Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bottom line: We’re adding some tabs to the left sidepanel of the blog that will make it easier to find the best and most recent setup instructions for your devices.

Hi everyone,

At our “student group day” a couple weeks ago, a colleague pointed out to me that our blog might not have good calendar setup instructions for Android. What impressed me most about this was not about the lack of instructions, but that I think we have those instructions somewhere, but I’m not terribly sure where to look. We try to use our “tags” (right sidepanel) to indicate to which topics / devices a post is relevant, but it can still be difficult to find the right set up of instructions. This is made even more confusing by the duplication of setup instructions as technology at UNMSOM evolves, as third party software updates, and as our group grows and tries to accomodate those changes.

Something I hadn’t considered before was that we frequently make posts and provide setup instructions in a totally different framework than the consumers of this information consume it. For example, there are currently some “technical difficulties” with the lecture podcasts, but when they’re back up and running I hope to make a new post on how to set up mobile devices, especially with Apple’s new (free) Podcasts app. When we make posts like this, we do our best to give setup instructions for the widest range of devices that we can figure out. However, when someone wants to set up the podcast on their personal device, they generally don’t need to set it up on their iPad, Android, PC, Blackberry, and Macbook. People often only have one or a few tech gadgets. Instead of looking for the resource (e.g. podcast) and then looking for setup instructions for their device, it may be more efficient to look for their device (e.g. iPad), and find a list of everything they can set up for that device.

Additionally, we enjoy making videos with setup instructions as often as we can, but with a name like “Welcome Class of 20XX” it can be difficult to realize that the video actually has the setup instructions that you’re looking for, 7 months later.

With that in mind, we’re going to work on adding some tabs to the right sidepanel of the blog that will direct users to setup instructions based on device. We hope to keep a running list of the resources that we’ve covered for each device and links to the latest or best setup instructions for that resource. As an example, you might be able to click on the “Android” link and look for “Calendar” to find a link to a video (maybe even a specific time in that video) and a different link to a text version of instructions that we’d posted on a different occasion.

This will be a work in progress. Keep in mind that we have the same time obligations as all of you, so we may get behind, and it may take time for us to get things running. Our goal is always an end product that makes life easier for all of us.

See you soon, Nate/SMRT

PS When practical, we encourage comments and questions in the “comments” section below as an alternative to email. If you have a question, other people likely do as well, so leaving the comments publicly can help benefit everyone in the long run. Thanks!


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