Horse jumping over the text At The Yard
Blog
17 January 2020

Service Ordering by Calendar View

Product Update

In At The Yard we have always had Services & Facilities. Initially this was to differentiate between:

  • Ordering A Service - which the yard staff controlled the exact fulfilment time (e.g. Turn out).
  • Booking A Facility - which was available to be booked in slots through out the day to allow both the yard and customer to ensure they were available (e.g. The arena).

However, as time has moved on the difference between these two, whilst still there, has become blurred. For example a Riding Lesson fulfilled by a member of staff is still a service, but the timing of it has to suit both the instructor, the customer and also the availability of the arena.

To make this possible we’ve introduced an upgrade to Services in At The Yard - Service Ordering by Calendar View. This allows you to have the best of both worlds!

You can still define something like a Lesson as a service (as it should be) but have all the features previously only found in facilities such as slot lengths, max bookings per slot and more.

To get this setup is quite simple. When creating a new Discrete Service you need to select ‘Yes’ under ‘Allow ordering by calendar?’. When you do this you’ll be presented with the option to setup the parameters of the available slots (as seen below).

Once filled in click ‘Create Service’ as normal and your new calendar view service is ready.

Underlying this new feature is a ‘Hidden Facility’ which is created to co-exist with the service. Not only does this mean we can bring you all of the existing features supported by facilities, but as we add more they’ll automatically be included.

Personally we’re really excited for this update. Not only will it make everything clearer to both staff and customers but it also resolves a personal ‘annoyance’ for us, in that before you had to use various workarounds to make this functionality possible.



13 December 2020

Work Notes

Product Update

Over the years we have built into At The Yard a broad range of ways to help with the running of a livery yard. From service and bookings through to the feed system you can easily keep track of everything that’s taking place on the yard as well as what needs to be done for each individual horse.

However in the running of the yard there is always the need for that one-off task or the less structured set of notes that need to be shared amongst the staff. Things like sweeping the yard, asking someone to do a stock take or to fix a fence are just as important to the smooth running of a yard.

With this in mind we’re introducing Work Notes. Work notes allow you to share with your staff notes about what needs to be done in a quick easy and, most importantly, a completely flexible manner.

Each note has a title, a date (both single or recurring) and staff assignment options. Then there is the work note itself, it offers complete flexibility, you can add:

  • Bulleted lists
  • Images outlining what needs to be done
  • Complete paragraphs of text
  • Links to other documents or websites
  • And more

We designed it knowing that everyone has a unique set of information they need to share and so we wanted to support as much as we could.

To add a work note you need to be a manager type user. Go to the ‘Manager’ menu bar and click ‘Work Notes’. Here you’ll see all your existing work notes and have the option to add a new one (shown below).

The managers ‘Add New Work Note’ view

Work notes will show up in both the forecast view as well as on a staff members individual control panel (in both the calendar and today view). This means they quickly and easily see what’s required on a given day.

We’ve already seen yards using this new feature to great effect. As is usual with At The Yard it’s available for all new and existing subscribers straight away.



18 November 2020

The New Control Panel

Product Update

The control panel is at the heart of At The Yard. It’s the first thing everyone sees no matter whether they’re a user, staff member or an admin. It brings together information from across the system. Showing you everything from your latest charges and invoices through to an overview of what’s happening across the yard.

As At The Yard has grown over the years we have introduced more and more features and in step with this the control panel has grown to incorporate them. Everything from the all new activity log section through to expanding the calendar to show events, messages and public bookings, it’s all shown on that front page.

The information in these additions is as important as anything that came before them (otherwise we wouldn’t have included them 😉) but for every piece of information we add, the harder it is to find exactly what you need.

Because of this we decided it was time for a major refresh of the control panel with a new layout and a change in the philosophy that underpins it. And that new philosophy is a focus on today!

The new control panel

By focusing on Today we can display much more information directly than we could ever do in the calendar. This means information that used to be hidden away under a button click is now visible at a glance. Along side this we’ve introduced the today view for facilities. You can now choose a selection of your facilities (sand school, indoor arena etc) to be displayed on the control panel. This lets liveries see when the arena is available and book their slot directly from there. This makes it quicker and easier than ever for them to get riding whilst still keeping everyone on the yard informed.

An Overview of The New Views

Today View - Highlights with much greater detail everything taking place at the yard today.

Today Facility View - Gives an overview of the Facilities on the yard (customisable) from which bookings can be made directly.

Adjusted calendar view - Gives an overview of what’s coming up in the week ahead.

Your Digital Yard Diary

We’ve always described At The Yard as your digital yard diary. And in that spirit this is another step in simplifying and streamlining that experience.

For the keen eyed amongst you you’ll notice that the base for the new control panel was taken from the work we did on the kiosk view earlier in the year, which in itself received a highly positive response when we introduced it. From that base we incorporated the feedback and iterated on the design. From there we introduced it as a BETA feature (available via a button at the bottom of the old control panel) - this let us collect even more feedback as we made changes prior to this launch.

We did all of this as we know changing the front page of any service has to be done with care. So, by doing all these steps, we can be confident in this new philosophy and design being an improvement for all of our users.

We’re excited about this new Control Panel and the opportunities the redesign brings for future additions. As always, subscribers of At The Yard and their customers will automatically receive this update as part of the subscription. If you’re not yet a subscriber we’d love to hear from you - we offer free trials for all livery yards all you need to do is get in touch via our contact page. We’ll work with you to get everything up and running so you can start benefiting as soon as possible.



14 November 2020

Giving Your Customers More Choice in Bookings

Product Update, Guide

Last year we introduced Composite Bookings to At The Yard which allowed you to setup the links between your facilities and resources (e.g. an arena and an instructor). Since then we’ve introduced service ordering by calendar view which lets you have your services (like lessons) be bookable on a calendar.

These two updates brought with them a big leap in the usability of services in At The Yard. They did this whilst also making the ordering process much much quicker. Before the updates you or your customer needed to go and separately book the arena for the lesson to take place in and then book the lesson itself. This took longer and was prone to errors. With the changes it became a one step process - order the lesson and have At The Yard take care of everything else for you.

However it still had it’s limitations, what if you had more than one arena and you were happy for the lesson to take place in any of them? With the old system this wasn’t possible and you had to revert to the manual multi-step method - something we were not happy with and so we are excited to have launched this update which expands on our previous work, making this and so much more possible.

To facilitate this involved a complete rewrite of how we calculate availability and process bookings in At The Yard. In doing so we not only added this feature but put together robust system which can be built on in the future.

The key visible change to you and your customers is the ability to make those choices at the time of ordering/booking. Like everything in At The Yard it’s quick and simple, involving a single tap of a button. Once you’re done the system goes away and does all the hard work for you.

Customer View

The changes to the booking/ordering screens that your customers see are relatively small. However one significant change is that on the calendar booking screen they now see a preview of availability that takes into account all of the linked services and facilities.

In the example shown below both the schools in which the lesson could take place have been booked during the first slot on Monday and so the slot show 0 / 1 bookings. This is because, whilst there is no lesson booked for that slot, it is still unavailable as none of the schools are available at that time.

When a customer chooses an available slot they’ll be met with the familiar order/booking screen. Now along with the choice of horse they’ll see a new option allowing them to choose which school they want to use (shown below):

We’ve shown a very simple example here. But should you have multiple layers of dependencies (e.g. a choice between indoors or outdoors and then a further choice from multiple indoor and outdoor schools) the user will be presented with the needed questions one by one as they give their answers.

In this way you can have complex multilayer dependencies for your services (which can be as simple or complicated as you wish) and your users still only have to answer a few simple questions.

Like the previous system when they complete their order/booking it’ll automatically book the required facilities as well. The difference in the new system is that it’ll book the facilities in accordance to the choices they’ve made.

SetUp

Getting everything setup is quick and easy. In this example we’re going to setup a service for a ‘Lesson with Junior Instructor’. The first step is to create a facility group that contains the facilities that could be used to teach the lesson in. You can find this option by going to Facility and click on the Show Dependency Groups button. This will show you all your existing groups and allow you to create a new one (shown below).

The new Dependency Group Screen

Within this form you can create a group and populate it with facilities. At this stage you also get to select the ‘group type’. At the time of writing there are two types; Choice and All. The type defines how the group is used when working out availability.

  • Choice means a slot will be available so long as one of the facilities in the group is available.
  • All requires all the facilities in the group to also be available for the overall group to be considered available. All can be quite useful to ensure that for example you leave one of your schools free for liveries to ride in whilst a lesson is taking place in the other.

The next step is to add the new group as a dependency of the service. To do this go to Admin -> Service and edit (or create a new) service. Scrolling down you’ll find the Dependant Facility box.

Click on the plus to add the dependancy, then in the dropdown choose our newly created group (in this example Group: Schools). Then simply save the service.

You have now successfully setup the service and it’s dependencies and so it’s ready for your customers to use.

Summary

This new system offers complete flexibility in how you setup your yard and it’s dependencies, all whilst keeping things simple for your users. We’ve already had customers start using the new feature to great effect simplifying and optimising their day to day admin.

So if you’re using At The Yard and are not currently taking advantage of the new flexibility what are you waiting for! Alternatively if you’re not yet one of our customers and the idea of being able to have all the flexibility this offers whilst not creating any additional admin work please do get in touch today. We’d love to give you a demo and show you how you can save time and money.



23 September 2019

Introducing Rotas

Product Update, Feature Tour, Guide

Today we’re introducing a new feature to help you manage your yards - Rotas.

With Rota’s you can manage the day-to-day operation of your yard. Anything from who’s working on what day through to managing who’s responsible for poo picking which field throughout the week.

By managing your Rota in At The Yard you can ensure that your customers and staff always have the latest, up-to date Rota.

How to Set-Up Your Rota’s

We’ve made it quick and easy to create a new rota, all you need to do is go to the management tab and click on Rotas.

From there you can click on Create New Rota. This will bring you to the Rota editing screen where you can choose the Rota Group name (e.g. Poo Picking). You can then give titles to the individual parts of the Rota (in this example the name of the paddocks) and select on which days who will be responsible for clearing them. When done, you click on ‘Create’ or ‘Update’ and your Rota will be ready to go.

The Rota Editing Screen

Once you’ve setup your first Rota your customer will have a new Rota button on the menu. They can click this button and see all the Rotas at the yard - always kept up to date with the latest changes.

Finally when they click onto a rota group they’ll see the Rota and then - get on with the Poo Picking!

As with many of our new features, this came from a discussion with a new yard we were demoing the software to. So if you have any feedback of existing features or would like to suggest new ones we’re always happy to hear them! Drop us a message on the contact form on our home page!