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Roadmap 2018
By Dan Vis
January 14, 2018
Comments: 28

As many of you know we've been promoting a powerful and life-changing program called ROCKET. In it we teach you how to discover and achieve your most important goals. I spent the first 10 days of 2018 going through that exact same process myself--and invested a lot of that time praying and making plans for FAST. Today, I want to share a bit about what we have in store for our community in the coming year...

First, lots of changes. Some at the deepest, innermost levels of our software platform. And others at the surface, mostly involving changes in navigation. Fortunately, most of the middle levels, involving the day to day aspects of our site, will remain relatively unchanged. That means things should unfold smoothly.

New Navigation
At the top level (navigation), we're planning several simplifications designed to make it easier for you to get to the resources you want more easily. Once rolled out, you'll have a single top level link to all our training resources ("TRAINING") and another for all our dashboard tools ("TOOLS").

In the training area, we are going to reorganize all our resources around topics. So you can choose a topic you want to study, like finding the will of God, or growing in prayer, and we'll gather together all our best resources on that topic for you. We're also going to use our Journey framework for the core training steps, so those who are just starting out have a clear path to pursue. We think this will make every aspect of our training easier for community members. Look for these changes in the next few weeks.

The tools area is going to be an expanded list of all our Dashboard tools. As we've added features over the years, the navigation in our Dashboard has become a bit cumbersome and confusing, so we're going to unpack it all and break each component out as a separate tool. That way you can go to just the tool or tools you want. It also makes it easy for me to add new tools to our "toolbox". And I have several fun tools I'm hoping to add! So expect to see lots of new features, plus a thorough revamp of all our current tools, when we roll this change out sometime in March.

Code Changes
As for deep level changes, we have a few big ones planned here as well. First, I plan to completely rewrite the section of our software platform that handles how forms are processed. This should be completely invisible to you--though a few frustrations will quietly disappear: Comments should stop being lost. You will be able to open multiple tabs. And you'll no longer have time-out issues interfering with your review being counted. I've actually already written the code for this and am testing it presently. So you should see this rolling out soon. Be patient if there are a few bugs here and there.

We'll also be revamping our class sign up process, to make that a bit easier. In the past, we separated the process for joining our community from joining a class. This caused some new members to miss out on a class, because they didn't realize there was that second step. Or existing members who weren't logged in, got frustrated at being asked to create a new account. In the future, we'll keep track of all this on the backend, and merge that whole process together. Part of that will also involve reindexing all our member accounts to make sure everything works smoothly.

And last, we're going to be rolling out some new tools to help us do a better job analyzing site metrics. These tools should help us figure out which sections of our site are most popular, do a/b testing, evaluate systems usability, etc. Ultimately, they will enable us to continually review and refine every section of our site, so your time here can go more smoothly and be more productive.

Our goal is to get these implemented fairly soon. They're all a bit technical, and somewhat time consuming--but each should make things better for you!

Final Goals
And last, just a note on a couple of other big goals:

I should note, we'll also be doing a bit of pruning. Our goal is to trim out everything possible to make your experience at FAST as simple and streamlined as possible!

These are all goals we've wanted to pursue for a long while, but have simply not had the time to implement. Now that we are able to focus more exclusively on the ministry of FAST, thanks to the generous support of our community, you should start seeing progress more rapidly. Praise God!

So keep your eyes open. I'll be posting updates periodically in the Latest News section of our site...

Comments

So what do you think of our plans? Any ideas you would like to see us add to the roadmap? Any plans you would like to know more about? Share your feedback in the comments below...

Posted by Qing Ling on 02/10/18

just the same as what the facebook like button does in comments - put a tally of who has read the comment and likes it. without having to actually create an entire comment in the post-stream. and the commenter also receives a message to be notified that someone has 'liked' their comment. increased engagement /interactivity in the community i think :)

Dan

Posted by Dan Vis on 02/09/18
What would the like button do? Qing
Posted by Qing Ling on 02/09/18
Looking forward to seeing the tools dashboard revamped. Sounds like you have some neat ideas brewing, Dan
As i read all these comments on FAST, i keep thinking how convenient if there was a β€œlike” button ... probably a non essential , but thought i’d Mention it so you know the interest level :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/30/18
Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention--but I'm excited about and pretty much have working... I've pulled together a bit of code to allow caching of sections of pages, and even entire pages, which can speed up page construction between 10 and 40 times. That should not only decrease page load times, but prevent server crashes. The code is a bit tricky, but I've got it working on my test server. Can't wait to get this all running...
Posted by Makani Mwinga on 01/28/18
Many thanks for the recommendations Pastor Dan. Sure, I will let you know how it will go. Blessings.
Posted by Margaret Major on 01/26/18
Dan Thanks. From HGPS Prayer and FASTing advocate.
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/26/18
Have a safe trip, Margaret. We'll be here when you get back. :)
Posted by Margaret Major on 01/25/18
HGPS LOVE IT. Do keep those intriguing names it was that which drew me into enrolling in the first place. After a little investigation you can reveal the more mundane name but I think you will lose the interest of the young people. And they are the ones that desperately need this type of training. Sorry to disagree Jenny. But it is the young people who are going to finish the work. With the HGPS & πŸ™πŸ’•πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’•πŸ™πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ™πŸ™& FASting. Departure time draws nigh. Farewell my friends. MM
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/25/18

Makani, so happy to hear you will be using our tools in your student group. I think the Down to Business course might be a great option for students, or the Life Focus System also. Actually a lot of options. Just pray about it and see how the Lord leads. Then let me know how it goes!

Margaret, have a wonderful mission trip. Sounds like it will be a great experience. And yes, thank God for GPS, or maybe we should say the HGPS (Holy Ghost Positioning System)!

Posted by Margaret Major on 01/22/18
Dan Hi Dan, I am glad the Rocket has come back down to earth. It was an intense 10-day ride. Thankful your computer is fixed. I shall seek not to procrastinate and follow the new roadmap, feeling quite tired and weary though; I turn 69 tomorrow. Hope we can use a GPS at times if we lose our way. lol. I shall not be communicating for nearly 3 weeks (going on a Fly & Build to Samoa, leaving 31 January). Blessings MM
Posted by Makani Mwinga on 01/22/18
Great work Dan . We appreciate the hard work. The plans are brilliant :-). Next week on the 31 st of Jan we will have an Orientation at our University, and we intend to promote FAST. I just did the habits of excellence. Its beautiful. What do you think about promoting it to attract mainly first years, then later follow the normal FAST course sequence ?
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/21/18
Thanks Linda! So glad FAST has been a blessing, and I really appreciate the feedback on what's been most helpful to you. This last Rocket class really helped crystalize a few things for me too--and one in particular was our focus on practical Christianity. It's also been an important part of our DNA, but it really clicked even more this time around. So thanks for those comments as well. Your enthusiasm is infectious!
Posted by Linda Gerace on 01/20/18
All the changes sound really exciting. Praise the Lord you now have more time to work on improvements. My favorite things on FAST currently are Breakout Memory Challenges, Rocket (goals), and the Engine. They have been a huge blessing to me. I was listening to a Ty Gibson course last night and he said (in my words) "Christianity should be practical." That resonated with me. FAST has been the most practical "growth tool" in my Christian experience. I'm looking forward to the changes that will be rolled out this year.
BTW, still working towards my goals! Albeit not perfectly, as I'm not an expert with goals... yet. My attitude has changed, my outlook on my future has changed. Where I struggled to get up early before Rocket, now I look forward to getting up and working out the steps to goal completion. It's been intensely exciting and of practical benefit in my life. I keep praising God for FAST.
Posted by Berith Bermejo on 01/20/18
Dan a comment from you above. Good to know your computer is fixed. :) Praise the Lord!
Posted by Mavis on 01/19/18
I just joined fast not up to two weeks now and am turned around mentally towards a more conscious mindset for success. Great work Dan
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/19/18

My apologies for the glitches related to our most recent software update. It was supposed to be unnoticeable, but there were a few glitches (namely the prayer journal) and unfortunately, due to a hard drive crash of my own, I wasn't able to fix things up as promptly as I would have liked.

On my home computer, I've managed to fix another major issue with our software platform I've been reluctant to tackle for probably two years. I'm still ironing out kinks from that on my home computer (now repaired, thankfully) and once I'm confident most everything is working right I'll up load those changes too--early next week. Probably won't be able to repair the prayer journal until then.

So apologies again to everyone for any inconveniences. The upgrade wasn't flawless, but I am excited about being able to knock out some big things fast. In my strategic plan, I scheduled weeks for these two projects. Which means I'm now weeks ahead!

Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 01/18/18
You and me, Uau, we are both looking forward to what is to happen here on FAST. It is going to be an exciting year! I am always amazed how God gives Dan new ideas all the time for the site. This is a blessing to all of us. Thanks, Dan. :-)
Posted by Uau Misina Pepena on 01/17/18
I'm happy to be part of FAST community. I'm learning a lot here. One of my goals is to continue memorization. I look forward to more programs this year.
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/16/18
Happy to hear your memorization is going well Shanthi! Let's press even further forward in 2018!
Posted by Shanthi Solomon on 01/16/18
Praise God! I have achieved one of the goals I had when I joined FAST. Scripture comes so much more easily to mind when I pray. Thank you FAST4GOD
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/15/18
You are more than welcome Carole. I've definitely come to appreciate that fact that less is sometimes more! :)
Posted by Carole Bliss on 01/15/18

Keeping things as simple as possible, streamlining, sounds great.
Makes for less complication, and helpful for people to navigate better.
Thank-you for all your are investing in this work.
God bless you,

Carole

Posted by Dan Vis on 01/15/18

Actually, it didn't quite work like I hoped, Konni. You can do multiple tabs but I don't think the time extension quite works yet. I'm going to try something slightly different today and see if I can fix it.

Jenny, good suggestion. It used to be Breakout Memory Challenge, but the title was too long for some of our formatting. We'll see what we can come up with. Glad you like the pictures! With the new format, I'll try and have a short description of each class right beside it.

Thank you for the prayer, and for putting feet to your prayers as well, Leslie! It really is our great need, isn't it? For God to make people hungry for more...

Posted by Leslie Caza on 01/15/18
I'm looking forward to more of the blessings I've already received from FAST. May the Lord make others hungry as I share FAST on my Face book page and tell others face to face. God bless your efforts!
Posted by Jenny Lingerfelt on 01/15/18
Actually, Dan I think I need to recant. After looking over all the class names and programs, I think they sound good! ...(.except I do think the "Breakout Challenge" could use a more self descriptive title)
When joining FAST last year I remember having to click on each class to get an idea of what they were about, but now that you have the very nice pictures with the description it's very good and has a lot of "curb appeal".
Posted by Jenny Lingerfelt on 01/15/18
πŸ‘πŸΌ Wonderful!! Thank you for all the hard work Dan!!
A suggestion I would like to make would be to try to make the titles of the classes/programs self explanatory; i.e, instead of "Breakout Challenge", something like "Memory Verse Marathon". That way new comers can quickly determine what they are looking for, and it will be easy for them to remember as they share it & as others hear of a class they want to take having to do with a subject they are interested in.
Posted by Konni Plue on 01/15/18
Thank you for extending the engine review to 60 minutes.
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/14/18

I actually just uploaded the first core change described above. A few glitches on my first attempt but those seem to be ironed out. Now you have 60 minutes on your comments and engine review--and I can extend to basically any length I want. And yes, multiple tabs seem to be working!

Big improvement, eh? Will be monitoring the next couple days to make sure there are no issues I've missed. But it looks good! Let me know if you spot something!

One big goal done (hopefully) for 2018...

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