Category Archives: feature updates

More Great News About File Uploads

A week or so ago we rolled out the multi-file upload feature. We didn’t want to mention at the time, but that update was a precursor to an exciting announcement: Paid subscribers now have unlimited storage space for file uploads. You read that correctly: unlimited! Here is a screen shot of our new pricing page. This change is already in effect for all current accounts not in trial, so enjoy!

WP Version 3.9 Update and iPhone App Status

Greetings WP’ers! It has been a little while since we’ve posted an update, but that certainly doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. This Sunday night (April 18th) we will update WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.9. There are a couple significant changes you will notice right away, and many other subtle changes that will simply make your experience using WP smoother.

The biggest change Planners will notice is an extremely helpful menu system that makes getting to the pages you need quick and efficient. For those with the proper security settings, creating a service, series, or new Planner account is always just one click away.

The other significant change we made was to the worship pages (flow, roles, etc.). Our goal for this page was to more efficiently and intuitively use the space on the page. Rather than describe the changes, take a look at the screenshot below.

This shows one of the menus opened (when you hover over the Service navigation link), as well as how we’ve cleaned up one of the worship pages. The space above the worship tabs is now more efficiently used to show the general service info. We also pushed the date/time/location of the service into the top blue banner. The left side now has the clickable calendar opened by default, and the various team panels listed below. And, by the way, if you are using Internet Explorer, many of the nice rounded corners you see in this screenshot will appear squared off. That’s simply a limitation of IE (and one of the many reasons we recommend using FireFox or Chrome).

Here is a few other enhancements we made that might interest you:

– Planners can now indicate their own skills
– Helpers can specify their own profile picture
– Fixed a number of graphic design inconsistencies
– Fixed a number of mixed term references (i.e. “finalized” vs. “locked”)
– Improved process by which user passwords are changed (more intuitive and secure)

For those looking ahead, let me share with you a few things in the development cycle right now. First, we are nearly done with a feature update that will allow Planners to upload multiple files at once. We are also working on some very cool enhancements to the Songs Library page(s), which will include the ability to create “sub-libraries” of songs. This should make finding and organizing songs much easier and personalized. Finally (as in, that last one I am going to mention here), we are looking into making mobile versions of MyWP available for Android and Blackberry devices. For an update on the iPhone app we’ve developed, read on….

iPhone App Status
Most of you know we have developed and beta tested an iPhone app for WorshipPlanning.com. We had great feedback from the gracious folks that were willing to help us make the app the best it could be (for version 1.0). The app was submitted to Apple for review on March 24, and it is still officially “in review” by their app development review team.

This review stage is taking longer than we expected, though it is still well within the “typical” timeframe, according to Apple. We suspect the cause for delay might be the influx of iPad apps they now have to review. As soon as we learn more about our app’s approval status, we’ll certainly pass that information along to you.

WorshipPlanning.com Site Updates – Version 3.8

This evening we updated WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.8, and we’re quite excited to share with you what these updates include. So, let’s get right to it.

Helpers can view ALL services – If authorized, any of your Helpers can now access service details of all services, not just the ones for which he or she is scheduled. This includes worship flow, assignments, virtual stage, files, and printouts. Authorization is granted on the page where you add/edit the Helper’s information (People >> Helpers tab >> add/edit icon). We’ve added a checkbox that says ‘Can view all services (including ones not scheduled for).’ By default, no Helpers have this checkbox checked.

Worship Flow Edits Improved – If your duties include modifying the worship flow, you’ll notice a nice improvement to the way you add and edit worship elements. The worship detail fields now appear on a small pop-up window on the worship flow page. We’ve also changed the dropdown fields to have an ‘auto complete’ behavior (so you can simply start typing the desired entry, and WP will attempt to auto complete your text). Plus, we have put the Extra Notes on the same pop-up window, reducing the number of clicks needed to get all your information entered.

MyWP Home and Assignments – As we posted in our blog last week (http://blog.worshipplanning.com), we have redesigned the main page used by Helpers. The redesign makes it much easier for Helpers to access the information they need. We’ve also included a calendar view (that shows by default if they have no pending assignment requests), and some quick links on the home page to frequently accessed functionality, like team files, password changes, and adding text/email alerts. And our video tutorials have been updated, so anyone can always check there (or contact us) should questions arrise. If you’d like to see the updates to MyWP for yourself, you can do so by logging in to http://my.worshipplanning.com using your email address and WP password.

One last thing I want to mention is that our Worship Flow page improvements are really Phase 1 of some exciting plans we have. Phase 2 will likely include drag and drop of people and (hopefully) songs into worship elements. We also know some churches need down-to-the-second tracking of element durations. We anticipate including that in Phase 2 as well.

If you have any questions of issues with these new features, be sure to let us know via our support site: http://support.worshipplanning.com.

A Little Love for the Helpers

In the next week or so, we will be rolling out a major update to the MyWP site that we think your volunteers will really love. I’ll detail it out more in a blog post the evening we roll it out, but here are the highlights, plus a little screenshot to whet your appetite.

  1. Fancy calendar that shows their assignments and rehearsals.
  2. Cleaner assignments page with much more intuitive access to service and team information.
  3. Default worship flow display with Extra Notes for the Helper showing by default.
  4. (and this is a BIG one) Ability for authorized Helpers to view services details of ALL services.

We are in the last phase of testing, so keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and Blog updates for when we roll it out. And we plan on updating our video tutorials in time for the roll-out as well.

More (and shorter) video tutorials

As promised, we have added a few helpful items to Worship Planning support, both on our support site (http://support.worshipplanning.com) and within the main and My WP sites. All have centered around video tutorial improvements.

In the main and My WP sites, we have broken down many of the large (8+ minute) videos to shorter ones that allow you to jump straight to the “how to” information you need. This is especially helpful for new team leaders and volunteers as they try to figure things out.

On the Support site, the tutorial page shows a complete listing of all the videos. But, we have also created video “tracks” that allow Helpers and Planners easily walk through a set of videos to learn about certainly functionality of the site. Right now we have only 3 tracks, but we will certainly be adding more. Also, when you perform a search on the support site, the results now include a list of relevant videos that you might find helpful.

Our goal is to make it very easy for everyone, including team leaders and volunteers, to use the site. Got feedback on how? Post a comment and let us know!

Improved People Availability System

Last night we updated the site with a significant improvement to the People Availability feature (where Planners and Helpers block off days they cannot serve). Prior to this update, people could only only block off the AM and/or PM hours of a given day, one day at a time. With this new update, Planners and Helpers will be able to mark themselves unavailable for:

– Specific services (whether or not the services have been created in WP) – Time range within a single day (i.e. Jan 3, 9:30am >> 3:30pm) – Time range across multiple days (i.e. Jan 2 – 6:15pm >> Jan 5 – 11am) – Inclusive date range (Jan 1 >> Jan 8)

As before, Planners with a high enough security level can change the availability of Helpers and other Planners. But we have also added to the Teams page an “availability” tab that displays a calendar of dates/times/services blocked by team members. Only team leaders have access to see their team’s availability calendar. Team leaders also have the ability to change the availability of their team members, regardless of security level.

In the next few days, we plan on adding some enhancements to our support pages, as well as more video tutorials to assist team leaders and helpers with using the site. That will probably be our last enhancement update until the new year. With Christmas just a few weeks away, we want to avoid the risk of creating new bugs or issues with the site.

We continue to develop a mobile version of WP that will be a native app for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian devices. We also are working on some exciting improvements to the Songs Library and Worship Flow pages. Stay tuned for more info….

Secondary Email and SMS Text Messaging

This evening we applied an update to the WorshipPlanning.com site that has been frequently requested. Planners and Helpers can now receive WP communications through multiple email address and/or text message numbers. On your Account Settings page, you can add additional channels of communication, and specify which types of communications should be sent to each channel. The image below shows an example of a Planner that has one secondary email and one text message number set up.

Notice that the Primary email address ALWAYS receives the message, regardless of the type of communication. But each secondary channel can be individually configured based on the type of message being sent:

  • Assignment Notification
  • Assignment Response Notification (Planners only)
  • Message Board Updates
  • Service Changes
  • General Team Communications
  • User Account Updates

When a secondary channel is added, WP will send a short confirmation code via the new channel. Once received, the Planner/Helper will need click the “confirm” link and enter that code. This will activate that channel.

Messages sent to secondary email addresses will be exact copies of what is sent to the primary email address. However, messages sent to text message numbers will be very abbreviated in attempt to keep the message all in a single text message.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to post a comment here or contact us via our support site (http://support.worshipplanning.com).

New Worship Flow Printout and Roles/Skills Tool

As the busy time of year approaches (one them, anyway), we are continuing to work very hard at providing you new enhancements and functionality to the site. To get these new features to you as quickly as possible, we try to update the site as soon as they pass our testing process (as opposed to waiting for a bunch of them to be ready before do the update).

This evening we made a couple of quick updates, and have a few more coming in the next few days. Tonight we added another Worship Flow printout style; one that has been requested by a few folks. The style is called “Flow and Assignments”. The top part of the page is similar to the Standard printout, except with better use of page space and zebra row shading. The bottom part of the page shows the service details/notes on the left side, and assignment lists of your team(s).

The other update we made can be seen by clicking on the People navigation link. You will notice a new tab called “Roles/Skills”. This new tab has taken the place of the Roles page linked from the Admin page. What’s more, you can now click on the role name itself and a window will open showing the role details AND a list of your people that have that role specified as a skill.

Stay tuned for more feature updates in the next few days (possibly a week)….

Updates Applied on Aug 30

Yesterday evening we applied a performance update to the Team Scheduling page (where people scheduling for all future services is displayed) that should be quite noticable, especially for churches that have many teams and/or many future services scheduled. The enhancement should render the entire page within a couple of seconds, rather than a couple services at a time over the period of 10 seconds or so. For those curious, we did this by changing our code to generate most of the HTML on our server, rather than passing raw data and asking the browser to process and render the HTML. We also made a small tweak to our database that helped optimize the way data is retrieved.

With this update we also made two non-critical fixes. First, if a Helper marked himself as unavailable for a day that he had already been penciled in by a Planner, the Planner would not know of this change in availability and be able to schedule the person. To handle this, we now do a check for penciled-in assignments as the person marks a day as unavailable. If a conflict is found, the penciled-in assignment is changed to status Declined, with a note stating that the person has recently marked that day as unavailable.

The other issue fixed was that the file description in MyWP was missing on some pages. That description now shows as it should.

We are continuing to add many video tutorials to the site. Just look for the “Video Tutorial” link on the left side of pages in WP. We hope to soon index these in such a way that they can be easily searched on our support center.

Quick Update on What’s Coming

Since it has been a few weeks, I wanted to post a quick update on what what will be in the next update to WP (currently scheduled for this coming Sunday night).

From a feature-perspective, we’ll be rolling out improvements to the team management pages. Managing team members, team roles, and default roles will work just like scheduling people, as far as the interface goes. You’ll be able to drag and drop said elements onto your team in a familiar fashion.

Our update will also include more video tutorials, as well as a few account configuration “tracks”. The tracks will trigger automatically when you try to perform a task that your account hasn’t been set up for yet. For example, if you try to create a service and don’t have worship flow template defined, WP will help you create a template before creating the service. The configuration tracks will be most helpful for churches new to WP, though if you have never created a team or added additional people, these tracks will be helpful to you also.

We are planning to start regularly occurring “webinar” sessions that cover various topics. Probably the first topic we cover will be on managing teams and scheduling people. If you have any ideas for other topics, feel free to post a comment with your suggestion.

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