At the upcoming Global Exchange conference, TimeBanks USA will debut its most recent upgrade to Community Weaver, our online TimeBanking software.
A key feature of Community Weaver 3.0 is the way that it easily works on smart phones and iPads. State-of-the-art programming means that the software will automatically adjust to fit any size screen for computers, notebooks and phones.
With the software upgrade has been designed for easy scrolling, and quick responsiveness, Connecting to other TimeBank members, finding and sharing information, and registering exchanges will all be easier and quicker.
A Special Moment
Ten years ago, Community Weaver, the internet-based TimeBanking software offered by TimeBanks USA was born.
A decade later, the newest upgrade, with a new look, new feel, and new features, will debut at the upcoming Global Exchange conference. The alpha version of Community Weaver 3.0 will be demonstrated by TimeBank tech-coordinator Eric Bachman and TimeBank coordinator Abby Greer.
Like the very first Community Weaver, the latest upgrade version has called on intensive input from an advisory group of TimeBank coordinators and leaders. Since mid-February, the group has met weekly to confer on what the upgrade’s features should offer to best serve TimeBank coordinators and members.
In the weeks after the conference, through the month of August, a group of TimeBank volunteers will be trained to try out every feature of the upgrade. Their systematic feedback will be organized and passed to the developer, who will use that information to fix any bugs and useability issues they find. When that is complete, Community Weaver 3.0 will be released as a beta version.
The release of Community Weaver 3.0
To ensure a smooth roll-out for Community Weaver 3.0 when the beta version is ready, we are drawing on lessons from the past. The roll-out of Community Weaver 2.0 caused TimeBanks many problems. Learning from that experience we will be providing each TimeBank with its own, unique trial version of Community Weaver 3.0 so they can become fully familiar with the upgrade before making the transfer in their own time.
In addition, TimeBank coordinators and members will be invited to learn about all the special aspects of Community Weaver 3.0 by attending online webinar demonstrations.
Around the country (and the world) TimeBank coordinators and members can try out Community Weaver 3.0 and its new features for themselves at their own pace, using data drawn from their own TimeBank. The try-out will not affect ongoing exchanges in Community Weaver 2. Safely using a trial version, they will be able to experience the new software for as long and as often as they please.
When they feel comfortable, ready and prepared, TimeBank primary coordinators will click on a command that instructs Community Weaver to transfer the data permanently from Community Weaver 2 to Community Weaver 3.0. The time for that to happen will be completely under the control of TimeBank coordinators.
Community Weaver 3 incorporates the functionality of Community Weaver 2 and adds new features that include:
- Integrated Directory of TimeBanker talents and skills
- Context-sensitive and hover-tip help
- Visible real-time statistics for membership, exchanges, hours exchanged
- Improved and streamlined email and internal messaging
- Quick-view on-screen reporting and TimeBank statistics
- Multiple languages capability (English and Spanish to start)
- Membership status checklist for new members ( such as completing their profile, reference checks, payment of membership fees, activation of account, etc. — each timebank defines its own steps).
- Coordinator control over site colors
- Multiple filters to allow focusing on subsets of members, eg for targeted emails
- Date and time formats to fit with country and easy to customize
- A Community Weaver wiki that will be a manual / handbook / user instructions for the new software, open to all coordinators.
And more …
Built to Evolve
Community Weaver 3.0 has been developed with extensive, careful input from our advisory coordinators, and with ongoing in-depth weekly consultation with the developer. Its design is future-upgrade friendly. This new version has been designed to evolve and to meet TimeBankers’ needs as they change and grow over time.
One of the challenges of Community Weaver 2 was that changes and fixes required extensive and often challenging programming, so that improvements and fixes were extremely slow and costly. The core of Community Weaver 3.0 is designed to incorporate upgrades quickly and efficiently.
New features are already planned or in the works. After the full release of Community Weaver 3.0, we will be incorporating these additional new features which have been requested by the advisory group of TimeBank coordinators — and specified in detail – for versions 3.1 and 3.2:
- Community TimeBanks – clustered or regional TimeBanks all sharing one version of Community weaver. (Already partially implemented in CW 3.0)
- Interest Groups – Groups of individual TimeBank members who want to communicate better with each other about a specific interest can join an interest group within the TimeBank.
- Projects and/or Partners – Multiple requests/offers assigned within a single TimeBank project or TimeBank partner to allow for better planning, tracking progress, and so on.
- Integration with Social Media – enabling those members who belong to Facebook etc to access details of offers and requests posted on Community Weaver through their social media.