YM Summer of Releases: what’s new and what’s next

Not only was the YourMembership team sweating through the hot Florida summer days, we were also busy releasing updates and enhancements to streamline your operations that enhance your members experience. We’re excited to share some insights into what we’ve been working on.

Increasing Platform Performance

Throughout the last few months and culminating with our September releases, YM has made some great strides in addressing opportunity areas to optimize our application’s overall performance. But what does this really mean to you and your members?

Our goal with this ongoing initiative is to increase the speed of page load times and decrease the occurrences of timeouts and errors. Throughout our research, we discovered some areas where we could make some behind the scenes code changes that would not only impact your members experience, but also set us up to deliver more features and enhancements at a faster speed in the future.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Website Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Resource Enhancements 

We’ve updated the way that we handle the CSS resources across the application, and how those come together to create the various designs you see on your websites. In particular, we’ve:

  • Updated caching patterns to eliminate the need to constantly retrieve resources directly.
  • Moved static CSS resources to our new Content Delivery Network (CDN) to create efficiencies in the way they are referenced and served up on your websites.

With these changes to CSS, we saw a decrease of average page load times by up to 96 percent.

General Code Optimization

Our goal here was to improve the load times of pages that have evolved over the years to leverage varying technologies. With strategic changes to how these pages interact, we were able to secure a decrease in average page load times by approximately 30 percent.

Admin Dashboard Improvements 

As many of you know, our administrative dashboard serves up a lot of data insights from the various features and tools that you use to manage your organization and members. For this page, we enhanced the ways we receive and display data within the dashboard tiles to load the dashboard page faster.  We’ve also introduced a new “Refresh Tile” option allowing admins to reload an individual tile to receive the most up to date information at specific times of need.

With these changes, we’ve seen up to a 70 percent reduction in average dashboard load times.

Online Community 

With increased adoption of YM’s online member community, we received some great feedback from our admins and their members on areas that were slow to respond or simply had the potential to be improved. We were able to identify five main areas that contributed almost exclusively to general latency, and in some cases page timeouts. In some of these areas in particular we’ve seen performance improvements up to ten times faster but have calculated a combined 50 percent decrease in average page load times.

Always Improving

“Bandaid” Page Scenarios

Over the last few months, our support team has seen increased reports of scenarios that have led our users to experience a disruption to their intended destination pages. In these instances, our users are directed to a generalized destination page that outlines the details of the disruption and options to retry.

As our support team and developers dug deeper, we found that while the scenarios leading to these experiences varied greatly, there were quite a few that were happening more frequently than we’ve seen in the past. In response, we identified a list of the top common error scenarios and have addressed 60 percent of these in our September releases. While the remaining scenarios are happening with much less frequency, we are on track to continue addressing these.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The standards of SEO and the algorithms that empower search engine crawlers are constantly evolving. In response, YM recognizes that there are a variety of updates we can make within our application to give our administrators more control over the variables that these crawlers look for when determining your website’s overall rank.

In our September 12 release, we included our first application update to provide an increased character limit and acceptance of previously removed characters for your Custom Page IDs. The Page ID values are what ultimately define your Page Titles, which are an indicator to search engines as to what type of information and content your pages contain. We plan to continue to release updates that give you greater control over your organization’s SEO.

Improving Your Payment Solutions

In late August, we released a security enhancement to our integration with BluePay: tokenized payments. Tokenized payments greatly enhance the security of your credit card and ACH transactions through secure tokens, which you can think of as keys to a vault that keep your payment data even more secure. We have a few updates coming that will make it even easier for our admins to manage tokenized transactions and will be extending tokenized payment functionality to our integration with Affinipay as well.

Finally, this October we are on track to introduce Account Updater to our BluePay gateway offering. This feature ensures that your recurring revenue remains intact even if your members’ card information changes.

What’s Coming Next?

While we will continue to focus on making incremental performance improvements as we measure the impact of our changes over time, we are poised to focus on bringing some of your ideas to life!

Preferred Member Contact

As part of our commitment to creating features that are direct feedback from our customers, we are currently planning to release a long-standing Idea Box request (with around 70 votes), providing your members more flexibility to set their preferred contact address. With this optional setting enabled by you as the admin, your members decide which physical contact type (personal or professional) they’d prefer. What’s more? We’re building some simple admin tools for visibility into preferred contact data to aide in your physical mailings when looking individual member records or pulling large member lists.

Enhanced Event Badging

We’ve consistently heard from you the need to be more flexible with creating event badges. This is a top request (almost 100 votes in the Unity Idea Box!) across the entire customer base and we’re excited to announce that we’ve started developing this upgrade.

But we’re not just talking about a shiny new look to the badge. We are creating an elevated experience that empowers administrators and event planners with the flexibility to create badges that fit closely with your different types of events. Our new enhanced badge creation interface will allow you to easily choose what specific data fields are displayed and can place them in desired spots within the badge. These fields will include both event registration form fields as well as member profile fields. Be on the lookout for more communication regarding this exciting enhancement as we move to the end of 2018.

Keep providing your Feedback!

We encourage all our administrators to become an active participant in our Unity Community by posting and interacting with others in the feed as well as continue to submit and vote on your fellow administrators’ ideas within the Unity Idea Box. As demonstrated with the upgrades listed above, we’re committed to releasing great impactful updates directly from the feedback we receive through this tool. We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to ending 2018 with a bang!

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