasn't yet answered the question vs. someone who has said "no".

Reply
Edited 08/27/10 1:36 AM
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 8:28 AM - Response #10

Heh, there's nothing like being the last to know. One programmer is back at the office working on some of the core stuff you see here, another is working on some of the new stuff you don't yet see, and I'm here on the Gulf being clueless. Smile I think that's a sign I should put up the laptop for the day and figure out where all of this stands when I get back Monday.


Reply
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 10:59 AM - Response #11

No one here will criticize you for being totally off-line for the next 72 hours, Brad. Do it! Wink

Reply
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 2:23 PM - Response #12

Back at the office? =)


Reply
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 3:11 PM - Response #13

After using the revised email-the-class system last night, I will first say THANK YOU for the improvements. They're great. Excellent work.

Further suggestions, some small, some more difficult --

1) Storing previous messages: There are 9 slots for storage. This is great -- but doesn't address what I think you want to offer. When I'm sending out an e-mail, I may send out 3 or 4 or 5 iterations to myself, until I get the editing of the mailing the way I want it. Each iteration is saved, and it will toss the older messages off the bottom of the pile. Now that I know how this works, I can delete the iterations as I send them, to keep the slots open. Still, more slots would be good. 20 or 30 might be okay. Or no limit.

2) The stored messages are date-stamped. You might also want to time-stamp them.

3) After the mail is sent, the list now shows the classmates' names, as well as e-mail addresses. Suggestions to make this more useful: 1) It is displayed in order alphabetized by e-mail address. Sort by lastname, firstname so we can reconcile it with other lists. 2) Don't just display "Firstname Lastname" -- have two more columns with "Lastname" and "Firstname" so we can do our own sorts 3) The table of the current display is not able to be cut-and-pasted into a spreadsheet. A different display that could be would be much more useful for the "keep track of everything" types like myself.

4) If you had a box that said "Select e-mail to myself for testing" it might make for fewer questions on the forums for "how do I check to see what my e-mail is going to look like" which we see from time to time.

5) Bug: If the user (cursor) is in the Find box, pressing Enter will send the e-mails immediately. This is probably not a good thing, and may make for frustration if people haven't completed the message, etc. It's a bad thing.

6) Perhaps have an intermediate screen that says "You are about to send this message (preview of message) to these people (list of people). Continue ?" This could be very helpful. I find I am fearful that I'm going to send out an incomplete message to dozens or hundreds of people.

7) IMPORTANT -- there is not a tie-in with the Reunion Planner. Perhaps this is in the upcoming upgrades. When I am sending a "reminder to make your payment" message, I don't want to send it to classmates who have paid. I'd like to be able to send it to classmates who said "Yes" and haven't paid, classmates who said "maybe" who haven't paid, classmates who left it blank, etc.

8 ) What would be ideal would be to be able to import (ASCII, Excel) a list of names into the program, and it would match them up with existing classmates and do the check selection of those names. Yes, this opens up many difficulties. If people work from a source that was download from the class list, then the names should match. Just an idea. I keep all the payment and promise-to-pay and coming-on-this-day and might-bring-my-husband information on a spreadsheet, where it's easy to sort and select the names of the targeted group. My targeted groups for specific reminder notices are around 30-70 in size so it's not too much hand work to select 30-70 names. (Class of ~570, 330 profiles, 170 "yeses" and right now 68 paids.)


The button at the end that says "Edit message / Send to more recipients" is great.
Having the selections highlighted in yellow is great.
Retaining the selected classmates is great.
The stored message system is great, and can be made better.

Again, hope this is helpful.

Cheers, and thanks again.

-- Fred

p.s. Did you know that you can't do an " 8 )" [with no space] without it invoking an emoticon ? As in: 6) 7) Cool 9) 10)

Reply
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 4:48 PM - Response #14

There is not a limit of 9. There is no limit. If you send 1000 messages, 1000 messages will show up in the list of previous messages.


Reply
Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM - Response #15

#2 - done. Added the timestamp

#3 - I'm able to paste the results into Excel. Although my first attempt failed .. if you start your selection with the sentence above the table then drag down below the table, it works just fine.

#5 - It does the same thing with the Subject field, this is not new. I've fixed both of these issues.

I also spent a fair amount of time making it so that if you accidentally submit without a subject, message, or with zero recipients selected, the form just reloads with the error messages on top instead of forcing you to use the back button. I hate having to "go back" to fix errors on a form submission.


Reply
Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM - Response #16

How difficult would it be to include 'insert codes' for the class members' firstname, lastname similar to the automated emails that go out after someone joins the group?


Quote:


$first_name$ - inserts the first name of Classmate.
$school$ - inserts the name of your school.
$year$ - inserts "Class of XXXX" - where XXXX is your graduating year.
$homepage$ - inserts a link to your home page.
$ca_first_name$ - inserts Administrator's first name.
$ca_last_name$ - inserts Administrator's last/maiden name.
$ca_married_name$ - inserts Administrator's married name.

Reply
Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 11:56 AM - Response #17

More on that later, but we're moving the automated emails in Preferences into the new Email The Class area along with other emails that can be saved and tested from there. They never really belonged under Preferences anyway, we only put them there because at that time there really wasn't a good place for them. Now there will be.


Reply
Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 10:34 PM - Response #18

I've added two new buttons:

"Preview Message" which opens the composed email in a new window, using the email template for the class.

"Test Message" sends a test version of the message to the person who is composing the email.


Quote:

How difficult would it be to include 'insert codes' for the class members' firstname, lastname similar to the automated emails that go out after someone joins the group?

Most of these were already in there. I've added the $ca_xxx$ ones.


Reply
Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 3:50 PM - Response #19

Thanks Rick:

I'm a co-admin on another CC website and trying to help them by sending out an email. Using the $strings allows me to personalize the email to the recipient and allows me to 'sign' the name of the sender as if it was the Root Admin -- but it still has my name in the "From" field (and shows the sender as "noreply..." reply address of course).

I guess there's no getting around the fact that I'm the sender unless the root admin provides their password so I can log in as them to send the email. While I'm a guest on their website, the class members won't recognize me by name.

Perhaps you have another work-around for this unique 'coaching' relationship? Idea

For example, change my "name" to "XXX High School Class of 19XX" which would make the emails come from this 'name'? But then the 'true reply email address of the sender' that appears at the bottom would be my email address.

Reply
Edited 08/29/10 3:52 PM
Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 4:17 PM - Response #20

John will checking this checkbox in Preferences help you?

"Emails sent using the "Email The Class" feature by default display the sending Administrator's name and email address. Check this box if you would like all emails sent using the "Email The Class" function to display the Site Email Address and Email "From" Name above instead of the Sending Administrator's name and email address. "


Reply
Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 5:48 PM - Response #21

That'll do it. Just have to arrange for the other class to:

#1 set up a specific email address for their class and
#2 have the root admin check that box in Preferences

Thanks

Reply
Monday, August 30, 2010 at 3:10 AM - Response #22

Rick Root wrote:

There is not a limit of 9. There is no limit. If you send 1000 messages, 1000 messages will show up in the list of previous messages.

My apologies -- I was wrong about that.

Great work, Rick ! Very much appreciated, by many people in the future too, I'd say. MUCH easier and more functional.

Thank you much.

-- Fred

Reply
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 2:29 PM - Response #23

I've now added the option to email people who have registered for the reunion and have either paid or not paid.


Reply
Friday, October 1, 2010 at 8:17 AM - Response #24

Hi, Brad --
Small item, but to bring it to your attention.

The new "E-mail the Class" program is outstanding. I cannot commend you and Rick enough. There are some small improvements that I'd like to see; they are minor and I'll bring them up another time.

We're ONE WEEK out from the biggest reunion by far my class has ever held.

Small item on the Mailing List.
You enter the names by clicking on the check box.
Did you know that if you click on a name in the list (the right-hand column), it will "un-check" that name ?

This seems to be put in as a feature, but to me it is dangerous, in the sense that the user may not know that he un-checked a name on the list.
I don't regard it as intuitive.
I clicked on a name accidentally, while moving the mouse over toward the scroll bar.

THANKS MUCH -- ClassCreator gets a huge gold star. My classmates LOVE the website.

Cheers,
-- Fred

Reply
Friday, October 1, 2010 at 8:40 AM - Response #25

Fred,

How are you suggesting that a name that was put in the right column get removed from the right-column? Are you saying you need to clear the whole right-column? It seems intuitive to me that if you can click on a name in the left-column to move it to the right-column, why can't you click on the name to remove it from the right-column and move it back to the left-column?

Maybe you are suggesting that this text (already there in the instructions section): "If you wish to exclude any Classmates from your mailing you may deselect their names before clicking the "Send Email" button." be modified to say HOW to deselect the classmate, by saying "... deselect their names by clicking on the name....."

Or under the column heading "Selected Classmates", put "click to deselect" or "click to unselect" (which my browser says is NOT A WORD)


Reply
Friday, October 1, 2010 at 8:52 AM - Response #26

Kyle Erickson wrote:

How are you suggesting that a name that was put in the right column get removed from the right-column? Are you saying you need to clear the whole right-column?

A click on the check box puts it in.
A click on the check box takes it out.
To me, the list on the right should just be a list -- not a place to remove a name.

Kyle Erickson wrote:


It seems intuitive to me that if you can click on a name in the left-column to move it to the right-column, why can't you click on the name to remove it from the right-column and move it back to the left-column?

Maybe you are suggesting that this text (already there in the instructions section): "If you wish to exclude any Classmates from your mailing you may deselect their names before clicking the "Send Email" button." be modified to say HOW to deselect the classmate, by saying "... deselect their names by clicking on the name....."

Or under the column heading "Selected Classmates", put "click to deselect" or "click to unselect" (which my browser says is NOT A WORD)

The problem, as I see it, is that it is too easy to accidentally unselect a clasmate with an inadvertent mouse click. I am working on a list of 210 classmates, and I've already done it twice accidentally... and when I've deselected someone, there is no clue that they are gone, other than the message that "Your email will be sent to 210 members." changes to 209. And when I've lost a name, I have no idea whose name I clicked on, and which name was lost.

If you are going to deselect this way, then the deselected name in the left column should be highlighted with a red background, perhaps.

Or better yet, don't be able to deselect in the right column. For me, I don't find it intuitive at all. The check-boxes are where things are selected.

Back to "work" for me....

-- Fred

Reply
Friday, October 1, 2010 at 9:43 AM - Response #27

I agree. I actually never realized clicking a name in column 2 deselected it. Too easy to mess up there, and overall really not necessary. Overall a minor issue, we'll hit it next time we're in there doing Email The Class tweaks. I've got it on an open Task here so it will get done. Thanks Fred!


Reply
New Topic  
Subscription Options: Have all new forum posts sent directly to your email.
Subscription options are available after you log in.