(DA-6) Working with Activity Messages

Sending messages is a huge part of what makes your activities function, and it is a huge part of Workshop Angel too.
In this lesson we will take a look at the types of messages that exist and the basics of how you work with them. There are then another two complete chapters of information about every detail of (a) creating them, and (b) managing the sending of them.

The Activity Messages Area

To see the messages associated with an activity, you first have to "go inside" the activity:
  • Click on the first (orange) or last (purple) icon on the activity listing
  • Click on the "Messages - Standard (11)" text
You will now see the eleven "Standard Messages" which are set up for every Activity:
We discuss each of these messages in detail in lesson DM-2 which is part of the Defining Messages chapter of this documentation.

Working With an Individual Message

Messages in Workshop Angel can be seen from different perspectives.

Message Edit

When defining a message, you create the content in a text editor and add key words known as "Shortcodes" within square brackets to access information from the database. Here is an example:
You can see that we have shortcodes such as [First Name], [Event], [Location Area] etc defined in the message.

Message View

The second perspective we can see a message from is to "View" it. This allows us to see how the message will look when it is sent to a typical attendee.
Here is an example of how this message looks when we view it:
You can see that the shortcodes like [First Name] have now been replaced with actual information from your database. If there is information that we don't yet have, like the name of an attendee, then an example of that information is used, such as the name "John" used here.
We look in detail at what shortcodes can be used and the information they represent in lesson DM-6.

How to Edit and View Messages

Working from a message in a list like this:
To edit a message:
  • Click on either the message title (e.g. Place Booked), or on the [Edit] icon.
  • Edit the message text
  • Click on [Save]
To view a message
  • Click on the [Binoculars] icon

How Messages are Sent - Email and Text/SMS

We have been talking here about "Messages"... how how are these messages sent?
Well as you can imagine, the main way they are sent is by email. However you can also send them via Text/SMS, and in the future we may add other messaging systems too.
So the idea in Workshop Angel is that we define a "Message", and it actually has two possible components - the email part and the Text/SMS part.
By default, the Text/SMS message part is hidden, and there is a switch set in the settings area to prevent them from being sent. You can read how to enable and work with Text/SMS messaging in lesson DM-7.
Here is how to see the Text/SMS part of the message:
  • Access the message in Edit mode
  • Click on the [Show] link next to the text "Content - Text/SMS Message":
This will reveal the Text/SMS edit area:
As you can see, this standard message already has content defined for you to be able to send a text/SMS message.

How Messages Are Sent

These standard messages represent a set of messages you are likely to want to send to your attendees at different stages of your interaction with them from first making their booking through to after the activity has completed.
Some messages are sent automatically when you client first books, such as the Place Booked or Payment Received messages.
Some are related to subsequent payments that are due, such as the Payment Reminder message. You will manage the sending of these messages during the time leading up to the activity.
Other messages are to send information about the practicalities of attending, such as Joining Instructions or Just Before. Again, you will manage the sending of these messages during the time leading up to the activity.
All of the details of the sending of these messages are described in Chapter 6 of the documentation, "Sending Messages".

Summary

We have seen how to access the standard messages associated with an activity, how to edit and view them, and the idea of shortcodes being a way to access information from the database. We have looked at how messages are generally sent as emails, but also have a text/sms part which can be sent to an attendee's mobile phone too. Finally, we looked briefly at how and when these standard messages are sent.
There is so much more to understand about the power of using messages within Workshop Angel, and all those details can be found in chapter 5 (Defining Messages) and chapter 6 (Sending Messages).
So now, as we continue our journey around the details of how to define activities, the next lesson is about how to work with Questions.