We've been working for months to be able to make this announcement.
Our team is incredibly proud of the two massive new features we've released today.
The first is one of the most highly-requested features for Thrive Architect and Thrive Theme Builder that we've ever had, and the second takes Thrive Apprentice's drip feature to the next level... again.
The new front-end filters, coupled with the Post List element, means this update is capable of replacing many expensive and now-unnecessary 3rd party plugins from your website. But it's not just one type of filter... it's 6 different filters rolled into one!
And Sequential Unlock for Thrive Apprentice puts our drip timeline editor miles ahead of any other on online course platform on the market— bar none— by making it super simple to force your students to progress through a course in order.
These are big updates... so do yourself a favor and read on to find out why they're so impressive.
Front-End Filters for the Post List
If you haven't discovered it yet, our Post List element in Thrive Architect and Thrive Theme Builder is just insanely good. It's driven by market-leading dynamic tech, allowing you to make advanced filter selections, to pull in any posts and pages of your choosing on your website, and display them beautifully.
It comes with options for a grid view (pictured above), list view or masonry.
You can style every corner, border, font, label, color and more. And since it's a dynamic template, the style changes you make will be applied to every new post that loads into it. Of course, you don't need to style it from scratch, because it comes with 42 pre-built designer-made templates (and that doesn't include the theme-styled templates that come with Page Blocks or Thrive Theme Builder).
At WordCamp Europe, we demonstrated this element to some power-users of another page builder whose name we won't mention. Needless to say, they were astonished at how flexible it is.
But there was a feature request that we kept getting.
"Can you add filters on the front-end so my website visitors can change the content in the post list?"
Front-end filters is has become the most requested feature we've had in recent time for Thrive Architect and Thrive Theme Builder. It took us a long time to figure out how to give you the best front-end filters that are flexible, and can be placed anywhere on your website.
Today, we are proud to announce the new Post List Filter element.
Yes, it really can be placed anywhere because it's a separate element to the Post List itself.
That means you can place your post list filters in your theme template sidebar (built with Thrive Theme Builder) and make those filters target any— or specific— post lists added to your regular page content with Thrive Architect.
Not sure what we mean by a front-end filter? Look at this image below.
See that row of buttons across the top? Users can click them and the content of the post list underneath will immediately update without requiring a page refresh!
What could you do with the post list filters? Here some ideas:
When you drop a Post List Filter on the page, you'll have many options to choose, but most importantly is selecting the filter option. This declares what taxonomy you want to filter on.
Wikipedia describes Taxonomies as"...a scheme of classification, especially a hierarchical classification, in which things are organized into groups or types."
By default, the taxonomies available in the Post List filter include: Categories, Tags and Authors. These are WordPress' core taxonomies. But the element is smart enough to find any custom post types on your website and fetch their taxonomies too, whether that's filtering on a recipe type, a team member occupation, or a country of origin.
Once you choose the taxonomy you're filtering on, you can search and select which specific results you want your filter to include. As pointed out below, I've chosen 3 categories that I want my visitors to choose from: marketing, members only and motivation. But it's incredibly easy to add more.
Given that our Post List element is the most flexible, versatile post grid in WordPress, we wanted to make sure that the Post List Filters were just as flexible.
To do this, we didn't just release one type of filter...
We released 6 different filter types, including Search!
When you drag-drop a Post List Filter onto the page, you'll be able to easily configure which of the 6 filter elements you want, and what filter values you want it to load.
In the following examples, I'm showing filters for 3 categories on my test website: Marketing, Motivation and Members Only. The posts that I'm loading will fall into one or more of these categories, and when visitors select the filter of their choosing, the post list automatically shows only the posts in that category.
Let's go through the 6 filter types.
1. Button Filters
The button filter can be set to horizontal for placing above page content and posts lists (image above), or it can be set to vertical, ideal for sidebars or columns layouts (image below).
With a click, you can enable or disable multi-select. With multi-select enabled, visitors can click multiple buttons to add to their filters. With it disabled, clicking any button will clear the previously active buttons.
This filter type has all the design features you know and love from the button element, including smart color inheritance (change it with a click), group styling, optional button icons, and more.
The limit is only your imagination.
Don't forget that we already have stacks of pre-made button styles too.
2. Checkbox Filters
If buttons don't suit your website's design aesthetic, there's also checkboxes. A much more subtle, but equally familiar user-interface component.
Just like buttons, checkboxes also support horizontal and vertical layouts. In fact, the first 4 filter types do. The last 2 filter types don't need it, and you'll see why when we get to them below.
Generally, checkboxes are a UI (User Interface) component known for support multi-select. But with our filters, that's optional. Just like with buttons, if you disable multi-select, then any previous checkboxes will be unchecked when a vistor picks a new one.
Once again, you can style text size, checkbox size and color, the appearance of the 'active' state and 'inactive' states separately, and you can pick from a set of checkboxes styles too.
3. Radio Button Filters
Radio buttons are a UI component used when only one value can be selected at a time. This is a universally understood rule of the component type, so choose radio buttons only if you know that you don't want your visitors to multi-select.
In the example above, if I choose 'motivation', then 'marketing' will be deselected.
Radio buttons can be set to vertical or horizontal, and has all the same styling options as the checkbox filter type, with it's own set of design styles as well.
4. Text Link Filters
What if all the above is too much, and you just want a simple list of category or tag names?
For this we have the text links filter type, which is a dynamically generated list with optional icons as bullet points for each line.
It looks like this:
Also available in a horizontal version, with an easy way to change the horizontal spacing and vertical spacing if the values spill over more than 1 line.
Text links for filtering purposes are unique because they hyperlink does not take the visitor to a new URL. They remain on the same page after clicking these links. Therefore, it's important to indicate which text links have been clicked and which have not.
To manage these appearances, select the 'Filter list item' breadcrumb and click the CSS state dropdown in the top left. You'll see 3 options: Normal, Hover and Active.
Active lets to you change the typography and design of your text links when they've been enabled. In this example, I've bolded the text and made it green, the same smart color as the rest of the page.
Since the first 4 front end filter types present a set of options that a user can interact with, all of them have these 3 states on the design items in the grouped set.
If you want to fine tune your filters, its worth getting familiar with this state toggle to make your changes.
"Can I style the icons, though?"
Of course you can. You can entirely disable the icons bullets from your text links, or change their color and size, even picking from our built-in library of hundreds of unique icons. And you can ungroup icons if you want a unique icon per listed link.
5. Dropdown Filter
Unlike the first 4 filter types, a dropdown uses much less screen space.
This filter type means a huge list of available filters can be tucked away into a simple dropdown selector.
When you visitors click on the dropdown, a scrollable and visually-editable box will drop down, and they can choose the filter option they want.
Keep in mind that a dropdown only allows a single value to be selected at a time. And of course, we don't leave you to style every corner, border and color on your own. It also comes with pre-made styles to get you started.
6. Search Filter
As if those 5 filter types above aren't already enough, this last one is just the icing on the cake: a search filter that narrows the results of your backend filters by displaying any post that contains specific text in the post title or content area.
The best part? It performs the search right there on the page without a page reload!
WordPress already has search functionality built in. But it's a bit clunky. As a visitor, you enter a search term into a search box and then you get whisked away to a different page, driven by a WordPress theme template, presenting search results. That page is quite difficult to edit, too— unless you have Thrive Theme Builder, of course.
And it'll search almost all of the content on your website, returning results that you probably don't want your visitors to find. The visually editable search element that we built years ago allows some limited filtering on what post types the search should be performed. But we couldn't push it much further without some advanced filtering rules.
...Like the advanced filtering rules we've already built in to the Post List element.
This front-end Search filter for the post list is just awesome. It will only find posts that match BOTH the back-end filters you've preset and the search terms a user inputs.
And doing it all without a page refresh? That's just a game changer!
I doubt you'll be surprised to know that the Search Filter also comes with loads of pre-designed templates too.
You can choose to include an icon or not, put the 'search' button on the left or the right of the input field, or even change it to a 2-step search— where the user clicks a small search icon that opens up into an expanded input field.
Borders, corners, colors, fonts, placeholder text— everything is editable.
We don't mess around.
How to apply the Post List filter
We know— the design potential here is incredible. You can pick your jaw up off the table now.
...Because to use this element, you'll want to understand an important concept:
The URL Query Key.
The Post List Filter and your Post Lists are two separate elements. But they need to communicate. And how they do this is by speaking on the same 'channel', known as the URL Query Key. You'll find it in the main options of your Post List filter settings.
The URL query key is the name of the filter variable that will be applied as a URL query string when a user clicks on it. You can see above that it's called 'category' in this example.
That means that when a user clicks on my 'Motivation' category filter, the URL in their address bar will change (without a page refresh) to:
'Category' becomes the channel that this filter is operating on, and 'Motivation' is the filter value applied on that channel.
Now you'll want to tune your post lists to listen to that channel. So next time you click the 'filter' button on your post lists (see image below)...
...you'll notice that in your back-end filter settings you can choose which front-end filters this post list should start listening to.
This is a new setting we added in this release.
By default, any Post Lists already on your website will not have any Allowed Front End Filters. You'll need to add them manually. But any new Post Lists you add will come with those 4 'channels' (or rather URL Query Keys) enabled: tag, author, search and category.
At this point, your post lists are listening to the front end filters.
Keep in mind: You can customize your URL Query Key.
If you have more than one Post List on a page, you might want to create filters that target only one of those Post Lists. To do that, you can edit the URL Query Key of your front end filters, perhaps changing it from 'category' to 'category_2'.
Then, hop over to the Post List that you want to listen to the new channel, and click '+Add' from the 'Allowed front end filters'. You'll see 'category_2' is logged as a new URL Query Key on your website and can be added.
Try it out!
With 6 filter types to choose from, and being smart enough to read the taxonomies of any custom post types, this feature is huuuge.
And because it's a separate element, you can add multiple filters to a page and place different headings or style components around or between them.
Start playing around with it! It'll blow your mind just how flexible it is.
Phew... that was a big feature! Now on to the next...
Thrive Apprentice Drip: Sequential Unlock
In today's release, we've refactored some of the user-experience when setting up a drip schedule for your online courses in Thrive Apprentice.
This refactoring was necessary to clear the way for a brand new feature: Sequential Unlock, which allows you to force your students to complete your course content in order. They won't be able access lessons until they've marked those before it as complete, meaning that they consume your content in the order that you decide is best.
You already know that Thrive Apprentice's Drip scheduler is leagues ahead of other online course platforms.
You can set evergreen drip schedules that release content on automated schedule. You can configure specific calendar dates to release course content. You can even customize the unlock rules per lesson or module, allowing you to pinpoint exactly when and how your students can consume your content— including when they complete quizzes or achieve certain scores.
This isn't empty rhetoric.
We know that our drip sequencer is better than anything out there because we did the research and made sure of it.
There was one thing missing, though...
"What if I don't want to set complex drip rules, but I just want to force my students to access my course content in sequential order".
You're right. That should be really easy. And today, it is.
New 'Force users to complete course in order' toggle
Sequential Unlock is when the only rule that matters is that all previous content has been marked as complete. You're not fussed about specific dates or events (though you can add those too). You just want to make sure that your students cannot advance to the next lesson until they've marked the previous one as complete.
That is now represented by this toggle:
With one click of this toggle, your enrolled students will have to progress through your course in order.
But to accompany this, we've improved the drip template library.
Now when you go to create a new drip campaign, this is the first screen you'll see:
'Start from scratch' has been moved to the bottom, making space for a new template called 'Sequential Unlock'.
When you make a selection of a drip template on this screen and click 'Continue', you'll be able to edit all the necessary settings on the second screen.
In the image below, I've applied an Evergreen Repeating template. Now I can adjust any settings I want. Templates are there to pre-configure settings, and after you've selected it, the template type no longer matters.
Notice the 'advanced settings' toggle at the bottom?
While you're configuring your drip campaign, you can open this toggle to make quick decisions about both locked lesson visibility and— the new feature— whether or not you also want to force your students to unlock the content in order.
New Sequential Unlock Drip Template
For example, if you select the new 'Sequential Unlock' template, you'll see that the advanced settings toggle is already opened and both options are enabled.
This means that creating a brand new drip template just to force your students to unlock their course in order is as easy as 3 clicks.
And how is this reflected in the drip timeline? You'll see a new light-green 'sequential' status on any lessons that have only this rule applied. Of course, you can also add specific drip rules as well, and these will be marked in dark green. If the sequential rule also applies, you'll see a floating number (1), indicating that there's 1 other rule on that lesson.
Editing your sequential unlock rules per lesson
But that's not all.
We really did go the extra mile here. We asked our beta testers if they felt there would ever be a time when you want to force your students to take a whole course in order... except one or two lessons.
They said yes, there might be.
So we needed a way that after applying a sequential unlock rule to your whole course, you could choose specific lessons that deliberately ignore that rule.
If you click to edit the drip rules on a specific lesson that has a Sequential rule applied, you'll see this view:
Open the 'advanced' toggle at the bottom, and you'll see that your lesson's sequential unlock settings are set to inherit from the drip campaign itself.
But you can change this to 'No', disconnecting any inheritance, meaning that this specific lesson will be accessible by students without them having to complete the rest of the course material before it— even though that rule remains in place for all other lessons.
And two more around the corner...
There's two more announcements— one coming tomorrow, and another one in the coming weeks.
Keep your eyes on your email inbox and on our blog. The first is a huge accomplishment, but technically it's not a feature that you can use straight away. And the second is whole set of brand new templates centered around a small update that we've snuck into the latest release.
Until then, we'd love to hear your comments and thoughts about the new Post List Filters and Sequential Drip. Drop us a comment below!