Better Auto-reminder Notification Timing
For as long as we’ve had the auto-reminder feature in WP, those reminders have been sent out at 2am. This was no problem when email was the only way notifications were being sent. But ever since we added text notifications as a configurable option, many folks have let us know they don’t appreciate getting those messages in the middle of the night.
This afternoon we updated WP to with a reminder system that sends the notifications about the same hour of the day as the event itself. So if your Sunday service starts at 9am and your team is configured to be auto-reminded 2 days before, the notification will be sent about 9am on Friday.
We have some really great file-upload features coming up next week, so keep an eye out for it!
As promised, we are continuing to improve the WorshipPlanning.com Mobile (WPM) website, which you can access with your mobile browser at http://wplan.me.
The big feature we’ve (finally) added is the ability to add, edit, and delete worship flow elements on your mobile device. Pretty much all the details you can add on the main WP site (save for the extra notes) you can specify on the mobile site…provided you have the right security level.
The other minor but still important enhancement we’ve made on the mobile site is that all connections between your device and our servers are now encrypted and secure. This will make your on-the-go access to WP yet a little safer.
What’s next for the mobile site? Well, we have a few more tweaks we want make on the worship flow (including showing more element details). We also want to give more access to more information about the service, like rehearsals. Our next big updated will likely be the ability to manage teams and schedule people to serve.
Version 4.0.4 is now LIVE, and it includes these exciting features:
If you have a SongSelect™ account, you can now easily search and retrieve song details (including lyrics and chord sheets) form the SongSelect database…without leaving WorshipPlanning.com! It will seem like your song library in WP just instantly grew 1000 fold!
Our SongSelect integration is easy to use. But we’ve gone ahead and create four very short videos on how to use it. Feel free to check them out here (they are also available on our support site):
Updated Worship Flow Element Editor
The window used to select which library item should be included in the worship flow element has been improved in the following ways:
- More streamline selection of which library or songbook from which you’d like to select an item
- Ability upload/attach files to a song without having to leave this page and edit the song itself
- Seamless SongSelect integration
Improved Roles Management
Editing role details has been inconsistent between Account Admins and Ministry Schedulers. We have now made the interface the same for both. You can even add roles to teams and assign them as skills to people, right on the Edit Roles window.
It’s a fact: one of the biggest hurdles with using an online planning service like WorshipPlanning.com is building your library of songs. Churches often call us asking if we can provide them song details and lyrics so they don’t have to spend hours keying in that information. The fact is we cannot legally supply churches with copyright protected information like song lyrics, however, we have partnered with a service that can: SongSelect™ by CCLI.
Chances are you already use CCLI, and may have a SongSelect account (http://aboutsongselect.ccli.com/). If you do, you will LOVE how we have integrated SongSelect functionality right into your WorshipPlanning.com account. Once you authorize SongSelect in WorshipPlanning.com finding songs and adding them to your songs library is a snap (and so is adding lyrics, song details and chord sheets). You can even search and add SongSelect songs on-the-fly as you build your worship flow.
We’ve created this brief video to show you how this new feature works. Take a look, and feel free to post any comments or questions you may have. We expect this feature to be available to everyone November 28.
Well, we are about two weeks into WP 4.0, and the feedback has been great! Let me just take a moment to thank everyone that has given positive and constructive feedback. Since the update, we have applied several small fixes for bugs and other minor issues. But today, we have a slightly bigger update that we want to share with you. Here is what’s included with version 4.0.2, which was applied earlier this morning:
Selecting Songs for Worship – We replaced the cumbersome drop-down list of songs on the Worship Flow page with a much more functional window that lists all your songs. You can sort by various fields and even see when the song was last used by clicking on the song’s magnifying glass icon.
User Info Window – We replaced the small user info box (that appears when you click on a person’s name) with a larger window that’s easier to read. And notes you have entered about this user will also be visible to Planners.
Persistent Login Update – We’ve modified the “logout” button so that it no longer logs you out of ALL persistent session (across all computers/browsers). Instead, it just ends the persistent session of the computer you are on. To end the persistent session on other computers, you can go to Account >> My Profile. On your profile page you’ll see a button that says “Log me out of all other computers”. Technically, this operation will just end the persistent nature everywhere you have logged in. It DOES NOT force an immediate logout of all those sessions. More information about persistent login sessions can be found on our support site here: http://support.worshipplanning.com/entries/20425211-stay-logged-in-setting.
Big Buttons – On many pages, we took the most popular “actions menu” options and made them into big buttons on the left side. It’s a simple enhancement, but simple is what we are all about.
We are excited to tell you that the audio player in WorshipPlanning.com has been updated (finally!) with an interface that is much more useful. The biggest feature improvement is the added scrub bar. And a less-obvious feature that you’ll soon reap the benefits of is that this new player supports several different audio formats. We’ve got a little more work to do before that is ready, but it is coming.
This new audio player was actually first implemented in our new mobile app, which is currently accessible to Android and iPhone/iPod/iPad devices (see our blog post for more details). In fact, we recently updated the mobile app player to fix a known scrub bar issue for Android devices.
This morning we rolled out the first of a few improvements to security on the WorshipPlanning.com site. This particular enhancement ensures that all account data between your browser and our servers is transmitted with encryption. Also known as SSL (Secure Socket Layer – read more here), this encryption helps ensure that data can’t be easily read by programs or servers sitting between your computer and our servers.
WorshipPlanning.com has always given Planners the option to log in securely with our “Secure Login” link. That link took you to a special web address that was secure. Additionally, credit card payments data was always transmitted via SSL. But now we have secured all website addresses (worshipplanning.com, www.worshipplanning.com, my.worshipplanning.com, etc.).
So, how can you tell if your connection is secure? Most of you probably already know that you can tell by looking at the web address. If it starts with “https” (as opposed to just “http”), then it is a secure connection. Depending on how you access the site, you might notice that many of the “external” WP pages (pages you can get to without logging in) don’t use SSL security. But rest assured that after you type in your user id and password, clicking the “Login” button initiates a secure connection that will be maintained for the rest of your session.
If you have any questions about any of this, fell free to post a comment here. In the next few weeks we will roll out the next phase of our security improvements.
Thanks to feedback from a few larger churches using WP, we have an enhancement to the People Scheduling page that will make it easier to use. The redesigned Display Options menu now allows you to select which teams you’d like displayed. Before this update, your choices were to display all teams or only the teams that you lead.
The other change we made to this page is how these display options are saved. We were using your browser cookies to save these settings. This worked great in theory, but not so well in practice. Our update now saves those display settings to your WP account so that you’ll see them if you change browsers or computers (notice the button at the bottom of the menu).
The wait will soon be over, smartphone fans. In just a few weeks, we expect to roll out a version of WorshipPlanning.com that is designed to run in the mobile browser of most fairly-current smartphones on the market. The initial functionality will be similar to the current iPhone app, but more responsive and polished. Here are some reasons we are really excited about this mobile web version:
- Android owners will finally have mobile access to their WorshipPlanning.com data, with the ability to respond to assignments, view service and song details, access contact info, and listen to audio.
- iOS owners will be able see an improved audio player, be able to open PDFs, and submit notes with their assignment responses.
- We will be able to develop and deploy more functionality much more easily (read “a lot quicker”) than before. If you, the user community, like how the mobile web version works, we should be able to easily leverage what we’ve done to make device-specific apps (including tablet apps!).
So, keep an eye on our blog, tweets, and facebook updates!