Entries by Ryan

How Are We Doing? Part 2

One year ago today we posted a reflective article about feedback from our customers about our performance. At that time we had been using a Help Desk system for over a year, and that allowed us to start collecting metrics and feedback from some of our plugin customers and development clients. A year later, we wanted to look back and reflect on how things have changed for us. For one thing, we’re definitely a lot busier! And, as we come up on our 5 year anniversary (next week!), it’s even more important to take a look at what growth has meant to our level of service. Here are some key stats for Uncanny Owl over the last 12 months: (The number of sites using our plugins may actually be a fair bit higher than 10,000, as we can only accurately say that it’s somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000; we suspect it’s around 11,000 at the time of writing.) It’s a lot of growth! Installs and support requests have more than doubled over the last year. And even with that growth, we’ve been able to improve the level of satisfaction across our support channels. Keep in mind too that those are only […]

Build Better Group Leader Front End Experiences

It’s really satisfying to see our LearnDash plugins grow and mature. Uncanny LearnDash Groups is still (at the time this article was published) our newest plug public plugin, and with the recent 2.x changes, we have reached a point where development is quite stable. It’s great to see how happy people are with the product too; in the last week alone, customers wrote to tell us that the Groups plugin is “absolutely awesome” (Jonathan B) and a “very useful addition [that I] strongly recommend” (Julia R). As it is a very complex plugin, however, we know that some users still find it challenging to create great user experiences around it on their sites. Recently we have particularly seen an uptick from customers asking how to make things easier for Group Leaders, especially how they should manage groups both post-purchase and on an ongoing basis. How should I get new Group Leaders to the Group Management page? How do I separate Student and Group Leader experiences? How do I teach Group Leaders what they should be doing? These questions and others do pose a challenge for some of our plugin users, especially because designing the right workflows aren’t necessarily part of the […]

Uncanny LearnDash Groups: Part 2

Uncanny LearnDash Groups users: This is the update you’ve been waiting for. Everyone else: Time to get excited about LearnDash Groups. Version 2.0 of the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin is out, and it’s a huge upgrade. Version 2.0 includes LearnDash Group Subscription support, major UI changes, many new shortcode parameters for front end customizations, better translation support, and over a dozen other important fixes and updates. Yes, there is finally support for WooCommerce Subscriptions! Certainly our most requested feature, you can now collect recurring payments for group purchases. Note, however, that we only support subscriptions for Group License products created by an administrator, not custom Group Licenses built by customers using the [uo_group_buy_courses] shortcode, and once purchased, the number of seats and courses for the group cannot be changed by Group Leaders. We’re constrained by limitations with the Subscriptions plugin, but we’ll be looking into possible solutions for those barriers in the next few months. Our documentation will be updated shortly to fully explain subscription use, but if you’re a current plugin user and want to get started, create the LearnDash Group Course products as you normally would, then use a Simple Subscription product (instead of a Group License product) to bundle the courses and sell […]

Improve Your LearnDash Course Sales Workflow

Do your visitors get confused about how to buy your course? Course pages in LearnDash tend to have two audiences: enrolled students and potential students. That can make things a bit confusing. Do you tailor the content and experience to the learner, or do you make the experience more intuitive for prospective buyers? You can absolutely do both (the visitor and student shortcodes come in handy here), but it does make managing the content and using page builders more difficult. In the latest version (2.3) of our free Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit plugin, we added a very simple new module that can make things easier for some sites. What it does is simple: If a person trying to access a course page is not enrolled in the course, the system redirects them to another URL. That’s it, the behaviour is very simple. Where this comes in really handy though is with both our course grid module in the Toolkit Pro plugin as well as the LearnDash grid add-on. Using either of those, now you have a way to control the behaviour when users click courses in the grid. If they click a course in the grid and they have access, the users get to the […]

Front End Reporting Solutions for LearnDash

It’s been a constant request from LearnDash users ever since we started building WordPress platforms: “We need better front end reports.” End users don’t like CSV files. They also get confused in the back end, even if they’re Group Leaders. LearnDash users needed a better way. Gradually some viable solutions started to appear in the LearnDash community. ProPanel add front end widgets a few months ago, and third parties like 247digitalclassrooms started to fill in some gaps. We added some compelling options ourselves, but after a year of countless requests, we’re finally bringing our most requested reports to the front end. Front End Reporting Comes to Tin Canny Version 2.2 of our Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin adds the Course and User reports you’re familiar with in the back end to the front end. Group Leaders can finally access drill-down summary and student reports without requiring access to the back end of your WordPress site. On top of that, we have also added a filter for groups, so Group Leaders no longer have to look at combined data for all of their groups if they don’t want to. It’s super simple to use the new front end reports. Simply drop a [tincanny] shortcode on […]

Updates? We’ve Got Updates!

It’s been a very busy 2 weeks in the LearnDash world. Version 2.5 of LearnDash was released on November 7, bringing long-awaited features like a visual course builder and the ability to include lessons and topics in multiple courses. The latter is a fundamental change to how courses can be organized and developed. For LearnDash users, the changes bring welcome new features and far more flexible ways to author courses. And for plugin developers like us, we have to rethink how course relationships work and find new solutions when there are significant architectural changes to the plugins we depend on. For the last 2 weeks we’ve been working tirelessly to add proper support for LearnDash 2.5 to our plugins. This wasn’t always easy, as LearnDash changed how lessons, topics and quizzes mapped to courses—and with plugins as big and as complex as ours, we have a lot of code that has to look up course relationships, labels, and more. We released a significant update to the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit 2 weeks ago that addressed several 2.5 related issues and also added a simple new module for easy User Switching. That plugin has now crossed the 8,000 active installs barrier (yay!) and no issues tied to […]

How We Made LearnDash 75 Times Faster

Important: This article examines how we modified certain parts of LearnDash to improve performance on high volume/enterprise sites. LearnDash itself is not slow, but some parts of it are designed for convenience rather than performance. For the vast majority of LearnDash sites, the optimizations discussed below are unnecessary and could be dangerous. This article is intended for very large sites where scalability and performance are critical.  We see a lot of projects that really push LearnDash to its limits, and for a sub-$200 WordPress plugin, those limits are surprisingly high. LearnDash is generally an efficient plugin that serves the vast majority of its customers very well, but every so often, an organization wants to see how well it can really perform at scale. The typical LearnDash site we see might expect up to 15 simultaneous learners (even on sites with upwards of 1,000 users) and perhaps 200 LearnDash posts. We  support several, however, that have hundreds of simultaneous learners and thousands of LearnDash posts (courses, lessons, topics and quizzes). At that level, everything gets harder and keeping everything running smoothly requires tuning performance wherever we can. What we observed on extremely large sites, especially after total courses crossed the 100 level, total quizzes exceeded 1,000 and we […]

Where to Find LearnDash Training, Tutorials and Documentation

Building a robust and polished LearnDash site can be quite difficult. We’ve been doing it for over 4 years now and we’re still discovering new and better ways to build sites. We definitely have an edge with a team of skilled developers and LearnDash experts at our disposal, but we’re all too aware of some of the challenges faced by for new WordPress users and even experienced developers. This article came about because we still get countless inquiries from people who recognize that LearnDash is a powerful tool that can probably help them—but that’s really as much as they know. They don’t know how to get started and don’t know where to turn to find more information, guidance, and support. We unfortunately find, time and again, that people simply aren’t aware of some of the great LearnDash resources (including tutorials, screencasts and documentation) that are available. We’re hoping that this article saves those users some confusion and frustration. Start with the Source The LearnDash Support Site is an invaluable resource that not all LearnDash users seem to know about. If you haven’t bought a license yet, you might not even know it exists! It’s easily as valuable as the plugin itself though. There […]

Use LearnDash Groups? You Need This.

We heard your requests for better group management in LearnDash and we listened! Today we’re releasing our Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin, and it’s going to completely change what you and your Group Leaders can do with LearnDash groups. The plugin adds features in 3 main areas to your LearnDash elearning sites: Selling courses and seats to organizations. Managing groups in the front end. Front end reports for Group Leaders. This plugin has something for everyone—maybe you just need front end group reports, or maybe you simply need a way to sell custom course bundles to organizations that you support. Use as much or as little as you need. Here’s a video that explains how the plugin adds new opportunities for using LearnDash Groups on your site: Group Management Made Easy If you currently manage groups or support Group Leaders, Uncanny LearnDash Groups will make your life a lot easier. After installing the plugin your Group Leaders can do everything themselves. No more emails to you and spending your time settings things up! Whether groups are set up through a purchase or by you, Group Leaders can add or remove users (with limits; no-one can cheat the system) and monitor progress. […]