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Category Archives: Website Improvements

Custom Fields, Project Reordering & Public PDF Downloads

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.

Rethinking Your Idea of an AEC Website

In the AEC industry, we are not taking orders or closing deals on our websites, so why have one?

Externally

A website in the construction industry can bring value by educating your clients and prospects, much like a brochure or company profile, only it can be ever changing and accessed by everyone, at any time. These days, you must find ways to keep it dynamic. Utilize inexpensive tools like blogs, twitter, and Ascribe for your project profiles to make a dynamic site simple to maintain.

It can be your “storefront” of the 21st century. In the 20th century, the most sought after locations for your storefront, were along high traffic areas. People would pass by and get an impression of your company by looking at the messages on the windows and the cleanliness of the store. Then when those people thought, “I need to expand my factory” your company was on the top of their mind. It’s no different now, only the storefront is a Website, and the traffic is “hits” to your site. You want the right people “walking past” your website on a regular basis. Also, you want to carefully craft and update your message that those passing by are viewing. What’s even better, you can customize the demographics of the visitors to your storefront. Last century, owners paid big dollars for the prime locations to gain access to that traffic, yet today many owners have a location with virtually no traffic and refuse to spend big dollars on getting virtual traffic past their virtual storefront. It’s still the same concept as before, communicating and giving impressions of your company to a large number of the right people. Ascribe, of course, can help significantly with this effort.

Internally

It’s about information and communication. People go to “an office” to give and receive information needed to accomplish their jobs affectively. An office also gives them a sense of belonging and a home base for work. But, in the construction industry, the majority of employees work on a jobsite most of the time.

Include an internal blog. It may sound abstract if you’re unfamiliar with a blog, but it is really nothing more than an online log where anyone can add their thoughts and observations about a particular subject. You can bring a sense of belonging and ownership to all the employees by posting a message from the president there each day. (You could even broadcast that message in a text format to the employees cell phones.) Project managers and others can discuss overall ways to remove obstacles and increase efficiencies. A living, breathing website can be an asset to the employees and owners of an AEC firm. It can give a sense of “home” to a decentralized workforce and possibly solve problems you didn’t know you had.