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New Site Changes
By Dan Vis
October 04, 2017
Comments: 15

Those who have been a part of FAST for awhile, know that we are constantly working to tweak our site to make it more useful and user-friendly for our members. Looking back over the past 20 years, there have been countless changes. But one of our biggest updates took place one year ago today, and it led to some dramatic growth for our ministry.

And to celebrate that anniversary (which also happens to be my wife's birthday), we've just uploaded another big change. Last year's update focused on simplifying the user experience so people could find their way around more easily. Our update today doubles down on that exact same goal.

Here are some of the things you should notice the next time you login:

1) A more attractive, streamlined splash page encouraging people to join. You'll also notice a more intentional theme: climbing higher. The login link is just below the input form used to create a new account.

2) There are now more links in the menu bar at the top of the page making it easier to get to more sections of our site. On the mobile skin these will be down at the bottom in the menu area.

3) The WELCOME tab includes a nice "About Us" page for those who are new to FAST. When you are logged in, you also can find links to recent posts, and even a page with a complete archive of past Monday Memo's!

4) We're calling our challenges "CLASSES" now to make them clearer for new members. This section now shows you your current class if you are in one, provides links to all our FREE "starter" classes, and gives partners quick access to our entire library of classes. Nice!

5) The RESOURCES tab gives you quick access to all our study guides, and in any available translation if you are a partner. And to those who aren't, it gives an easy way to see what is available. No need to hunt around in different places looking for these materials!

6) We've added a new PROGRAMS tab to organize our advanced training courses like the Breakout Challenge and The Journey. These courses are going back to closed enrollment periods to provide a more interactive experience. Current Journey participants need to click the Journey link to go to the Journey area.

7) The CENTERS tab is a bit simpler to navigate, and existing training centers have been given some exciting new features. Namely, a way to find church members and see what they've been doing at FAST. We've also brought back our list of Care Group resources.

8) We've made the side menus more consistent through the site and added an "Invites / Friends" link in the office section, to make it easier to track, well, those you invite to join, and your friends. We're hoping this will encourage members to use these tools more frequently.

The changes listed above accomplish several things. First, they make it easier for members to get to the places they want. Second, it supports new members trying to get oriented to our site. Third, it makes our advanced programs more of a shared adventure. And fourth, it gives us a way to add more advanced programs--including several big projects (all new) that we have planned for 2018.

Fortunately, these changes are almost entirely on the front end. That is, they primarily change how things are displayed and linked together, rather than the code running the various processes in the background. For that reason we're hoping this change will be relatively bug free. We do have a number of deeper coding changes planned for the next few months. But we'll save those for another day.

All in all, we trust these changes will give everyone more of what they are looking for, and help us all to climb higher. I'm sure it won't be the last change you will see at FAST, but here's to praying it's a good next step...

Comments

So what do you think of the changes so far? Any feedback? Questions? Difficulties? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted by Janice on 11/03/17
Thank-you Pastor Dan for your commitment and faithfulness. Leading us into the fullness of Jesus Christ!
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/09/17
PS, Vicky. I'm still looking for a place to put the site logs. You can see the new member logs in the Invites area.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/09/17

Angela, if you click on your name and go to your profile, you'll see a link to your awards and recent activity.

Thanks John! We are trying hard. Over the last year I've continued to be amazed by how difficult it is to see things from the new members perspective and working hard to make that easier. The new tabs do seem clearer.

And thanks Carole for the encouragement. Our confidence is definitely in the Lord!

Vicky, sorry about the FAST Friends class. I missed that one. It's available now. There are some classes on the list we are still finishing up. I'll try to get pages up for those asap at least announcing they are coming soon.

Posted by Vicky Lewis on 10/09/17
The Fast Friends class under the More Classes tabs said page not available. Is the Site Logs feature still available? Thanks for all your work on the site.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 10/09/17

Thank-you for making things better for us to navigate and for making things
clearer. I know the LORD is leading, its HIS work, so its bound to succeed.
Blessings,

Carole

Posted by John Gilmore on 10/09/17
The new titles fit well with an article I recently read on choice of terminology to make our message more understood by the non-Christian or new Christian. Thank you for continuing to improve the site.
Posted by Angela M. Wilson on 10/09/17
I guess I was just using my Awards to keep track then. Did you recently drop that?
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/08/17

Angela, the formal transcripts were one of the things we dropped over a year ago in favor of a simpler record keeping system for those in the Journey program. And so far I haven't changed access to the Journey. It's still open to partners--though we will change it to a closed enrollment approach in 2018. We'll also be introducing a couple other new programs next year.

As for the specific classes you mentioned, they are all still available--but are in the Resources section. Sorry if the renaming was a bit confusing. All our study guides and training booklets are now in the resources area. And our short intensive challenges are in the classes area. The idea was to make it easier for all our partners and training center churches to get to whatever they wanted more easily--without having to go through the Journey track. This is actually better for an advanced student like you. It also makes it easier for us to make the Journey a shared adventure for those who are just starting out, or prefer that kind of experience.

The Breakout Challenge is now in the programs section along with the Journey. And we'll be repeating that in November 2017. I'll be saying more about it in this week's Monday Memo. So look for that tomorrow.

As for the clubs, they've also been gone a very long time and were replaced by the "favorite" verse sets in the Memory Engine. Rather than just a handful of clubs, we have dozens of topics now--with many more verses. And you can work through these at any time. It would be nice to add a social/sharing component--but we don't have that at the moment.

We are however going to be introducing something to our Breakout Challenge this time around right along this line I think you are going to enjoy. But more on that later. Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Angela M. Wilson on 10/07/17
I found 7 classes I need to take and fortunately they are all listed under the Class section. However, some of the classes I had on my to do list have vanished: Mighty in the Word, Down to Business, Master Plan of Evangelism, Prophetic Facts, & The Box. Hard to believe there are that many still out there I think I bought the resources for Prophetic Facts & Master Plan but I have no clue what The box and Down to business would be. I was actually going to take Mighty in the Word next and already memorized 2/3 of the verses in anticipation. I also memorized all the Jump start and true education verses but I don't see it listed anywhere. I have been distracted by the challenges because they were only available a short time. What about Law of God? Why is it not on the list any more? And where is Breakout now? I am still missing the clubs too. I memorized all of Spiritual Leadership but only managed to save two verses from Practical Discipleship before it vanished. I guess things go and new things come and I should have completed some of this a long time ago but I always followed the current path until this year when I did mostly challenges. I'm just glad I have my notebook full of lessons and notes and my prayer journal offline so I am able to access them and they never change.
Posted by Angela M. Wilson on 10/07/17
Is there still a Transcript of classes completed? I don't like the idea of the journey being locked. Maybe being a progression, but in all the years I've been at FAST I've never seen that locked, only the challenges have been locked so now it is flipped. I'm just worried about not having access to the courses I need to take because I've taken quite a few in the last five years.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/06/17

Thanks for the feedback Marsha. Good to know we're on the right track.

We all learn as we go and (hopefully) get more clarity each step of the way. I think this new approach will work a lot better in several ways. Appreciate the comment!

Posted by Marsha on 10/06/17
I went in this morning and did a quick look around, from the quick skimming it looks like a very well organized plan! Thank you for your dedication and hard work to make this an even more valuable site
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/05/17
Great! Glad you like the changes. :)
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 10/05/17
It all sounds good, Dan! I am always amazed how many new ideas there are on FAST. It makes it a very interesting website! I appreciate the "friends link" being in the new spot. I should remember to click on it regularly then! :-) Thank you for your efforts here, and happy birthday to your wife. :-)
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/05/17
I've caught a few little glitches here and there, but mostly minor and easy to fix. Keep your eyes open for any thing that might not look quite right and let me know. Thanks all! :)

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