August 2008

News & Updates

The first of our two scheduled discounted fee weekends was a great success! Congratulations to all of you that were able to take advantage of the discount and put on a sale of your own through that time. The next discounted fee dates are scheduled for October 3rd through October 5th, so remember to mark your calendars for that weekend.

We have a lot to cover this month in the newsletter so I am going to jump right into it... this month we were able to add the following items: a new graphs page in the activity tab, the option to move your “Products” category to the top of your events, a new order details report that shows you the combined details for every new order on an event, and an online manual for our site! Read through the rest of the newsletter to find out the details for these awesome new items.

Survey Request

In our endless search for ways to improve our service we took the opportunity to do some end-user testing this month (see below for more information). The end-user testing worked fantastically for finding problems on our storefronts, but we would also like to hear what you have to say about our service as well. We know that some of you don't like spending your time giving input on things like this, but how about if we offer you a chance to lower your fees to just 10% for an entire month in return for your participation in our survey? Got your attention now? Well, here's the deal: we will randomly select one out of every ten survey participants to get the reduced fee. So come on... take the survey, get a chance to have reduced fees for a month, and help us improve our service! You can find the survey here:

End User Testing

In addition to adding new functionality to the site, we spent quite a bit of time having end-user testing conducted on our storefronts. We were wanting to know where people might be getting caught-up or confused on the storefronts, and what we could do to make it easier for people to complete their purchases.

The process that we used for user testing was we took a group of people from a bunch of different demographics and asked them all to do a couple of different tasks on the storefronts (browse the images, add images to their carts, buy a product, etc.). We recorded their screens as they used the site, and we recorded what they where saying as they looked at each page (they had been instructed to verbally describe what they were seeing and thinking on each page). After they had finished the tasks that we had assigned them, we then went over the recordings looking for areas that needed to be worked on. The results from this were a bit surprising to us! People were getting caught up on areas that we never would have thought were problems areas, and it was very apparent were some changes needed to be made.

After making notes about the problem areas we then sat down and got to work on fixing those areas. Some of the items that were worked on included verifying that the users were selecting a print size before trying to add the image to their cart (75% of users missed doing that the first time they tried it!), adding a help icon in the shopping cart to items requiring additional print selections, and a bunch of other small things like that. Overall it was just a bunch of small tweaks, but the cumulative effect of the small tweaks was very large.

Once we had finished making the adjustments that were based on the user testing findings, we then had another group of testers hit the site so that we could see if the changes were affective. Based on the results from the second round of testing, we are happy to report that the changes that were made helped quite a bit and the second set of users had a much easier time using the storefronts.

Added Functionality

Trend Analysis Graphs

Have you ever wondered what your average order size is? Would you like to see your storefront activity broken down into weeks, months, and years? If so, our new graphs page should be just up your alley! To see the new graphs go into the “Activity” tab and click on the “graphs” link found at the top. Click the “enlarge” links to make the graphs larger, or right-click on the graphs and select “Full Screen” to have them fill up your entire screen.


Combined Order Details Report

This new report was created for those of you that like to wait until a bunch of orders have come in, and then submit all of the orders to your lab at one time. We have previously provided you with a method to get a list of all of the different images that have been ordered, but until now there wasn't anything to say how many of each image you needed, how many should be B&W or sepia, etc. The new report looks identical to the regular order details screen, except that it does not contain your customers' information at the top or a way for you to change the order status. To get to the new report click “Manage Order” for any of your orders and scroll to the very bottom of the page; the link to get to the new report is titled “Combined Order Details.”

Order Details

Move the “Products” Category

Over the last few years we have been asked to implement this change by a wide variety of different photographers, but for one reason or another it has always ended up at the back of our list of things to do. But not anymore! Some background to this... the “Products” category on your storefront contains all of the items that you have created through the “Products” page within the “Setup” tab. A product can be anything from a picture frame, to a collage of images, etc. The problem (according to some) with the way we handled the “Products” category in the past was that it was always displayed beneath the other categories containing your event images, and it wasn't getting enough attention because it was hidden below everything else. In order to accommodate those of you that would like more emphasis placed on your products, we have added a new option to the preferences page (also found within the “Setup” tab) that allows you to choose where you would like the “Products” category to be displayed... on top of your image categories, or on the bottom. The new preference is labeled '“Products” Category Display Order'.

Product Category Option

Instaproofs Website Manual

This is something that we have been working on for a *long* time, and we are extremely happy to finally have something complete enough to make an announcement on! We hope that the manual will provide everyone a quick and easy way to find the answers they are looking for, and we hope that it can help you get off to a running start if you are just starting out with us. Right now the manual is still a work in progress... it is only about 85% finished, but we believe that it is at a state that can be useful to a majority of you. We will continue to work on completing the manual, and we expect that everything should be finished up on the initial version of it by the end of next week. In the future we will be adding new sections to the manual that answer frequently asked questions, and provide tutorials on specific tasks that are commonly asked about. The link to the manual can be found at the bottom of every administrative page, and is labeled “User Manual”.

Website Manual

Wrap Up

And that wraps it up for this month! If you have any suggestions for improvements in the manual, or on any other area of our site, please let us know by taking the survey mentioned above.

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