Massive Engine UpdateBy Dan Vis
February 28, 2017
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:
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!
We actually added a couple new tools in the process, or at least extended two of our popular tools:
- In addition to making our Flash Card drills available all through the system, you can now go straight to it in the Memory Tools section--and enter any verse you want for a bit of fun.
- We did the same thing with our First Letters tools. It's available pretty much anywhere you see a list of verses, but you can also go to the Memory Tools section and enter any list you want. It's right there at your finger tips.
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.
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!
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!
CommentsSo what do you think of the update? Any glitches anywhere? Anything you like? Dislike? Questions about how something works? Ask them below.
|Posted by Joan Ballenger on 03/19/17|
|Thank you Pastor Dan for all your hard work in making this system more user friendly.
|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 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 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 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 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 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 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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