Rebuilding stake and ward websites

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
Kaz-p40
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Rebuilding stake and ward websites

Postby Kaz-p40 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:58 pm

Everyone needs information and there are multiple methods of obtaining that information. Those methods include direct human interaction, electronic methods, and paper. Using the internet, information is able to travel faster and reach more people than any other means of communication. In the future, I think paper will most likely be obsolete and replaced by technology. Information that would have been on paper will be on a hand held device that retrieves that information from the internet and is displayed for the user.

I think the purpose of stake and ward websites is a convenient method to easily access information in calendars, directories, etc., but I think the websites should be easier to access for members who are less familiar with technology and that the websites should contain more information to be quickly accessible at any time. I am the president of the teacher's quorum in my ward and I would like to be able to access information about my quorum, for example, birth dates, cellphone numbers, who is going to bring bread for sacrament on Sunday, which rooms my quorum is assigned to change waste baskets, etc., without having to repeatedly contact the Young Men secretary for such information. My suggestion is to completely rebuild the stake and ward websites to create an easily navigable website for any user. Below I have written a description of my concept:

To create links that make sense, I like to think about a building that relates to the website. For example, in the idea to create a website for a stake or ward, think about where you meet to attend church on Sunday. In a metaphorical sense, the building is the website's home page. Walk into church and you will see offices and rooms. Those are the main links on your home page. Now this metaphor can no longer be valid, so think about the meetings that relate to each room. In presidency meetings, we have discussed directory lists, sacrament bread assignments, planned events, etc. I think people associate colors with information and that association is more likely to influence the user to remember that information. To create an easy interface on the Young Men's web page, you would see a small version of the calendar of events, a small version of a quorum directory, a small list of and another box containing "Austin is to bring bread on Sunday", displaying "Austin" in a color for the user to easily reference that whole piece of information. Each piece of information would be in a box and the user would have the ability to rearrange those boxes to their preference by dragging. When the user clicks on the box, all of the information is displayed on the web page. This is the same concept of iGoogle. The website design would be primarily in JavaScript and would not require multiple web pages to load and only specified people would be able to edit specified information. I think each quorum member should have the ability to sign up on the web page for when a teacher feels the desire to prepare the sacrament. If no one was to claim that opportunity, then JavaScript would randomly choose a teacher and the secretary of the quorum would be sent a text message to call that teacher. If the secretary does not have a cellphone, then he would need to look at the web page. If they do not have internet access either, then this concept would be irrelevant to that ward unless someone else took that responsibility.

I have many ideas I think the church would like to use. I hope to find time to post them later.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:08 pm

Wow, that's a lot of great ideas from a 15 year-old. The world needs people who think like you do. :)

Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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Postby WelchTC » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:31 am

Great thinking Kaz, I'll forward along to the Priesthood dept.

tom

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dobrichelovek
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Postby dobrichelovek » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:52 pm

How about a follow-up from someone who hasn't been 15 for a little while? ;)

Assuming you do separate this information for quorums/classes out then would the person logging in automatically see information pertaining to his/her assigned classes/quorums? This would imply that those assigned organizations would be changed based on certain triggering events. This would certainly help ensure that proper ages and ordinations are kept up-to-date in the computer.

How about a parent or spouse, could I turn on the ability to see all pertinent events in relation to my kids and spouse so that I know when to drive whom where? The current model only allows for signing up for notifications based on organization. The dynamic nature of individualizing the experience for each user including the family structure could be very useful.

Kaz-p40
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Postby Kaz-p40 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:21 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Yes, the person logging in would automatically see information pertaining to that person's class. I would prefer the feature to be cookie based, but I do not think the church would allow personal information to be accessible to the public.

Yes, you could have the ability to view all events relating to your family. I think that is a good idea. My ward website is not consistently updated and the website does not allow leaders to edit the calendar. I would suggest that the leaders should be able to edit the events they create and other information pertaining to the group they are responsible for by logging into the system. This would increase the accuracy of the website.
Kaz

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Postby garysturn » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:29 pm

Good points Kaz. If the sites used LDS Accounts, then when someone logged in we would have access to a lot of info about that person, we would be able to tell which Sunday School class, which Youth Class, their age, and the Relief Society or Priesthood quorum they belong to and we could then create a page that contains information relevant to them. We could also design the Calendar to only show info that applied to that individual or to their other family members. The software could make use of this private info to create the page without disclosing it or storing it on the persons computer in a cookie.
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:22 am

GarysTurn wrote:when someone logged in we would have access to a lot of info about that person, we would be able to tell which Sunday School class, which Youth Class, their age, and the Relief Society or Priesthood quorum they belong to and we could then create a page that contains information relevant to them.


Gee, that almost sounds like ...... SharePoint <grin, duck and run>

(SharePoint - a Microsoft product)
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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Postby kennethjorgensen » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:36 am

GarysTurn wrote:Good points Kaz. If the sites used LDS Accounts, then when someone logged in we would have access to a lot of info about that person, we would be able to tell which Sunday School class, which Youth Class, their age, and the Relief Society or Priesthood quorum they belong to and we could then create a page that contains information relevant to them. We could also design the Calendar to only show info that applied to that individual or to their other family members. The software could make use of this private info to create the page without disclosing it or storing it on the persons computer in a cookie.


I have always thought there is a lot of mileage in creating an application that is for the individual member rather than for CHQ (like MLS is to a large extend) or mostly for the whole ward (like LUWS).

I do think there is scope for defining all 3 (CHQ, Local Stake/Unit and Individual). By having the three separately defined there will be less temptation to make each of them step over each others area even though they will still need to be linked.

I agree with all of the above but think many could be better suited in a separate application that targets the specific individual member based on their callings, sex, age etc.

I doubt the church will have the resources to do it (with all the other things they have going on) so then its either a job for the community group (after HT/VT) or up to individuals.

It is certainly one I am still thinking a lot about doing (creating a desktop portal for the individual member) and together with the exported files from LUWS (and hopefully more in the future) this could be an area to be developed further.
Both the LDS Toolbar, LDS Meeting Manager, MLS Companion and the others available I see as forerunner for ONE application for the individual with task/assignment management (can also include activity planning) as well as library/resource management and class lesson schedules for all classes, room bookings etc combined with calendar link and email reminders and to have all this list the available resources available to you in your calling(s) would provide for a good start.

I am however still a bit restricted until I know more about the current functionality available within both MLS and LUWS to allow for proper planning, I am still in "thinking"-mode.

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Postby dobrichelovek » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:24 pm

Hmm... I think I see an implication that this data should be segregated out and combined by an end application. Wouldn't it be better if there was a common back-end data store design that allowed for retrieval of all pertinent data and church applications could tie into that information? When one piece of data was updated (like an ordination via MLS) then the data store would be updated and any application would then reflect that change and be able to display information related to that individual based on the updated information within the context of the relationships of that individual. This could include data from the home ward, student ward, sunday school class, quorum, etc.

If I have misunderstood the suggestion, please help me to understand. Perhaps you mean that the data within the data store should be properly segregated, so ward activities stay within the ward as a unit, stake activities stay within the stake as a unit, and class information can be appropriately handled within a ward or inherited from the stake level (or higher as appropriate). In this I agree, but there is no reason to duplicate the information to a separate application data store.

In tying this information together, the app could do so automatically from the individual approach relationally, however this shouldn't preclude an individual from accessing anything appropriate within the residing or visiting unit, or a unit for which one has a responsibility (a top down relationship for those with such callings). This is why I mentioned being able to automatically see things based on family relationships. The automaticity of this information coming up would be because the data is tied to my record, but because of my relationships to people, units, Home/Visiting teaching, etc...

I should still be able to 'browse' the ward/branch for activities of different auxiliaries as long as the bishop hasn't disallowed it except for family members.

So, I don't quite see the conflict in having each scope that is referred to (CHQ, Unit, Individual) have involvement in the same pieces of data. This would provide for a single application OR multiple applications to accomplish the goals of the church and serve the members as they serve. Contextual (calling or relationship based) pieces of a single application I think could work just as well as multiple applications. The one reason I may agree about on keeping the applications separate, at least between an individual member approach and a leadership approach is that I have seen too many individuals share their username and password with spouses. This would be a big no-no if it provided access to sensitive data. The added security of clerk-office access to certain pieces of information would be desirable, however, I don't see why, with internet access in buildings on its way to becoming ubiquitous, there couldn't be a secure way of only allowing access to that type of information within the same application from a clerk-office computer.

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:10 pm

Dobrichelovek, the reason I meant 3 separate application was because I was thinking in the short term.

It seems MLS has been created to serve the needs of the church and then some functionality has since been added that help people in certain callings but mostly it is about submitting to CHQ.
LUWS seems to be there to serve the unit overall with one common place for various usefull information including a unit calendar.
Since neither of these are going to go away in the short-term I see the need to create a 3rd application to focus mostly on serving the need of the individual member in his/her pursuit of serving in the church and in the home.

Ultimately in the longer term and ideally any new version of MLS for the web I think should be designed with the individual church member in mind. That system would be for all members and depending on your calling and personal situation (age, sex etc) the relevant functionality would then be made available to you on the menu system whether it be finances, membership records, HT/VT, lesson class schedules, class lesson prepartion etc. Each functionality would have different roles associated due to the different things that can be displayed and allowed to be changed.

Other functionality would then be common to all such as the layered calendar, tasks/assignments given/received, bulletin information, booking of rooms/library items etc..


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