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Scoutbook Redesign Plans?

Hello, this is my first post. I am a parent, as well as treasurer and popcorn kernel of our troop.

I am curious if there are any plans for a re-design of the Scoutbook website. The user interface is antiquated and it is difficult to know where to find things. I am a very tech-savvy individual, and every time I login to Scoutbook, I get frustrated. Why is my scout’s name not on the very front page? As a user, I have to guess what to click on, and it takes three clicks before you even find the scout’s profile. I find that I am always unsure where to click and often my first try ends up wrong. Even once I get into his profile, knowing where to find everything else is a challenge, too.

With the world being online now, there are so many ways to make a website simple to navigate – this one really needs help! I will not go on and on complaining here. I am, however, willing to provide detailed feedback if someone who is doing the work is interested. I would also be willing to volunteer to help in some capacity.

I am very happy that so much can be done online with Scoutbook, and I fully support online tools. However, the website is very clunky. I think more parents (and scouts) would engage with the system if it were re-designed.

Thanks!

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@KristiBorowy - perhaps some screenshots and mark ups

These may be helpful:

Hi Stephen,

I’m not sure if I am inserting screenshots correctly, but I will try. I don’t think markups would be very useful because I would have to draw a whole new screen, but here are some thoughts:

The first screen you get when you login to the site (screenshot below, hopefully) is very utilitarian and there is no indication of where to go to get to my scout’s profile. Yes, “My Dashboard” seems like a logical guess since it’s at the top, but as a first time user, I might also think “My.Scouting Home Page” might be the place to look for my scout’s info – or even “Directory”.

After I click on My Dashboard, I am presented with yet another utilitarian screen and have to again make a guess of what to click to find info on my scout. Finally after clicking “Administration”, I am able to see My Family and my scout’s profile. That information should be on the very first page when you login, in a graphically interesting layout.

An example site might be more useful than marking up the existing site. I am not sure of the best one to use, but maybe the Trail’s End dashboard since many here are maybe familiar with that. Visually pleasing menus, the information you need is presented right on the home page so you can tell right away where to click.

I will keep thinking. Thanks for the note.
Kristi

Hi Jacob, yes, those are helpful to actually figure out what to do. However, the basics of navigating the site should not require reading instructions. The user (parent or scout) should be able to login and immediately see something that obviously points them to their scout’s profile information. Once they click into that, it should next be obvious how to enter merit badge progress, camping nights, etc. Those things CAN be found currently, but you truly have to dig for them and/or read an instruction manual. When I go to most websites on the internet today, I do not have to read an instruction manual to figure out how to navigate and find what I need.

@KristiBorowy - one thing I did on the PC browser and phone was make shortcuts to the sections that I used most often. I am familiar with trails end from 2011 to now. I recall that this last iteration of their site was based off of Google suite. We are now camp masters so I lost access to trails end. Different beast as that is a retail environment and the scoutbook data is the national advancement/person darabase.

Thanks. I understand that Trail’s End is not the same kind of system; it just has a pleasing layout like many other websites. I think Scoutbook is great once you get into it and know how to use it, but it is not user-friendly. I am not asking questions about how to actually use it, but rather talking about user-interface improvements that should be made. Just because it is a database, it does not have to LOOK like a database in today’s web environment.

If we want parents to use the system more, it needs to be more user-friendly. People on leadership learn the system, get used to where to go and how to do things, and use it on a regular basis. Parents may only go into the system once in a while and because it’s so non-intuitive, you need to learn all over again where to go. By these posts, I am suggesting that vast improvements could be made on making the website more user-friendly and intuitive.

Putting the scout profile on the front page, tooltips/help text beside the menu options would be some basic places to start that would really help.

@KristiBorowy - I understand what you are saying. Now think through the various users… would my role as committee chair for the pack start out with a scout profile ? That would not work as I have no scout in the pack. I am also committee chair of the troop and crew and there have my son. Likewise for or COR who has no youth in the program what would that landing page be. These are things to consider as well.

Here is the sandbox which has a variety of users login types

https://scoutbookpp.scouting.org/?Redir=%2Fmobile%2FDefault.asp%3FShowPPLogin%3D1

Following on to what Stephen stated. I am COR to three units Pack, Troop for Boys, Troop for Girls. I have NO youth in the program (my son made eagle in the 90’s). In addition I am the Advancement Coordinator for both troops. So what would my landing screen be on initial log on.
Another consideration is a Merit Badge Counselor who may or may not have a youth in the program and be connected to multiple scouts in the MBC role.
Not applicable to this discussion is that I have a current district level role and that will change at the beginning of 2022. (If I remember some of the discussions Scoutbook is
primarily for the unit level.)
I have not looked at the sandbox Stephen linked to.
I can see your point of view from a parent just starting, but Scoutbook is multi purpose software/platform for a lot of different levels of users.
Another consideration is the level of effort (and resources) it would require for the BSA IT staff to make, especially during the current bankruptcy.

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I see what you are getting at as the administration page really has most of what you’d be looking to get to, and it is buried a couple layers deep.

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I think that the tooltips might have the greatest “value for money” in this context. It doesn’t require substantial redesign of the site, tooltips are already implemented in other contexts, and a sufficiently general tooltip could really improve navigation ease for new users. For example, “Click here to reach your profile information, profile information for your scout(s), and to enter advancement information.” could be applied to My Dashboard. “Click here to ask questions and discuss Scouting and Scoutbook.” for Forums.

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@KristiBorowy , thanks for opening up this discussion. I think you make some great points. It’s really important to understand the different types of users, how many there are of each type, and what they are willing to “put up with” to use the app.
My guess is that there are a lot more parents than leaders with access to Scoutbook. Parents are also probably less interested in learning how to navigate the app than leaders - they want to get in, look something up (like an event or their scout’s advancement status) and then move on with their busy lives. Leaders are busy too (believe me, I know) but there are not as many of us, and we tend to be in the system a lot more, so we learn how to use it even if it isn’t ideal.
So if the UI/UX needs to be targeted to one group or another, I’d target it to the parents. Some of the suggestions would actually make things easier for everyone. Of course, the ideal would be an interface that adapts based on role (and user customization) so that each user type gets what they need right up front. But that is a whole 'nother level of app design.

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Kristi,
The plans are that over the next couple of years, Scoutbook functionality will be migrated to the my.Scouting.org user interface (the one you currently see with Internet Advancement, online registration, and the newer tools there.) This will happen slowly, over time, with one SB function at a time. I think the next one to migrate over are the calendar features.

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This is great news. I really like the my.scouting user interface and I am sure that by this interface being consistent across all BSA platforms, it will make it easier for everyone to use them.

You might have misunderstood. It will be migrating over to the IA2 platform. I find this frustrating as I like the setup of scoutbook better. We have also been pushing our leaders to learn scoutbook for the last 2 years and it will be changing and they will have to learn a new system.

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Oh, maybe you are right. I though they meant they were just going to make scoutbook look more like my.scouting. I agree. If they are moving to IA, then this will just make it more confusing than it already is.

I dunno. @WilliamNelson did say “the my.scouting.org user interface”. I’m not much of a fan of the IA2 interface myself, and would much rather something closer to the UI/UX from Scoutbook, than the hidden menu options interface of IA2. If folks find Scoutbook confusing to navigate and use, I can’t imagine what sort of comments would arise from parents trying to use IA2, and a smartphone app isn’t really a good option, as there are many people (including me until just a few years ago) who don’t have smartphones.

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I was referring to this. My.scouting is even worse.

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I’m not sure why you are seeing that secondary landing screen. When I click on dashboard it actually takes me to my dashboard that shows my units and family.

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The BSA has decided the UX used by Internet Advancement and Internet Recharter will be using by Scoutbook in the future. This will not be a quick change however.