While dashboards are nothing new to the world of enterprise software, they are becoming a window for core interaction and a unique differentiator for enterprise cloud applications.
UI/UX Design has come front and center for enterprise applications in the post-ERP era. Today the advantages of the platform are no longer linked to complex screens that promise the world, but need to be fine-tuned by a software engineer to be fully utilized.
The analogy I like to use is this: think of learning to drive a $2.6 million Formula One car, but it’s restricted to the track and takes years to learn by a professional driver. A 2016 $24K two-seater Miata convertible will achieve similar satisfaction and is a lot more accessible, easier to drive and certainly less expensive. Sometimes it’s more about the experience, not always the depth of functionality.
In this regard, as far as dashboards go, the essential element of the dashboard is the ability to easily navigate to and understand how to get what you’re looking for, and know where to go in the future when you need to get that task done again.
Pretty charts and visualizations can only take you so far, and deep, customizable features have their place for a select set of advanced users. For the average business user, however, just being able to get to where you need to be fosters adoption.
Therefore, in continuing our theme of material design, Determine is taking navigation and dashboards to next the level with the Determine Cloud Platform (DCP) to innovate the user experience. One of the driving factors is simplicity and ease of use.
Core Landing Pages
The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words can be taken to heart. Today, Determine is increasing the ease of navigation within the DCP by displaying menu items, widgets, metrics, etc., on landing pages that are specific to a particular business application.
Moreover, DCP business applications and search attributes (e.g., Requisitions, POs, Assets, Purchasing Contracts, Contract Data, Catalogs) now have landing pages that make it easier to find commonly used menu items, tasks, dashboards and metrics (KPIs and other reports).
Taking the car analogy further, some people prefer black sports cars over red. Some prefer the ambient light to be a different color. Some want track mode v. road mode. Whatever the tweak, there is something unique the user likes for future use.
Adapting navigation windows to a specific user, and allowing them to easily use shortcut capabilities that remain on display in an internet browser or mobile app, takes that user’s experience one step further.
Quick Access Menus
In this regard, the use of the “Quick Access menus” in DCP allows users to search a nested menu structure for frequently used items. Say you want to search for items related to contracts. As you can see in the following example, doing a search reveals that there may be several variations that include “contracts” as a search criteria.
In a robust platform like DCP, a contract search could also reveal a number of related criteria (think metadata, fields, reports, menus, etc.). Once found in the menu, users can pin the item to the menu or drag and drop the menu items so that they display in a preferred order.
By clicking the plus sign (+) next to the menu item that you want to pin, the item moves to the right side of the window and displays a minus sign (-) next to it. Clicking the minus sign unpins the menu item. Then simply close the menu when you are finished.
Searching for a menu item is easy with Quick Access. A fly-out window displays a search field. Type the menu item that you want to pin to the Quick Access menu, similar to others that have already been selected.
As the example shows, the user can now quickly access several dashboards related to contracts – in this case contract links, contract analysis and contract metadata.
But not all users are business users. In some cases IT may want to access the platform for reports. Or, like the following example, if an IT admin wants to monitor interfaces related to the DCP, typing “interfaces” provides a variety of options for the user from the same Quick Access menu.
Simple and easy sets of tasks require no training outside the box, and just make it more fun to get the job done. Since a picture is worth a thousands words, our SolutionWise UI/UX video overview explains it all.
To see how Determine is innovating the world of S2P in the cloud, learn more with these blogs:
- On the Curve of Innovation — Part 1: The Value of Material Design
- On the Curve of Innovation — Part 2: Establishing a Holy Triad of Data Management
- On the Curve of Innovation — Part 3: Enabling Collaboration & Self-Service with Workflow
- On the Curve of Innovation — Part 4: Managing for bespoke attributes creates efficiency and insight in Source to Pay