Ready Room

Spring Cleaning

Post by
Peter Lacey
Spring Cleaning

(Word count: 1,344)

Just as an early spring rejuvenates the spirit, this weekend’s release of Ready Room breathes new life into the user interface and adds one important feature.

Summary

This release introduces the following improvements to Ready Room:

  • UI improvements to the inspection board
  • UI improvements to viewing and editing individual requests
  • UI improvements to the inspector portal
  • "Fast Action" editing
  • A "Restricted SME" persona who can only view and change requests assigned to them.
Inspection Board UI Improvements

On the inspection board we concentrated on making the individual cards more clear and more useful. The two images below show the old and new request cards.

New Look

In the new version (left) the card header contains only the system generated ID and the custom identifier, if any. The all-important title has been moved from the cramped header to the card’s body, allowing us to display as much as three times more information in eye-grabbing bold. Similarly, the assignee has been moved from the crowded footer and given pride of place at the top of the card body (the red, green, and gray color coding remain as before). The “staged” and “hard copy” icons have also been promoted to the top of the card. Following the title we now render approximately 25 words of the description, without any unnecessary scrolling, followed by the label pills at the very bottom.

Old Look

The now roomier footer shows the relative age of the request, the number of comments (new!), and the number of documents attached. Note that the icon now used for comments was previously used for storyboards, thus the storyboard icon has been changed to a grid of squares, which is more indicative of storyboards anyway.

There are a few more changes that are not as immediately evident. To wit: It is now possible to click anywhere on the card to open it and to click-and-hold anywhere on the card to drag it! We have also introduced a few icons to help promote understanding, tightened up the shadow effect for a crisper presentation, and removed the blue gradient previously (and redundantly) used for signaling staged requests.

Individual Requests UI Improvements
View Request with Fast Action

The first thing you’ll likely notice when viewing a request (beyond the increased size) is the light shadowing effect that makes it easier to distinguish among the request’s components (data, labels, files, etc.). More important, though, is how the core request data is rendered. Instead of an undifferentiated list of fields taking up most of the content area, the request data is now arranged neatly and meaningfully towards the top of the request. Icons and colors are used to focus the eye and inform the user, and most un-entered data is simply not shown at all.

Fast Actions

Editing request data has also changed. First, we introduce the new Fast Action section (as shown on the left) that adheres to our principle that it should be easy to do the thing you are most likely to do.

For instance, when a card is in the Assign column (as shown), the assignee field is presented at the top of the request, open and ready to use. When the card is in the Fulfill column, the Formal Response field is made available. And when in the Inspector Review column, debrief notes are available. There's no Fast Action for the Ready Room and Host reviewers.

When you need to edit any other field, there is a new “Edit” button below the request data. Clicking this brings up a form containing all of the fields for editing. Not only does the new edit form replace the somewhat annoying field-by-field click-by-click pattern of old, it also resolves the issue of possibly losing work due to a dropped network connection.

It’s important to note that the edit view also gets its own URL, e.g., https://readyroom.net/example.com/inspections/a07a5799-0f64-43ad-9738-c7aedc3699b1/tasks/44/edit, that you can bookmark, email, or otherwise use to get directly to a task’s edit view, if you have permission to access it.

A few other things of note:

  • The “task complete” toggle remains on the top header.
  • You can now click anywhere on the label bar to add/remove labels, instead of just on the tag icon.
  • The audit history now captures the field settings at create time.
  • The file upload and comment sections are restyled slightly.
  • And most importantly, you can now close the request dialog (and all other dialogs) by clicking outside of it!
Inspector Portal UI Improvements

The last UI change of note concerns the inspector view. The inspector view has always been intentionally sparse, but there’s a fine line between sparse and grim, and earlier versions of Ready Room crossed it. With the current release, we do away with the simple table, and replace it with an attractive list of task elements that, per the theme of this release, conveys more information in less room.

New Inspector Portal

As you can see in the picture, basic metadata is neatly and clearly organized on the left; the title and formal response (if any) are displayed in full in the middle, and over on the left is a (scrolling!) list of files. Hovering the mouse over any task will cause that task to visually expand and appear to float above the page (the first one in the picture above). Clicking on the “complete” button, will toggle the bar on the left between green (active) and red (complete). And as before, the “hide” button in the upper left will filter completed tasks off the screen.

The Restricted SME Persona

Ready Room has always made it effortless to invite a team member into an inspection. Similarly, Ready Room has always allowed team members to change personas without restricting what actions they can perform. The goal of both of those requirements is to reduce friction during an otherwise hectic time. Subject matter experts (SMEs) provide a challenge, however. Frequently, SMEs are not part of the core inspection team, they tend to receive little or no training, and may not even be employees of the sponsor being investigated. In other words, they can’t be expected to stay in their lane.

In these cases, there is a need to provide a much more limited view of the inspection and to curtail what actions certain SMEs are able to take. That is, you should be able to invite a user from BigCRO.com, but they shouldn’t be able to open every ticket and examine every document. To resolve this, Ready Room introduces the Restricted SME persona.

When an admin gives a team member the persona of Restricted SME, that user is presented with a view of the inspection even more spartan than the inspector’s view. The only thing they can see is a table containing the unfulfilled tasks that have been assigned to them. That is, they can see their own to-do list.

Restricted SME View

When a Restricted SME opens a request, they get a view similar to the normal view, but missing certain elements that they don't need to see, such as the requesting inspector or the debrief notes. Via the Fast Action field, they can modify only one data element: the formal response. Of course, they can upload and download documents and leave comments as always.

A Restricted SME may send the task back if they believe they received it in error, or, more likely, send it forward after they have fulfilled the request. In both cases they will get an “Are you sure?” prompt (since they can’t access the request afterwards), and after clicking okay, the task will disappear from their view and be moved to the top of the Assign or Ready Room Review column as appropriate.

Keep in mind that the Restricted SME view is as dynamic as the rest of the inspection, as tasks move in and out of the Fulfill column on the inspection board, they will move in and out of the restricted view too.

We trust you’ll find the Restricted SME persona a valuable addition to Ready Room and we welcome your feedback on the UI/UX improvements.