Thank you to those who took part in the GDPC’s recent webinar series on March 15th 2016. We were delighted to see such a strong turnout from national societies across the Universal App Program. While we held two separate webinars to accommodate different time zones; we understand that many of you joined very early in the morning or late at night and we really appreciate your commitment.
As a follow-up for those of you who joined; and for those of you who were unable to join; below are some notes from the event to assist you in your future work with the new CMS and the app.
New Welcome Packet
Many of you will remember using a Welcome Packet when you first began developing your app. Over the past few months the GDPC has been working on updating the Welcome Packet to reflect the new CMS and other new features. The Welcome Packet shouldn’t be considered only a document for app development but can also assist you with your app after launch. We encourage you to make use of the new Welcome Packet which is available via the links below:
- The First Aid App Welcome Packet is here: https://preparecenter.org/welcomepacketFA
- The Multi-Hazard App Welcome Packet is here: https://preparecenter.org/welcomepacketHZ
When you experience issues or problems with your app or the CMS, we recommend that you consult your Welcome Packet before contacting the GDPC, as the solution to your problem may be there. If you cannot solve your problem using the Welcome Packet, then make contact with the GDPC.
The GDPC has been working with our vendor, 3 Sided Cube, to develop a new version of the Content Management System (CMS). This new CMS is designed to make editing the app content easier, simpler, and faster. This new look is streamlined and comes with less screen clutter, which makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. The new CMS can be found at the same web location as the previous one: https://gdpc.3sidedcube.com. Your previous log in information is also the same as before.
- A video overview of the new CMS can be found here.
New Media Library
The Media Library in the CMS has been improved. All of the media files (images, icons, animations, videos) that you have previously uploaded will still be here. However, the uploading procedure has changed; with a new drag-and-drop feature, as well as a cropping tool that automatically re-sizes your files and ensures they are the correct type.
- A Media Library guide for First Aid can be found here.
- A Media Library guide for Hazards can be found here.
- A video guide to uploading First Aid images can be found here.
- A video guide to uploading Hazard images can be found here.
Improved Content Editor
The Content Editor has also changed. Improved features include whole page copying, drag-and-drop editing, object swapping, iOS/Android view, and in-object editing. These changes should make editing and updating content easier, more intuitive, and faster.
The Delta Publish tool works much the same way as before, however now it has a new layout. All of the Publish information can now be seen on one page. In three columns you will see unpublished changes, test-only publishes, and live publishes respectively. Clicking on individual changes will show you an audit trail of the change and publish details.
As before; all changes need to be published before they will be visible on your app. We also recommend testing all changes in Developer mode before publishing them to live. The new CMS will only allow you to make one publish per 24 hours, so act and publish accordingly.
- A guide to Publishing can be found here.
- A guide to testing publishes can be found here.
- A video guide to Publishing can be found here.
Push Notifications are one of the most dynamic tools in the app; but are still very underused by most national societies. We strongly encourage you to make use of the Push Notification feature available in the CMS, if you have not done so already.
We do, however, stress the importance of ensuring your Push Notifications are relevant, short, easy-to-understand, and that you have permission to send them.
- A guide to Push Notifications can be found here.
- A video guide to Push Notifications can be found here.
Tips & Hints
In our webinar we introduced some tips that national societies can utilize in order to make their app as relevant, fresh, and dynamic as possible. The app’s content is never final, and we encourage you do continually make changes, add new content and images, and ensure your links and phone numbers are up-to-date. Some key takeaways from this discussion were:
- Keep updating and adding new content. National societies like the Czech Republic and Israel continually update their content and have added their own content to their app. This includes holiday safety information and new tests and badges.
- Use quality images. If your images look bad they may be low resolution or the wrong shape and size. Make an effort to ensure your images always look good. Good looking images make a good looking app, which will reflect well on your national society.
- Try to have as many web links, social media links and phone numbers as possible. This gives your users multiple ways to interact with you. The Hellenic Red Cross in Greece has added a lot of links to their app, improving their relationship with users and their visibility.
- Zika Virus: the GDPC is adding new content on the Zika virus to the CMS. If you are interested in having this content in your app then please contact the GDPC.
- A short presentation on Tips & Hints can be found here.
The GDPC uses Google Analytics to monitor app usage and user behaviour. As a participating national society in the Universal App Program you have access to this tool and are encouraged to explore it. User behaviour and app usage tell us much more about our users than simple download numbers. Knowing your users and what they’re interested in on the app will help you to make the app more useful for them. If you are not aware of Google Analytics for your app, then please contact the GDPC.
The GDPC hosts a website called Prepare Center. Your Welcome Packet is hosted here, as well as other useful information about the app program. However; Prepare Center also contains a lot of useful information about the GDPC’s other work. In addition it is a resource center for practitioners of disaster preparedness and resilience. We encourage you to visit the website and explore the vast library of tools and documents that are available to you.
The website can be found here: preparecenter.org
Q. Can we have more than one language in our apps?
A. Yes. The apps can have multiple languages. These are built into the same app; meaning that your users can switch between languages in one app, and not need to download another one. Examples of this are Switzerland and Singapore, who have their First Aid apps in 5 languages. If you are interested in having another language built into your app; contact the GDPC.
Q. Where can I see download numbers for my app?
A. In the Main Menu of the CMS, scroll down to and click on the NS Console tab. In this page you will see the download numbers for your app(s). You will see total downloads for Android, iOS, and Overall. You will also see the aggregate average rating for your app(s) from the app stores. If you would like more detailed download numbers or have any questions about them, then contact the GDPC.
Q. I can’t add new users to the CMS.
A. You may not have the adequate permission to do so. This depends on your User Role. Only users who are NS Admin may add new users. If you are not an NS Admin but need to be; then contact the GDPC. They can also help you in adding new users.
Q. Can we get the Zika virus content for our app?
A. Yes. If you would like to have the Zika virus content on your app, then contact the GDPC and thy will assist in migrating it to your app in the CMS.
Q. I can’t search for our app in the app store.
A. Your app won’t be searchable in the store until it reaches a certain amount of downloads. This is due to an algorithm used by Apple and Google Play. After your app has reached a certain number, it will be searchable. This is why we give you a sniffer link initially to help your numbers grow. This is something beyond our control.
Q. What is the total download number for all the apps?
A. About the 15th of every month we get a full number of all downloads. If you would like to know this number, please contact the GDPC. We will give you the latest number we have. As of March 2016, the full download number is roughly 1,600,000. Some national societies use this number for marketing and promotional purposes.
Q. What can Google Analytics tell me?
A. Google Analytics can give you much more than just download numbers. Download numbers don’t tell you much about your users and how they interact with the app. Google Analytics can tell you what devices your users have, where they are primarily based (this is helpful for geo-targeted Push Notifications), what pages they most visit, and how long they spend on the app. For more information, we would ask you to consult the Google Analytics guide in your Welcome Packet.
Q. Can I access the CMS on y tablet?
A. We strongly recommend that you only access the CMS on a full computer (MacBook, PC, laptop). We also recommend using the CMS on a Google Chrome web browser. Using the CMS with Chrome on a full computer will give the best performance.
Q. Can we add new alert sources for the Hazard app?
A. Yes. If you would like to incorporate extra alert sources from more agencies, then the GPDC would be happy to have a conversation with you about this. Please get in touch with your focal point at the GDPC about this.
Q. In the app store, our app is listed as owned by 3 Sided Cube. Can we have our national society listed as the owner?
A. Unfortunately not. 3 Sided Cube are the developers who have published the app to the app store. This means that the app must be listed as theirs. This is laid out in the Universal App Program agreement.