Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Discussions about the Newsletter Tool at LDS.org.
mlmorris
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Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby mlmorris » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:55 pm

Hi Friends,

I've just started managing the Newsletter tool.

We are currently evaluating the usefulness of the tool to determine how to develop it or retire it in the future.

Could you please let me know any suggestions for Newsletter features or improvements that you would like to see? It would also be helpful to suggest what the feature or improvement might be used to accomplish.

Thanks,
Michael L. Morris
Priesthood and Family Department

russellhltn
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:10 pm

I think the biggest complaint is that people have to go to a web page and log in to see the newsletter - which may or may not have been updated since the last visit. Members want the content to come to them. Perhaps via email or the LDS Tools app. I think some are using social media such as Facebook, (Since many users are on FB on a regular basis anyway, that counts as "coming to them".)

One aspect of the Newsletter that is useful, but a bit outside of it's intention, is as a on-line forms repository for various forms that units generate. For example: expense, reserving the building for family functions, etc. I would hope something like that could continue. When members want soemthing, it's easier to convince them to log into a website. :)
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

russellhltn
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:23 pm

I think another frequent request is to have a way to link a calendar event to a newsletter article. That way the Ward Christmas party can be linked to the poster/flyer made for the event. Or the Youth Camp can be linked to the forms the parents need to sign.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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aebrown
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby aebrown » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:13 pm

I certainly agree with the need for a repository for information, which may include attachments. Examples of how we have used this in our stake include:
  • Notes and handouts from family history classes
  • Directions, policies, contact info for stake recreational property
  • Stake or ward goals
  • Recipes for provident living
  • Photos from an activity
  • Handouts and articles on media safety, anti-pornography, etc.
  • How to use tools such as Calendar, Newsletter, Directory, Lesson Schedules. This isn't just a duplication of the online help systems, but rather specific policies, procedures, contacts, etc. for our stake or ward.

The Newsletter may not be ideal for all of these purposes in its current form, but it's the only possible option on LDS.org for meeting these needs.

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aebrown
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby aebrown » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:21 pm

The biggest problem with the Newsletter right now is the delivery mechanism. All we can do is send people links to articles and hope they'll follow the links. And then when they follow the links, they have to sign in in order to see the content. I understand that security is important, but when you make it hard for people to see content they tend not to make the effort.

It would be much better if there were a subscription model, or some way for people to specify what content they want to be delivered to them. I hope no one would seriously consider retiring the newsletter tool when one of the huge reasons it isn't used very much is that it is missing a reasonable delivery model.

And the lack of any connection to mobile apps is another killer. I don't know whether LDS Tools or some other app would be the right delivery mechanism, but the ability to be notified of new content and to view it via a mobile app would really increase usage.

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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby zaneclark » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:27 am

Please don't even think about retiring the Newsletter! I know members resist logging into anything, but where else can I post photo of ward activities, flyers of ward and stake events, a copy of the Sunday program, etc. I try to entice them by sending out an email each week with some information and also post teasers of items they can find in the Newsletter and give them a link to click on. All they have to do is click on the link and then enter their LDS Account. Many systems will remember the login information and so there is no need to type it in more than once.

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johnshaw
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby johnshaw » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:11 am

This has been a great list, and I echo the comments that evaluating retirement is a bit hasty when the functionality really didn't allow for usage.

I would agree with others that the space should be able to have attachments that are available online or through a mobile tool. I think LDS Tools is a great place to have that category... I could get my newsletter, Sacrament Meeting Program, Missionary/Emergency Preparedness Plans, etc...

If you could build in a leadership area based on Ward-Council calling, this might be a good area that documents can be shared as well.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
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gungy
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby gungy » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:21 am

ALL OF THE ABOVE!
I have been waxing lyrical about Ward & Stake Newsletters for past two years or more. Email updates would make a huge difference.It is potentially such a valuable tool/resource that just is not used (at present I am trying to encourage Units in our Stake to put thier Histories on it).

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sbradshaw
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby sbradshaw » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:38 am

Perhaps the Church-wide newsletters they've started sending out, maybe even calling-specific emails, could be integrated with the newsletter in the same way that the Church-wide calendar is integrated with the LDS.org calendar.

As you can see, there's a lot of interest in using the newsletter but there are a couple of key features that make it hard to use. The most important (in terms of how often it's suggested) is allowing newsletter posts to come to members via email.

Another thing that has come up here on the forums is the ability to see statistics of how many people from the ward visit or see each newsletter post.

Currently the newsletter is the only Church-sponsored place to post free-form content and attachments. If it were taken away, leaders' reliance on alternative tools, like social media and cloud sharing, would go up, which may be inaccessible for some users. It would also not be secured by LDS Account.

Some of the uses for the newsletter tool are posting announcements, sacrament meeting programs, newsletters, stake, ward, or organization goals, (in my YSA ward) home evening group assignments when they change, reports on meetings for those who weren't able to attend, training materials, etc. Maybe there is a better place for some of these, but the Church hasn't provided a better place yet.

I haven't thought through all the pros and cons, but it might be worth considering integrating the admin side of the newsletter with Leader and Clerk Resources so there's a central place for leaders to go.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.

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sbradshaw
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Re: Submit Suggestions for Newsletter Features and Improvements Here!

Postby sbradshaw » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:45 am

Depending on how much research and time you want to invest, it might be worth browsing through the other 182 topics that have been posted here in the Newsletter section of the forum up to this point. You can get an idea of common complaints, bugs, and use cases.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.


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