As many of our eWalk users already know, the template builder has been completely revamped. A lot of people who have logged in recently discovered not only a new look, but a new way of creating the template from start to finish. Most of the individuals that I spoke to were initially confused by the new system, but after answering their questions and (e)walking them through the process, the feedback has been very positive.
Some of the individuals I spoke with have been using eWalk for many years and are experts on the system. Others are fairly new to the program, and have just started building templates and doing walkthroughs. I noticed in speaking with them that there were common questions that would come up in almost every conversation. I also noticed that I tend to be a little long-winded in answering these questions, so I thought I would compile some of them in writing, and (hopefully) be a little more concise.
Q: Why did we change the template builder?
eWalk was the first walkthrough program to allow people to create any template form they like, and then collect data with it online or using a mobile device. In giving the template builder the ability to accommodate almost any form, it became more and more complex for the users. This resulted in a template builder that required separate pieces of the form to be built and then combined in a non-linear way. Someone once told me it was like building a house by forming the roof, windows and walls and then at the end pouring a foundation and hammering them all together.
Most people I talk to (myself included) think in a bit more linear of a fashion. This is the whole idea of the new template builder. The user can now create the template in the beginning and choose the overall settings (the foundation) first. Next, you move to the elements or questions (such as checkboxes, rubrics, drop down menus, etc.) that you will be using in the template. Previously, these would have to be created in advance, and then added at the end. Now the user can create these elements (wallks and windows) directly in the template builder and then simply add them into the form. Lastly you can adjust the individual settings of the elements (such as attaching a checklist or note field, allowing pictures or audio to be attached, and others) and then finally decide whether they would like the form to have electronic signatures. (The roof and shingles of the house)
The point is that the user can create a template from start to finish on one screen which is more efficient and intuitive.
Not only was that answer long-winded, the metaphor was stretching a little thin at the end.
I was thinking that myself…
Q: What happened to the filters on my form?
The filters were initially missing from the “General Information” when the change was made, but they are now appearing again.
When eWalk was first designed, it was only possible to disaggregate your data based on these two filters (most people set these as “Grade” and “Subject Area”). As it’s evolved, it became possible to use any element as a filter when running your reports. The idea now is that any question could be used as a filter in reporting, and therefore eliminates the need to set them at the beginning of the form. Of course they are still there and can be set with a value list for the instance that the form has two filters that ideally, should have been filled out at the beginning of the walkthrough.
Q: What are these strange icons on the right side of the “Manage Elements” tab?
These are the element settings (or roof shingles) I mentioned earlier in my thinly-stretched house metaphor. You’ll notice there is a button marked “Legend” to the right of the column marked “Quick Settings”. This will give a brief explanation of what each of these icons represent as an element setting. You’ll also notice that these icons are initially very faint to indicate they are not in use. The minute you change one of the settings, (such adding a time-line note), the icon will then fill in (in this case a little calendar/watch)
Below each element is a minimized tab marked “Properties”, which you can maximize to view and change each of the template settings. The “Quick Settings” menu allows you to change certain settings (such as showing or disabling historical data and/or notes) for all elements on the form, without having to set each individually.
Q: Do I still have to save my settings, exit and do a new walkthrough to see how the form will look when in use?
Not anymore! You can now click the “Preview” button in the top left corner to have a look at exactly how the form will look right from the template builder.
Of course it’s always a good idea to save your settings continually. You’ll notice that every time a change is made, the save button will highlight yellow as a reminder to save your changes.
Q: Is this going to change again in a month?
This is the first overhaul of the template builder in many years, and while there will be minor tweaks, based on feedback from eWalk users, it wont be changing again for a long time.
Give us your feedback on the new template builder, and if you would like more information or have a question that isn’t listed here, we’d love to hear from you!