With our final and largest beta being readied for release to our beta testers, today’s 3.0 preview post will be longer than usual as Beta 5 covers a lot of ground.

Beta 5 is all about the client facing items. Proposals, questionnaires, invoices, and contact forms are all added or recreated with this release. Client Access as it was in T2 is no more. With T3, clients access items directly, be it an invoice, a questionnaire, or a proposal. With this, Brands become much more important and far more powerful.

In T3, your public look and feel, your contact information, and even custom domains are all determined by the brand. As part of this, we’ve added more color and image settings, including separate email and printout graphics (as well as container HTML for emails and printouts in the advanced configuration page).

With these options you can easily create highly customized pages without ever touching the advanced configuration page. With the exception of the invoice screenshot that illustrates how customizable the design is, all of the screenshots below use the default options. If you don’t provide a page background, we add a texture to your background color to make the page a bit less plain.

We had to change the proposal editor inside the app (compared to the prior version) to handle the additional features. The advantage of the new layout is we can show more information on the page.

When you hover over the recipient, several icons appear, including one to email an invitation to the recipient and another to open the direct link in another window. Using the Email Proposal button at the top, all of the recipients will be sent their own trackable direct link in an email you compose. Unlike T2, there isn’t a preview mode as that often caused confusion for users, instead we added a button to resets the statistics for the proposal. Clicking on the direct link icon pulls up the proposal either on your brand’s custom domain or its secure tave.com subdomain.

In this example proposal, I’ve provided two quotes, which are displayed along with my introduction (the order is customizable too, another new feature in T3). You’ll notice that the links showing the steps to book the proposal are now textual, allowing your brand to completely customize the look of them, a welcome change from T2 with its hard-coded Client Access navigation design. The orange colors in this Brand come from the default accent color seen in the first screenshot above.

The contact information below the page is all configured on the Brand as well. The screenshot above highlights two completely fictional quotes, one using a package and the other not. There’s an option to show individual package item prices as well as the package discount, but it isn’t enabled in this screenshot. Another new feature here is the ability for your client to explicitly decline a quote, which may provide more insight into what your client’s are looking for. The final item in the second quote, “Wedding Art Prints”, is followed by a description from the new product editor.

In the next screenshot, the client has selected the Gold Collection above and is prompted to select the payment schedule that works best for them. If you only added one payment schedule to the proposal they skip this step and continue on.

The subsequent pages are exactly what you’d expect, so I’ll skip them here, but the configuration for two of the steps are worth highlighting. Contracts have been improved with more explicit “initial here” boxes, many more placeholders, a copy of the sales order, and 1-4 signers (T2 was only 1 or 2, and it could only be set on the contract itself). Here’s a small clip from the Proposal’s contract editor, where you can configure those signatures and preview the quote based on which quote and payment schedule are selected.

The payment system in T3 has been enhanced to add an “Offline Cash Payments” option and you can now enable multiple payment options, so your client can select to mail you a check, pay with PayPal or Google Checkout, or use a credit card with your merchant account.

To illustrate just how customizable the new client facing pages are, here’s an invoice page using Karen’s brand design. When you or your workflow email an invoice to a client, they receive a direct link to this page.

There you have it, the highlights from the final Táve 3.0 beta!


Táve 3.0 Release Plan

With only a few small exceptions, like simplifying the new New Lead Wizard, this beta essentially brings us to feature complete status. That’s quite a milestone when you consider my very first code submission labeled as 3.0 was on November 2nd, 2009 (changelist 3009 and we’re on change 5960 now, though we did release 2.8 and 2.9 between then and now it still illustrates how nearly as many changes have gone into 3.0 as have gone into all prior releases combined).

We’ll be working out the details and scheduling of the public release over the next couple weeks and will post more details about that then.

When we began work on Beta 5, our final beta, in early August, we were aiming for a 2 month release schedule. It appears we’ll be pretty close to that goal as we’re now down to 10 points for this iteration in our project plan (our points are averaging about one day). Beta 5 is extremely exciting, as it completely replaces our client facing pages from T2, bringing far more attractive default designs, superior browser compatibility, and many more features. We’ll go deeper into it in our Beta 5 preview in two weeks.

In the meantime, I’d like to illustrate how some of the fairly simple changes in T3 can have a huge impact on what you get out of the system, by sharing a preview of the new sidebars from the Jobs and Contacts homepages. The Job section opens with an overview highlighting revenue (including a small chart), jobs that need attention, upcoming payments, etc. The Contacts section however, which replaces the Clients and Vendors sections, is more of an address book and thus opens directly to your full contact list.

One of the things we’ve been hearing about in T2 is that it isn’t always easy to get to your open leads or booked jobs, check account balances, or export only certain items. With the new lists in T3, all of that and more is available with a quick click (filtering is no longer required). We’ve also added a few other useful features here, like being able to star jobs and contacts that you want to quickly access later, to allowing bulk changes to the items (such as deleting or completing multiple items at once).

We’ve mentioned in earlier posts how contacts in T3 can be re-used around the app, being a client here, a subject there, and a vendor on another job. These lists bring all that together. For instance, adding a contact as a vendor on a job automatically adds them to the vendors list, rather than having a separate Vendors section as we do in T2.

Speaking of organizing important items, we also replaced the “Attention Needed” box on the homepage, which had a tendency to get rather massive for busy studios by listing each item right there, with a new “Right Now” summarized snapshot of your studio that links various item counts to these new lists.

These screenshots were taken with my test studio, so your actual data will make more sense than mine.

In Closing

We’ve had mixed reaction to our preview posts, with some feeling reassured that we’re doing the right thing and on track but others feeling teased by them. So we’ve spent the last couple months (as we in hurricane country say) “hunkered down” focused on development of this final beta, knowing that what everybody really wants (us included!) is the final T3 release announcement. Once Beta 5 completes the beta process, we intend to ramp up our communication significantly.

Until then, and as always, we’re available via Helpdesk. Thank you for your support!