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Sneak Peek 2: Redesigned SmartViews, Contextual Activity Picker, and more

We’re in the final week of finalizing the features and changes that will be included in the next WORK[etc] release, so if you have any suggestions now's the time to tell us. While you're at it, check out this sneak peek at how the update is shaping up.

If you’ve been following WORK[etc] for a few years now, you would have noticed that we tend to undertake a massive release every 18 months or so. Aside from updating the interface and adding major features each time, we also fix around 200 or so “every-now-and-again” issues.

These are the little issues that would happen in, say, 1 out of 200 actions. By itself, each issue is inconsequential; as a user you quickly move on. But over time these tend to accumulate like barnacles on the hull of a ship, creating unnecessary drag on user productivity.

One of the ways we collect these issues (aside from being one of the biggest users of WORK[etc] ourselves) is from the Suggest A Feature forum available only to customers (you’ll need to be logged into your account to view). I regularly work through every single item in this list, evaluate them, and, if suitable, schedule them into the major releases.

This is important to mention right now as we’re in the final week of locking down what will be included in this release. If you have a WORK[etc] feature suggestion or idea on how to improve the user experience, then please jump into the forum and post your thoughts.

In the meantime, here are some more previews of how the new release is shaping up.

SmartViews

SmartViews

The new SmartView tool replaces both the old SmartList tool as well as Saved Filters.

Conceptually, SmartLists (filter your data) and Saved Filters (filter a screen of data) achieve the same outcome. They both create a customized view of your CRM database depending on how you applied variables such as project management, billing, custom fields, etc.

The new SmartView tool also allows you to save your custom SmartView as an item in the Top Menu bar. You can also create a Smartview and, with the right access permissions, push that SmartView to show in the Top Menu in your colleagues’ accounts.

For example, lets say I decide that a core activity my top-performing sales team needs to do each week is review a list of Priority One customers who have spent more than $100,000 in the last 12 months and who we have not made contact with in 30 days. Using the SmartView tool I would select the output as Contacts, with the Tag called Priority One, where Invoiced is Greater than $100,000, and where activity is zero for the last 30 days. I then select the Workgroup called Sales-team Alpha and publish this SmartView through to their menu. Everyone in Sales-team Alpha now has that SmartView available to them with a single mouse click.

As you can see from the screenshot, we’ve also made creating SmartViews simpler with a new streamlined selection and filtering tool.

Finally, you’ll now be able to do a lot more with a SmartView. For example, a SmartView can be used to create a “live and updating” mail list, meaning that every time you send out to this mail list, the SmartView will be updated and contacts can be added or removed depending on your SmartView criteria. And don’t worry, we’re making sure all your existing SmartLists will still be available from within the SmartView core module.

New Data Grid / Tables

Data Grid

Above is the new design for the data grid, or what you might call the table, that is used throughout WORK[etc]. The new table includes a number of enhancements, including simple in-line editing and perpetual scrolling.

With in-line editing, if you notice missing or incorrect information on a screen, you can simply click that cell and immediately type in the correct information (without having to load a new edit screen or even hit the save button).

With perpetual scrolling, new results are loaded into the data table as you scroll down the page. We’re using a hybrid version of pagination and scrolling here that allows you to either jump ahead to a specific page or keep scrolling down and auto-load each page of data. The extra benefit here is a clever CSS script that allows you to just print the table data without also printing all the user interface and browser elements.

Activity Picker – Auto-Suggest, Context, and Search

Activity Picker

One of the most powerful features of WORK[etc] is the ability to “attach anything to anything.”

For example, if you get support case concerning a customer issue with your product, you can simply create a task for your maintenance team to review. The support agent is able to monitor task progress and give feedback directly to the customer via the original support ticket. If you’re a sales agent, you can attach a project to your sales lead and with that project involve the product team to get their help with the pitch.

With the new “Attach To” tool we’re making the search logic more intuitive and introducing a faster means of viewing context. For example, you’ll now be able to type into the Attach To field and WORK[etc] will auto-suggest matches from your recently accessed items. The logic here is you’re more likely going to want to attach the current work item to something you’ve viewed recently, rather than an item that hasn’t been viewed for 6 months.

The other issue we’re resolving here is for companies that might have a lot of tasks or projects with the same name. For example, one WORK[etc] customer will perform an audit for every new client they win but they simply call that project “Audit” every time out of habit. This means that if they want to attach something to a particular client “Audit “ project, they have to scroll through a heap of projects with the same name trying to identify the right project. In the new Activity Picker, we display a hierarchy of context next to each activity to help you identify the exact item you’re looking for.

Got Questions, Concerns, Ideas?

This is our second update so far as we plough through development. Please understand that this is a huge undertaking (as always!) and we’re all 100% committed to delivering on everything we want to do with this next release. If you have any concerns or questions, ask them in the comments below.

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