LifeGuide Community Website FAQs

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How can I keep up to date with important announcements about LifeGuide?

New announcements will be posted on the LifeGuide Community Website as and when they occur. These can be seen on the top of the page in orange each time you login.

Members can sign up to receive these important announcements straight to their inbox, ensuring they are kept informed about updates to the LifeGuide software, community website, new features, bug fixes etc

Existing members can sign up to receive these updates by following these simple steps

  • Under Intervention Manager select My Account
  • Select Edit
  • Tick the box to receive announcements
  • Click Update

New members can select this option when they first sign-up or go to My Account once they are registered.

I want to stop receiving emails and updates about LifeGuide - How can I do this?

Should you wish to stop receiving emails or announcements about LifeGuide, just follow these simple steps:

  • Log in to the LifeGuide Community Website
  • Under Intervention Manager select My Account
  • Select Edit
  • Uncheck the box labelled Receive Announcements by Email
  • Click Update

How do I download the Authoring tool?

First, make sure your computer is appropriately set up to enable LifeGuide to run. Check that you have the following four specification requirements:

  1. Java Virtual Machine 1.6 needs to be installed. To check which version of Java you have, go to: the Java website If you don’t have the recommended version of Java, you can download it by clicking on the Download Java Now button on the page.
  2. You will need to use one of the following operating systems to run the authoring tool: Windows XP, Vista, 2000, 2003 or 2008, Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. (Mac users will also need to download and install XulRunner from [the Mozilla site]).
  3. At least one of the following internet browsers needs to be installed: Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 2, Safari 3, Google chrome 1.0, or a higher version of any of these browsers.
  4. Access rights – Some institutions will require users to obtain access rights before they can download or install new software. These can usually be obtained from the institution’s Information Services (IS), or equivalent information technology department.

To download the authoring tool:

  • Select the LifeGuide Software option in the left-hand menu on the LifeGuide Community website
  • Choose the Authoring Tools link.
  • Download and click save
  • Save and unzip the file to the C drive of your computer
Detailed instructions for Firefox users
      • If you are using Firefox, it will automatically save the authoring tool in the downloads folder of your computer
      • Double click the file in the downloads page to open it
      • Select Extract all files
      • Click Next
      • Browse to find the C drive folder for your computer (in the My Computer folder for your computer). If you cannot see the C drive you may not have access rights
      • Click Next and then finish
Detailed instructions for Internet Explorer users
      • If you are using Internet Explorer, you will have the choice of where you want to save the authoring tool. Choose the C drive of your computer (under My Computer) and click save
      • When it says ‘Download Complete’ select open
      • Choose Extract all files and select the next option until it has finished extracting and then select finish
  • You can now open the authoring tool by selecting the LifeGuideAuthor.exe file in your newly created folder.

How do I upload an intervention to the LifeGuide Community website?

The LifeGuide Community website can be used to share your intervention with members of your research team or wider members of the LifeGuide community. We have three different intervention types:

  • Development – recommended for interventions that are still in development: allows you to select who can access your intervention for viewing and commenting (e.g. your research team). You will need to create your own intervention folder for this.
  • Tutorial – for uploading short demos that illustrate a particular logic function. All users registered on the LifeGuide community can access these if they wish to learn how to complete a logic function. Please upload tutorial interventions to the 'Tutorials' folder
  • Demo – for uploading full interventions for all users of the LifeGuide Community to view and comment on. Please upload demo interventions to the 'demos' folder.

Please note that completed interventions intended to be used by end-users (apart from for testing purposes) should be hosted on a separate server (see how do I make my intervention live).

Before you can upload an intervention onto the LifeGuide Community website you will need to contact the LifeGuide team so they can arrange for you to have these permissions. Contact us and let us know a few details about your intervention.

We need to be careful about how much memory the interventions we host on our server will use so any information you can provide about: estimated number of pages; number of videos used in your intervention and their duration; expected number of users will be useful in helping us to monitor our available memory capacity.

  • Before uploading your intervention to the LifeGuide community site you first need to export it from the Authoring tool:
    • Click the Export button on the top toolbar, or select the Export option from the File menu.
    • A pop up window will show that allows you to choose where you want to save the file.
    • Click the Browse button to select where you want to save your file.
    • Give it a name and click the Save button.
  • Once you have exported your intervention, choose the New Intervention link at the top of the main page of the LifeGuide Community site
  • This will take you to a new page asking for details of your intervention including:
    • A short name for the intervention – this will be used on the URL for the intervention
    • A long name – this is the name that will be displayed on the LifeGuide Community website
    • Description (optional) – this will be displayed on the LifeGuide Community website and enables you to give a brief description of what the intervention includes
    • A start and end date (optional) – to detail how long you want the intervention to run
    • Location of your intervention – for uploading the file that you have exported
    • Intervention type – with the options to set interventions as development, demo or tutorial.
  • Click the Create button at the bottom of the page.

How do I share my intervention with other researchers in my team?

The LifeGuide Community website has been designed to facilitate collaborative development and design of online interventions.

You will first need to create an intervention folder and upload an intervention to your folder in order to share the intervention with selected users.

To share your intervention with members of your research team:

  • Choose 'edit' on you intervention folder
  • Under researchers, type in the email address of the person you would like to share your intervention folder with and click on 'send invitation'. They will then be sent an email with a link and a code to enter to enable them to be added to their folder (if they are not yet registered on the LifeGuide Community website, they will be prompted to do this first).
  • These researchers will be added to your list of current researchers and will be able to play and/or comment on any new interventions that you add to that folder.

The names of any other registered LifeGuide users who you have shared your intervention folders with in the past are kept in the list to the left. These can be added to the current list of researchers by selecting their name and then clicking the 'add researcher' button.

  • You may wish to notify your team that the intervention is ready to view. You can do this through the LifeGuide Community site by selecting the Email the Intervention Researchers link under the Intervention Operations list on the Intervention Details page.

Researchers can be removed by:

  • going into the Edit page,
  • selecting the researcher in the current researchers box
  • selecting the remove researcher button

How do I make a comment on an intervention?

Select the Play and Comment mode for the intervention that you wish to comment on.

To make comments per page:

  • Use the buttons within the intervention to navigate through pages
  • When you reach a page you wish to comment on, write your message in the box provided
  • Click on the Save button.
  • Your message will appear in the Comments about this page list and anyone else who visits this page after you will be able to see the comments you have made and make any additional comments about the page.

There is no word limit for how long your comment can be or how many comments can be made on each page, making it an ideal function for collaborative design with other members of your team.

Posted comments can be edited or deleted by the author using the options above the comment.

To write general comments about an intervention, click on Intervention Details where you will be able to see the intervention’s discussion board


How can I show my intervention to everyone on the LifeGuide Community website?

When you upload your intervention you can select the demo option to show your full intervention for everyone on the LifeGuide Community to view and comment on, or the tutorial option to share a short demo relating to a specific LifeGuide function. See "How do I upload an intervention to the LifeGuide Community website?" for more information.


How can I change the name of an intervention once I have uploaded it?

  • Choose the Intervention Details option for your intervention.
  • Select Edit
  • You can then change the short or long name of your intervention as long as the new name is not being used by another researcher, or used in previous versions of your intervention.


How do I export data from my intervention?

To view or Export the data from your Intervention:

  • Click on the Intervention Details option or the image of the intervention
  • Under the Intervention Operations table click on View/Export Detailed Statistics
  • This will open a new page called Intervention Sessions.

This page includes general details of the use of the intervention including the number of individual sessions (these are the number of times end-users have logged on and used the intervention) and a list of all the individual sessions, including the date the end-user logged on and the total duration of time they spent on the intervention. Click on the magnifying glass symbol to the left of the session ID to see detailed statistics from that session.

This page also illustrates the order in which pages are viewed (the thicker an arrow is on this diagram the more times that route has been taken when navigating through the website) and a map to show where users are geographically located (note: both these functions are currently under development).

To export your data:

  • On the intervention sessions page click on Export Data which is located at the bottom of the information table.
  • This takes you to a new page called Export Intervention Data. Here you will see a list of all the variable names (or unique response names) of the interactions in the intervention.
  • Select the data you wish to export. You can choose the Select/Deselect all option at the top of the page or select only the variables you wish to include in your data set.
  • Click on Export and you can then choose to open or save the Excel files that are generated.


How do I download an intervention from the LifeGuide community site?

You will already need to have downloaded the LifeGuide authoring tool (see How do I download the Authoring tool? for more details).

  • Select the Download option on the intervention that you wish to download and select OK
    • Detailed instructions for FireFox users
      • Double click the file in the downloads page and wait for it to open
      • Select Extract all files
      • Click Next
      • Browse to find the folder containing the LifeGuide Authoring tool (this should be on C drive folder of your computer (in My Computer)).
      • Select the Workspace folder from the authoring tool folder and select Make New Folder and give your folder a name.(NB: You will need to have opened the authoring tool at least once before in order to see the Workspace folder)
      • Click Next and then Finish


You now need to import the intervention into the authoring tool to view or edit it.

  • Open the LifeGuide Authoring tool
  • Select File in the main menu
  • Select Import Project
  • Browse to find the correct project from the Workspace folder and click OK
  • Click Finish

How do I make my intervention live?

Once you have developed, fully tested and piloted your intervention and are now happy and ready to send it out to end-users (participants, patients, trainees etc), you can upload it to our LifeGuide server or your own server. Before you decide to use the LifeGuide server to host your intervention, please check our Use of LifeGuide Server Statement (currently available from the researcher help manual)

Live interventions are hosted on a separate server to those hosted on the LifeGuide Community Website to minimise any disruption to live studies that are collecting data (i.e. an intervention being tested on the LifeGuide Community site cannot bring down live trials).

If you would like us to host your intervention, you can arrange space on our server with a member of our team by contacting us. It is important for you to get in touch with us well in advance so we can discuss your memory requirements.

IMPORTANT – Interventions must be fully tested before going live. Once a version had been put on the live server it CANNOT be modified. However, it may be possible to upload new versions of your interventions onto our server but the data you have already collected will be separate (in the Intervention Manager and in the Excel spreadsheet) to the data which will be collected when end-users view the new version of your intervention.

What does play the intervention (debug mode) mean?

You would play the intervention in debug mode when you are collecting data and you want to view your intervention, but you do not want data to be collected on your use of the website.

Another reason for using debug mode is when you are testing your intervention and you do not want to close your browser each time – you can click Reset Session in the Debug Panel to sign out of your current session and take you back to the home page of your intervention.


What are tutorial interventions?

Tutorial interventions are short demonstrations of specific functions that can be carried out using the LifeGuide software. The existing examples have been created by members of the LifeGuide team for users to download and learn the logic. Users are more than welcome to add tutorial demos if they have any to share with other LifeGuide users.


How do I view and export all comments made about my intervention?

All comments made using the Comment per page function can be viewed and/or exported into Excel by the intervention author.

  • Click the Play and Comment option on the intervention you want to view
  • Select the View/Export all comments option under the Intervention Operations menu
  • Choose Export all Comments if you wish to export these comments into an Excel spreadsheet


What does Follow this board mean?

Following an intervention allows you to receive automatic e-mail updates each time a new comment is added to the general discussion board of an intervention. You can choose to follow your own intervention or somebody else’s intervention that you are interested in by:

  • Clicking the Follow this board option beneath the message board for the intervention you wish to follow (this is found on the Intervention Details page for the intervention).
  • This will switch automatic messages “On”.
  • Click it again to switch them off.


How do I log onto the forum?

Our LifeGuide forum allows you to discuss your LifeGuide queries with other LifeGuide users.

At present users need to register new account details for using the forum. To set up an account and to begin using the forum:

  • Select the Forum option on the left-hand menu. This will open a pop-up window
  • Select Apply for Membership and enter your details (e-mail address, username, password) and select Proceed
  • Your account will now be created (though currently there are no messages or e-mails to indicate this). However, you can now select the forum option again and enter your new login details to start a new discussion or add to an existing topic.


How do I set up SMS text messaging?

Follow these three steps to set up SMS text messaging:

  1. Set up Text messaging in the LifeGuide Authoring Tool

You will need to collect a username and mobile phone number from your intervention users in order to send text messages using text entry interactions (consult the LifeGuide researcher manual for full details of how to do this).

Next you will need to write the logic commands. SMS text messaging uses similar logic commands to sending e-mails. Therefore the basic logic command is:

Sendtext ("welcomemessage”, login.phonenum, "Thank you for registering for the study”, 600)

A break down of this logic shows that:

  • Sendtext – is the logic command for ensuring the text will be sent
  • "welcomemessage” – is the unique name given to the text message
  • login.phonenum – is the interaction where the logic will obtain the end-user’s phone number (which can be found on the login page)
  • "Thank you for registering for the study” – is the message content
  • 600 - is the time delay for sending the message. This is in seconds so this message will be sent after 10 minutes.

IMPORTANT Only certain characters can be written in the message content. If you have cut and pasted text from another software program into LifeGuide, some punctuation will not be recognised by LifeGuide. An example of an invalid character which LifeGuide may not recognise if it has been copied from another program, such as Microsoft Word is the apostrophe. If you type it straight into LifeGuide, it will look like this ' and will be a valid character, but if you cut and paste it from Word, it will look like this ’ and will be an invalid character. If your text messages contain ANY invalid characters, they will not be delivered and will stop ALL other text messages in other interventions from being delivered. It is therefore extremely important to test that your text messsages do not have any invalid characters by logging into the PageOne website PageOne and sending each of the text messages in your intervention to yourself.

Note the only differences between sending automated text messages and automated e-mails are:

  • The logic for sending text messages does not require a subject
  • The content of an e-mail message is unlimited in terms of number of characters whilst each text message can only be ### long
  • E-mail messages are free to send but text messaging will cost you 5p per message. See next step for how to set up an account for paying for messages.
  1. Set up an account with the SMS provider

Before you can send text messages through your intervention, you first need to create an account with a provider. At present, LifeGuide is only compatible with the PageOne SMS provider. PageOne is the recommended SMS provider in the UK for academic purposes. Full details of how to set up an account can be found at the following link PageOne

If you would like to use another provider please get in touch with us.

  1. Register your SMS account details on the LifeGuide Community website

Once your account has been set up with PageOne you will then need to register these details with your LifeGuide Account on the LifeGuide Community website:

  • Export your intervention to the LifeGuide Community website
  • Select Set up text messaging for this intervention on the intervention page
  • Enter the Account name and Password for the account that you have set up with PageOne

Your exported intervention should now be able to send text messages.

Other tips:

  • LifeGuide will e-mail you when your credit has reached 0 but you will need to regularly monitor your PageOne account (on their website) to ensure your credit does not reach 0.
  • Each time you test the text messaging feature it will cost money – bear this cost in mind when you credit your account.
  • The text messaging feature cannot be tested in preview mode, you will need to export your intervention to the LifeGuide community website to test it.

How do I set up a discussion forum?

If you would like to create a discussion forum for your intervention you will need to email the LifeGuide team (LifeGuide@soton.ac.uk) with the following information:

  1. Your email address
  2. The name or alias you would like to give the forum. This will appear in the URL for your forum e.g. lifeguideonline.org/alias
  3. The skin you have chosen for the forum (http://www.phpbb.com/styles/demo/3.0/)
  4. A copy of the logo for your forum or intervention (if you plan to use one)

My question does not relate to any of the above

If your question is not answered by any of our FAQs above then please post your question in our forum or drop us an e-mail and we will be happy to help.