Looking Back at History
Software user interface and experience have always been related to user adoption. A well thought out user interface is critical in order for software or apps to be successful. Countless great ideas have been ruined by not investing enough time and energy into user interface and experience. As an example, do you remember the screen below? Of course not—it was awful! Google tried to borrow an idea from Apple’s OS style, but users didn’t like it as it made little sense. Thankfully they revamped it in time for nearly all of us to have forgotten about it.
Figure 1: The Google homepage from the dawn of time.
Maybe you’ve noticed us beating this drum quite a bit recently, but it’s only to emphasize its importance. There are articles abound touching on the importance of user interface and experience, be it on LinkedIn, CIO, or other great channels, but that’s not why we are here.
This past Fall, Acumatica 2017 R2 was released. One of the major changes was an updated user interface, which always comes with potential pitfalls. How will users accept and use these changes? I’ll be honest, the old interface was not my favourite experience. There were some aspects it that were great, such as global search, but it was looking a little tired compared to other systems. Let’s look at what has changed and how users can leverage these changes.
Hello New Navigation Pane
The login page for Acumatica 2017 R2 has changed dramatically. Their designers have removed the old menu bar. Goodbye to this menu structure.
Figure 2: Acumatica’s previous menu bar.
And say hello to a user-friendly and more intuitive navigation pane.
Figure 3: The full navigation pane in Acumatica 2017 R2.
Looking for more on-screen real estate? The new icons let you collapse the navigation pane while still having access to it.
Figure 4: The collapsed navigation pane.
Or maybe you want to go one step further and remove it? You can dock the navigation pane entirely.
Figure 5: The docked navigation pane.
Introducing Quick Menus
Quick menus are also a vast improvement on how users can navigate to functionality within the old interface. All the functional area tools are displayed on one screen while Acumatica has kept a very consistent naming convention, called categories, across the platform. Users can also choose to hide or display functions of choice that are needed for day-to-day tasks by personalizing the system. System administrators are no longer needed to create custom menu screens for end-users.
Figure 6: Navigating with Quick Menus.
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Global Search, From Great to Greater
The Acumatica 2017 R2 release also includes improvements on some of the previously best features. Global search now group the searches based on the type of data Acumatica finds within the system. There are now four different data groupings:
- Menu Items to find functions within the system,
- Transactions and Profiles which returns documents and master data like customers,
- Help Articles from the knowledge base, and
- Files that have been attached within the system.
Figure 7: Menu Items view in global search.
Figure 8: Transactions and Profiles view in global search.
Overall, the look and feel of Acumatica is vastly improved in comparison to the old user interface. It brings the application into a simpler and more intuitive user interface that allows users to find data and functionality without multiple clicks. The development team has continued to build upon areas that needed improvement. Configuring your own interface is one, a users tailoring their preferences means easier and a more refined work output. Finally, grouping the global search is a nice addition to an already stellar piece of functionality.