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Spotlight: Elder Jed Black Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Written by Barbara Ann Gardener   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013

  Have you ever wondered just exactly what happens after you submit feedback from any of the thousands of pages on Elder Jed Black, Church Service Missionary (CSM) with LDSTech explains the process.

 “The feedback goes to a central location and they look for keywords,” explained Black. “If the Feedback has the words calendar, directory, or lesson scheduler in it  they send me a notification of the feedback.” Why? Because he is the Knowledge Specialist for those three applications.

Elder Black reviews the information and responds in one of three ways:

  1. User Education – many questions can be resolved by training the user to better interface with the application. This may be as simple as a return email or as involved as a training session at a ward or stake level.
  2. Update Frequently Asked Questions – The centralized Feedback Group answers as many questions as possible prior to forwarding requests to Knowledge Specialists. To do this they utilize a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ database. The more complete the database the fewer questions actually funnel down to the Knowledge Specialists.
  3. Identify Bugs – Because Knowledge Specialists are experts in their applications they can tell the difference between a user issue and a program defect and are capable of communicating with the development staff in a clear and concise manner. Knowledge Specialists are in a great position to beta test and recommend product improvements as well.

Elder Black works in Salt Lake but of the five Knowledge Specialist CSMs assigned to Gospel Library; two work in England,  one works in Colorado and two work in Salt Lake.

Although Elder Black had 38 years of programming with the UNISYS Corporation prior to his retirement, this level of expertise is not necessary to become a CSM Knowledge Specialist. One must be familiar with an identified application and comfortable communicating with both novice users and program developers. If this is you or if you are interested in possible part-time or full-time CSM opportunities contact: Elder Allen Bottorff or Sister Cheryl Bottorff at  (801) 842- 4771, or e-mail them at their email address   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or fill out the LDSTech Missionary Form.    

     For those with language skills, interested in becoming Area Technology Specialists in countries outside of the U.S. (Korea, Dominican Republic, Central & South America, etc.) contact: Elder Gary and Sister Marilyn Peterson, call them at 801-240-7373 or email them at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Or you can check out the current CSM Opportunities on    or



# Mark Charles Stewart 2014-03-01 15:38
I think there is a fourth possibility; the user interface needs improvement to "fix" the problem.
# Neal Clifford Krautz 2014-03-02 03:43
I agree with Mark. Some "user" issues are due to ambiguity or complexity. If an application is not intuitive and needs "User Education", then response 1 is a stop-gap until response 4, i.e. "Developer Education" to improve the UI.
# Robert William Collester, Jr. 2014-03-03 11:14
I agree with the previous comments and what I think is being said about a possible 4th response or consideration: A more "user friendly" approach to development is needed from the very beginning of the process, whether the subject matter is simple or complex.
# Jed Black 2014-03-03 16:52
I agree with all of your comments. As I review feedback from users if there are interface problems or the help is not correct, I communicate this information to the design team and it is documented so that it can be fixed. The designers are also aware that new products need to have more useability testing done. We have a team of church service church service missionaries (CSMs) who's current project is directed toward updating and improving the calendar online help and improving the calendar interface for Building Schedulers. We have another team of CSMs working with the Gospel Library team responding to member feedback and passing on information to the developers.
Jed Black
# Michael Thomson 2014-03-06 22:42
My experience as a user submitting feedback is:

- Once I submit feedback on at some time I'll get an email that contains a link to a response. I seldom remember the original feedback, because I've usually submitted about 3 at the same time--and the response was not quick in coming.
- The response is by someone with less technical proficiency than I have, and so I have to ask them what my original ticket was about and then re-explain the issue to them in simpler terms.
- I then have to invite them to pass the bug on to the development team. It's common for them to have reservations due to not understanding the nature of the bug.

It's nice that there is a follow-up method, and that some things do get fixed. I think more could get fixed if the feedback was handled better. Without persistence most feedback tickets would die before ever getting to anyone who knows what even competent users are saying.
# Shauna Johnston Rose 2014-03-07 13:43
I agree that their is some user-friendly issues, but a lot of the work done on these applications are done without pay and have few people working on updates, bugs, etc. I also have to commend Jed Black and others on their help and responses. My Dad was a Bishop before going on a mission. He has recently been put back in as a Bishop. Since he was Bishop the first time, almost everything has gone digital. My Dad is in his 70's and didn't even have texts on his cell phone and has really struggled! I am blessed to live very close and have a love for technology, so I have helped him with things that aren't confidential. We have had some questions and they have been answered promptly and professionally!

Those that have complaints should give of their time to help correct the problem, in my opinion. How many of you attended the LDSTech Conference in October to get more info about these applications?
# Robert William Collester, Jr. 2014-03-08 00:06
I'd welcome the opportunity to help with an obvious coding problem, as suggested by Sister Rose, when downloading "Emergency Response" or "Special Needs" data from Maps. But like Brother Thomson, several attempts on my part have resulted in responses that completely miss the mark resulting in nothing being done to resolve the issue. The problem can easily be duplicated and is not unique to an OS platform.
# Neal Clifford Krautz 2014-03-09 03:38
I've had experiences similar to Michael Thompson when sending feedback. Once I saw something misleading in wording that could have been easily fixed by a developer. I had no problem, but I could see where other users may. The well-meaning volunteer sent me usage instructions to solve my problem. I had no problem. I was trying to help developers, but I doubt any developer saw it.

Given your shortage of resources, I have a suggestion. Create a "Technical Feedback” or “Development Feedback" channel. Competent contributors can suggest improvement or identify bugs straight to developers. This will save the user-help volunteers' and the proponent's time. Furthermore, some proponents may be encouraged/volunteered to actually submit code for the suggestion, just like open source communities.

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