A new way to develop a FileMaker CRM
Today’s treat is a Customer Relations Manager (CRM) prototype designed by Senior FileMaker Designer Gary Brusanowski.
So what makes this FileMaker CRM prototype different? All of the functionality exists on one layout. That’s it, just one layout. And it works. Beautifully.
I Skyped with Gary recently and we talked about the impulse that led him to consider, then develop, such a unique design.
It comes down to what a fellow developer once told Gary: A user will click three times and be confused, and will call for help And I don’t want to get that call.
That observation led Gary to a couple of conclusions:
- Stay where you started (don’t navigate away)
- Show only what you need, when you need it.
And that led to this design (don’t adjust your sound, the video has none):
One thing I immediately noticed when watching this: The data screens sliding in from a fixed point on the layout. It reminded me of the Hamburger Menu technique developed by Mike Duncan at Soliant. Which is where Gary learned of the technique, too, by the way.
As you see, Gary took that technique to the next level by sliding in screens with only the information needed to complete the task, and closing them when on task completion or when the user decides to cancel.
All leaving the user in a comfortable, known place.
The second video dives deeper into extreme automation, showing how to print a report with only a few clicks, but without leaving the only layout:
It’s just a prototype
Sadly, this prototype file is just that: a prototype. It’s functionality is limited to basic CRM and needs more to flesh it out to a complete system.
And the development technique is complex–Gary had to develop techniques for developing on a very crowded layout. But I suspect users would love the simplicity and the UX.
Don’t stop there
One variation that springs to mind: Develop a layout like this one for each major grouping in a solution. It breaks the one layout guideline, but if you kept the design similar on each panel, then navigation would only be two levels deep, keeping the user in a comfortable, familiar zone in each area. Still a major improvement in design and easier on the user and the developer.
What do you think?