WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for See complete show notes for Episode #313 here.
It’s Episode 313 and we’ve got plugins for Live Notifications, Sending Email, Drag and Drop Frameworks, Browser Themes, File management and a great way to handle refunds in WooCommerce . It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, this week here I’ve got three plugins here and they’re coming from themes that are a particular theme that I’m using. I just entered into the startup stages of a new project after having finally launched another project, so now this new project is a new theme of building an intranet website, which means BuddyPress is going to be part of this. So you’ll see BuddyPress plugins come in, you’ll see other plugins that were recommended by the theme developer to be included in their theme, and I’m going to bring these forward and also at the same time I’m going to kind of give a review on the theme over the next few weeks as this project develops and evolves, so you’ll hear a lot of plugins from that, just to clarify here.
The first one I’ve got this week is called Eonet Live Notifications and this plugin here, what it’s designed to do is when you’re building your intranet or a BuddyPress site and you’ve got all your users and they want to connect with each other and know who’s asked and who’s not asked for connections, that’s what this plugin does for you. It sends out live notifications and it also sends out notifications so when someone logs on, they get a popup that says, “Hey, someone wants to friend with you or connect with you.”
It’s also got a few other interactions in it that I haven’t quite figured out, but as I’m starting through, I’ll revisit some of these plugins. But I thought I would get started on them. Anyway, this is a really great plugin – so far so good with it – and it’s Eonet Live Notifications and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Hm…interesting. All right, so the first one I’ve got is something that we don’t typically want to face within our e-commerce store. But if you screw this process up, I guarantee you’ll never get the same customer back to you again. This is called YITH Advanced Refund System for WooCommerce and what it allows you to do is make refund requests accessible and pretty easy to manage for both the user’s side and the customer’s side.
If somebody wants a refund, the worst thing in the world that you could do is make that hard for them to do that. You want to make it as easy and seamless as possible so that if there is any question or any products that they want to buy in the future, that they know that you’ve got them covered in terms of a refund (if something happens to go wrong). So what this does is allow customers to request refunds on the entire order or specific parts of the order. So if there are four or five different items that were sold and they only need to refund on one of them, this allows you to kind of discern and dive down deep to process that refund.
So what happens is the customer sends messages to the admin, the admin can answer them, and then you get to either approve or reject refunds and set on the processing for the physical goods or set requests on hold or things like that. It’s really easy to use, really simple, really nice to set up, and I gave this one a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s pretty decent. I like that and that could save you some headaches and hassles. Nothing worse than not getting a refund back to them when they actually deserve it, so…
Marcus: Yeah, it’s a difficult process in WooCommerce and it’s mostly done on a manual basis, so there’s really no flow for a customer to actually request those refunds within WooCommerce that handles it in a very nice way.
John: Looks like it as well. It looks like it flows quite nicely.
John: All right, next up I have a plugin called Unyson and this is a drag-n-drop framework for WordPress website buildouts. Now, it looks to be a standalone framework but again, it’s included in this theme that I’m working on called W Office, which is an intranet, extranet, and BuddyPress theming system. This is the framework they decided to build on and so far as I’m working through this and starting to build out pages on this site, it’s a really nice framework. It’s comparable to the Visual Composer and several of the other ones I have used out there.
It does have one thing that I noticed a little different; it has its individual modules that can be activated or deactivated in this framework – a whole lot simpler than I’ve seen the modules in say Visual Composter (they’re either active or not). So this one you can turn off the ones you’re not going to be using or won’t use, thereby saving you some issues or possible conflicts. But so far, so good. I’m looking forward to the coming weeks of development and revisiting this plugin again. But at the current moment, we give Unyson a 4-Dragon rating, so go check it out.
Marcus: All right. Well, John, one of the newest things if you’re using Chrome or one of those other browsers from a mobile perspective on Android or any of those, there’s a new tag out there called ‘theme color’ within some of these browsers. And what it is is it essentially changes that kind of slate gray browser bar up at the top —
Marcus: — and you can change the color of that to match the rest of your theme. So if you have a company color or something like that, you can use this, so this plugin is called Browser Theme Colors. It actually allows you to change that color of the actual browser address bar at the top of your mobile browser. This is really nice. It just adds that little finishing touch. I love to get some of these things into the light because these little kinds of plugins help to shape the user experience. If you’re somebody that does development or client work, these kinds of things set you apart from the rest in terms of design, so check this one out. It’s called Browser Theme Colors and I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: That’s a pretty interesting plugin. Does it also set them for regular computer size or is it specific to mobile?
Marcus: It’s specific to mobile because the regular computer browser does not use and utilize these theme color tags. It may in the future but for right now, I’m pretty certain that it only does it on Android.
John: Okay. All right, well at least as it advances, it looks like it would be something great because I’m one of those people that does hardly any browsing on my phone.
Marcus: So you’re the minority.
John: I am in the minority now. Yes, I know. I realize that but those phones are getting harder and harder to read – something about age and eyesight – one of those things.
Okay, well next up I have a plugin – the final one today still comes from this theme and it’s called File Away. This is a file management plugin and in particular what it’s for is for managing external files uploaded to your site by you or your users for your users to access and use on your site, such as PDF files, Word documents, internal documents – things of that nature in this.
What this plugin does you can manage them through a frontend interface or backend interface. You can allow certain people with special rights to upload files. Then what you can also do is display the files as either a chart or you can display them as a list in here using shortcodes on the page. You can also limit access to people with specific rights, so if you have files that someone low, everyone can see; a little higher, different files for different people based upon their user roles. You can do that with this plugin here.
It also comes with support for YouTube and Vimeo videos, so if you’ve got external videos and you want to bring them into the filing system, it can support those and play them for people. There’s a lot that this plugin can do and as I work through the myriad of files that I have to manage in this website, I’ll know more and more about it. But currently, File Away is looking at a 4-Dragon rating. Check it out.
Marcus: Cool. All right, I’m going to end things off here with a really nice plugin. This is called Email Sender. One of the biggest drawbacks I think I find is that a lot of times somebody will leave me a comment or somebody will fill out a contact form or something like that. I end up having to go into Gmail or go to whatever my mail is to actually answer them, so I’ve got to copy and paste what they sent and all the rest of it. It takes a while.
This plugin is called Email Sender and it gives you the ability to easily send a custom HTML right from the WordPress dashboard. You can send it to existing users that are already within your system, so if you want to make a One Note to a particular member or somebody that’s in the system, you can do that or just add your own recipient as you would any other email. You can also send to a group of emails in addition to just individuals.
Emails can also have an attachment – that’s something new that I’ve not seen yet in WordPress emails – anything that I’ve seen previously. It’s basically just a new menu item that’s called Send Email within the admin panel. It’s a really nice plugin, really useful – I know that I’m going to be using it on a couple of sites in particular, and I rated this one a perfect 5 out of 5.
John: That’s pretty handy that it allows you to do that. Now, does it also allow you to choose from your list of users in the site?
Marcus: You can do existing users that are already there and you don’t have to worry about copying their email address or anything like that. You can also do groups, so you can do everybody that has a particular role and send them an email.
John: Very nice. That would be a nice way to manage your either membership or if you’ve got multiple administrators in the website or of editors and such and such. Hey, that could be pretty useful.
John: It might be something we have to implement on WP Plugins as more and more people come on to help support us by donating time to the website.
Marcus: Right. And when it comes to things like the intranet site that you’re building —
Marcus: — this is also something that’s very handy because if you have any sort of system-wide shut-down or upgrades or any kind of notification that you need to send, this allows you to do that. And it doesn’t rely on things like MailChimp or previous signups or anything like that. It’s just people within the actual site.
John: Yeah, that can be very useful. Okay, well that wraps it up. I covered up in this episode the Eonet Live Notifications that I gave a 4 to; the Unyson framework builder which I gave a 4 to; and then File Away, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I covered the YITH Advanced Refund System for WooCommerce which gets a 4 out of 5, Browser Theme Colors gets a 4 out of 5, and then Email Sender gets a 5 out of 5.