The SparkPeople Blog

Check Out Our New SparkTeam Features!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/29/2014 3:00 PM   :  199 comments   :  8,692 Views

See More: announcements,
Update: 5/1/14 at 3:45 p.m.
We appreciate your feedback. Today we added back links to recent blogs posted by Team members since so many of you commented about regularly using that feature. Enjoy!

Update: 4/30/14 at 10:10 a.m.
Good morning! We are happy to announce that the new SparkTeam features we allued to yesterday (see below) are now live for you to use. Read the original blog post to learn more about these updates. Thanks!

Original Post:
Good afternoon!
 
Everyone at SparkPeople has been working hard to improve the website (and mobile apps) these past few weeks to enhance our members' experience. Today we wanted to give you a heads up about some changes coming tomorrow (April 30, 2014) to SparkTeams.
 
SparkTeams are one of our most popular Community features because they allow members to meet and interact with others who have similar goals, interests, geographic locations, lifestyles and more. These new changes will make SparkTeams easier to use based on input from members and Team leaders, plus data on which Team features are used the most and the least. It also comes with a visual redesign to clean up and simplify Team pages.  
 
NEW Team Wall feature:  At the top of your SparkTeam pages you'll see a new feature we call the Team Wall (see image below). This section shows the 200 most recent updates, member-uploaded photos, announcements and "check ins" from members.  Anyone on the Team can see, reply to or "like" posts made to the Team Wall, and your Team leaders can make "sticky" announcements that stay at the top of the wall for 48 hours. Note that this feature is intended for light updates and will replace the Team Huddle feature. (Members could previously earn 5 SparkPoints for "huddling" in Teams. This feature will be gone, but you don't have any fewer Points opportunities! Beginning tomorrow, you can earn 3 Points for each post you make to a Team Wall, Message Board or Team Board for a max of 21 points per day—6 Points higher than before, so you can earn just as many Points as when the Huddle feature existed.)

 
Team Message Boards:  You'll still find these (and all of your former discussions) below the Team Wall feature. They work the same as before but will have a cleaner design and layout. You can continue to use the Message Boards on a Team page for ongoing and more involved discussions with other members.  
 
Find Active Team Members: There is a new ability to sort the list of all Team members to find those who have visited the Team page within the last 30 days—so you know if a member is active in the Team or not.

More Features for Team Leaders: Leaders of SparkTeams have always had a few extra capabilities to help run their Teams more effectively. We have also included some new, must-requested features for Team Leaders, such as the ability to easily give Goodies to one or more members of your Team! This is a great way to reward and engage with your members! Leaders can check out this tutorial video we posted to YouTube to learn how to use these new features. 
 

All of the other most-used SparkTeam features are still accessible, just like before.
 
We think these updates will make your SparkTeams even more fun and engaging than before. If you haven't joined or visited any SparkTeams lately, we hope this will Spark you to re-engage with the helpful and suppportive Community that exists at SparkPeople. Click here to see all Teams you belong to and to check out the new SparkTeams features for yourself tomorrow!

Please post any questions or comments below or on the Message Boards.


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

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Comments

  • IAMGOJO
    199
    IAMGOJO I have not received anything from you except notice of awards won in the last couple of months or so. I access your site through those awards. I miss having something from you in my mailbox! Am I too old (80)? Have I said something I shouldn't? Does my sense of humour offend you? You may ask what sense of humour! Please help this octogenarian wrinkly and send me some emails! - 7/29/2014   3:29:43 AM
  • 198
    Please bring back the old format - I haven't the time to use the new one and the ads are just overpowering! - 5/11/2014   2:18:42 PM
  • LUANN_IN_PA
    197
    Thanks for all that you guys do to make this FREE site the best on the web! - 5/10/2014   3:34:44 PM
  • 196
    SP, Please Restore the Old Interactive Features on Our Team Pages
    View TINAJANE76's Sparkpage
    ==========================
    I certainly agree with her. I've been here going on seven years, and my belief is "IF IT ISN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT." - 5/9/2014   1:17:52 PM
  • 195
    I had to eliminate a demonstration of SparkPeople.com from my conference presentation yesterday. Although the Wall is fine, the design and reduced functionality and readability of the new team pages would have caused my tech savvy, health conscious audience to cringe. This is sad because SP is such a valuable resource.
    While Iím grateful for the return of blog access, the new link is not as visible, informative or efficient as the old one was. Itís lost among the general clutter of tiny icons on the right hand side of the page. A list there would do just fine Ė provide access and save space in the process.
    - 5/7/2014   7:03:08 AM
  • 194
    I wish the blogs opened in a separate tab like they used to. Links still do, but the blogs no longer do. - 5/6/2014   8:36:05 AM
  • 193
    I quizzed my team about what they thought of the changes to the Spark team pages.

    Most were ok with the discussion pages but a lot of members missed the Huddle. They said they did not get to all of their teams without the Huddle and that resulted in reading less of the member's blog when not getting there.
    - 5/6/2014   12:23:19 AM
  • 192
    I agree that the "stark white" of the pages is very difficult to read. Put a frame or alternate white with a light blue or something. It is very hard on the eyes, and for those who are visually stimulated - very frustrating. Please add more NON-AD color to the pages.

    Why do you keep making the ads more intrusive? It is now annoying to think you click on a something only to have an ad pop-up! The mobile site is even WORSE! Last week I tried to enter food on my iphone only to have an ad appear in the MIDDLE of the tracker. I gave up!

    I'd also like to see the number of comments on each blog on the teams as we previously were able to see before. - 5/3/2014   11:59:37 PM
  • 191
    Having the page all white really makes all the posts run together. Wish there was a bold line, any color, separating each post. That would make reading the posts much quicker and really more enjoyable. - 5/3/2014   2:38:17 PM
  • 190
    Please bring back the old features, miss getting feedback from friends. I also HATE the pop up ads, I spent more time repeating things, because I hit the ads instead of the key I want. The blog I wrote yesterday I had to write 4 times and about gave up before I hit the right place and deleted what I wrote, because of an ad for shoes, or sofa etc.. So frustrating. - 5/3/2014   11:52:14 AM
  • 189
    The Site is Free and I feel bad to criticize for a free service. But I want to give feedback as someone who loves and uses this site. I would be so lost without it. I see team blogs back, but they don't scroll. The scrolling was great, because as I was reading something, something scrolling by that I might not see otherwise. Giving me access to someone else story and support and encouragement.

    The color of all white is extremely hard to read. There is so much information on the site, and it takes time to go through, the all white color makes it very difficult.

    I think this is a case of best intentions. Not everyone will be happy with every change. But to strike a balance with your users. I think a survey would have been very helpful to see what changes users might want or would like to see.

    Please don't become Facebook .

    I would love to see a more developed weight loss tracker. Showing the history and weekly stats. - 5/3/2014   9:46:55 AM
  • 188
    Team blogs are back but when you click on one to read it you leave the team page and have to go back to the team to see another member's blog. I find I spend a whole lot less time interacting with the team. - 5/3/2014   7:07:45 AM
  • 187
    Just wanted to say thanks for listening to us and restoring the team blogs. My whole team was cheering when they got the feature back. Thanks again! - 5/3/2014   2:25:58 AM
  • 186
    NOT happy with the Team Changes at all. The Huddle was a great (and a time-saving check-in for those with time limitations).
    NOT happy with the outrageous number of ads, either. I'd rather PAY $10 a month and be ad-free than have to wade through the video-commercials all the time. - 5/2/2014   8:00:02 PM
  • 185
    The "Huddle" was a really nice feature to help cheer each other on in a quick manner! PLEASE bring it back!!! - 5/2/2014   3:25:06 PM
  • 184
    Thanks for restoring the blog stream! I missed it so much. I was really feeling bereft without my teams' blogs. So glad to have the community back. I love HUDDLING too, but perhaps I was a minority there... - 5/2/2014   1:23:28 PM
  • 183
    i LOVE the new Blog link; even Though!! it takes a couple of clicks rather than just one, it is GREAT to be able to see MORE blogs listed and not just a few at a time!
    Even with my biggest team with nearly 500 members per round, i can see Several Days! of blogs, instead of just the most recent 10 or so!
    THIS part i am PUMPED about! Thanks!! - 5/2/2014   12:01:28 PM
  • 182
    Thank you for restoring the blogs but I still miss the Team Stream including Team Huddle. I am not a Face Book fan, even though I have a page. Spark People does not need to become another Face Book. I do like some of the new features such as bigger font and fewer "in your face" ads. - 5/2/2014   10:50:21 AM
  • 181
    I love the active team member feature. As a co- team leader of an especially large team this makes it more feasible to award team goodies to the members.

    I am so glad the team member blog links are back. I'm afraid we lost a few sparkers when it was gone for even a day.

    Thanks for continual improvement and staff support! - 5/2/2014   10:47:38 AM
  • 180
    Thanks for restoring the blog links! - 5/2/2014   10:26:31 AM
  • 179
    Thank you for restoring the link to blog posts by team members. That remains a vital feature for facilitating team cohesion. - 5/2/2014   10:06:02 AM
  • 178
    I think wall comments should be removed weekly. - 5/2/2014   10:02:35 AM
  • 177
    I DO NOT LIKE THE new changes! They have taken away things that are most important to every Spark Member I know. My question is WHY! - 5/2/2014   8:48:32 AM
  • 176
    Please bring back the quick links and add some color to the messages, I can't tell one message from the other. - 5/2/2014   4:31:55 AM
  • 175
    I left a comment, then blogged about a different point of view, then read the comments on my own blog, then re-thought my point of view... and now i'm Back to say THANKS for bringing back the Blog in some form!.. i think it is a VITAL way for some of us who want to support teammates we may not know Very! well, to have a way to FIND OUT when they might be struggling!
    I now think that the Blog Stream especially is NEEDED. Kudos for bringing back Blogs! - 5/2/2014   1:06:16 AM
  • 174
    Like most of the changes. Thank you for adding the links to recent team member blogs! That's a big part of why teams are so effective! Thank you! - 5/2/2014   12:29:40 AM
  • 173
    Glad to see the blogs are back; but the scrolling. I would agree that there's too much whitespace.
    - 5/2/2014   12:19:44 AM
  • 172
    For the love of God, PLEASE alternate colors between posts. Did somebody honestly believe making the entire stream all white was an IMPROVEMENT?

    Also -- This isn't Facebook. Please don't try to turn it into that. - 5/1/2014   11:48:27 PM
  • 171
    Thanks for the quick fix to accessing team members blogs. I like the new team wall & being able to write your own comments is good. Maybe include new sayings to Huddle with~ - 5/1/2014   11:08:24 PM
  • 170
    Thanks for returning the Team Blogs...now let's return the huddle! - 5/1/2014   10:27:30 PM
  • 169
    Where are the huddles? - 5/1/2014   10:06:40 PM
  • 168
    One of the very best resources at Spark People is the At Goal And Maintaining: Transition to Maintenance team -- because of course we don't want only to lose weight, we want to maintain weight loss. And in that regard, please note TINAJANE76's blog concerning the team features that help sustain team connections: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
    ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=56843
    39

    - 5/1/2014   9:25:37 PM
  • 167
    Please bring back the team blogs feature. That is how I kept up with what was going on with team members. I have cut back on reading everything on team posts but would visit the blogs. Don't mess that up! - 5/1/2014   8:58:02 PM
  • 166
    I miss the scrolling new blogs like most of the others! I also liked to use the huddle function-but only to post a quick note or inspiration, not the check the box blurb kind. Good way to get out a quick Happy Birthday or Congrats note. Guess there is no choice now but to learn the new way? - 5/1/2014   8:52:15 PM
  • 165
    please restore the blog feeds and huddles - 5/1/2014   8:35:12 PM
  • CASLESS
    164
    Please restore the blogs,huddles & links from the right hand side. - 5/1/2014   8:11:41 PM
  • 163
    Please restore the blog feed- I think the wall post can work like the huddle but we need the blog feed in order to know if our teammates posted anything. - 5/1/2014   7:21:40 PM
  • 162
    please restore the huddle and blogs - 5/1/2014   7:10:18 PM
  • 161
    I agree with the others that the missing team scroll needs to come back. I had a problem finding where I wanted to post and I feel like I am missing things. Changes can be good but too many big changes can turn a lot of people away. - 5/1/2014   6:59:26 PM
  • 160
    I see a list of the recent blogs on the right, but I still miss seeing all the blogs scroll through. Not a big fan of the wall. Reminds me too much of facebook. If I want to do facebook I'll go there. - 5/1/2014   6:18:28 PM
  • 159
    how do you find people's blogs? i don't get it. please bring back the blogs list on the right of the page. - 5/1/2014   5:26:24 PM
  • 158
    In my Humble Unbiased Opinion you made a collossal blunder when you removed the Team Scroll function... it was a primary way to make new friends and keep up with established friends. I will miss the huddle but it is not essential to my connecting with other SparkPeople members. You might like to survey the true users of your "Pages" before you make major renovations in the future. The one thing this has shown me... I am not alone in my irritation and my sense of loss of functionality of the "Team Page" - 5/1/2014   5:10:59 PM
  • 157
    Noooo! Where are the Team Blogs that appeared in the Huddle. My huddle, noooo! - 5/1/2014   4:49:16 PM
  • 156
    Please restore the Team Scrol on the right!! I used it daily to get to my Team's most current blogs & while the wall is interesting to some, I would rather see the Huddle back!! It was short & sweet!! I don't like Facebook or that format, so I don't like the wall!! I DO like the rest of the page & the other changes!! The team pages are much cleaner looking!!!! I miss the Team Resources too!!!!
    Please bring the COLOR back to the team pages!!!! It was easier to read the posts when each was a different color!! I miss the status bar too!!!! I HATE the Start page & NEVER go there!!!! This is okay, but PLEASE bring the Team Stream back & the status bar!!

    Thank you for always trying to enhance our experience here!!!! But some of these changes have made it MUCH harder on the Team Leaders!!!! Have you considered having some of the Sparkers beta test before you roll this out?? I am part of a VERY active Team & I don't have the time to go to evry team members page looking for new blogs & we award points toward goodies & things for our team members & the blogs are part of that!!!!

    Thanks for listening!!!! Jae - 5/1/2014   4:25:38 PM
  • 155
    I tried the "new" team boards and found them cumbersome and time consuming. As an aside what is all of this Facebook who haw? I am not a Facebook member nor do I wish to be. I joined Spark and would like to continue to "Sparkle" - 5/1/2014   3:47:56 PM
  • 154
    Add me to the list of people who miss the Team Blogs. I don't care to read blogs from people that don't share my teams & I am never going to randomly choose blogs from strangers.

    The team wall seems very FaceBook-ie. I don't like or dislike it, though I can see the forums disappearing quickly. There is no way to organize this wall.

    I really wish you would ask the SP current members what we would like instead of trying to cater to people who are not members (and yes, that is what you are doing).

    It doesn't annoy me enough to leave, but that might be what happens eventually. - 5/1/2014   3:46:04 PM
  • 153
    I really miss the blog feed! It was a great way to keep up with everyone in my team. Please bring it back! - 5/1/2014   3:32:31 PM
  • 152
    Please restore the blog and huddle feed!!!!!!!! ASAP, if not sooner. Thank you! - 5/1/2014   3:15:02 PM
  • 151
    Bring back the Individual Team Blog Posts! I don't have the time, nor do I wish to expend the effort to "friend" everyone on my teams who have 500+ members!!!!!! It would take me all day! Not doing it! Here's an illustration of that point that I specifically came back here to post:

    I just went to a friend's page who I know blogs daily. She had 12 team member comments on her page, and so I clicked on all 12, went to their pages to see if they had written a blog recently, and 1 out of 12 did. This took me about 12 minutes. With the blog roll I could have visited at least 3 team members that had posted blogs recently, and in that same 12 minutes have left comments for those 3! Instead I got ONE done! What a total waste of time!!!!!!!!!!

    Finally, why are you trying to be a Facebook wannabe?! You were unique, and user-friendly, but not anymore.

    Many times I found myself going to blogs that fellow team members had commented on because I felt if they found it interesting, than I might, too. Believe it or not, I have made many of my Spark Friends this way!
    Please restore the team blog roll! - 5/1/2014   3:11:55 PM
  • 150
    Please give us back the link to our team blogs! I don't miss the huddle, which I never did. But I do appreciate the info re blogs. - 5/1/2014   3:00:11 PM

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