Wednesday, October 16, 2019

ShowHelper report card

Of all the Jennifer Show innovations, Ryan's ShowHelper 2.o program was the one that excited - and scared - me the most
Instead of handwriting tags or cards for their models, entrants were required to log onto the ShowHelper website and enter their horses into a database. This automatically created tags for each model.
The tags - which were printed by the entrants - included a QR code.
photo by Jasmine Lay
The judges scanned these codes to record their placings.
This, in turn, generated real-time results.

So easy, at least in theory.
Of course, real life is never easy, so I worried. Would the program work as designed? Would the showers accept it? Ryan absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about-it assured me it would work, so most of my anxiety revolved around shower acceptance. Let's face it. There a lot people in this hobby who are not technologically advanced. How were they going to feel about a recording system based on cell phones and QR codes?
photo by Beth McCarley
I'm not exaggerating when I say that I could feel the skepticism radiating from my computer screen when I first explained the database entry process. 
photo by Beth McCarley
Fortunately, that didn't last long.
Nearly everyone found the data entry process to be extremely user friendly. Sue Rowe describes her experience this way: Sooooo simple and easy! I’d been a bit anxious about logging in - only to find system easy peasy.
As far as printing the tags went, there were a few minor issues. Ideally, the program should have been able to import the tags into an Avery label template. That was on our radar, but we simply ran out of time. Some enterprising entrants were able to work it out on their own, but most simply printed tags on paper or cardstock and cut them out by hand. Either way was fine. 
Megan Namaste printed out the tags and taped them to index cards. No complaints on my end, she wrote. This wasn't any more time consuming than handwriting tags. The website itself was really user friendly.
photo by Beth McCarley
There were also a couple entrants who didn't have access to a printer. This problem was easily solved when another shower - thank you, Lindsay! - stepped in and printed their tags for them. We did have a laptop and printer in the show hall for late additions. If someone had shown up with one hundred horses and no tags, we could have handled it. We might have been a little salty, but we absolutely could have handled it.
Despite those initial misgivings, by the end of the show, everyone I talked to was a ShowHelper convert. 

I love it. Barb DiAnnibella said. I wish all shows would use it.

Leila Mohseni agreed. It was wonderful and saved a lot of time. I wish more show holders would utilize this!

Jan Stevens concurred. The entire process was so user friendly. Starting with the online entry to the tags that could be printed by the entrant to the judges being able to scan the placings and have them sent to the announcer who was able to instantly call out the results and ask for the next class. So simple and so helpful for everyone.
While shower acceptance was a real concern, there was no such issue with our judging staff.  All our judges were one hundred percent on board with using the ShowHelper App. This was a good thing, because there were some problems right at the beginning. Even the easiest system has a learning curve, and it took a while for everyone to find their groove.

After that, it was amazing. 

Here's what Amanda Brock had to say after the show: I want to talk about the real MVP of TJS: the ShowHelper App! I am ruined for all other ways of recording show results. The tags were so efficient, and the app was SO easy to use. The show ran so smoothly once we all got in the swing of things. It was amazing just sending results and having classes called without having to walk across the show hall. Any glitches that happened were minor and easily fixed! I hope Jennifer and her son, Ryan are able to get this out into the hobby, and I really hope that I just experienced what the future of hobby judging!

Tracy Calamar was just as enthused. I really enjoyed using Show Helper, she wrote.  Kudos to Ryan on that masterpiece. It made recording placings SO EASY. I am going to have a very hard time going back to using anything else.

You know how I feel about it. Kylee Parks told me, as she held her judging device over her heart. Kylee is in a relationship with Show Helper 💍
So the showers liked it and the judges liked it, but did it actually generate the immediate and perfectly formatted results that Ryan had promised? 
I'm calling this one a win all the way around. Congratulations, Ryan. ShowHelper 2.0 gets an A from me!

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