Best way to optimize binders for Mobile devices

Recently we received a support question from a college professor who wanted to “meet students where they are” and was asking how to best optimize her binders for viewing on mobile devices. We thought this would be a great post to share with you.

Viewing binders with our mobile app vs mobile browser:

Anyone can view a binder without needing to sign up for a LiveBinders account, however, you need an account if you are having your viewers viewing your binder from our App.

So unless you want your viewers to also create binders, we recommend letting them view your binder through the browser on their mobile device instead of using our App. They can then save that link to their device’s home screen to easily return to it when needed. The binder will always update with the latest content every time they click on it from their device. To access your binder from their device, you can email them the link to your binder or host it on your website.

The other option is to create a QR code for your binder  (available in your LiveBinders editor. See  “Content>QR Code” button options), and they can scan it and have it saved in their QR code app. 

FYI – If you are making the binder private, be sure to create a private access key so they can view the binder. 

Hiding tabs for more viewing space:

When viewing a binder on a phone the tabs will always appear to the left – regardless of how you set it – so that there is more viewing space for the content. However, you can create more space by clicking the arrow icon located to the right of the first tab that will give your viewers the option to hide or display the tabs on the left. Be sure to let them know when you share your binder.

Launching content full screen:

Any content that you link or upload to a binder tab can always be viewed outside of the binder – your audience just needs to click on the URL provided at the top of the tab so they can view it full screen. We recommend launching the file full screen for the best viewing experience.

Tab layout recommendations:

You can choose a text layout option that lets you write content next to the resource that you are adding to your binder.  When viewing on a phone device, the appearance will be vertically displayed rather than side by side.

If you choose text/media, the main body text will appear before the media file that you add or upload.

If you select media/text the media file will appear before the text content.

For a better viewing experience on the phone, we recommend adding any text in its own tab and any supporting material that you upload as subtabs so they can be viewed full screen.

Uploading Word Doc or PDFs:

When viewing files in a binder from a laptop we usually recommend clicking on the URL provided at the top of the tab page so that the file opens full screen. iOS and Android will treat each one differently.

iOS – Will give you the option to “view” or “download” a Word or PDF file. We recommend “view” unless they specifically have an App that can run both files.

Android – for either Microsoft or PDFs the file will download and will give the viewer the choice to pick an App to view the file in.

Hopefully these tips are useful for you.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us to help you at support @ livebinders.

Data Threat Dashboards at Your Fingertips

Keeping live data where you can easily find it.

Image with the left half of the screen having a royal blue background with white font that reads: Data Threat Dashboard: Using Binders as a Portal. In grey text it reads LiveBinders Organize Success Podcast. On the right have of the image at the top right it has text that reads Special Guest below that an picture of a man with parted grey hair and glasses. Underneath the picture is the text John Dahlgren Butte College CAD Instructor. Underneath that text is a picture of a binder with a cover image of a purple pixelated lock. The text underneath that reads Data Threat Dashboard Information

In the very early days of COVID, I had initially been following stories through NHK-TV on my television. Once it became clear that COVID was spreading rapidly, I didn’t know where to get trusted information about how the virus was spreading. Then, I discovered a binder created by John Dahlgren, an instructor at Buttle College and an avid user of LiveBinders. John had put COVID resources into a public binder called COVID-19 Dashboard Information that included the John’s Hopkins live data feed dashboard. It was the first binder I opened every day for 6 months watching the numbers grow by the 1000s. It became so useful for me that I added the website dashboard to one of my own go-to binders so that I could have one binder opened with all of my applications in one place.

I also loved being able to manage all of my applications from a central location – kind of like a gateway portal to my web applications, like Google, Slack, Canvas, etc. This way I didn’t have to keep all my browser tabs open all the time, taxing my computer. The online binder acts as an easy and affordable way to quickly create a dashboard for accessing my go-to applications everyday.

Since that time John has created another useful dashboard binder called the Data Threat Dashboard Information that I also became interested in using. It is on cyber security data threats across the globe. When Ukraine was attacked by Russia in February 2022, I was curious to see if any data threat activity had increased and where it was directed. In this binder, I could get a quick summary just by viewing the dynamic visual effects. I found it so fascinating that I invited John to join me in a podcast to explain what each of the dashboards are telling us, and I am excited to share this information with you.

Please listen to our podcast or view the episode on our Youtube channel. Transcripts, podcast and YouTube URLs are available in our Podcast binder. And feel free to open his Data Thread Dashboard binder to follow along.

Best File Format for Viewing Files in a Binder.

A frequent support question we’ve been getting these last couple of weeks has to do with why some uploaded files do not display in a binder.  We thought it might be a useful post to share with other users who might be uploading documents to their binders for the first time.

Usually, the file type that they are asking about are Microsoft office files like Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Although you can upload any file type into your binder, the ones that are browser friendly will be viewable from inside your binder tab.  When they don’t, it is usually because the file type still requires the desktop application to run that file.

So for example, if you are uploading Word documents, those file types require Microsoft Word to open the file. In those cases, your viewers need to download the file, and then open it in the Word application.  

When you upload a desktop dependent file type like Word into your binder, we create a thumbnail with instructions to your viewer to click on the hyperlink under the thumbnail to trigger the file to download. This is similar to what they would do in a typical web page. The thumbnail looks like a Word icon as shown in the example above.

Use PDF files for a better reading experience:

To make your document viewable in the binder, you can export those Microsoft files as PDFs. They display in the binder tab because Adobe made it easier for browsers to open their file for you. Below is an example of a PDF that is viewable from inside a binder tab.

Learn how to export to a PDF:

If you would like to learn how to export your Microsoft documents, Microsoft provides an easy way to export to a PDF. 

While you are in your Microsoft file, go to the File Menu in your document and choose “Export” towards the bottom of the side-menu screen. A new window will open and you can click on “Create PDF.”

We provide screenshots and instructions of how to export to PDF in our Help Guide Binder.

If you love using 3-ring binders in your workspace and would like to use something similar to organize your online, digital content, feel free to try a free binder at livebinders.com.

New Update: Email Verification and a Note to Teachers with Student Accounts

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

When you sign up for a new LiveBinders account, you will need to verify your email address before you can create the account. This is a standard security practice for most online applications.

This does not impact our paid subscribers or our existing free users except when they change their email from their My Profile page. When the email address is changed, a verification email is automatically sent to the new address.

NOTE: For teachers who have students creating accounts under their email address, it is recommended that teachers verify their email before the students sign up.

How to verify your email.

Screenshot of the My Profile page highlighting the Confirm Email section.
Screenshot of your My Profile page highlighting the Confirm Email section

First, please check your My Profile page to confirm that the address is accurate.

If your email is correct, go to the section in your account that says “Confirm Email” and click on the “Send Email” button to send the verification email to that address. Once you receive the verification email, open it and click on the button marked “Confirm email.”

If you need to change your email address, add your new email to the address field, then hit the ‘save’ button. An email will automatically be sent to that new address. Once you receive the verification email, open it and click on the button marked “Confirm email.”

screenshot of the email that is sent to verify your email address with a button after LiveBinders Support, at the bottom center of the page that says "Confirm Email".
Example email with the Confirm Email button at the bottom of the page

As always, if you have any issues with verifying your email, please contact us at support @ livebinders.com.

What is a Virtual Binder?

Going from 3-ring binders to virtual binders

Are you looking for a digital solution that will mirror your experience with paper and 3-ring binders? Searching online can return a variety of terms: Is it a virtual or digital binder you need? Do any of those terms describe a binder that can exist in the cloud such as an online binder?

A virtual binder is a paperless version of a binder.  And like the term “digital binder,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the binder is online. It may just exist on your desktop computer and not be cloud-based.

But for many people looking for cloud-based solutions, a virtual or digital binder has to be easily updated and accessed in real time by others. With remote learning and remote work environments, “virtual” generally implies online as in “virtual office,” “virtual library,” and “virtual meetings.” These terms all describe a place that exists online to mimic the effects of a physical location. A virtual binder, then, can be a place you organize other online resources, similar to the way you’d organize paper in a physical binder.

If the solution you are looking for needs to be cloud-based, then the LiveBinders’ virtual, online binder platform might offer you the right solution for your sharing needs.

Virtual binders for your virtual library

For over 10 years, LiveBinders has been the virtual place for teachers to organize class exercises and reference materials; where administrators organize staff handbooks and board meeting notes; and where small businesses organize product catalogues, onboarding manuals, and training material. What makes our online binders their first choice is the intuitive navigation and the flexible framework for packaging media and links in the context of a physical 3-ring binder – but with so much more to offer because it is online.

Check out our Virtual binder page to learn more about how to get started.

UNLIKELY HEROES DEFINE SUCCESS

Role models inspire us in a positive way. Children’s first role models are their parents and caretakers, and as they grow, they look to others to inspire them.  We look to those who have overcome social, economic, cultural, or physical challenges to reach goals they’ve set out for themselves.

In our LiveBinders podcast, Success in the Deaf and Blind Communities, Chris Tabb, Mobility Specialist at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, talked about finding inspirational people who have overcome hardships in his online binder: Role Models: Blind and Deafblind. He created the binder to provide blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind students, and their parents, information about people with similar disabilities — many of whom have gone on to achieve great success in their careers all while living independent lives. What is revealing about this insight is that these role models are inspirational for all of us.

I love what Susie Tiggs, Texas Statewide Lead for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services said about their students:  “And so, you know, deaf doesn’t mean can’t, blind doesn’t mean can’t. Deafblind doesn’t mean can’t. It’s different.”

Follow the link below to learn more about these amazing role models..

https://www.livebinders.com/b/2697227

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Veteran Curators’ Secret Weapon to Saving Internet Resources

Student created Time Machine in 2001
Classroom built time machine

Calling the WayBack Machine! Did you know that the World Wide Web will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its first publicly available website on August 6? Since that historic day in 1991, the number of users, devices, websites, and online content has been increasing daily and is not likely to stop growing any time soon. However, not everything stays alive on the Internet.  For every piece of new information added, older content will go missing whether it’s a website going down – such as an individual blog – or a publisher archiving a newspaper article.

As a curator of web content, how often do you find that a valuable resource link just disappears? What can you do to safeguard the integrity of an original source of information?

Enter the Internet Archive, a digital public library that provides free access to books, web pages, audio recordings, videos, images, and software. Through it’s Wayback Machine, you can enter a URL and look for a previous version of a website or webpage, possibly already archived. 

Users of the Wayback Machine can even ask to index a page for the archive! Wayback addins, extensions, and apps for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Android and iOS assist with the process. For our LiveBinders members, the Wayback Machine offers you the ability to archive valuable resources making your binder content more relevant to your viewers.

Here is an example of how I share a newspaper article archived by the Wayback Machine in my 20th Century Decades Resources LiveBinder

Great Chicago Snow of 1967 image from the Wayback Machine index that appears in my LiveBinder.

Success with Telehealth and Online Binders

Esther Benons and Dana Yousef – our latest guests on the Organize Success Podcast. Click to listen.

In our latest Organize Success podcast, Linda Houle and I welcome LiveBinders’ curators Dana Yousef and Esther Benons from an innovative healthcare company called MEDZED.  

MEDZED works with high-need patients within the comfort of their own homes.  Dana and Esther talk about MEDZED’s innovative approach to in-person and virtual care. They also share the clever way they use LiveBinders to keep both their nursing staff and their patients connected and informed through their online binders.

I love their cutting edge approach to health care and think that you will find that aspect of their practice very inspiring!  Also, for those of you who are in the midst of trying to manage resources and empower your colleagues and trainees, I think you will find their creative approach to integrating LiveBinders with Microsoft Teams very insightful.

Please click on this link to access podcast and referenced resources including the podcast transcript.

Adding Online Binders to Microsoft Teams is Easy

In an upcoming podcast we talk with a LiveBinders customer who has added both binders and LiveBinders shelves to the menu on their Microsoft Teams dashboard. They use LiveBinders to organize handouts, training material and company resources in a group of binders that are much easier to access than by searching through a shared file folder. Online binders are now fully integrated into your Microsoft Teams App! Imagine sharing staff binders, sales binders, and product binders from an easy to find location eliminating the need for resending URLs or printing out pages of a paper-based binder.

Steps to add your binder or shelf URL to Microsoft Teams Dashboard

  1. Copy the URL for your binder or binder shelf
  2. Open your Microsoft Teams App
  3. Go to the Dashboard and find your team
  4. Click on the + sign at the top Navigation Bar
  5. Choose Website URL as the option to embed media
  6. Paste your binder or shelf URL in the URL box
  7. The name of the binder or shelf will appear across the top, but you can shorten it if needed from the Teams dashboard
  8. Click on the link to launch your binder or shelf

You can find screenshots in our Help Guide binder. If you would like to learn more about how to share resources across your team, let us know on our new Contact page and select Request a Demo.

Online Binders Help S.A.L.T Consultants Deliver Value to Parents

In our recently released Success podcast Patti Shrom and her collaborator Michelle Cadle from S.A.L.T Resource Solutions talk about the process of delivering an overwhelming amount of curated information that parents rely on to help them transition their teen with special needs to life after high school graduation.

What they needed was a tool that could manage and display a variety of online content like web pages, storage drive folder links, video URLs and PDF files all in one easy to navigate format, but without the burden of having to create a custom website to organize it all. They also didn’t want to just display links down a page that would burden their parents to scroll through hundreds of URLs in order to find what they need, and without much context to guide them.

LiveBinders’ platform uses a pre-formated, tabular hierarchy that can display a variety of content within a contained environment we call a binder. With just one URL, Patti and Michelle can provide their parents with a single point of access to all of their curated content. They use the first level of tabs to label main category headings that guide parents to the resources they are looking for. It also gives them the ability to quickly add content to each tab, making it immediately accessible and ready to be shared. To the parents, the binder becomes an intuitively simple way to find their resources in one location. Its navigation stays consistently the same no matter how much content is added; something their parents rely on when they return to the binder over and over again.

In this 3 minute video clip below, Patti and Michelle share their S.A.L.T binder and how they deliver all of their workshop, speaker, and government resources using LiveBinders.

The podcast resources, transcript and full podcast recording and video are available in our podcast binder at this link.

If your organization is looking for a solution to your document sharing challenges, contact us for a demo on our contact page.

Digital Binders And S.A.L.T Resource Solutions, LLC

“I don’t know how to explain it, but we as a parent, you’re like, well, maybe they’ll outgrow this or maybe something will change or this or that. You know, there’s like so many what-ifs and you kind of put things off until you realize it. When it’s not happening, you have to step in and do something. And that’s when you get the panic calls.”

Patti Shrom is the founder of S.A.L.T Resources Solutions. S.A.L.T stands for Student to Adult Life Transition, and in this clip from our Success podcast she highlights the overwhelming feeling parents get when they start to realize how lost they can be as they try to navigate all the forms and processes that are required to transition their teen with disabilities to the adult support system.

Andrea Harker, the School to Work Employment Specialist with the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities, joins Patti to share the types of services S.A.L.T can provide and how starting as early as freshman year can make the transition manageable and successful for both parents and teens.

You’ll also learn how LiveBinders plays an important part in how Patti and her collaborator Michelle Cadle organize all the up-to-date county resources, S.A.L.T speaker handouts and a variety of documentation so that parents can easily access them from one central digital binder.

Please click here to listen to this Podcast episode and access referenced resources including the podcast transcript.

Digital Binders Enabled Teachers to Stay Organized During Lockdown

There is something to be said about knowing your audience, but what about when your audience knows you?  Susie Tiggs could be called a LiveBinders’ Pro. When lock down started on March 13, 2020, Susie woke up the next morning and quickly put together a digital binder for her deaf and hard of hearing community, adding as many resources as she could gather for remote learning during COVID.  Her community instinctively knew she’d have something put together in a LiveBinder and were already Googling her name the next day.  In record time, her digital binder, Virtual Activities for Teachers and Families COVID-19, garnered thousands of views and at the time of the podcast was already at 40K.  LiveBinders quickly solved an issue for Susie and her teachers before it could even become a problem.  By already being familiar with her online binders, they could #pivot from in classroom to remote. Hear Susie’s fascinating turnaround story and how COVID has impacted the deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired in this short video clip from our podcast Success with the Texas Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Blind and Visually Impaired Student‪s‬.

Embedding Buncee files into your Digital Binder

We recently released a tutorial video and added it to our Help Guide Binder. The video shows you how to add your Buncee files to your digital binder. What’s great about adding media like Buncee to your digital binder is that you are providing another way to engage a select group of stakeholders in your audience who might respond more easily to visual mapping with sound and pictures better than with just text. That doesn’t mean you should ignore those other stakeholders who like to easily find what they need by reading the file name in your binder tab or in a list like a Google folder. Just include those option in your binder, too.

What is nice about adding both a Buncee link and a Google folder link to your digital binder or even just adding your content directly to a binder tab, is that you provide a complete package that gives your diverse audience choices that appeal to them. Using UDL (Universal Design for Learning) principles like these offers your content in more than one format to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners.

Using Digital Binders with the Texas Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Blind and Visually Impaired Students

One way to describe Susie Tiggs commitment and dedication to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) community can be realized by her LiveBinders stats. Since she started with LiveBinders, Susie has created some 300 binders, curating over 9 thousand resources in these binders, and garnering hundreds of thousands of views.  She is the Texas Statewide Lead for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, and two of her binders caught our attention: Children’s Stories in Sign Language and her recently created Virtual Activities for Teachers and Families COVID-19 binders.

We reached out to Susie to learn how our digital binders helped her team not only during the pandemic, but throughout a normal school year.  With her invited guest, Chris Tabb from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, we discovered:

  • How Susie could quickly respond to the COVID-19 lock-down by app smashing resources to her binder such as Google folders, QR codes, Wakelets, YouTube videos and more.
  • That components of the DHH and BVI (blind and visually impaired) education are important contributions to the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) program.  
  • How DHH and BVI role models inspire all of us.
  • That “fairy godmother syndrome” is not like a “helicopter parent.”
  • Accessibility is an important reason they use LiveBinders.

Join Linda Houle and I, along with our sound engineer Andrew Lapp, for an informative and uplifting podcast with two educators excited to share their program with you and their love of LiveBinders.

Click here to listen to the podcast on iTunes.
Click here to view the LiveBinders Podcast Binder with links to the podcast, binders and resources mentioned in the interview.