Ascribe

We just released three new features to help you manage your project experience on Ascribe.

Custom Project Fields

If the default project fields, such as “Size” and “Delivery Method” are not enough, you can now create fields for any data that you would like to show on your projects.

To set up Custom Project Fields, go to your Settings, click Custom Project Fields, then add the title of the field, e.g. “Number of Rooms” or “Our Budget”. You can choose to have these fields displayed on your online showcase and/or your PDF sheets.

Once you’ve created Custom Project Fields, they will be available on any project to add data. Special note: If you are using custom templates for your online portfolio or PDFs, you will need to add a snippet of code to your templates. Reference this page to copy the code you will need or call our office @ 616.742.2810 for technical help.

Publicly Downloadable PDFs

How great would it be if all you had to do is add a link to your portfolio and suddenly all of your projects allowed people browsing your portfolio to download a PDF of any project. Done!

From the “Sheets” tab, choose which template you want to be used to generate the PDF, and click “Save”.  Then, make sure you have selected photos for PDF use in the Photos area.  If you are using Default Templates that is all you need to do.  If you are using custom templates for you portfolio, as most Ascribe users are, you will need to add this link code to your online templates in the “Project” template (you can call our office for help 616.724.2810). Here is the link code:  <a href=’/{{ company.permalink }}/sheet/pdf?user_project_ids={{ project.id }}’>“Download PDF”</a>

Drag-Drop Project Reordering

The third new feature is Drag-Drop Project Reordering. It’s simple enough to use. Previously the order of your projects was driven by the most recent one saved. Now, to customize the order of your projects, from your dashboard, click the Projects tab. To reorder any particular group, click the group name. You will see a link a the top named “Reorder Projects”. Click this link, then drag and drop the projects into your desired order. Finally, click “Complete Reordering” to finish and return to normal mode. Your projects will now display in their new order.

New PDF Generation tool called “Sheets”

Doing a Proposal?  Let Sheets help!  Sheets allows you to dynamically generate and download PDF documents for your projects.  Simply add one or more projects to your PDF queue, select a PDF Template from your collection and click “Download PDF”.

To manage photos for your PDFs, go in to the “Photos” area for that project and drag your photos into the “PDF” tab inside the “Photo Usage” area. To sort, drag each photo left or right until you have your desired order. Your PDFs will use the full resolution photo that you originally uploaded to insure the best quality for printing. (Disclaimer: If you upload a low resolution image, the printing quality will only be as good as that image)

One great thing about Sheets is once you get your PDF templates set the way you want them, swapping out projects and creating new PDFs is a snap! And, since you can access Ascribe from anywhere, you can empower the whole team to generate project sheets how and when they need them.

Customizing your PDF Templates: There are three default templates already set up for you, but you can customize them to look and behave anyway you like. PDF Templates are customized the same way Online Templates are, so anyone who can write HTML can customize your layouts. Don’t have anyone in house that writes HTML? Just contact us directly at 616.726.2490 and our staff can customize a set of templates per your specifications.

You can create as many PDF templates as you would like. For example, you could create a “Medical Offices” template and write an introduction paragraph about your medical office experience that appears at the top of the PDF.

When you are done customizing a template, upload a screenshot image of the layout into the template to help you keep your layouts well organized.

Feedback to make it better: We’ve put a lot of thought and effort into creating Sheets, but we also need your feedback to make it better.  We’ve added a Feedback form within the Sheets area so you can let us know how things are working and if there are additional features you would like to see added. Let us know. We are listening.

Photo area redesigned with new features

New Drag and Drop interface: Now, instead of check-marking the photos you want to use, you just drag them into the “Photo Usage” area.

Photo Sorting: Once your photos are in the Photo Usage area, drag them left or right to place them in the order you would like. The order you place them in is the order that will appear in your Online showcase and PDFs.

Photo Downloads: You now have the ability to download your full resolution images whenever you need them. Simply checkmark the photos you want to download and click “Download”. Multiple photos can be downloaded at once.

Edit Photo Rights and Captions on multiple photos: Select (checkmark) one or more photos, then edit the photo captions and photo sharing rights. Your changes will be applied to all the photos you selected.

Using different photos for your Online Showcase and your PDFs: Since you may not want to use the same photos for both your Online Showcase and your PDFs, you now have separate tabs for each within the Photo Usage area.

New Photo Details: Move your mouse over the “i” below a thumbnail and you’ll see larger version of the image with additional information.

General application design upgrades

Once you login you will see some differences. No more tabs, new design.

New “?” help bubbles to offer help tips when you need them.

New “Public View” button inside of Project Groups to take you to the public URL of that group segment.

New geocoding for project addresses to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and further extend the ability to showcase your projects through custom Maps.

If your company is working on projects in the Alternative Energy field, Ascribe now has related project types to better describe and capture this area of expertise.  Whether the project consists of Wind Energy, Solar Collection, Biomass or Geothermal Energy technology, we’ve got you covered.  If we’ve miss something, just let us know.  Our goal is to help our Ascribe users promote all of their project experience, including those practicing in the Alternative Energy arena.

Stay tuned as we are working to partner with Alternative Energy groups and associations to create new venues to showcase your expertise and experience in this growing industry.

Many of you may have noticed a speedier Ascribe in recent days.  We’ve spent some time this week and last upgrading our servers and adding some speed.  These improvements are not only meant to make Ascribe faster, but are also needed to support upcoming features that will require more processing power.

In case you didn’t see it, check out our email newsletter for September.  Its full of useful information about new features and new project showcases.

Ascribe Updates:

The Ascribe team has been busy this summer working on several new features that are now available to our customers!  These newly added features include:

New Photo Captions:

Captions can now be added to photos to help emphasize your work or the products being used.  Captions can also be linked to a product manufacturer’s website, photographer’s website, spec sheet or any other location on the web that will help sell your services, products or industry expertise.

New Search Engine Optimization:

Add custom titles and keywords to your project pages to help them be found by major Search Engines!  Our goal is to help you gain exposure on the web through the projects you’ve worked on and drive traffic back to your website.

New Project Subtitles:

Subtitles can now be added to project titles.  These can be used to help identify specific sub projects when multiple projects have been completed at a common project location and that share the same primary name.

Examples:

Project Title: Building ABC - Subtitle: Phase II

Project Title: Building XYZ - Subtitle: East Wing Renovation

These features are now available to all users.  If you are using Ascribe’s default templates, the updates are automatic.  If you are using Ascribe with a customized integration, several modifications will need to be made to your current integration so that you are able to take advantage of these new features.  The average time is 1-3 hours to make these modifications depending on the complexity of the original integration.

For questions regarding these new features or to discuss getting your current integration updated, contact:

Craig Nelson (craig@ascribehq.com) at 6160726-2490 or Lisa Kavanagh (lisa@ascribehq.com) at 616-240-8691.

Special Note:

If your company is looking to upgrade their website or build a new website in the near future, be sure to check with Craig to see how we can be of assistance.  Take advantage of our expertise with Ascribe and developing websites for the A/E/C industry.

New Default Templates

Check out the new Ascribe Default Templates just released.  Users can now showcase their projects in a sleek web 2.0 layout with a customizable color scheme.  (Click on the “Templates” tab from within your Ascribe account to select your template colors.)

The introduction page displays your company’s name, logo, and a brief description about what you do, as well as shows your last (4) projects added to your portfolio.

The menu bar across the top makes for easy navigation, giving viewers of your portfolio the ability to search “All Projects” or by a specific “Project Group” that you create from within your account.

Your company’s contact information is now displayed in a “Popup Window” which includes your address, phone and fax number, as well as clickable links to your website and email.

Note:  Default templates used by free or lite accounts are ad supported.

Need A Website?

For those companies that don’t already have a website, using the Ascribe Default Template as your company’s “place” on the web is a great solution.  The Default Template functions as a website’s “Home Page” displaying all the necessary information about your company as well as your project portfolio.

New Benefits Added to Free & Lite Accounts

We’ve also upgraded our Free and Lite accounts! Users can now display up to 20 projects in their Ascribe portfolio, and have a total of 5 connections (links) to their projects being displayed on other company and group project showcases.

If you need assistance with your account, or would like to know how you can become an Ascribe User, call 616.726.2490.  One of our Account Managers would be happy to assist you.

Time is a major resouce that we all find ourselves short on these days.  Our “to do” lists keep getting longer as we find ourselves with less time available to complete these tasks.

For instance, have you been wanting to get your project information and photographs together so that you can build a portfolio for your website, but you never can find the time to do so?  Or maybe you already have a portfolio but it hasn’t been updated in years and you now have a long list of projects that need to be added, but there’s no one available to take on the task.  Are you looking for ways that save you time?

Ascribe can help!

Are you currently using Ascribe to manage your project portfolio?  Have you considered having an Ascribe account but never signed up because you felt you just didn’t have the time it would take to add your projects and build your portfolio.  Or maybe you have an account but have never found the time to get all your projects uploaded. No matter what the case may be, time is no longer a reason not to have an Ascribe account.

Introducing the new “Project Import” feature!

Did you know that you can now have your project information and photos “imported” into your Ascribe account saving you the time of doing it yourself?  This new feature allows you to have your portfolio automatically built with little work on your end.  We’ll help you get your project information organized in the required format, and then let Ascribe do all the rest.

Whether you are a current user or are considering becoming one, it’s time to check off  ”Building your Project Portfolio” from your “to do” list.  Contact us today at 616.726.2490 and find out how ASCRIBE can save you time.

Blogging has been around for some time now.  It was used by individuals and companies as a way to communicate and share information on the web, and became somewhat popular, even before being recognized as part of the “Social Media” craze.

Blogs can be an important resource for finding information and current news in any industry, including the AEC industry.  For example, there are blogs out there that report upcoming building projects, discuss new techniques in the installation of building equipment, review rules and regulations for specific project types, as well as blogs that forecast the economics of the industry.  Whatever your interest is, you’re sure to find someone out there blogging about it.

Keep in mind not every blog you find on the web is going to grab your attention.  The important thing is to find two or three sites that consistently post relevant and interesting content that you can use.   Become active in these sites by participating in the discussion area.  It’s a great place to offer your expert advice, or maybe find a solution to a problem that your company is currently dealing with.  Most importantly, it gets you networking with others in your industry.

Whether you are looking for information on a certain topic, or a place to exchange ideas, blogging sites are a great reference and should not be overlooked.

Here’s a short list of some of the AEC Blog sites that we found interesting:

Cofebuz.com  http://www.cofebuz.com

Contractortalk.com http://contractortalk.com

Design and Construction Network  http://mydcn.com

Tar Paper Crane  http://www.tarpapercrane.com

Construction Marketing Ideas http://www.constructionmarketingideas.com/

The Konstructr Network http://go.konstructr.com/profiles/blog/list