Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

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terreview
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Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby terreview » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:32 pm

Hello Technet,

I see that this has been done before (topherreynoso), but I'm also extremely excited to post here and have a powerful and interesting tool to share. I've developed a prototype app for ward missions. I've used this extensively over the past couple of years and have found it to be extremely useful. It is now an intrinsic part of my stewardship and has demonstrated value in missionary coordination meetings and ward councils.

Some prominent features:

  • Store and recall information related to those we teach
  • Observe teaching trends with reports and graphs
  • Collaborate with other ward missionaries – security managed on a user/ward level
  • Mobile responsive – able to call or find directions via phone
  • Able to store and print membership progress records
  • Manage tasks, return & report on assignments
  • Search and filter by name, focus 5, etc.

It is more than a digital area book and I have several ideas to evolve this app further and have a strong vision on how to progress its efficacy and UI. However I wanted to check the temperature here before taking next steps. Its underlying platform could benefit from leveraging the LDS ecosystem and it's clear that this belongs in the LDSTech toolset and not a standalone app.

I recently looked into LDSTech further and see that there are other development efforts (Vineyard? LDSTech contributions?). If there's interest then perhaps this could make its way into there, or with permission I would like to pilot it with any interested individuals.

I recognize this is disruptive technology and it also makes use of a church copyrighted form – for this reason I have not published the URL. If there is an issue or a church request to take this down via proper authority or not launch then I will of course respect that. I've already counseled with appropriate priesthood – my bishop high council member over missionary work and have receive a thumbs up to announce and post here. If there is an issue with the copyrighted form then I can always remove the copyrighted material and simply have the app print an overlay for existing printed forms.

My goals in this:

  • Hasten the work
  • Get a tool out there for ward missions to use. Either loop into LDS toolset or gain permission to maintain/pilot on my own.
  • Gain permission to use the new/returning member progress record form (copyrighted)
  • Enjoy some personal satisfaction of producing something to a v1 completion.
  • Gain experience in creating/supporting a public-facing tool.

I'm posting here to start a positive discussion and hope I may be put in touch with someone to make next steps with. Screenshots below with demo information (not real contacts).

View from general dashboard/contact list
Teaching record
Activity in teaching record
Task list
Generated new and returning member progress record
Weekly report
Image from mobile device

I see that topherreynolds had a similar concept and it seemed to be received relatively well. If nobody objects, I will procure a domain with SSL and launch.

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sbradshaw
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby sbradshaw » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:13 am

It looks like a helpful tool. The Church doesn't have a lot of policies for third-party apps, but here are a few that come to mind:

  • Have a statement to make it clear it's not an official Church app (Handbook 2, 21.1.22).
  • The Church logo should not be used (Handbook 2, 21.1.10).
  • Membership data should never be stored on cloud services (Meetinghouse Technology Policy, 4.9.4).
  • Third-party apps may not use LDS Account login (statements by Church employees on LDSTech forum and wiki).
If you are able to work around these policies, then go for it! However, the most common issue that third-party apps run into is storing or syncing membership data on internet-based services not operated by the Church. The Church is very protective of members' information for legal and privacy reasons.

I am not sure what the process is for starting a new LDSTech project, but it will need to be sponsored by and overseen by a Church employee. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this. The LDS Tools app already exists and there is also an Area Book app for missionaries in use – in the end something like this would best be tied into one of those.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.

eblood66
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby eblood66 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:37 pm

sbradshaw wrote:I am not sure what the process is for starting a new LDSTech project, but it will need to be sponsored by and overseen by a Church employee. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this.

The page hasn't been updated in a couple years but this wiki page is the most recent statement about that that I know of.

terreview
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby terreview » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:19 pm

Thank you both. As eblood66 mentioned, the wiki page is pretty old and I'm not seeing any contact info regarding it.

The elephant in the room is the membership data. The app is designed for anybody the ward mission teaches, which is a mix of investigators and members. I've tried to minimize info entered and generalize where possible, but name/address/phone is not approximate. I however do not have have plans for any bulk import tools and most contact info in my experience has been learned in the field. My push-back would be that Topher's app was similar, even included importing, yet was greenlit by church ICS. However some time has passed so it is worth a revisit before publishing a URL. Thank you for informing me.

I don't have any e-mail for church ICS but it looks like there's a phone number (801-446-4614). I'll contact them and see if I can find further clarity in context to the previous app or an opportunity for integration into the ecosystem.

Other features I'd like to include:

Dinner scheduling/volunteering
Splits/member-assisted teaching scheduling/volunteering

I've heard for quite some time now about missionaries using tablets and it would be interesting to learn whether my efforts are duplicated or could be complementary to this. Our mission has not adopted this yet. Is anyone aware of a rollout schedule? Are things still in test?

russellhltn
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:10 am

I think it's beyond test, but some mission presidents vetoed it for their mission.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

lajackson
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby lajackson » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:19 am

terreview wrote:I've heard for quite some time now about missionaries using tablets and it would be interesting to learn whether my efforts are duplicated or could be complementary to this. Our mission has not adopted this yet. Is anyone aware of a rollout schedule? Are things still in test?

It is being implemented slowly on a mission by mission basis as coordinated with the mission president. Part of the process in our mission included training by a general authority to the missionaries.

Briggs2326
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby Briggs2326 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:15 pm

I am so happy to hear that an app like this is in the works!
I have spent countless hours scouring through the App Store and have spent probably upwards of $100 on various apps the look like they'll get me at least close to where I want to be.

I understand that this is a major undertaking and would be happy to help in any way you may need. I don't have any experience with writing code but I have been a graphic designer for a little over 7 years so if my abilities can help this get off the ground any faster then just let me know.

I would also love to beta test the app if that's at all possible. I was helping test the Ward Plan app for a while but I believe the developers put that on the back burner for a while.

Again, thanks so much for your hard work and let me know if/when I can help out.

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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby jdlessley » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:34 am

Briggs2326 wrote:I am so happy to hear that an app like this is in the works!

It has been deployed for some time now. Some areas may still not have it while it is being rolled out.

Briggs2326 wrote:I understand that this is a major undertaking and would be happy to help in any way you may need.

The app is entirely an in-house project.

Briggs2326 wrote:I would also love to beta test the app if that's at all possible.

The app has already been released. Only missionaries have access to the app.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

Briggs2326
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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby Briggs2326 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:19 am

Is the app that you're referring to different than the prototype described in the original post? If not, then things seem to have changed quite a bit in the last few months.

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Re: Ward Mission App (more than a digital area book)

Postby lajackson » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:15 am

Briggs2326 wrote:Is the app that you're referring to different than the prototype described in the original post? If not, then things seem to have changed quite a bit in the last few months.

Yes, it is. It is more like an area book for the missionaries, but it does allow the missionary input to their app to sync with LDS.org so that members of ward councils can view/review the status of progressing missionary families and best know how to help them.


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