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In-App Timer, Inline Editing, and More Coming Soon to WORK[etc] Online CRM

It's been a while since we last looked at how the updates to the web app is getting along. With most of the back-end redesigns done, we're now giving you another glimpse at what to expect when the next massive WORK[etc] update is finally rolled out.

A few months back we announced that we were working on the next release of the core WORK[etc] web application and its back-end services.

Since then, the work to date has largely been on the invisible back-end services. Activities such as redesigning the back-end database, refactoring code bases, and building widget libraries consume a lot of time and produces hundreds of thousands of code lines; in terms of tangible product suitable for non-developers there is very little actual output.

This is about to change. Development is over the hump and we’re now powering through, plugging everything together and producing shareable outcomes! This will be the first of regular updates as we power toward beta.

New Header Menu System

We introduced the new header menu concept with this post. Now that it is built and fully functional, lets go over some of the enhancements.

The new WORK[etc] header menu
  1. The “quick add” button allows you to rapidly create any type of object straight from the menu.
  2. A new, handy “Browse Contact By Letter” menu system
  3. We now allow Smartviews to be created and accessed from within each module menu area. The new Smartview tool allows you to place a Smartview for another user inside their menu and lock that down.
  4. Recent Activity” shows you a list of contacts that only you have worked with recently. The use case here is that contacts you have worked with recently are more likely to be contacts that you need to work with in the future.
  5. Created Recently” shows a list of all contacts recently created or imported across your organization.
  6. The “Tagged With” link allows you to quickly select a single Tag and view a list of all contacts with that tag applied.
  7. The “Customer Portal” link provides quick access to a list of all contacts who have the Self-Service Portal enabled.
  8. We’ve introduce a new view with “Email Bounced“. This is a full list of all contacts that have been sent an email from within your account, whose email was incorrect. The new “inline” editing allows an assistant to quick tab through the result and correct obvious mistakes.
  9. Incomplete Info” lists contacts with incomplete or missing fields for rapid correction.
  10. Sync Conflict Errors” is a refinement of our tool that allows you to manage duplicate contacts or conflicting contact records.

Inline Editing

Inline Editing is a “one-click” method to change and update any data field. For example, let’s say you are scrolling through a list of contacts and you spot that there is a simple spelling mistake. With a single click you can edit that field and click-out which then saves the changes in near-real time, in the background.

If you’ve ever used instant messaging like Skype Chat, then the technology we’re utilizing is not dissimilar. We basically take the text snippet change (your “text” message to someone) and send just those few bytes of data back to the server (i.e. the person you’re chatting with).

This is applied throughout the application allowing around 80% and eventually 100% of all data to be modified with a single click.

Inline Editing in WORK[etc]

Discussion Notifications / In-App Timer

We’ve redesigned how the discussion notifications work and also built into that area a stopwatch “on/off” timer to automatically record your timesheets as you work through your day.

Discussions and TimesheetsYou can now easily access Discussions and Timesheets through their respective buttons on the bottom left. Whatever WORK[etc] page you’re on, they’ll be there. Hovering over each of the buttons will bring up a small footer menu.
Discussions and TimesheetsDiscussions still operate pretty much the same way; a red line above an entry means that a response has been requested. We just switched the scrolling to horizontal.
Discussions and TimesheetsYou can create a new timesheet by clicking on the blank “New Timesheet” space at the rightmost part. The blue “+” button (see image below) lets you add an activity to an existing timesheet. Tasks can be pinned in the Timesheet bar, which is perfect for recurring, multi-day tasks.
Discussions and TimesheetsYou can either manually add time or use the new stopwatch timer by clicking the “play” button.

Contact Pages

We’ve also redesigned contact pages to make better use of the space and put the information you need to access right up front. Click on the image below for a closer look.

Old and New Contact Page Comparison

Finally…

Its important to remind everyone that this release is focused on freshening up the user interface design, some user experience tweaks, and improving performance on large company accounts. Transitioning from the current version to this next release will be simple and painless as we’re intentionally keeping most of the actual functionality similar.

More involved feature changes will come early next year; to try and do everything at once would have resulted in a much longer time frame and, more importantly, the risk of introducing a steep learning curve for our customers. We want to avoid this at all cost and so are delivering on smoother release cycles.

Whilst near 100% of our resources is going into this build, we’re not quite ready to make public a firm delivery date, other than our aim is to be in beta release (through Insiders) by the start of December. In the meantime, we will shortly be announcing the beta program for our new iOS app.

Keep your eyes open for further updates as we move closer to the next release. For now, tell us what you think of the changes. Did we miss anything? Leave a comment and let us know.

  • David Jones

    There a new new features here that will immediately help us save some time with less clicks and ease of access. Inline editing is great and the “Recent Activity” & “Created Recently” will be very useful in finding 80% of the information we need, since most of us work with the same data frequently in the beginning. We also have a weekly clean up process for incomplete contacts, so the “Incomplete Info” feature is going to save us some time as well. Good Work!

    • “since most of us work with the same data frequently in the beginning”

      It’s the “little-big” insights like this that we’re bringing to this release. “Little” because when you read the feature in a post like this it seems mostly insignificant and really no one is ever going to buy a product because of this … but “Big” because the actual impact it has in everyday work is just huge and you only appreciate this after 6 months of using a product.

  • I like the New Header Menu System, while some of those features are already available they aren’t as easily accessible and that is very exciting. I’m also very excited about items 8-10 under there since those will really help us in our database clean-up efforts. I’m ready for the Inline Editor to be rolled out to everything. I like that you can quickly edit a name or phone number, but I’m really looking forward to being able to quickly edit a job title without having to “open in full edit view”. I’m probably most excited about the New Contact Pages! They look much more updated, cleaner and easier to read critical information without having to dig for them in the other tabs. Awesome job WORK[etc], looking forward to seeing each roll out as they happen.

    • ” I’m also very excited about items 8-10 under there since those will really help us in our database clean-up efforts.”

      Exactly the plan for ourselves too :-).

  • I am so excited for this release. In-line editing is definitely one of the most anticipated features in our organization. I hope you are close! the in-app timer is going to very good for our support staff and our efforts in determining where our efforts are being spent. Good job – now lets get it rolled out!!!

  • Loving all these little previews, it gets us very excited for the final release! The inline editing is my favorite in this preview. I feel like that is going to be REALLY helpful to speed things along in making changes. The timer is a great one as well. I fell like time tracking is one of those things that can be done well, or not so well and this looks like a one done well. Keep up the good work.

  • David McGarry

    While some of these features are already available in Work[etc] it appears that you have made them easier to access with a more logical placement..I personally will be using the In-app timer and just looking forward to the new sleeker, better performing GUI. Aesthetically you guys have done a great job comparing the before and after shots.

    W[e] is the hub of our business these days, now we have all the staff trained to use it- and all new staff quickly indoctrinated(!) it’s proved to be an essential tool for keeping all our information centralised,task management as well as assisting with billing and quotes.

    One thing I like about Work[etc] new developments is you have thought of things that we haven’t thought we needed – but that are immediately obvious and are extremely useful. Features like ’email bounced’ will save our support staff a lot of time and additional admin and will help keep our small business streamlined and boost efficiency. Can’t ask for more than that really! 🙂

  • Mark Van Ree

    Great work guys. Adding contacts and companies need a lot of work. It’s very difficult to manage these two together. Please make it easier to create a person/contact within a company. Too many clicks and jumping between tabs to do this at the moment.

    • “Too many clicks and jumping between tabs to do this at the moment.”

      Definitely in the release.

  • Barry Gibson

    I’m really looking forward to the Timer functionality, this will make it easier for us to track our time. Are the new grids going to be included in the initial release? as this is one of the areas I have been most been looking for. I’m also interested in when the updated dashboard is expected? As always its great to see progress.

    • “Are the new grids going to be included in the initial release? ”
      Yes, but functionality is very similar to the current grids. Is there something you’re expecting – let me know to make sure it’s covered. Dashboards redesigned also.

      • Barry Gibson

        The feature I am really after is to be able to see multiple grids on the same page i.e. current project and tasks. I was hoping with the new dashboard features we would be able to add different saved views and therefore achieve this.

        • Yes – new dashboard design should be able to achieve this. Although obviously screen space is limited so you would have to be selective in what columns of data you wanted to view (or else do a lot of horizontal scrolling)

  • Love the changes and can’t wait to use them.

  • Nakuma Scott

    The inline editing will be such a time saver for all staff. I am very excited to check out these features and use them daily.

  • This looks really great! as other users have commented, the new GUI looks fresh and logical.
    Will the in-line editing allow users to quickly add tags to a contact? the current method is really time consuming if you have a lot to add in one go, for instance if you are setting up a new CRM group. The in-app timer looks great – I got frustrated with the standalone timer as it kept logging me out!

    • “Will the in-line editing allow users to quickly add tags to a contact?”

      Hi Ian – yes. So there will be the standard “click to view all, click to select one” method and also an auto-type -> auto complete method. Although custom categories for Tags won’t make it into this first release.

  • I am so excited for this release. In-line editing is definitely one of the most anticipated features in our organization. Cant wait to try it out!

  • Garrettt

    One thing I am really hoping to see released in the somewhat near future is the ability to embed the customer portal on our business websites. Or at least a portion of the portal that lets customers check on their latest updates. Any news on this?

    • By “embed” do you mean mask the URL to 100% your company URL?

      • Garrettt

        No, just the ability to have our clients not leave our webpage to check their status in the customer portal. Branding is not the issue. Thanks for the response

  • Garrettt

    Also perhaps I am missing this, but if creating shipping labels could be incorporated in the CRM , it would make WORK etc the best customer management system I have used as of yet.

    • Hi Garrett – it won’t be in this immediate release, but we do have a development sprint focussed on finances/basic inventory/purchase orders and so would make more sense to be part of that. Best place to lodge this is the feature suggestion forum found under the “help” menu in your account.

      • Garrettt

        Great I will make sure to suggest it. I know this feature is one of the easier things to integrate, as I am a Tech Analyst for TechMonster. I really appreciate the response, and look forward to this being implemented.

  • Love the focus on continuous improvement and am looking forward to all the upgrades mentioned. My team will love the inline editing ability. The improved timesheet functionality will make life for our field staff so much more efficient.

  • Sally B.

    So many great things coming our way…just in time for Christmas!! Even the new contact page will have a shiny new bow. Thank you for always being open to suggestions through the “Suggest A Feature” button and your training team is wonderful about answering questions as well. Looking forward to continued success with W[e}.

  • Thomas Lawler

    It seems like you are making it easier for the users to navigate the application, and get through tasks quicker & easier. It’s great having you as users and developers of the application, because you truly know what is needed!

    I really like the incomplete feature, as I am spending time weekly cleaning up contacts. Everything looks great! Looking forward to December!

    How does the beta user roll out effect other users in our organization?

    Thanks!

  • Joey Gilbert

    I am excited about keeping the user interface fresh and look forward to the updates. Once I am able to get into using the new functionality, I should have a better idea of what will be useful to my individual needs. The one thing that I see most useful in my work environment is in app timer. Having this built in vs using an app will help out so much, not only for me, but my manager as well. I can see how the upgrades reaches across a wide range additional interface options and improvements. Its great to know the software always moving forward!

  • Mieke van Son

    I’m loving all the new features I’m seeing. Especially the timer. I’ve been having so many issues with the timer not populating the customer information. It drops out every single week and I have to go in and manually add my time. Way too busy to be doing that. I hope this new timer feature will take care of that. I love that you’re working on the navigation system as well. some activities right now take an awful lot of clicks and the system seems to be slower than ever. I can’t wait!!! Keep up the good work and all the improvements.

  • It’s a huge improvement. Clean and fresh UI. I’m so glad that I choose Work[etc] for our CRM and project management system. But I still waiting for better android app. Hope I’ll see it soon 🙂

  • Guest

    Love the new layout. Inline editing is one feature that I’ll definitely be able to use a lot. The scrollable discussions tab at the bottom is also a great replacement for the old discussion popups.

  • Brad Crowley

    The new user interface looks great! The redesign of the contact pages is a much needed change as it can be tedious at times to find what you are looking for. I am looking forward to the chat system as well, we can currently use chat in Gmail but don’t have a way to link it to a project. Keep up the good work!

  • Donna Grindle

    Looking forward to this update. The in app timer will likely be my favorite tool just because it is always there to remind our team to record their time.

    Also, that new Contact Page looks great. Never realized how much nicer it could look until that side by side comparison. Really looking forward to how much quicker that will likely be when I need to find something.

    Eagerly awaiting release dates on all these new updates. You keep teasing us and it isn’t fair. 🙂

  • I like the concept of the timer, too many work items are lost when working with clients and I feel this will help. Is it possible to get the timer interface to pop out into it’s own window. When I’m working it would be useful to place the timer window in the bottom corner of my screen so that it is always visible. This may help with minimising overruns on fixed-time contracts.

  • Allen Bayless

    Looking good! Nice design changes, and the inline editing sounds great!

  • Joe Harris

    Anything that makes the program more accessible and easier to understand for our less-than-tech-savvy users is a blessing. In-line editing is most welcome.

  • Looks great guys… a great step forward for WETC.
    We have lots of small user interface gripes which we all have high hopes will be cleared up with this release. That said – WETC is fantastic as it stands – let’s give it its due… and with a wholesale user interface upgrade like this?
    Smiles all round.

  • Work[etc] is impressive in its breadth and capabilities but up to now, in my mind, the UI hasn’t done justice to your software. This clean, inviting redesign will match the software functionality with the way it looks and feels and will make it hard to beat. I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

  • Bob Brown

    The pinned timesheet task is brilliant. Anything to reduce the drudgery of timesheet entry is a welcome addition. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • e2llc

    Great work, all fantastic updates. Look forward to seeing the updates.

  • Kieran Doyle

    Dan, reducing the throughput time in front of the screen is a welcome addition. In spirit of the “little big insights” that you were referring to earlier. I have a productivity challenge for you. How well does W[e] work when your computer is off or not accessible? Tech companies run the risk of going down the rabit hole because the frequent responders are well,…in front of a computer too.

    The scenario I present is one of the outside salesman, tech rep, the consultant, engineer or interior designer. Try this, come into office on Monday and spend an hour reviewing the week. Leave for three meetings, three locations and two traffic jams later, taking notes, making measurements, having conversations, make delivery commitments and schedule additional reviews. Return to computer at 4 PM. Transcribe all above and pin to job task, time sheet and schedule follow ups.

  • Loving this. I will be loving the in app timer. I love the inline editing feature as well! All of these are going to make Work Etc even better to use and the new design is an added bonus for sure!

  • erikakerlund

    So excited for this release, we are currently only 4 users trying the software out but as soon as this release hits I will be able to sell this to my whole company of 15. The inline-editing will help tremendously with contact maintenance since it will be easy to fix errors or outdated details while browsing the system. Everyone will be able to help out to get the roster as up to date as possible. Can’t wait for the beta!

  • Athens Kolias

    having manually deduplicated CRM files for other clients, I’m sweating a sigh of relief that WorkEtc is adding these functions to it’s next release.
    Also, the in-app timer will be really good to have, as I hate recording time. I just want to get the work done. I’m hoping this feature will be easy-peasey to use and hardly noticeable while “getting the work done”!

  • William McFaden

    Great work! I’m excited about the new feature sets. When will this go live?

  • John Belchamber

    Once again your team will be brining us a great update to WORKetc Daniel…well done.
    So often over the years I’ve used the tools (as DAvid McGarry said) you come up with ideas that I didn’t even know would make my day easier. It looks like you’ve done it again.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Louise Roberts

    I am very much looking forward to this new user interface. The inline editing feature will be incredibly useful and save time too. The colour changes should make it easier to pick out the area you want to navigate to and I’m lookin gforward to seeing and using this new version of WORKetc. Used by all our staff on a daily basis, this improvement will be welcomed by all, I’m sure.

  • As someone in a field that often bills on a per hour basis I’d love to say thanks for putting the timer function into the program. As far as workflow goes to have simple way to log hours worked on a clients project alongside other useable features will make life 10 times easier. From a perspective of all in one solutions Work[etc] is proving to be a serious contender.

  • Megan Hill Vangelist

    I’m excited about the new updates. The contacts edits will be great for me since I enter most of the contacts when answer help tickets. Also the built in timer is going to be the biggest item for me, because I have a really hard time remembering to go to the app when I start to work on a help ticket.

  • Tabitha Mills

    Making any system easier to use and better functioning is fantastic! Most days we spend so much time on mobile devices and just use our desktops at the end or beginning of a day! I love having access to everything that I need (or didnt even realise we needed until we saw it on Work(etc) lol) when and if I need it.

  • Branden

    Looks really great guys. I’m excited to be using the new UI full-time once it’s released. The web always looks better when it’s cleaner.

  • Mieke van Son

    Any idea when this will be? I love your system but at least once a week my desktop/online timer shuts down and I can’t use it. This really messes up my days. I’m ready for a new timer or something that will not slow down my work days so much…

    Besides I’m excited to find out how the new look will work. Can’t wait. Seriously getting frustrated with that timer though it’s been doing this for over a year now.

  • Mieke van Son

    I can’t wait! Any updates on this? Is there somewhere I can see updates on what’s coming?

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