The Evolution of Ward Communications

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usmcmitch
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby usmcmitch » Sun May 19, 2019 1:22 pm

In our ward council today, we discussed the challenge of announcements/communications with ward members, one thought I had was how nice it would be to have an announcement section in LDS Tools, in the same menu where the Directory/Organizations/Calendar is located. Similar to what johnshaw mentioned above about being able to host a few small documents, however, IF that is too complex, it would be nice to have a simple formattable text section in which Bishiprics and other presidencies could edit to help disseminate information to ward members and establish something that could be used churchwide (at least wherever LDS Tools is used). On this topic, is there a place that app improvement suggestions can be formally submitted to the church's tech department? Also, what are your thoughts on something like this?

russellhltn
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby russellhltn » Sun May 19, 2019 1:40 pm

usmcmitch wrote:On this topic, is there a place that app improvement suggestions can be formally submitted to the church's tech department?

You could use "contact us" under "help" in the app, or use the feedback link on the main page.
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jeffa
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby jeffa » Sun May 19, 2019 4:27 pm

Thank you, I will do that.

russ2p
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby russ2p » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:32 pm

@usmcmithc

If I'm recalling correctly the church website used to have an announcement feature built into it I want to say it was removed 5 or so years ago. Not a lot of units used it and removed it. There was also a great lessons feature that not many members/units used. I think with come follow me and the new 2 hour schedule both of these features would have much more demand and be used widely nowadays.

If you searched these forums you could probably find when and maybe why Announcements was retired. I imagine the annoucements feature was built on different technologies but perhaps there is some work/code there that could be reused to re-implement the feature.

lajackson
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby lajackson » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:26 pm

russ2p wrote:If you searched these forums you could probably find when and maybe why Announcements was retired. I imagine the annoucements feature was built on different technologies but perhaps there is some work/code there that could be reused to re-implement the feature.

It was a part of the old (Classic) ward website which was discontinued in December 2012. As you said, it was not used by very many wards and branches. It was also built on old code that was not compatible with the new website code, and the decision seemed at the time to be that it would not be worth the effort to recode that part of the site.

I am with you. It would come in really handy today. However, the Sunday School lesson title includes the date the lesson will be taught, and with Gospel Library it is easy to see what to study. Not so for priesthood and Relief Society meetings, of course.

russellhltn
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:03 pm

Lesson Schedules and Bulletins were discontinued in 2017. The technology behind it needed to get updated, but the low usage proved fatal for getting resources. The history of low usage is going to be a cloud that hangs over any attempt at reviving them.

Personally, I think the fatal flaw was that the members had to specifically seek out those web pages to see them. This, in a era when people expect data to come to them. At minimum, it would need to be integrated into Member Tools and/or Gospel Library.

But, the bottom line is it's not available. Any attempt to create something at the local level needs to comply with the rules found at internet.churchofjesuschrist.org.
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mevans
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby mevans » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:44 am

russellhltn wrote:Lesson Schedules and Bulletins were discontinued in 2017. The technology behind it needed to get updated, but the low usage proved fatal for getting resources. The history of low usage is going to be a cloud that hangs over any attempt at reviving them.

Personally, I think the fatal flaw was that the members had to specifically seek out those web pages to see them. This, in a era when people expect data to come to them. At minimum, it would need to be integrated into Member Tools and/or Gospel Library.

But, the bottom line is it's not available. Any attempt to create something at the local level needs to comply with the rules found at internet.churchofjesuschrist.org.


There were various problems with the online ward newsletter including (1) they didn't publicize that the tool existed, so few people knew about it; (2) it didn't work very well; (3) there was no access from the LDS Tools mobile app.

I believe LCR originally had struggles getting used but the product manager had the idea to actually tell people about it and that helped in the adoption. I think that was mentioned in an old LDS Tech broadcast. I really miss the old online ward newsletter. I used it for a lot of things. I tried to get our stake to use it, but someone in the stake presidency told me they didn't use it because they weren't given instructions that they should use it. We were working on a plan to get more people in the stake to use it for emergency preparedness right before they announced they were killing it. The sad thing is that it was the only way we could provide information that was restricted to current ward/stake membership because access was tied to your church account by your unit. You can't do that on any other social forum.

Lesson Schedules worked better than the ward newsletter. I think they killed it when they thought that what we now know of as "Come, Follow Me" was going to be released in 2018. For whatever reason, the launch was delayed until 2019. We were told Lesson Schedules wouldn't be needed in 2018 because of the new curriculum. If you see how Come, Follow Me is set up, they put dates on it and that serves as a fairly decent replacement for the Lesson Schedules app. It doesn't solve all the problems that Lesson Schedules solved, but it's now a reasonable replacement. Lesson Schedules also suffered from not being included in the Gospel Library app.

russellhltn
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby russellhltn » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:54 am

It certainly could have been implemented better. But now the issue is any future ideas will have to overcome "we had one, but it wasn't used" in order to get the resources for another attempt.
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Cyberjunkie
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby Cyberjunkie » Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:08 pm

I'm a major tech guy, but most people are not. We need to be mindful of members who don't use technology or are not good at it. I was once asked by one of our councilors how to see his iPhone calander in a week view. And he is not the only member I help frequently.
Members in Our ward set up a private Facebook site and it happens to get updated quite regularly. But if you don't use Facebook, like me, you don't get the information.
Our ward also implented a 4 week ward calander on the back side of the program, getting rid of the front picture. That is where I get most of my information, and members who don't use the internet can use also.
The point I want to get across is that there will never be just one solution to reach everyone, it has to be a multifaceted approach with the same information being passed out each way or people will be left out. The old announcements didn't reach everyone, because about 1/4 of the ward would come in afterwards.

drepouille
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Re: The Evolution of Ward Communications

Postby drepouille » Thu Dec 19, 2019 6:06 am

It's like you read my mind. Or my previous post on this subject!

drepouille wrote:There is no single best way to disseminate information, so we must deliver the same information to the members in multiple ways, even though that may annoy those who receive the information several times. I think announcing things verbally (in Sacrament meeting or EQ/RS/AP/YW meetings) is the least effective means. Yet, if we don't announce things verbally, there will always be those who claim they were not announced at all.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska


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