New Localist Knowledge Base

Even if you only have a little experience with Localist, our goal is for it to be easy and intuitive to use. It recently became apparent that our Knowledge Base was missing some key articles for new features that had been added to the platform, but didn’t have solid documentation backing them up.

Today, we’re proud to  announce a brand new Localist Knowledge Base!

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How Your Students Want to Find Out About Events

Your institution probably spends a lot of time creating and publicizing awesome events. At Localist, we focus on event marketing calendar software to help schools minimize your time commitment while getting the word out about events. Our calendar software helps schools publicize events on their websites, via social media, and through emails.

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6 Benefits of Using Calendar Widgets

If you’re looking into centralizing your organization’s events calendar, or even if you already have a central calendar, a key question you need to ask is, “how can we efficiently spread event content across our entire website?”

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Welcome Rebecca Wilmoth to the Team

Rebecca joins us as Localist’s Director of Marketing! She’ll lead our marketing efforts and oversee their continued growth and evolution. She joins us after serving as a Director of Marketing at Vocus. Coupled with her additional experience at Laureate, she’s proved that she can grow a marketing strategy and flourish in a positive environment, and we think this new role at Localist represents a great opportunity to do just that.

Welcome, Rebecca!

 

 

Designing for Grandma

We often receive requests to add “help text” near a feature to help users understand how a function works, or to clarify submission guidelines for users submitting an event. While these ideas make sense on paper, it’s worth asking a few questions first:

  1. Have you demonstrably measured where the user is getting stuck, or is it just a hunch?
  2. Is this suggestion in response to a single user complaint, or many?
  3. Is there any other way to help the user understand besides adding help text?

In our experience, a text explanation rarely solves the deeper underlying problem: confusing usability. Text should be the last resort. Lots of independent research has shown that most users skim (or don’t) read on the web, especially when it comes to instructions. Nobody should be expected to read instructions to know how something works, either. Whenever we’re testing the usability of a feature, we try to make it as intuitive as possible without using any text whatsoever. We only add text when it’s in an area where we know it will be read by the majority of users, or when text truly is the best way to convey information.

Another way to put it: we design Localist to be easy enough for our grandma to figure out. Telling each user, over and over, how to get around an interface problem isn’t a solution. We instead try to create an experience that’s so easy to use, no explanation is necessary.

The type of feedback that benefits our development team the most is simply telling us where you or your users are getting stuck. We can take it from there.

Consider the following feedback we received: “I clicked “All Events” expecting to see a list of every event in the calendar, but instead it only showed me everything coming up this month. Can we put a paragraph at the top that says ‘You are viewing this month’s events only?’” In reality, this proposed solution doesn’t solve the user’s expectation of what “All Events” means. Instead, changing “All Events” to something more appropriate, like “This Month’s Events,” solves the actual problem, without adding redundant text.

Our overall approach is to think of the top two to three things a person typically does on any one page and make it abundantly clear how to do them without any additional instruction. It’s worked out well as a whole, but can sometimes seem counterintuitive if approached as a thought exercise.

In any experience design, a simple question goes a long way: “Could my grandma figure this out?”

5 Ways an Online Calendar Boosts Church Attendance

If you don’t think your religious organization needs an online events calendar, here are some reasons to rethink how a calendar can be used: 

When you think of the word “event,” what does that mean in the context of a church, or synagogue? Masses, confession times, meetings, feast days, bible studies, fundraisers, choir or band practices, before or after service meals, vacation bible school camps, yard sales, youth group meetings, children’s services, sunday school, retreats, bilingual services, adoration hours, communion services, holidays, guest speakers, mission trips, and food or blood drives.

That’s a big list;  over twenty events categories that will thrive in an online event calendar. Even though a handful of these events are weekly or monthly recurring events, such as masses and meetings, keeping these happenings organized in one central online location will lead to:

  • Easier event management
  • Increased involvement among your parishioners
  • Higher engagement from the outside community
  • The possibility of new members or visitors immediately becoming active participants.

To make these benefits a reality for your religious organization, here are five tools that will take your calendar beyond the usual bulletins and in-service announcements: 

1. Newsletters.

Send your members a reminder or update for the future events forecast especially when there is something on the horizon that is outside the typical recurring events list. 

2. Map.

Many church-related events often happen off-site, such as at the homes of members, or volunteer locations. Provide your community with instantaneous access to a map of the location to eliminate confusion.

3. Social sharing.

Let your members take charge of promoting the events, whether it be a Sunday service or community yard sale, to their friends and family who are non-members via social media platforms. 

4. Recurring events.

Simplify how your calendar is curated so that your church’s core schedule can be put in place without creating a post for every week. By designating a recurring schedule for Sunday masses or Tuesday night choir practices, your administrators can spend minutes per week managing the calendar. 

5.RSVP functionality.

Help your members to better plan for events, such as after service meals or volunteer opportunities, by allowing RSVPs to be entered right in your calendar.

Little Things of the Week

One day a week, we dedicate our product development efforts to “little things”; feature requests, or tweaks to the system, that don’t take long to build, but have a positive impact for Localist administrators and audience members.

Our recent “Little Things” focus on streamlining your audience’s experience. Key word? “Redesigned!”

Redesigned User Messages

Messages in Localist are used to handle friend requests, event invitations, and plain old messages, like asking a friend if they’re going to be attending an upcoming event. Over the years, we’ve seen its usage change, so we’ve adapted the design to reflect this. Friend and group requests and invites have been moved (see below), and the overall design reflects more of a “chat” interface than email. The result: very intuitive and quick messaging, with a much simpler interface.

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Redesigned User Dashboard / Unified Activity Feed

A completely redesigned user dashboard now allows users to respond to event invitations, friend requests, group membership requests, and see their latest activity, all in one feed. Users can also instantly see the status of any pending event submissions so they aren’t left wondering.

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Redesigned Popup Boxes

Modal (pop up) boxes have been updated for more intuitive usage. Additionally, a sign up link has been added to the login form to increase audience engagement. Localist has tons of login options; all the ones you choose will be available from this single login window.

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We’re Hiring a Director of Marketing

We’re looking for someone to lead our marketing efforts; someone with a keen interest in B2B software who understands the unique challenges and rewards that come with the space. Localist resonates strongly with our customers when they see what Localist can do, but how do we educate them on the problems we solve before they see us?

We value autonomy at Localist. We’re growing quickly, but have lots of opportunity to grow even faster with the leadership of  a fantastic Director of Marketing.

Interested? Check out the job listing.

Little Things of the Week

One day a week, we dedicate our development efforts to “little things.” Feature requests, or tweaks to the system, that don’t take long to build, but have a positive impact for Localist administrators or audience members.

Here are our recent Little Things:

Newsletter send times
We’ve added two more newsletter times. As well as sending at 9am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, you can now send newsletters to your users at 7am and 8am.

Social media integrations
You can now link to Facebook and Twitter pages on Groups, Departments, and Places. Linking to these social media profiles will display the icons and links on each respective profile page.

End-user notifications
When a user submits an event they will now receive an email confirmation.

Custom event rejection messages
If a user-submitted event needs to be rejected, admins now have the option of adding a note to the submitter to explain why their event was not approved.

New view templates
This is a more behind-the-scenes  update, but was a major project. All public-facing views on the calendar were effectively re-created from scratch using the Liquid templating language. This will allow Platform Admins to completely change all aspects of the HTML on their calendar. This was the first step, with more coming soon.

Localist in Inc Magazine

Localist was listed as a time-saving tech tool in Inc. Magazine!

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