Feedback from a first-time user

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Feb 29 2016 4:11 AM

I'm a long-time user of Logos Bible Software, our church will be using Proclaim from Sunday, so this week I've been setting things up for the first time. I thought you might find it helpful to have some feedback from an inexperienced user (we're moving from PowerPoint, so I have no experience of similar software).

Our team love the simplicity and speed of Proclaim. It will save us hours of work. We also love the fact that collaboration is built in. These two things are more than enough to convince us that Proclaim is the right choice for us, so read the criticisms below in the light of that :-). The webinar/tutorial videos only took a few minutes to watch, but were more than enough to help me understand how Proclaim works, and get me going.

First, when I installed Proclaim it told me that my demo licence had expired (that was true, I downloaded it briefly in 2014), and I had an option to watermark, or pay. I chose to watermark — however, the presentation isn't watermarked, and I even have access to Pro media. I'm not complaining, I just found that confusing. [On reflection, this was probably because I changed groups (see below).]

Second, I really couldn't make sense of the groups. I'm still not sure I've got it right. I couldn't find any help for this, and the "getting started" videos don't cover it. Essentially, I created a Church Group, and then expected to be able to select that under Presentation Group. It appears instead that I have to create both a Church Group and a Presentation Group, and that the two are related in some way. I feel that there should have been some kind of wizard to help me through that setup process, and give me confidence that it's correct.

Third, I think Proclaim's biggest weakness is the lack of custom templates. (I know I can create a template presentation, and fill it with "Song Template", etc., but that's a kludge.) For example, because of the positioning of our screen, we try and ensure that song lyrics don't extend into the bottom half of a slide. That simple requirements mean that we lose all the benefit of being able to switch backgrounds. Even more frustratingly, I can't choose "Add Item -> Song", I have to choose "Add Item -> Reuse Item". And if I forget to do that, I can't apply my template to an existing song, I have to create a new one and copy/paste. I really think strongly that there ought to be a way of designating a "Template" presentation to be a real template that appears on the Background menu, and applies backgrounds, fonts, colours and positions, just as the default templates do.

Fourth, I'd like an option on the confidence monitor to display the current slide and a preview of the next slide. We're used to that from PowerPoint, and find it helpful. As it stands, the confidence monitor isn't suitable for us. As a preacher, I'd like to see Notes, Current Slide, Preview of next slide and a Clock on my confidence monitor.

Fifth, we'd love an iPad app that simply displayed the slides whilst on air. We would have multiple uses for this: (a) to allow for extra screens (e.g. in the pulpit) without additional wiring; (b) to give to members unable to see the screen due to eye problems.

Sixth, there were some minor irritations:

  1. Soft-returns aren't pasted in from other apps, which meant I had to add carriage returns when pasting in existing song lyrics (currently we use soft-returns between lines, and carriage-returns between verses).
  2. My CCLI number isn't preserved if I choose "Add Item -> Song".
  3. I couldn't work out how to leave a blank line in a song, without Proclaim creating a new slide.
  4. I wanted to be able to specify that a text-box could line-wrap if the text got too big, and there was enough vertical space to do so.
  5. It would be nice to be able to select multiple locations for "Show Title on XXX slide" and similar.
  6. I wanted to be able to put a song chorus in italics, but use normal text for verses.
  7. When I add verse numbers to a Bible slide they start off superscript, but then become normal height.
  8. In Songs, straight single quotes ' are often turned into the wrong type of curly quote: ‘ instead of ’

As I said, we're delighted with Proclaim — but hopefully these observations will help you make Proclaim even better in the future.

Posts 716
LogosEmployee
Peter June | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 29 2016 4:53 PM

Hi, Mark. Welcome to Proclaim and thank you for your generous feedback. It's great to hear that you're saving so much time creating your presentations; hopefully the transition from PowerPoint isn't too rough :)

First, when I installed Proclaim it told me that my demo licence had expired (that was true, I downloaded it briefly in 2014), and I had an option to watermark, or pay.

You are correct that creating a new presentation group also created a new trial license.

Second, I really couldn't make sense of the groups.

An infographic is in the works to explain how Proclaims groups/church groups work. Here are a couple of articles that should be of use to elucidate the group structure:

A presentation group is where all of your team members create presentations and store media. One or more members in a presentation group pay for the license(s) but everyone in the group has access to licensed content. Your church group is where you publish your sermons and is affiliated with your presentation group.

Why two groups? Members of the presentation group create the presentations and can control the presentation with the Proclaim Remote. Other members of your congregation can be part of your church group, enjoy your sermons, but not control or edit presentations. Also, if you have several campuses you can have them associated with a single church group for publishing sermons.

Third, I think Proclaim's biggest weakness is the lack of custom templates.

We're working to improve templates in Proclaim. Today we added an option in the Media Browser to "Add Series" instead of just an individual slide. You can use custom themes to save a particular text style that you like, also. We've gotten a lot of user feedback on being able to apply a template to all of the items in their presentation and it's on our radar.

Fourth, I'd like an option on the confidence monitor to display the current slide and a preview of the next slide.

The confidence monitor is very high on our list of features to actively redevelop. I'll add your feedback to our case so our designers can get an idea what you'd like.

Fifth, we'd love an iPad app that simply displayed the slides whilst on air.

The Proclaim Remote is able to display slides while you're on air. We're in the process of improving the Remote to work on local wi-fi.

Sixth, there were some minor irritations:

  1. I can see how this is irritating, but once imported you should only have to format once and your changes will be saved.
  2. Your CCLI number should be added automatically when you choose the song after creating a service item.
  3. There's no obvious way to do this; you can add a solo line with an underscore on it to simulate a blank line. Inserting the word joiner character on its own line is a prettier way of doing this.
  4. Certain text boxes don't wrap. We haven't gotten around to changing this, but fully intend to in the future.
  5. Out of curiosity, which slides do you show your title on that would not work with our current setup? Are you suggesting that we have an option such as "Show title on Chorus slides?"
  6. We don't support this. You bring up a good point, I'll bring it to the attention of our development team.
  7. Which Bible are you using? The superscript conventions can be slightly different on some translations.
  8. Strange, I can't reproduce this issue.

Again, thanks for your thoughts!

Posts 370
Josh Edwards | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 29 2016 5:07 PM

For #8 above, I'm wondering if your keyboard setting in Preferences is the reason for the change to the quotes.  See the attached graphic and check your settings. 

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:01 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Peter. I'll respond to the issues that require follow-up in separate threads, and post links here. That should be easier than tracking multiple issues in one thread.

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:02 AM

Josh Edwards:
For #8 above, I'm wondering if your keyboard setting in Preferences is the reason for the change to the quotes.  See the attached graphic and check your settings. 

Thanks for the advice Josh. Unfortunately, I'm on Windows, which doesn't have any equivalent setting. The curly quotes are therefore added by Proclaim, not the OS.

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 4:55 AM

Peter June (Proclaim):
There's no obvious way to do this; you can add a solo line with an underscore on it to simulate a blank line. Inserting the word joiner character on its own line is a prettier way of doing this.

On Windows, none of the Unicode 'space' characters will add a blank line to Proclaim. The only characters I could find that would do it were the Mongolian Vowel Separator (U+180E) and a Zero Width Non-Breaking Space (U+FEFF). These are pretty hard to enter on Windows (you have to edit the registry, reboot, and remember the 4-digit code).

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 4:59 AM

Peter June (Proclaim):
Out of curiosity, which slides do you show your title on that would not work with our current setup? Are you suggesting that we have an option such as "Show title on Chorus slides?"

I'd like to show the Attribution on the Title Slide, but 'attribution' isn't an option.

I would also like to show some information in two places. For example, I'd like to show copyright information both on the title slide and on the last lyric slide. I hoped a CTRL+click would allow me to select multiple values, but it doesn't.

This isn't a deal breaker, but it would be nice to have.

Posts 315
Brendon Marks (BCBC) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 5:10 AM

Mark, On Windows 10, I use the U+200D Arial Character (Zero Width Joiner). Use the Charmap app in Windows accessories and then scroll down or look for it using the "Go to Unicode 200D", copy it and paste in the Proclaim window.

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LogosEmployee
Peter June | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:02 PM

I use the U+2060 word joiner. It has the added benefit of being copy/paste-able from the wiki site (it won't appear as a box character in Proclaim).

I'll poke around regarding the curly quotes. I'm not ruling out a random OS setting causing it for the time being (I'm still unable to repro). Is there a particular font/Bible translation that seems to cause it?

Posts 315
Brendon Marks (BCBC) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:28 PM

I couldn't figure out how to copy/paste the U+2060 from Wiki, but when I use Windows ALT+2060 it gives me a box with an X in it in Proclaim. I cannot type ALT+200D, it won't take it. Charmap does work.

Posts 315
Brendon Marks (BCBC) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:37 PM

I just found out it makes a difference which font you are using in Proclaim. My worship pastor prefers Museo Sans which gives the box when you type ALT+2060, but works with the U+200D, other fonts work OK with ALT+2060.

Posts 315
Brendon Marks (BCBC) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:42 PM

However, I tried about a dozen different fonts and all of them worked with 200D, but only a few worked with 2060.

Posts 315
Brendon Marks (BCBC) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 12:54 PM

Finally, to enter 200D from the keyboard:

Unicode characters can be entered by holding down Alt, pressing the + on the numeric keypad, followed by the hex code - using the numeric keypad for digits from 0 to 9 and letter keys for A to F digits - and then releasing Alt. 

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 1 2016 3:08 PM

Peter June (Proclaim):
I'll poke around regarding the curly quotes. I'm not ruling out a random OS setting causing it for the time being (I'm still unable to repro). Is there a particular font/Bible translation that seems to cause it?

I've put an example in a new thread: Bug: Straight quotes are not always correctly converted to curly quotes

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