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My 2 cents from being a user in stead of a developer
Since the company I maintain a coreBOS installation for lost an employee who in turn took over from me once, I am spending the majority of september filling in for him untill his permanent replacement arrives. That means that in stead of being a coreBOS developer, I am back to being a user for a month. That means I have a unique chance to experience and learn where coreBOS can improve from a 'regular' user standpoint. In stead of my personal coreBOS installation, where I only keep track of my own handful of customers, invoices and time control records, I now work with an installation that has been in use for 7 years, holds over 2.000 accounts, 10.000 SalesOrders and many more records of other types.

One of the first things that really pop out is that we need a better way to visually organize data. This means not only switching to LDS. LDS will make us prettier, not smarter. Sure, some things will stand out more due to a better use of colours but if we don't change the way we present data we won't be making any real changes. As someone who knows the system pretty well, I found myself opening many tabs when handling a single case file and losing track of what I was looking at pretty fast. And that's me, I know the system. Imagine someone that is not as well introduced into the system as I am.

So one of the first things that come to mind is a system for master detail presentation. Joe and I have talked about this many times, we have a draft of a Business Map and some prototyping on an implementation for InventoryDetails. I think we should start there and continue to build, make it modular, flexible and extendable. In the end we should be able to present a lot of data on a single page without confusing the user.

Something else that came to mind while contemplating master-detail was the number of levels. Master-detail implies two. You can view and edit a detail records from the view of the master record. But sometimes (more often than you would expect) you would need some access (maybe read only) to a record on a third level. Opening this record on the master record as a master-detail-detail view would (I think) be an overkill and would drown the user in information. But what if we could 'sidebar' it? With that I mean, open a record on a third, or even a deeper level using a narrow sidebar in a responsive vertical view. All this while still maintaining to be in the master record. Screens today have a tendency to be 16:9, or even wider. I think we have the room to do this without cluttering the main record (and the first detail level). Call this a 'sneak preview sidebar' if you will.

Whatever we do, I think we should focus on presenting the user with a lot of data in a single screen while still remaining clear what data you are looking at.

To that end, I think we should have some more visual aids in separating modules. Right now at a glance, it all looks pretty much the same. Which is good for consistency in the UI, and minimalizes our efforts to template, but also prohibits you from quickly knowing what you're looking at instinctively. I think we should do something about that too. On separate tabs, but also in future master-detail views and/or possible other views, like the sidebar I proposed. That could mean colors, icons and so on. Just anything that's both nice to look at and crystal clear.

These are my 2 cents at this point in time from being a user in stead of a developer, trying to fill in the blind spots we develop next to our code. Please feel free to comment, criticize and add.

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My 2 cents from being a user in stead of a developer - Guido1982 - 09-11-2018, 01:17 PM

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