Using Saleslogix Web
Posted By: nicocrm on June 2nd, 2008 in Saleslogix
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Today I am using the web client as I am working from home (we track our development projects using tickets in Saleslogix so I actually do use Saleslogix continuously throughout the day… I find this is a very good thing as it gives me a lot of "user-side" insight).  I thought this would be a good occasion to gather thoughts on a lot of annoyances in the web client and reasons that I do not find it an acceptable alternative to the current LAN client, from a user point of view instead of my usual developer point of view.  I am not going to talk about the bugs like the fact that you can randomly get disconnected or the fact that the ticket punch out doesn’t work half the time – just the usability issues. 

These are in no particular order (other than the order in which they presented themselves to me):

  1. Performance.  Even though there have been considerable improvements with the last service pack it still takes too long to log in, switch tab, switch between groups, switch between main views.  Also there are too many postbacks when selecting values in the form and they are too slow (e.g. after selection of area/category/issue you have to wait 2 to 3 seconds before continuing your edits…).
  2. Keyboard focus in lookups.  When I open a lookup I would like to be able to type in the search field, press enter, move the selection using the arrow, and press enter again to select the record.
  3. Keyboard navigation in forms.  You can’t use the application during the whole day if you have to pick each answer with the mouse.  Typically this is something that will be very important to our most ardent Saleslogix users, so not something you want to skimp on.
    1. No clear indication of where the focus is
    2. Shift-tab (to cycle back through the controls) does not work for some reason (don’t know if it is an IE deficiency or something broken with the web client.  But it is annoying)
    3. Doesn’t seem to be a way to select a picklist value using the keyboard.
    4. Same with the date controls
  4. Groups UI.  Well, they are revamping that in 7.5, so I don’t see any need to expand on that.
  5. Groups.  Too many times I have a group that works perfectly in the LAN client but crashes the web client.
  6. Too easy to lose unsaved data.  We need a "You have unsaved data" prompt.  Or an autosave as on the LAN client.  The little reminder in the lower left corner is not enough (not to mention the fact that it often pops up when nothing has been modified, so I really don’t pay attention to it anymore).
  7. Form layout.  The size of the popup rarely fits the contained form and you are often left with either a bunch of blank space on the sides or scrollbars.  It is ugly and unprofessional looking.
  8. Calendar.  The calendar is completely unusable if you have more than 2 or 3 appointments within a month due to the abysmal performance.  Also I am not sure whether that normally syncs with Outlook (I have the ActiveX disabled so couldn’t check).
  9. A lot of the tabs where they did not spend the extra development time are not as usable as they should be: not sortable, default column width are not appropriate, there is a big ugly "Edit" column to bring up the popup.
  10. Unable to drag attachments to the page – this is another big one for me as we use a lot of attachments to track progress

Before this is mistaken for a rant post I would like to balance the above points by the fact that there are a few things that actually work better in the web client!

  1. Picklists look better.  Multi select picklists need some work though.
  2. I like the fact that it keeps coming back to the selected group instead of throwing you to a lookup result group, when you click on a link to edit a single record.
  3. It is nice to have the multiple link columns and be able to go to either the Ticket, Account or Contact from the group view.  Although I wish you could double click on the row to get the default link.
  4. With IE7 or Firefox I can have one tab on one account and one tab on one contact and easily switch between them.  I wish the title on the tabs reflected the record being edited instead of just "Sage SalesLogix".
  5. The Back button is in my opinion easier to use than the one on the LAN client.
  6. The ability to bookmark or email links to specific records or (sometimes) groups.  Technically this should be possible in the LAN client using the slx:// links but Sage never pushed on that.
  7. The activity reminder is not as invasive.
  8. TABS. That one is pretty awesome. I can start from the list view, mid-click 10 tickets, and have them all open so I can compare them.
  9. And finally the #1 thing to love about the web client, NO NEED TO SYNC.

Well that is it for me.  Sadly there are still a few showstoppers that make it unpractical to use the web client in my daily work much as I would like to.  I am sure the situation will improve soon.  I am going to try and remember to revisit this post after each service pack to find out if the concerns have been addressed.

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