The “Small” Features
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Building software that people love to use is often more about the attention to detail on the small features than the “flashy” big features. I am the first to admit that the “flashy” features can have a lot of sway in a prospective demo…but they are not the key to the long term happiness of the camp administrator and parent. Rather, long term happiness is won in the trenches of the small features – the small ways in which those bigger features work and the thoughtful, less obvious features that make a difference in someone’s day.
We can all agree on the big module needs of camp software and we can probably agree on the general functionality of those big modules. But, how one gets there, the attention to detail, the analysis of how one uses the system, the understanding of the work flow and how the software interplays with that flow…this is where great software that people love to use is built.
Small features and nuances matter. They impact the parent experience greatly – how we present registration choices, how we display what has been selected already, how we indicate mandatory fields…all good examples of a fine line between frustration and pleasure, depending on seemingly small decisions made along the way. You know first-hand that small features make a huge difference in your daily routine. The ability to save time, communicate more effectively with parents, generate more meaningful information from the system…these all live in the nuances of small software features.
In my last post, I discussed one of those fancier features, discounts. I love to discuss those big additions and I was just about to talk about the next big one in this post because that’s what everyone likes to hear about, right? I have done this long enough to know that you care about those small, fun nuances just as much as we do! So, with that, allow me to focus on some of those smaller features in our 2014.08 (Aug 2014) release:
- Quickly enter Reference Data – this is not going to win the “feature of the year” award anywhere but it saves a lot of time; the ability to copy and paste large lists of data into our reference data fields (e.g. drop downs of cities, countries, custom fields). Compared to manually updating those lists one entry at a time, this is a pretty big deal!
- Copy forms across seasons or business units – create one form template and just copy it across your various camps or from one season to another.
- Clone a Season – take a copy of the attributes of one season (e.g. Summer 2014) and clone them for Summer 2015 so that you are just updating minor details (we even move the dates of your sessions forward to the next year, taking into account shifts in days from one year to the next)
- More control over display of Household Accounts – You choose which of your active seasons you want “open” in the household accounts screen and you have easy access to the details of all seasons’ financial details.
- Easily email individual invoices – send a quick email from a household account screen with their invoice attached and choose the recipient(s).
- Shortcuts and tooltips – we have added shortcuts and quick tooltips throughout with one goal in mind, making your flow through the software as quick as possible.
There were many other small new features in the August release and you can see the full details in the release notes (in the Members’Portal).
I hope you find these smaller enhancements helpful and allow your inner “geekness” to enjoy the intricacies of software development!
I will be back shortly, discussing our next big module release – the new camper medical management piece arrives on your browser in a week.
Love your Software,