Nov 30, 2012

Campaign Searching, More Drag and Drop Love, Improved Session Handling

Next week, we’re launching some new features in MailChimp. As usual, we’ll begin rolling out the changes on Monday, and it’ll take about three days to get propagated to all 2.5 million user accounts.

Here’s what’s coming:

  1. Search for campaigns from Dashboard
  2. More enhancements to drag and drop editor: social modules, keyboard shortcuts, right-to-left text, A/B tests, and RSS
  3. Session handling improvements

1. Search Campaigns

In our last release, we put a new search box on the Dashboard that made it super fast and easy to search for contacts across all your lists. Now, we’re adding the ability for you to search across all your campaigns.

Search across all your campaigns from the Dashboard

 

In the search results (see above), campaigns will include little thumbnails (where you’d normally see an avatar of a subscriber) and to the right, we’ll include open/click stats for sent campaigns. You can also click "more" to get an expanded view for each result:

You get a little thumbnail and some basic stats, so you don’t have to click into every result on the list.

You can even use search paramaters like "status:draft, content:the state of the union, subject:November 2012 Newsletter" to get filtered results.

While we had the hood open, we modified search results for subscribers, so that you can get an expanded view of each result there too:

 

 

 

2. Drag and Drop Editor Enhancements

Last month, we quietly launched a new drag and drop editor (codenamed "Neapolitan"). This month, we added some new "social" content modules, plus made tiny little enhancements to the UX that make a big impact.

Social Modules

You’ll see two types of social modules:

One is for allowing subscribers to share your campaign with their friends on social networks, and the other is to allow subscribers to follow you on social networks.

We made it extremely easy to add new social networks and configure them:

 

and easy to change the design and style of the icons for different layouts:

Note: We added Pinterest and Linkedin as options

 

Keyboard Shortcuts

We wanted to make editing your content super fast, so we’ve added shortcut keys throughout. To get a cheat sheet, type H and you’ll see:

In particular, you should try to remember 1, 2, 3 which speed up the process of previewing, sending tests, and pushing to mobile.

Say it with me five times: "1, 2, 3 means less clicks for me."  Excellent.

 

RSS and A/B Test Campaigns

Previously, the new editor only worked for "regular" campaigns. Now, we’ve added support for RSS and A/B campaigns. In fact, if you choose RSS, we’ve included two new layouts:

 

Technically, you could use any layout you want to build an RSS email, but choosing an "RSS" layout will get you these new drag and drop modules (RSS header and RSS items):

 

 

which are designed to make  setup easier:

As you can see above, you just select an option like "full content" or "excerpt" instead of trying to remember the complex RSS merge tag markup from our old editor.

 

Text Editor Tweaks

We’ve added a button to our text editor that allows for right-to-left text:

 

We tweaked the editor to use CodeMirror, so it’s easier to code when you’re in HTML view:

 

Keep in mind our new editor is a work in progress, so you can expect even more enhancements in the next few releases.

 

3. Session Handling Improvements

We’ve had a vexing problem where some users are unknowingly losing their sessions inside MailChimp, and as a result, lose their content. It’s "vexing" because it’s sporadic and we usually hear about it from an angry 140-character tweet, which makes tracking down the user and getting full details challenging. Sometimes, we learn that the user is on a free wifi hot spot, and the unreliable connection dropped their session. Sometimes, the user leaves their MailChimp tab in their browser open for days, and expects the session to stay in tact that long (at first that sounds insane, but then it’s a pretty flattering expectation when you think about it). This issue is the gopher in Caddyshack, and we’re Bill Murray. Whatever the case, we’re committed to stamping out this issue–even if it drives us bonkers.

We fixed some bugs a week or so ago and that seems to have reduced the gopher–I mean issue–dramatically. Still, we’ve seen a few more reports of session loss, and have put in place more changes.

The most noticeable change is that now, if you lose your session, the screen goes white, and you get this login window:

 

It forces you to log back in if we detect a session loss, so that you can’t just keep on typing for hours, only to discover you’ve been logged out. At most, you should only lose 20 seconds of work, max. If this doesn’t do the trick, we may just resort to dynamite.

 

Miscellaneous Tweaks

  • Previously, the editor was blocking built-in browser spell checking tools. No longer. Yay!
  • In certain areas of our app, we’re experimenting with Google Places Autocomplete.
  • We made some aesthetic changes to Autoresponders, so it’s easier to tell which ones are drafts, paused, and sending.
  • Sped up list searching when inside the /Lists/ Screen.
  • We added support for a bunch of recently launched functionality to our API. Details coming soon.
  • Re-skinned a few screens for a cleaner look (you’ll find yourself saying "Aaaaaahh" a lot more)