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Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:44 pm
by russellhltn
Alan_Brown wrote:If this last step is omitted, then it's entirely possible that someone from another ward could schedule an emergency preparedness committee meeting for the RS room on Thursday night, get that approved, and the RS President would be out of luck when the enrichment group shows up on Thursday hoping to use the RS room, because she neglected to schedule the room on the shared resource calendar, even though she did schedule the activity on the ward calendar.
Add to that the usual changes and moved meetings and it's easy for the two calendars to get out of sync and cause that same problem.

That's the biggest drawback to the resource calendar - it requires someone to routinely review both calendars to make sure there are no conflicts.

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:47 pm
by TinMan
Yes, that is all true. But scheduling EVERY ward event/meeting on the resource calendar for all 3 wards could put so much information there it becomes useless.

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:53 pm
by TinMan
Now, there is something for the "new ideas" thread:

A building calendar that automatically combines the ward calendars for all the wards meeting in a building into a separate "Building calendar" while keeping the ward calendars separate.

Put two buttons in the "Calendar" section: One for "Ward Calendar" and a second one for "Building Calendar" It could use different colors like is done now for Ward, Stake and Church activities. Ward X is Red, Ward Y is Blue and Ward Z is Black.

Someone has probably already suggested that...

I'm so late to the game sometimes...

An interim proposal

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:33 pm
by Swift
I have read all the previous posts with great interest, as we have also had some of the issues raised here in our own ward. In fact, more than a few times during our PEC it has been mentioned about the (supposed) disparity between the ward calendar and the resource calendar, and I continually have to explain to them how it is meant to work.

In our ward, we are now successfully using the ward calendar and the resource calendar to handle scheduling among the three wards assigned to our building. The success of it has been down to the administration of the calendars by the various administrators involved (of which I am not one). I cannot help but think, however, that a few modifications to the Submit Event page could save some headaches that our administrators have had to go through, and at the same time make the very user-friendly Submit Events page a little more so.

Failing a more full-featured scheduling system, which has already been proposed in this thread, and which we might well be affecting with our discussion here (via Tom I imagine), here are the major issues for us in our ward.

1. The ward calendar and the building calendar are separate calendars.

Now, don't get me wrong, I perfectly understand that they must be separate calendars (for instance, you might have a ward activity scheduled at someone's home, or a non-ward scout activity scheduled at the building - they have to be separate to accommodate both), but the problem with this is that it is not intuitive enough for the end user. My RS President did not understand the concept of adding her activities to both of the calendars until (I think) the third explanation, and she's a smart lady! IMO what we need is a more intuitive interface when adding and editing events on the ward website.

My suggestion to accomplish this is that the Submit Ward Calendar Event screen should have the extra fields to allow adding that same event to both calendars. These extra fields should be there for the express purpose of making the process more intuitive for the end user. I recognize that the first piece of text under the Schedule Ward Calendar Event heading is:
  • " Submitting an event does not automatically schedule a resource such as a building. If you want to schedule a resource for this event, click Resources (on the left side of this screen)."
...but it appears that this text is not actually being read and understood intuitively by our members.

Consider perhaps the following changes:
  • A checkbox to indicate that you wish to also add this event to the resource calendar (called "Schedule building for this event?")
  • A drop down for the desired building resource (if you can default it to the building that the user attends, then great, though it appears that type of relationship is not there)
  • Start and stop times for the resource schedule event that default to the ones chosen for the ward calendar event, with perhaps "Include time for set up" to the right of the Start Time control, and "Include time for clean up" next to the Stop Time control. Perhaps even "Be sure to include time for set up". This would hopefully remind them to make the times for the resource calendar a wider range to allow for the appropriate set up and clean up. Again, this small addition should make it more intuitive for the end user.
  • The regular Make this a repeating event link. You could either include this link again for the new resource event, or simply use the same repeating rules specified for the resource calendar event, being sure to use the times specified on the new resource event time input fields.
  • The regular Do not show on Home Page checkbox.
  • The regular Details field that would normally appear when scheduling a resource. This allows the user to enter all current codes or regulations in place set by the local Stake and Ward Administrators, such as entering rooms required, ward name, contact name and number, etc.
  • Perhaps a drop down list to select the Scheduling Ward. This specifies which ward the event is for. If you could default it to the ward the user is in, that would be good. This is in relation to issue 2 below. Naturally this would supercede the necessity of training our members to include the ward name in the comments field, and make the table more relational in the process. I recognize that this is a much larger change than the others however, as it requires adding a field to the events tables and a relationship to the unit that does not currently exist.
You know, there's almost enough room to include all of these fields in a second column, side by side on the Submit Ward Calendar Event page. The checkbox could go next to the Title input field, the various date and times fields would correspond with each other, and the new Details field could go to the right of the existing one also. That might be a possible solution, although it probably wouldn't work for the smaller screen resolutions...

The only thing this method does not allow is the ability to schedule multiple building resources for the same event from the same page, such as what happened with our Ward Christmas Party event, where we scheduled various rooms in the building as well as the Stake Laptop and Stake Projector resources that we wished to use as well. As an aside, having the Stake Laptop and Stake Projector as stake resources, each with their own calendar was quite intelligent on the part of our Stake Administrator I have to say, and seems to have worked splendidly so far. My point here was that the above suggestion does not allow you to easily schedule multiple resources from that first Submit Event page, but I would imagine that it is not necessary to actually code this extra complexity right now as it is not a common occurrence. Food for thought for later though...

2. Color coding

The current resource calendar is all in green, which helps greatly in distinguishing it from the ward calendar (a truly great idea by the way, that would likely have caused a lot of confusion had it been black, red or blue). Perhaps though we can use the other colors as well, or the old trick of distinguishing text by using different text styles like italic or bold, or by different background colors. Personally I think that the different colored text on the ward calendar works great and we only need to use more colors to distinguish requests from different wards rather than italics or background colors.

The idea is, allow an administrator to set a particular text color for a particular ward. Then, when a resource is scheduled for an event for that ward, use that specified color to display it on the building resource calendar. This would mean that we definitely need to add the Scheduling Ward drop down to the Submit Event screen (for instance, 4 list items "1st Ward", "2nd Ward", "3rd Ward", "External" - where External handles non ward activities like scout leadership trainings and wedding receptions, etc.). Then, the building calendar can show items for all three units in the building (and Tinman, I think that the events for three wards plus external events would not actually become unwieldy although it might present a lot of information - in fact I think it's better to have the improved data visibility and to show it all together), with the events from each ward appearing, for instance, in a green, purple and gold respectively, and external items in black or orange (kudos to Tinman - same idea). Clearly, the colors themselves are not important, but that it is possible to make the calendar display a little more intuitive with very little effort.

Again, these ideas are intended to constitute a "first-step" towards making the current process more intuitive. I welcome the idea of a building map to schedule different rooms, and possibly allowing the extra URL parameters to allow IT savvy administrators to create shortcut links for their ward members (interesting idea). My proposed ideas here are intended to make the current (excellent) system a little more intuitive so our members will actually use it to schedule events on both calendars.

I also recognize that what I am proposing will take some man days or weeks to code and then have to go through QA testing and so on, but I think that it is a minor enough modification that it can be done fairly quickly. The programmer will have to still handle the email notifications for both ward calendar event and buidling resource event, and so you'd probably get two different emails for the same event if it's scheduled on both, but that is probably what should happen anyway. At best you could get just the one email notification, but you would still need to see the information that the event was now on both calendars on that one email. The programmer would also have to handle the repeating event possibility, but I don't think that would be too much to handle.

I welcome any improved or different ideas gladly. Thanks!

A new calling

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:55 pm
by mattfarley
I was just called to be the building scheduler for our Stake center.

I immediately came here to read up on what solutions exist to facilitate scheduling.

Seeing the various complaints with the system (and the fact that I couldn't even get into our ward's site), I ended up just creating my own site where people can fill out a form to request a reservation that I'll have to approve.

The form provides them with a map of the building, our stake policies in regards to building usage, and a read-only calendar of what's already scheduled (thanks google maps!).

I now direct people to and

The website/email address/google calendars are configured on independent accounts such that when I am released my replacement can easily take them over.

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:41 pm
by russellhltn
mfarley wrote:(and the fact that I couldn't even get into our ward's site)
Why is that? Is your stake not participating in LUWS?

mfarley wrote:I now direct people to
Nice site. Are you are aware of the Authorized Church Web Sites policy?

I should also add that in LUWS we've been asked "not show details about Young Men or Young Women activities on the home page" as the home page is publicly accessible. I assume the reason is to keep predators away from our youth.

LUWS is in the process of being changed. So in time we'll have better tools.

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:35 pm
by mattfarley
RussellHltn wrote:Why is that? Is your stake not participating in LUWS?
When I attempt to retrieve my login by entering my membership id and birthday, it says it cannot locate me in the system. I can only assume there's a typo (handwritten) of my membership id on my temple recommend.
RussellHltn wrote: Nice site. Are you are aware of the Authorized Church Web Sites policy?

I should also add that in LUWS we've been asked "not show details about Young Men or Young Women activities on the home page" as the home page is publicly accessible. I assume the reason is to keep predators away from our youth.
Aware of the policy -- yes.. But also aware of sites like who may not comply with the "letter" of the policy, but are recognized by the Church as valuable tools (hence the spin-off HT/VT community project).

I hope that a simple web form to request a building reservation would be viewed in a similar light.

If our Stake Presidency has any concerns we can always scale down the details to just free/busy on the calendar.

I truly hope that future iterations of LUWS are more user friendly and on par with contemporary "web 2.0" applications.

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:14 pm
by russellhltn
mfarley wrote:When I attempt to retrieve my login by entering my membership id and birthday, it says it cannot locate me in the system. I can only assume there's a typo (handwritten) of my membership id on my temple recommend.
I'd suggest going to your ward clerk and asking for a IOS (Individual Ordinance Summary). That will help you verify your ID # and the birth date the church has on file for you.

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:29 pm
by mattfarley
RussellHltn wrote:I'd suggest going to your ward clerk and asking for a IOS (Individual Ordinance Summary). That will help you verify your ID # and the birth date the church has on file for you.
Great, thanks Russel!

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:19 pm
by RossEvans
Another factor with respect to the letter and intent of church policy on such external sites is that mfarley's resource calendar is being published to the whole world, not just to the authenticated members of the stake as in the LUWS resource calendar.

Aurhoritative interpretation of church policy here should come from the stake president. The key question is whether he has approved this.