Release Notes | May 2015

Dear awesome people,

This month brings some great new features as well as updates and bug fixes to Táve. As always, I want to emphasize that we are user driven. The improvements, features and direction we take with the application are based on your feedback and help. We get such great ideas from you guys and we hope that we can incorporate many of them over time. Some may seem like smaller requests but, in fact, they often fit into a larger part of the development road map. So even if we don’t get to your request right away, know that there may be bigger plans.

Below is a quick video going over some of the highlights of some of the new features in the latest update. This includes using tokens in Questionnaire headings, sections, paragraphs and labels, a new double booking warning drop down, an update to allow deliverable workflows to be added to booked or fulfillment stage. We’ve also revamped our rich text editor with a completely new file uploader that connect to various sources such as Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram and more.

For the full list of what’s included in this release, check out the release notes here. If there is anything you would like explanation of, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best,

Topher

An Open Letter to Our Users

This month has been a big one for Táve. The team and I were at one of the biggest photography conferences that Táve attends. We got to show off the app to a huge number of new people as well as meet some of our existing users in person. It was electric.

I was also honored to be brought on in a new capacity.  As Adrian mentioned in his recent blog post, Táve has gone from a team of two to a team of seven in the last year alone.  (I’m a little bit biased but I have to say that our support people are amazing. If you haven’t chatted with them, definitely reach out and say hi.)

This growth has been because of you guys. Your support and contributions to each other in the Facebook User Group is invaluable. Your push to drive Táve forward through enhancement suggestions, bug reports, and some crazy awesome feature requests is energizing. You guys have built a community and I am so humbled to be a part of it. It’s because of this community that I accepted the position of Vice President of Product.

The most important thing that this means for you is that I will be your advocate. As a full time photographer myself, I know what goes into the day-to-day of running your own photography business. I’m listening to you guys, hearing what you need, understanding your specific use cases and making a case for you as we drive forward with the app. Again, your contributions directly affect the direction we take.

We’ve just released a massive list of bug fixes today. And now, in collaboration with the team, I’m building a road map for continued improvements as well as some pretty kickass new features.

So I ask you, continue to give us your feedback be it good or bad. Continue to dream big with your feature requests and enhancements. (I still want Automations to make me coffee). And while not every feature request will be implemented and not every bug will be fixed immediately, together as a community we can continue to make Táve one of the best studio management softwares available.

Thank you for being a part of #teamtave.

Topher

If you’d like to see some of the major enhancements of the release we just launched, check out the video below!

Welcome Topher Villasimón, VP of Product

The last few months since the release of Táve 4 have been quite exciting. The resulting unprecedented growth has allowed us to significantly expand the Táve Team. We’ve gone from a two-man team this time last year to a team of seven, many of whom you’re likely familiar with if you’ve messaged us, attended one of our new weekly webinars, or participated in the Facebook Táve User Group.

Topher SimonI’m pleased to announce that one of the newest members of our team, Topher Villasimón, has stepped up to the role of Vice President of Product. Already this year, he has reorganized our support team and the process in which we respond to incoming messages to improve both our response times and the way we track issues and feature requests. He’s also overseeing our How-to site and is even working on a new and far more accessible documentation site to make it easier to dive deep into Táve.

Topher has also worked with Jason and me to create a new development, testing, and release process, as well as creating a roadmap of upcoming releases that balance and prioritize features and issues from our backlog into more manageably sized releases. The first of these releases is ready for publication when we return to the office from WPPI, while the second is in active development and the third and fourth are being outlined and sized.

By far, Topher’s most important function as VP of Product is that of customer advocate. While my background in cinema and photography lead to the creation of Táve, the majority of my time at Táve today is consumed by feature design and development. Táve’s mission of helping creative small businesses like yours to build a stronger and more profitable business depends not on my experience but on your day-to-day experience running your business with Táve. For that we need to hear from you, we need to know what you need, and we need to weave that knowledge into the development of the best possible product for your business. For that, Topher is your voice inside Táve.

If you’re attending WPPI, be sure to visit our booth (#1561) and meet Topher, Jason, and me, and share with us your thoughts and feedback. We’re also sharing a sneak peek of the release currently in development to get your feedback on our new streamlined approach to quoting, client driven quote upgrades, and simplified product configurations.

PS. Even if you can’t join us at WPPI this year, you can still take advantage of our double-bonus show special through the end of the week. This is our last special until “Black Friday”, so if you’re an admin, sign in and check out the details on your dashboard.

 

 

Introducing Workflow Progress Reports

Most of the past month has been spent polishing up Táve 4 while improving our tutorials and documentation, including our new Webinar series (our next webinar is tonight!). As we continue that process, we’re pleased to announce an exciting new feature that makes it easier than ever to get a birds-eye view of where your jobs and deliverables stand:

Workflow Task Progression ReportWorkflow Progress by Task

As you can see from the example report above, your jobs move through their workflow in a “waterfall” fashion, starting at the top left and slowly working towards the bottom right. All of the tasks you create in your workflow are listed in these new reports. Hovering your mouse over each block shows a tooltip with additional details about the task, including it’s due date.

We have another version of this report that lists all of your open deliverables, grouped by their workflow:

Deliverable Task ProgressionDeliverable Progress by Task

Another great way to use the deliverable progress report is if you have a seasonal product with tight deadlines, such as holiday cards or graduation photos, so you can easily group them together in one simple report and track the status of each and every one.

If you’re wondering what the colors on the left mean, that’s the event type color of the primary session on the job, as Táve 4 now lets you color code every type of event.

Stay tuned, as we have more great features on the way, and have a happy holiday season!

 

Introducing standby.tave.com, our read-only hot-standby system available 24/7/365

Just in time for Monday’s release of Táve 4 and the 3-hour maintenance window needed for the upgrade, we’re pleased to make our private standby system available to all users.

Any time the main web application is unavailable, be it due to scheduled maintenance or an availability event in Virginia, you can visit the standby site and access a read-only version to get at your critical data.

standby.tave.com

 The Táve 4 maintenance page will include the link for your convenience.

The web servers and database are located in the AWS US-West Oregon region and pull their data from our primary AWS US-East Virginia region using database replication. In the event that the primary database failed, the standby database would simply stop updating but remain available.

Scheduled Maintenance for Monday, November 10th at 7AM

Per our policy of scheduling maintenance at least 4 days in advance, we’re declaring a 3 hour maintenance window on Monday, November 10th, starting at 7AM Eastern, to perform certain highly demanded system upgrades.

A new way to message us for support

We moved to a new helpdesk platform over the weekend. While our tutorials will remain on the old helpdesk until the Táve 4 launch, all new tickets and chats will go through a single in-app system.

Many of you loved our live chat, but we began using it less and less in order to focus on Táve 4 development, as there is so much pent up demand for that release that we want to get it out there as soon as possible (without sacrificing quality one bit).

With live chat extremely limited, that meant the best way to reach us for private one-on-one support was through filing more complex helpdesk tickets that usually required a slower response time. Today’s system replaces the two and lands firmly between the two systems in terms of speed and formality.

One of the best features of the new message center, besides being able to add attachments and screenshots, is that it resides inside the application. Simply click on the Support menu at the top right of any page and select Message Us from the menu. That will bring up the new message drawer which will hold all of your support messages. You can click on the three-line icon at the top left of the drawer to view the list of all your previous conversations in the new system.

We’ve been growing by leaps and bounds lately, so when you message us you’ll get a reply from any one of the five of us in short order.

As always, the Táve Users Group on Facebook is another great resource, with just shy of a thousand fellow Táve users in the group to give feedback and answer questions. If you’re not a user or you can’t get into your account, you can always use this contact form.

Táve 4 Released to QA

I’m proud to announce that our biggest release ever has reached an important milestone today; we’ve released Táve 4 to our Quality Assurance team. If you’ve filed any help desk tickets lately you may be familiar with Booker and Chris, who have been helping us focus our attention on this release and will now assist us in delivering it.

Táve Version 4

We’ve been working on aspects of this release since last September and Jason and I moved to full-time development in December. Since then we’ve previewed early iterations at Imaging USA and WPPI. If you’re interested in seeing some of the early screenshots taken during those shows, just join the Táve Users Group on Facebook to browse these two private albums in the group: a comprehensive Feature tour at Imaging USA from January and a smaller preview of T4 Updates at WPPI showing changes since Imaging USA the month before, including our new mobile-responsive design.

We’ll announce a release date once the system has been fully vetted, any significant issues resolved, and our new community-editable in-app documentation (another new feature) is sufficiently comprehensive. Please keep in mind that this release is massive, even eclipsing our Táve 3 release three years ago, having submitted our 2,800th source code revision earlier today. Because of the scope and breadth of this release and our focus on quality, we anticipate spending some time in this stage, so keep an eye out for our next Táve 4 post.

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Integrating Táve With WordPress

This is my first guest post ever!!! ok now thats out of my system.

There are three great ways to have a contact form on your WordPress website linked directly to Táve. The one I have chosen to talk about in this post is using Gravity Forms as the contact form creator, and then Gravity Forms Táve Add-On to do the heavy lifting of your form’s data in to Táve.

Gravity Forms is a great form creator, and allows you to create dynamic forms that will change options based on your input. If you had a contact form and you asked what kind of shoot your potential client wanted from you in a drop down list, you could have weddings, family, and other. When they select wedding, it will then add to the form other fields you may want to know from them, such as their partners name, or maybe the venue location. If they selected family, you may not want to ask about their partners name or their venue location as its not relevant, but you want to know how many people are in the family. The forms can change to the needs of your potential client and remove items you don’t want them to see unless its relevant to them and you.

So with the power of Gravity Forms it would only make sense to have the same power to put that information where it belongs in Táve. It will save time creating new leads from emails and it will just create them for you when using Gravity Forms Táve add-on. Below I am going to walk you through getting it setup, it might be a bit basic for some, and others will have many questions; so feel free to ask.

Installation and Setup of Gravity Forms Táve add-on

You will need:

  1. Gravity Forms Plugin (HERE)
  2. Gravity Forms Táve add-on Plugin (HERE)

Follow the installation instructions provided to you from the developers of Gravity Forms to get their plugin up and running, and once that is all taken care of you can start to work on the following for Gravity Forms Táve add-on.

  1. 01-plugins-neededStart by installing the Gravity Forms Táve add-on Plugin through your plugins menu in WordPress. Its as simple as selecting “Add New” and searching for “Gravity Forms Táve add-on” in the search box. There should only be one choice, so choose “install now”. Once its installed, you should have the two plugins depicted to the right, available to be activated. Activate Gravity Forms first as its the backbone to this setup. Then activate Gravity Forms Táve add-on.
  2. 02-wordpress-dashboard-after-installYou can see after activating Gravity Forms, and Gravity Forms Táve Add-on that there is a new menu item on the left hand side of the dashboard in WordPress labeled “Forms”.
  3. 03-menu-items-gravity-formsThe contents of this menu looks like this.
  4. 04-form-listIt is now time to make a form, one that can be used to contact you on your website. This form will be able to input the details into Táve after we setup the connection in the later steps. Click on “Add New”, or “Create One!”
  5. 06-form-nameGive the form a name, and while your at it a description just incase you need more detail about it later.
  6. 07-gravity-forms-editorThis is the form editor, where you will make your form. Get familiar with it, the Gravity Forms plugin is a powerful form creator, and there many options that you might find useful.
  7. 08-standard-fields09-advanced-fieldsThese are the two main form field insert button panels we will use, there are others but for the form I have created below I found everything I needed between these two.
  8. 10-form-createdThe form I created asks for their first name, last name, email, phone, and date. I also created a hidden field for the JobType that will always be set as Wedding to correspond with the Wedding Job Type in Táve.
  9. 11-optional-hidden-fieldHidden fields can be used to assign a form to a brand you have setup in Táve, or even to make a form only input into wedding jobs in Táve. For this for I have set it up to always set its value to Wedding to work with the JobType from Táve.
  10. 13-tave-settings-filledOnce you save your newly created form, click the settings menu item on the left (Forms > Settings) and then choose the Táve settings screen as you see in the image to the right and fill in the details from your account on this page. The Studio ID and Secret Key can be found on the bottom of Settings page in Tave under New Lead API. Once you have all the details filled in, click on the Táve sub-menu item so we can start mapping the form fields to the right places.
  11. 14-tavefeedsallowedNow that you have the details set for your Táve account into the plugin settings, you now get to map the fields from Táve to the fields in your form. To do this, you just go to the Táve menu item on the left ( Forms > Táve ). Once there you can click the button that says “Add New” or click on the words “Create one!”.
  12. 15-mapping-tave-fields-to-form-fieldsFor each Táve Field, select or “map” the corresponding Form Field from the list of fields. You must map the Táve Fields in red, but the remaining Fields are optional. Save all the hard work you did and test your new form.
  13. Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 6.28.52 PMOn the page or post you wish to show your form use the form short code that can be created by clicking on the “Add Form” button in the post/page editor, you can find it right beside the “Add Media” button above where you write your page/post. when you insert your form short code it should look similar to this: [gravityform id="2" name="Contact Us" title="false" description="false"]

Don’t forget to put your contact form short code into a page that is published or you won’t be able to see the form.

I hope this was helpful to all those who wanted more than anything to use Gravity Forms on their site with Táve. For those who are looking for a free alternative there is a similar set of plugins for Contact Form 7 for WordPress that will achieve similar results. Here is a link to the two plugins needed for Contact Forms 7 and Táve to work.

Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 Táve 3 Integration

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or look me up, even if its to say how great this guest post was.

Ryan Rowell is the owner of a popular photography company in Canada called Rowell Photography. This guest post was an opportunity to let him talk about one of his plugins that he volunteered his time to make for the Táve community. The opinions expressed in the article are his own, and not of Táve.

Preview Táve 4 at WPPI 2014

We’re back in Vegas this week to participate in WPPI 2014 and and preview the next big thing this spring…

Táve 4

What started out as “just” our biggest release since the launch of T3, is now on its way to become our biggest and most exciting release in the history of Táve. One of our top priorities is to improve the experience on tablet and mobile browsers. While we initially planned to make that change over several releases, with tablets first and full mobile responsiveness across the application added in a subsequent release, it became clear that separating them would lead to far more time and effort than doing it all at once, even with mobile responsiveness requiring a completely new theme.

This release is focused entirely on the manager. With just a couple of exceptions, we’ll be focusing the rest of 2014 on your client interaction, from exciting new options in the booking process and going mobile responsive in client access, to adding new email options.

The list of features in T4 is impressive. Even listing the top features is a challenge as there are so many massive improvements, but I’d have to go with:

  • 100% mobile and tablet responsive (the entire system on your phone).
  • Jobs have been split into Leads and Jobs and we’ve added more lead tracking features.
  • A new homepage with a host of new mini-reports and an email activity summary.
  • Workflow is now a breeze as we’ve split them into two parts, Task Lists and Automations, which are far easier to use while letting you do so much more.
  • The huge New Lead Worksheet has been replaced by a per-job-type customizable all-in-one Job Worksheet.
  • Placeholders are now called Tokens and can reference anything on the job worksheet in your emails and contracts, be it a bride’s name, a 2nd shooter’s phone number, or the location and time of a particular session.
  • The questionnaire editor has been rewritten from the ground up. We’re adding a few new fields and responses can now update any information on a job that can be referenced by a token.
  • Most forms now have help text under the save button. Even better, this help text is can be improved by any user.
  • And much more…

Profit Centers

I must admit to being inspired by the PPA’s Studio Management Services (SMS) Manager Bridget Jackson’s Imaging USA presentation “Know Your Number”. Once we were all back up to full speed a few weeks after returning from the show, I took some time to clean up and extend our expense categories and introduce Profit Centers. Expense categories can now have sub-categories and by classifying each category as either cost of sale, owner’s compensation, or general expense, we can put together some really useful reports.

Most studios have between 2-4 profit centers, allowing you to easily compare your performance between Weddings and Portraits or Senior and Family, etc. We’re automatically creating a profit center for any job type that accounts for more than 10% of your business as part of this release to get you started. This screenshot shows a studio who gets the vast majority of their income from a single profit center and who hasn’t been entering their expenses into Táve (a common issue we’re improving with each release).

 Profit Centers report in Táve 4

 

Don’t miss our WPPI 2014 Sale!

You have until the end of Sunday, March 9th, to save up to 50% on pre-pays. Based on previous years, this will likely be our last sale of 2014!

As always, we operate in your local studio time, so don’t wait until the last minute or you’ll have to wait for Imaging USA in Nashville next January.

 

Learn more about Táve 4

It’s not just the best place to get answers from other Táve users or learn new ways to use the system; the Táve Users Group on Facebook got the first look at the screenshot above, along side several more screenshots of T4 (including a page in iOS Mobile Safari and another scaled for tablet). After ImagingUSA the group also got to see 20 other early screenshots of our work in progress from before we adopted the T4 mobile plan.

As always, this is a free upgrade to all users and your existing data will be upgraded automatically. There’s no harm in starting with T3, as the overall concepts are the same, you’ll just be getting more new features when T4 rolls out.

If you’re attending WPPI 2014 in Las Vegas this week, stop by booth 1361 to see T4 in action and meet the team!