Monday, March 14, 2011

Feature Frenzy #3: Quickly Loading & Tagging User Accounts with the Batch Loader

Continuing the Feature Frenzy series, today we'll introduce the new account batch loader, which provides a simple way to create and tag user accounts on Tizra hosted sites.  Who cares?  Anyone who wants to do things like...

  • Sell content via email promotions — The loader lets you quickly add members of your mailing list, and give them access to special deals, free samples, etc.
  • Deliver content in bulk to schools, companies, etc. — Use the loader to fulfill large numbers of orders quickly when selling through an existing sales team or other offline method.
  • Manage "members only" access — The loader provides a quick, simple alternative to single sign-on integration, helping associations and other groups keep member lists up-to-date.
We'll detail some sample applications in upcoming posts, but first, the basics: To use the batch loader, just go to the "USERS" area in the Tizra Control Panel, then click the "Upload" button down at the bottom of the page.  A dialog like the one at left pops up.  Paste in a list of usernames, enter any tags you want applied to them, and submit.  Your users are created and tagged.

You can then use the tags to create groupings called Account Sets, and provide appropriate access to all members of each set using Licenses.  The Licenses are extremely flexible, enabling you to provide access for a certain amount of time from first access, between fixed dates (such as a semester), up to a certain number of simultaneous sessions (or seats), and letting you control whether supplemental downloads like spreadsheets, slides or video are included. 

To ease management and improve security, users created via the loader are flagged with the special status "Email Verification Required."  This means that the first time the user tries to log in, they'll be prompted for a password, and will receive an account activation link via email.  This process verifies that they are who they say they are, and from then on, the users can update their own username, password and other information, without contacting support.

A simple feature, but one that opens up all kinds of possibilities.  More on those soon!

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