Am I missing something about Proclaim being easy to use?

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This post has 17 Replies | 2 Followers

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Gregory Wolff | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Feb 17 2013 5:11 PM

Friends,

I am far from being a novice to the computer, and I am very comfortable using many types of software.  I program databases for a living and am one of the "go-to" guys in our church for IT issues.  I must begin by saying that I absolutely LOVE Logos Bible software.  I have been using it since either it's first or second release.  That is why when Logos released Proclaim a while back, I was really excited.

When I first tried playing around with Proclaim, about a year ago, I found it incredibly clumsy.  It is anything but intuitive, and since there was no real user's manual at the time, after spending about 8 hours getting frustrated with the software, I decided to shelve it and hope that things would change.

I am now re-addressing Proclaim, because we are interested in making some changes to our Church Presentation software.  So, I spent a few more hours trying to make sense of Proclaim.  Unfortunately, after a full year of waiting, and installing the new update, I find that essentially nothing has changed!  Nor has there been any useful documentation made available.

Is it really too much to ask to have a "Save" button?  Is it really too much to have a "Save AS" button so we don't have to RE-create an entirely new presentation for every service?  Is it really too much to ask to have a list of songs that we use, rather than every time I add a song to any presentation, Proclaim just adds ANOTHER COPY of the SAME song to my list of "Reuse" items?  Our church has a database of several hundred songs--has Proclaim thought about being able to import songs from other Church Presentation software suites?

Forgive me if I sound completely ungracious with this post, but that is not my intent.  I had such incredibly high hopes for Proclaim because it was cloud-based and our worship team could be able to create services at home before the team ever arrived to rehearse, rather than scrambling to put it together while the musicians are playing. However, if I am having this much trouble navigating through this incredibly clumsy interface, I can't imagine how any of the others, who are less savvy with computers, would ever be able to figure this out!

Your online help is nearly worthless, as well, because there are no real instructions, and I am not one who thinks software should require a video lesson for every action.  It took me an hour and a half to figure out that "Nursery Alerts" (something our church would require) were actually "Pager" alerts, and another ten minutes to figure out how to display one.

If anyone can show me how to simply use Proclaim software, I would be glad to retract or edit this post--but I'm just not getting it.  I expected so much more from Logos, but I am simply amazed that anyone would use this software.  If there were a way to provide ratings for this software, I would give it negative stars.  My apologies to the software designers who put in so much hard work in developing it, but you have simply fallen short, and I won't even introduce our church to this software.

Warmest regards.

Posts 2
Gregory Wolff | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 17 2013 5:21 PM

OK, found the magic button to import songs.  Need other software to export songs from our database, but at least that is solved.  Still not worth my efforts at this point, though.

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 18 2013 3:07 PM

I'm sorry you're finding Proclaim frustrating.

We are still working to improve it, and feedback like yours is helpful.

Proclaim intentionally tried some new interface paradigms that we thought would make it friendlier and easier to use. Some of these are actually more frustrating to some users, though. In a weird way, the more experienced you are with existing tools in this space, the more confusing you are likely to find Proclaim.

We don't have a "Save" button because we are always saving, constantly. This should be much easier for a "totally new" user, but can confuse people who still think in a 'document' model and expect one.

In the same way, since you never go back in time, there's never really a need for last month's presentation. So you don't need to load last week's presentation and then "Save As..." -- you can just edit last weeks presentation to be this week's presentation. Easier -- unless you're bringing old mental models to bear (which many people are).

We also built in auto-song insertion from CCLI and a large hymn database. You just type a song title, and it's easy to add the lyrics. This does confuse people who want to "import" an existing song database, but is arguably easier/simpler for new users -- there's no lyric typing at all. Just type a song title, and it's found and inserted.

(Are you finding that Proclaim doesn't know the songs you want to use? Or are your versions different/edited? Or do you just want to see your existing investment in building a song database shown as a distinct unit / browseable list?)

I'm not saying your complaints are wrong -- and I know we need more introductory support material, which we're working on -- I'm just trying to explain how we go here. 

-- Bob

 

Posts 8006
LogosEmployee

Gregory Wolff:

Is it really too much to have a "Save AS" button so we don't have to RE-create an entirely new presentation for every service?

Click the "OPEN" link at the top to see a list of presentations. Right-click on a presentation and choose "Duplicate Presentation" to make a copy of it.

Posts 2401
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 18 2013 4:11 PM

Bob Pritchett:

In the same way, since you never go back in time, there's never really a need for last month's presentation. So you don't need to load last week's presentation and then "Save As..." -- you can just edit last weeks presentation to be this week's presentation. Easier -- unless you're bringing old mental models to bear (which many people are).

I am not a Proclaim user BUT I am our church's bulletin updater.  We have many weeks during the year when the service is very much like the one a year ago and a total rewrite from prior and next week's.  [The following week we will revert to this weeks format]  If all we change is who, what songs, and the name of the sermon Yes, just edit last week.  But, for example, the Christmas and Easter services [to pick two dates] are very different [in many churches] from the prior or next week ones but very much the same as the one last year and several years back.   From your comment we then need to totally redo our service the week of Easter and totally redo it the following week just to get back to where we were.  Or is there an trick way to do that with out a SAVE command?

Posts 2718
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 18 2013 4:15 PM

It was hard to get used to for us too. We came from MediaShout. However, I'm getting the hang of it. Still my biggest complaints...

1. Too many clicks to add one JPG file. They want us to add a few at a time as a slideshow, but what if I want to display a picture, a video and then a bible verse. Then a picture and a verse again. Added those pictures takes a long time. A way to fix this would be a kind of temporary hold section where I can upload all my media files, pics, videos, music etc., and then organize it as I want without needing to add slideshows.

2. Lack of proper DVD support. That didn't work well in MediaShout but at least it had it.

3. In depth help videos or files. I hope the lack of this is not because Logos wants to help the training businesses that charge a bunch for training. I doubt that's the reason, but I have to admit it crossed my mind. Who knows; maybe I'll learn it through and through and start one. :-)

Posts 2401
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 18 2013 4:31 PM

Bradley Grainger (Logos):

Gregory Wolff:

Is it really too much to have a "Save AS" button so we don't have to RE-create an entirely new presentation for every service?

Click the "OPEN" link at the top to see a list of presentations. Right-click on a presentation and choose "Duplicate Presentation" to make a copy of it.

There is a quote about a rose by any other name.  The flow spoken of implied just keep on editing the same item and show the last edit at 'show time'.  

someplace the presentation given at 'show time' is marked as done or there would not be a list of presentations to choose from.  Why not just call that marking 'save'?

[[re 'show time'  most weeks worship goes smoothly, but some special weeks to those of us behind the action, The AV staff , the choir, and others getting the presentations ready it might as well be show time.  And often we are too close to the action to get the full effect of the sermon. [is the speaker in the camera view, is the sound at the correct level, did we kill the other mike and turn on the next one to be used just as it is needed?] If we want to know what the sermon was about we just might have to watch the rerun. [and then we find out where we goofed up - and hope that no one else noticed]]

Posts 5
William Walsh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 18 2013 7:05 PM

Wouldn't it make sense to provide end-users options to control their user experience?

I think it's fine to have auto-saving, but why not allow users the capability to manually hard-save and/or set the frequency of auto-saving?

One reason I suggest this is that to me the boundary of the undo feature (ctrl-z)  is very unclear such that I'm not sure what use a user would see in it (e.g. myself).  For instance, I had entered one song, went on to the next and realized my customization was bad, pressing ctrl-z took me much further back than I would have wanted to go.  So, if this behavior can be explained it would be very helpful in giving some predictability to the undo (redo?) feature, is it just one level deep?

www

Posts 2
Gregory Wolff | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 19 2013 3:27 PM

Bob,

Thanks for your clarification on the development of Proclaim.  I guess my suggestion for the new interface paradigms would be, "But everyone uses a different paradigm.  Why not use what people are already using?"  This can be explained very easily.  If I am in Proclaim and want to add a song to the list, I must Add Item.  Got it!  Makes sense!  But, instead of asking me which song I want to add, it adds a "blank" song.  Then, according to what I have kinda figured out, I start typing in a name for the song, and if I have that song, then the song populates.  Ok--kinda sorta get.  I could get used to it, maybe--but again, with a church that does not have a full time, professional crew that does this ALL THE TIME, it is not intuitive.  Plus, now that I have my song, now I have to move it to where it needs to be in the service.  Not really a big deal.

However, as long as we are talking suggestions, why not when I want to add a song, a list of songs pops up, and I drag the one I want into the service Where I want it......  Then, if there are arrangement changes, I can do that at that time.  I just saved myself a ton of clicks, and it just makes sense!

Concerning the "Save As", which, as someone pointed out is simply a semantic thing, and I could make do with what Proclaim has, the whole point is that if you have a typical church, like we do, and as I would guess many people do, that does not change EVERYTHING for EVERY service, then it would be nice to have a "skeleton" service--perhaps even a skeleton service that popped up every time I opened proclaim.  This skeleton would have everything we have during a "normal" service, such as welcome and announcements, Doxology/Gloria Patria, transitions between services to Sunday School.  None of this changes.  And, we can do that, based on a suggestion below.  But, again, these are things that just save time and headache, especially when the crew that was supposed to get the schedule put together by Thursday didn't, and then when I get a last minute call on Sunday to throw everything together, I'm not fumbling around and distracting the service, because everything is out of place.

Hope this helps explain things a bit better, but thanks again for your prompt reply!

Greg

Posts 2718
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 19 2013 3:45 PM

Gregory Wolff:
 If I am in Proclaim and want to add a song to the list, I must Add Item.  Got it!  Makes sense!  But, instead of asking me which song I want to add, it adds a "blank" song.

That's just how proclaim asks you which song to add. It sets up a screen with all the stuff ready to go instead of just adding a song and then opening a screen to change it like you would with other systems. Think of the new screen that you see as a very detailed dialogue box.

Gregory Wolff:
Plus, now that I have my song, now I have to move it to where it needs to be in the service.

this is only true for the first item added to the rundown. AFter that just highlight the item that the new item should fillow. It will automatically add it below the highlighted item.

Gregory Wolff:

However, as long as we are talking suggestions, why not when I want to add a song, a list of songs pops up, and I drag the one I want into the service Where I want it......  Then, if there are arrangement changes, I can do that at that time.  I just saved myself a ton of clicks, and it just makes sense!

AGain, that's essentially what you get. Add item and then type the name and a list pops up. That's better than all the songs in your library. What if you want a song that begins with an S. Your way you have to scroll all the way through A-R to get to the S section. The way Proclaim does it, you go instantly to songs that begin with whatever you type. Faster in my opinion.

Hope this helps.

Posts 217
Reid A Ferguson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 21 2013 7:06 PM

Hey Greg - the "save as" solution we use is simply changing the date on last week's package. Then we delete or only the elements we want to change - usually just the scripture readings, songs and PowerPoint. We change announcements only when needed due to time sensitivity. 

Posts 54
Tommy Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2013 2:47 PM

Bob Pritchett:

In the same way, since you never go back in time, there's never really a need for last month's presentation. So you don't need to load last week's presentation and then "Save As..." -- you can just edit last weeks presentation to be this week's presentation. Easier -- unless you're bringing old mental models to bear (which many people are).

A paradigm shift is only a shift if people jump on board. Since so many people (including myself) are "bringing old mental models to bear," it seems reasonable that Proclaim must either allow for those models, or educate us into the new paradigm. Your statement that there is "never really a need for last month's presentation," clues me in to where Proclaim is coming from. You anticipate that we will basically create a new presentation for every service. Whereas, we worry that our "Reuse Items" list will grow unfathomably unusable (in its current unorganized state) because our "old mental model" is to save our past work for reuse later.

Bob, have you ever been involved in designing the (old school) weekly worship bulletins, or monthly activities calendars, or weekly prayer lists for a church? No one, to my knowledge, starts from scratch every week. We either use templates, or we pull up last week's version, make our changes, and "Save As" this week's version. I even use the same template every time a write a sermon -- and I keep a copy of every sermon! I will never knowingly delete last week's sermon, or intentionally over-write it with the new one. I also keep all of my past prayer lists, bulletins, etc. First, it is easy in this digital age to do so, Second, to me it serves to get a visual history of the church or to answer questions people sometimes ask (like, how long have we been praying for so-and-so to be saved?). In 2015, our church will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. I was pleased to discover just last week that the founding pastor had saved, not only old 35mm slides of those early days in 1965, but also a couple of old monthly newsletters, which he is going to give me for display. (Nostalgia is some times good!)

But something else, very practical to song presentation, is that I keep a list of every order of service. I want to be able to glance and see what songs we sing the most, when we last sang a particular hymn or chorus, and what songs we sang last Easter, for example. I know of some churches where they never sing the same song twice in a year. It would be nice if Proclaim had a reporting feature to print out, export to Excel, or at least examine a list of songs by service. I understand there is also a reporting requirement of a different nature required by CCLI.

I think I partly comprehend the new streamlined way of thinking -- every week is a new service. The concept of Proclaim (i.e. using the cloud) is wonderful for collaborative efforts, presentation, etc. I am sure it will continue to improve and as we grow more accustomed to it, the learning-curve will not appear near as steep in the future as it does today. But here is where Proclaim's strength becomes its weakness. I want Proclaim to replace our current presentation software AND Power Point in my life. Alas, with its current paradigm it can never replace Power Point. I have whole semesters of classroom instructions on Power Point that I cannot, at this time, trust to put into Proclaim! One, they do not fit into Proclaim's model. I need something I can go back to year after year. Two, I have a strong suspicion that I wold forever lose all my past intellectual property if, at some future point, Proclaim either ceased to exist or I chose not to renew my subscription. While the cloud offers piece of mind for local hard drive disasters, I want everything on my system, too, to insure against "cloud disasters." Proclaim does not allow for this model, and perhaps it was never intended to be a total church solution. Maybe it was only designed to replace our song presentation software.

Regardless, I would strongly urge you to revisit your claim that "there's never really a need for last month's presentation."

Core i7-2630QM CPU 2.00 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 64-Bit Windows 7 Professional SP1

Posts 2718
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 1 2013 1:06 PM

Reid A Ferguson:

Hey Greg - the "save as" solution we use is simply changing the date on last week's package. Then we delete or only the elements we want to change - usually just the scripture readings, songs and PowerPoint. We change announcements only when needed due to time sensitivity. 

We do the same which is why I'd love the ability to select multiple items in the list and then hit delete once. Having to right click delete every item is annoying. Is there a kb shortcut to delete besides hitting "Delete" key? That's what it should be, but doesn't work.

Posts 1
Chris Higgins | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 15 2017 9:39 AM

No Greg, you are not missing something.  Proclaim is very odd to use.  Like others have posted below - if you are a computer person, that makes it even more confusing to use.   

Posts 29
Skycaptain50 | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 15 2017 10:03 AM

Maybe it's because I have never used any other presentation program, but I find Proclaim easy to use. We've been using it for almost a year now and I have no complaints. 

Posts 2
Linda Chase | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 18 2018 12:24 AM

Hi, my pastor just asked my husband and I to learn the Proclaim software and teach him and others in our church how to use it.  So after giving up on finding a manual for beginners, and being confused by the support page of various FAQ's,  I did find some helpful tutorials on youtube.  Do a google search for:  youtube proclaim tutorials and training.  I will have to create my own training manual, I guess, as we prepare to use this program in our little church of old, not-very-computer-literate people.  

Posts 169
Michael Wright | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 18 2018 4:18 AM

I think you must be missing something. Here is a link to the Proclaim training site. It contains a multitude of helpful training articles. You can also access this from the Help Menu at the top of the screen. It's really not difficult at all.

https://support.faithlife.com/hc/en-us/categories/360000510451

Posts 347
LogosEmployee
Justin (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 18 2018 9:29 AM

Hello Linda, sorry if locating help articles/videos was difficult, or insufficient.  I'd like to let you know what we do offer free training sessions as well, so you can plan a time with your team to sit down with one of our representatives and spend a half hour going over various aspects of the program.  This offer is extended to anyone, just send us an email to support@faithlife.com or call us between 6am-6pm PST 888-634-2038 Monday - Saturday (6am-2:30pm on Sundays) and we'll get that appointment setup with you.  Always feel free to reach out at those contacts with any questions as well.

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