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Massive Engine Update
By Dan Vis
February 28, 2017
Comments: 21

Today we managed to upload one of the biggest upgrades to the Dashboard we have done in a long while. And just in time for our Breakout Memory Challenge! Here's what we did:

Better Navigation
Our main goal was to make the Engine easier to use. I began by asking myself what the main things people wanted to use the Engine, for and realized it revolved around Finding Verses, Memorizing Verses, and Reviewing Verses. So we scrapped our old menu entirely and created a new one based on these three tasks.

We also decided to make the side menu collapsible. That means you get to see additional items when you are in one of the main engine sections, without being overwhelmed by all the other options available in the other sections. It definitely seems cleaner and more user friendly. But it's different. So give the logic a few moments to sink in.

I also noticed the Engine tended to bounce you around quite a bit when using the different tools--making it easy to get lost. We've tried to fix this too, by recreating a whole suite of tools in each important section, so you can use them without having to move around. And when you finish using a tool, we've tried to get it to bring you back to the place you would most expect.

Tools Where you Want Them
Once we began organizing our site based on our user's goals, we began to realize there were a lot of gaps in which tools were available where. Some sections had direct links to the Card Generator. Others did not. Finding our Flash Card drills was easy in some places, and tricky or even impossible in others. Some sets allowed references drills, some did not. Gaps like this riddled the interface. I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been to users!

But now we've worked really hard to put the full complement of tools on every page it makes sense. We even added many of these tools to our Online Bible! We've also tried to make it a unified and consistent user experience through the entire Engine, in hopes this will shorten the learning curve considerably!

New Tools
We actually added a couple new tools in the process, or at least extended two of our popular tools:

A Clearer Memory Process
During our last Breakout Memory Challenge, I introduced a new memorization concept called pre-memorizing and setup the beginnings of a digital Verse Pack designed for use on your phone. And it was a great success. This time we have fully built out that tool and done quite a bit of polishing to it.

Now you can print out cards, first letters, move the verses to the Engine easily, and more. Perhaps most exciting, you can now enter these verses in any translation you like--and they will even show up in your first letters and verse cards in that translation. And when you transfer them to your regular review, the translation moves along too.

We also fully differentiated the Verse Pack from the Future Verses list we have used in the past. Verses you want to memorize some day go in your Future Verses list. Verses you are learning now, can go in your Verse Pack. And once you learn the verse, it moves to your daily review. It's a super simple and logical progression.

You can find the new and improved Verse Pack in the Memory Tools area as well. Or if you visit us on your phone, it's the first button you see when you login.

Reference Drills Everywhere
We did quite a bit of work on our engine software to make it possible to do all kinds of custom reviews, of both verses and references. And created a whole new section just for those review options.

And wherever you look, you'll see options to instantly switch between verse and reference drills. We've never had so many options. It's never been so easy to get around.

Chain Referencing
As mentioned above, we made a big upgrade to our online Bible as well, adding memorization tools right under each verse. One of those changes involved a complete revamp of how topics work.

Before, you could only assign verse to a topic when you added them to the Engine, and it was a bit of a tedious process. Now you can assign any verse you stumble across to any topic you want, regardless of whether or not you have memorized it or even intend to.

You can now easily cut and paste whole lists of verses to a topic, or edit the verses assigned to a topic with just a few clicks. And you can even assign verses to multiple topics! And of course, you have the full complement of tools for memorizing each list.

Reorganizing it like this makes it possible to show your topics right under the appropriate verses in the Online Bible. This makes powerful, fully customized cross-referencing possible. If you tag some verse as being about some topic, you can click that tag and instantly see every other verse you have tagged on the subject. I can only imagine all the creative uses people are going to come up with for this!

Conclusion
It was a bit of a rocky upgrade because there were a lot of moving parts that all had to be upgraded at the same time, and a massive amount of code had to be changed to get everything to work. We're still hoping it will all go smoothly, and you'll just notice things look a bit simpler, and that all the tools you want are right where you would expect them to be.

Yes, change can be difficult. And it will take a minute or two to figure out where things are. But it will be worth the effort.

And yes, there will probably be a few bugs--with as complicated an upgrade as this was. But we'll be watching things carefully the next day or two and try to stay on top of it all. If you spot something--let us know.

Feel free to ask a question or leave a note in the comments below. Looking forward to hearing your feedback on the changes!

Comments

So what do you think of the update? Any glitches anywhere? Anything you like? Dislike? Questions about how something works? Ask them below.

Posted by Mami on 03/22/17
Thank you Dan. I will copy-paste it on Word to print off. Thank you.
Posted by Joan Ballenger on 03/19/17
Thank you Pastor Dan for all your hard work in making this system more user friendly.
Blessings!
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/16/17
I may not be able to fix that one Mami. I use a third party pdf generator. It must not be capable of printing the characters in your language. I'll research it some--but can't promise anything. :(
Posted by Mami on 03/15/17
Thank you for all the update and bug fixing, Dan! I can see the different language translation in the verse pack and my daily review, but it doesn't do it on card for printing. The letters are all changed to incomprehensive nonsensical characters. Sorry if I am the only one using Asian characters... Just wondering if it's a minor bug fix which you can do it easily without spending a lot of time.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/06/17
Fixed a couple small bugs today. Now your awards do not include verses in your verse pack. And moving verses out of the Future Verses removes them from that list instantly.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/02/17

Just fixed another bug in the Add to Engine link when switching a verse from the Verse Pack to the Daily Review. And I renamed the Future Verses list back to the To Do List. It seems that changed confused a lot of people. Maybe it's just as well that way actually.

That should be the last bug reported so far. Fixed a couple others earlier. Will continue to monitor closely.

Posted by Dan Vis on 03/01/17

Marsha, it is the World English Bible. May change it to something else, but it is supposed to be a translation designed for international Bible readers. Only uses a 1000 word vocabulary or something. And it's copyright free!

Glad it's making sense Lisette. Glad you enjoy the reference review Vicky.

Posted by Vicky Lewis on 03/01/17
I don't know if this is a new feature or if I missed it before, but I really like the Reference Review! Just what I need since the references always seem to elude me.
Posted by Lisette Morgan on 03/01/17
Okay I am not totally befuddled...lol
Posted by Marsha on 03/01/17
Reviewing the changes, you've worked hard on updating! Quick question, what version is the "easy English" option?
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/01/17
Christine, I'm just super glad both bugs were easy to fix! I was a bit worried about things given how big and complex the changes were. But it seems like this upgrade rolled out pretty smoothly. Praise God. Thanks to everyone that was praying...
Posted by Christine Godfrey on 03/01/17
Ok thanks Dan no worries. I know where they are now anyway.
Glad the congrats page is fixed.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/01/17

I fixed the two bugs reported so far. Now it goes to the congratulations page like it is supposed to (Debbie, Delene), and the alternate translations/languages should all be working properly (Mami).

I don't think I will put a separate link for the Future Verses Christine, as it is easy enough to find them, and it makes logical sense to store them in the Find Verses area with all the other suggestions for verses. Really want to keep the navigation as streamlined as possible. Sorry for the panic though!!!

Posted by Christine Godfrey on 03/01/17
Looking good Dan But yes really need the consistency score at the end. A definitely MUST HAVE. Can a link be put on the side menu for FUTURE VERSE. I did a panic at first because I couldn't find the ones that I use to have in the old TO DO LIST, but finally found them. thanks for all your hard work.
Posted by Mami on 03/01/17
Thank you Dan. I tried but it only shows English verse in Today Review, although I can see what I typed in another language when I click Edit verses under Manage List... Still a great tool though!!!
Posted by Deb Reimer on 02/28/17
Sounds great! Can't wait to begin!
Posted by Delene Drescher on 02/28/17
Thank you Dan. I noticed what Debbie noticed. I miss that part too! Everything else so far looks great. Praise the Lord I even read the update. I may have to read it again. Thank you so much! The website is becoming more user friendly!
Posted by Dan Vis on 02/28/17

Yes, Mami, you should be able to put the verse in another language. We are utf-8 on our site. But the references will still be in English.

Debbie, it is supposed to go through to the congratulations page. It may be a bug. I'll look into it in the morning and see what I can do. Someone else reported the same thing.

Posted by Debbie Jones on 02/28/17
Thanks for making the engine more user friendly Dan. I have only done my daily review so far since the upgrade and noticed it no longer automatically takes you to the "congratulations, you've completed your review for today" screen (on mobile phone). Once you've gone through all your verses it cycles back to the first verse. I miss not seeing my consistency score when I've finished my daily review. It helps to motivate me. Can we get that feature put back please? BTW, I do love the new option to review the references. That is great! Thanks so much for all you do.
Posted by Becky Rich on 02/28/17
Looking good, Dan! I looked around a bit at the new upgrade and I like what I saw. It took me a minute to find my old "todo" list under the "find verses", then "future verses" but I found it there. Everything looks great! Thanks for all your hard work. A question for you in the post above.
Posted by Mami on 02/28/17
Can I store different language translation? I know Asian characters take double digit, coding wise, but is it doable??

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