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A Brand New Toolbox
By Dan Vis
March 09, 2018
Comments: 13

In the paragraphs below I want to tell you a bit about the exciting changes we just made to our toolbox! More tools than ever, and more on the way...

Over the years, our dashboard has been becoming more and more powerful, as we've added more and more tools. But all those features have also made it more complicated and difficult to use. So we've decided to revamp things just a bit.

First, we're going to start referring to it as our toolbox. At right around 20 different tools. It no longer makes sense to think of it as a dashboard tracking just four different activities. Not to mention we have even more tools coming out soon. We knew we needed to expand our structure to make room for all our ideas!

Second, we decided to break each tool out separately on our TOOLS homepage. When you click there now--you'll see every tool in the toolbox and can go straight to the exact tool you want. No need to guess, figure out, or remember where something is. It's all right there at your finger tips!

We did rename some of our tools slightly to (hopefully) make things more clear, but chose to keep everything organized in the same basic categories, so things won't look that much different to regular users. Our hope is that having every tool right on one page will encourage you to explore new sections of our site you have not yet discovered!

We also made some significant changes to the toolbox navigation. We decided to try and eliminate expanding menus that hide various options. And no more subheadings so we could display instead a consistent map to your current location at the top of every page in the toolbox. These two guidelines were not easy, but for the most part we pulled it off.

We also made plenty of small changes, tweaks, and fixes. Some of these are listed below.

Bible Study
In the Bible study section, we slightly changed how the Daily Reading tool works. Now, it returns you to the last chapter viewed rather than the next chapter. This way it won't skip ahead if you fail to finish the chapter. We've also moved the link to mark a chapter as read to the bottom of the chapter. That link also now advances you to the next chapter. Seems a bit more user friendly.

We've also changed what happens when you delete your reading record so you can start over again. Now, your consistency and record scores are preserved.

We've also renamed the "My Topics" section to "Cross References". It still works the same, but we felt it made more sense as this tool is closely linked to our Cross Reference course. Some of these pages were also found in the Memorization section, and we decided to eliminate duplicate pages there.

And last, I should note we updated our Bible Search tool recently, making it run lightning fast. I find myself using it often--on both phone and desktop. Give it a try if you haven't checked it out recently.

Memorization
This area looks like it has the biggest amount of change. But fortunately, the changes are all cosmetic. For the most part, at least, everything on the engine was working fine--we just needed to simplify how the various options were organized. And we did our best to do that. You'll just have to look around a bit to get used to the new menu, but I'm hoping you will find things much more intuitive.

Some tools were moved to the top level, like the Card Generator, First Letters, and Flash Cards. These are distinct tools and deserve their own links.

We also created a new top level "Verse Sets" link to make all our various collections of verses super easy to find. They are no longer hidden away in our future verses area.   

We also decided to group the to do list, verse pack, and review list all together in a new "My Verses" section, so you can keep track of all your verses in just one place. We also added a bit more instruction on how a verse moves from future, to current, to past status. I'm hoping everyone will see this change as much more logical.

We did add a couple new features as well, including a new "Book Train" drill, with the option of either doing reviews in book order or shuffled randomly. And we added the same option to the chapter review drills. This was an experimental but popular feature that we started tinkering with after our last Breakout Memory Challenge. I'm really glad to have it officially built into the toolbox now.

We know a lot of people use this section of the toolbox. And we know there's a learning curve involved with every change. But if you are patient and give yourself some time to figure things out, you'll discover everything is still there--just moved around a bit. If you can't find something, use the help hotline. We'll answer ASAP.

Prayer Area
We decided to expand the prayer journal section to make it more than just a list of personal requests. And so as a result, we are now simply calling it the Prayer Area. Your personal prayer requests are still there, in the section called "My Requests", but you will also see two brand new tools available to you.

First, we added a new "Community Needs" section, very similar to our old Prayer Chapel. It was purged in one of our site simplifications sometime back, but I've always missed it, and decided to bring it back. You can use this section to share requests with other members of our community, and solicit prayers. You can also leave encouraging comments, and there's a button to let someone know you prayed over their request. We'll be starting out with a clean slate, so feel free to jump in and share a request or two!

Second, there's a new "FAST Calendar" tool I'll be using to post various prayer requests each day for FAST. We have so many moving parts in our ministry, we really need constant prayer! So we created a way for you to check in once each day (or as you are able), and take a couple minutes to shoot up a prayer about a specific request on our behalf. We REALLY appreciate your prayer support!

Last, we fixed a longstanding issue in the prayer journal with our prayer categories. For some reason I have never gotten around to fixing them so they print out as lists rather than running like the memory engine. We did this for the main prayer journal long ago, but never got around to fixing it for the categories. That's done now, and I'm super thrilled with how it turned out.

Manage Time
This section of the toolbox probably changed the least. I actually have some really big ideas for this section of our toolbox, but that is going to have to wait for another day. Till I have more time! :) For now, I just tightend up the links so everything is consistent across the toolbox and left things pretty much as it was.

I'm still wanting to add a few new resources and update some of our existing resources to sync better with the content we teach in our Life Focus System and ROCKET classes. And I may be able to get those added soon--as they will not be particularly difficult. So keep your eyes peeled for those...

What's Ahead?
Once the dust settles from this major revamp, I should be able to start adding new tools one at a time without major disruption. And I've got quite a list. I won't spill all the beans now, but will say that I'm so optimistic about the coming changes I actually added a "New Tools" section in the menu area of the Toolbox homepage. There you'll be able to see whatever the latest tools are that I've added, and read a quick update of any significant changes. I've got the next new tool scheduled to come out in less than a week!

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read through this post, to learn more about all our recent changes! Please take some time to poke around the new toolbox and then let me know what you think in the comments below. Feel free to ask questions and/or offer suggestions. It's not too late to fine-tune the details. Your input is always welcome!

Comments

Have you had a chance to poke around and check out the changes? If so what do you think? Like the new features? Find the navigation more intuitive? Have questions where something is? Looking forward to your feedback below...

Posted by Dan Vis on 04/11/18
Donna, if you click the option to add a verse in a different translation, you can access all your initial setting options, including review frequency and alternate translations. Is that what you are looking for?
Posted by Donna Reinhardt on 04/11/18
I used to copy and paste verses to memorize..and if I didn't it I could just enter chapter and verse and it would default to King James..now it seems we just enter chapter and verse...period? No more other options?
Posted by Dan Vis on 04/08/18
No problem Delores. Must have been your browser followed the field size more strictly than the ones I tested on. Glad it's working! And ps, you can tap the pictures in the comment boxes anywhere. Even here in the blog area. :)
Posted by Delores Heracklis on 04/06/18
Thank you, Dan. I didn't try to change it. It was just not viewing correctly because of the one-digit field limit. I didn't notice until you widened the field the "max number of daily" also was showing "6" and s/h/b "60".
Thank you also for the hint about tapping the picture to alert someone a message is waiting.
Posted by Dan Vis on 04/06/18

Delores, I just widened the box. Surprized you couldn't put more than one digit in, but should work better now. :)

PS. Anytime you want to tag me or another commenter, just tap the picture. It will send me a note you left a message.

Posted by Delores Heracklis on 04/05/18
Dan: Can the field for "Maximum number of verses in review" be increased to 2 digits. Mine says "3" and it should be "30" because the field is set to a 1-digit maximum.
Posted by Dan Vis on 04/05/18
Great job Delores! Glad you found it. :)
Posted by Delores Heracklis on 04/04/18
Thank you Dan. I see it now. "Maximum number of verses in review" says "3". It should be "30".
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/25/18
Hi Danetta, Delores! Sorry I missed your note. Just go to "My Account" and then "Toolbox".
Posted by Delores Heracklis on 03/13/18
I agree with Danetta.... can't find the "settings" page. I think it used to be under "Profile". I have searched everywhere and can't find it now.
Posted by Danetta on 03/12/18
Hi! I can't find the "settings" for the memory engine where you can set how many verses to be done in a daily review.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/11/18
Thanks for the other suggestions you sent me Kjersti. I'll see if we can get them done soon...
Posted by Kjersti on 03/11/18
Grate info!

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