[ic] Admin Redesign?

Mike Heins mike at perusion.com
Fri Aug 6 16:24:19 EDT 2004

Quoting Christopher J. Andre' (chris at tastingroom.com):
> Hello All,
> It's been less than a month, and my first client is already asking for a
> redesign of interchange's admin interface.  Their request makes a lot of
> sense really...they want less 'clicks' when managing orders and customer
> information.  
> To add even more credibility to my client's suggestions, I saw a
> competitor's ecommerce demo. Their admin interface solved all the usability
> issues my client mentioned....and then some.
> If you want to see the order management system demo, you can view it here.
> "nexternaldotcom"

Looks pretty good to me -- it may indeed be time for an overhaul in
IC 5.5.

> Here are some of my observations when comparing admins..
> 1. The links displayed immediately after logging into the interchange admin
> are redundant. After logging in, you should be directed to the order page.

That is certainly a matter of opinion. 8-) In any case, you can
do this by overriding the index page; or you can just have people
go to this link:


> Without a doubt, that is the admin's most frequented page.....

For some people, sure. But Interchange is used in many, many ways and
is integrated with many, many, backend order processing systems. Most high-volume
customers already have their own existing methodology for processing orders,
and it is not web-based.

> 2. 'pending orders' 
> On nexternal's demo site, it is possible to change the order status without
> leaving the 'pending order' page.  The rest of the information to be entered
> is done via a series of extremely fast loading pop-up scripts.  A new page
> never has to load.  This eliminates LOTS of pointing and clicking, and
> admins can quickly facilitate a large amount of orders and the entering of
> all the corresponding tracking numbers.

This can easily be done.

> 3. 'active customers' 
> Sorting of the customer list by ID isn't very useful.  I think displaying
> this information below would be more useful.
> Last Name	
> First Name	
> Email Address
> State
> Last Transaction Date	
> Customer Type (able to change customer type by selecting from pulldown menu)

The "Customer Type" will be extremely implementation-dependent. Again,
you can easily change the way these things are displayed in IC.

> 4 UPS label printing.  Nexternal has integrated with UPS so tightly that
> customers don't have to use the UPS software anymore.  Labels can be printed
> directly from the nexternal order management interface.  NO REDUNDANT ENTRY!

This is just a matter of doing the code -- I think someone has done some
work along these lines, but I have never been asked to do such a thing;
most of my customers are existing companies that already have a pick/ship
process that they use.

> 5 Create Invoice, Create Packing Slip...

Now we are getting into the ERP aspect again -- "Create Invoice" is something
that Interchange would not normally do except on a custom basis.

> 6. Nexternal has a great email interface that allows you to easily slice and
> dice your customer list, as well as print out postal mailing labels.

Not hard at all, assuming "slice and dice" can be defined.

> 7. Batch Processing
> These are things that I am going to have to address in order to stay in
> business.  Does anyone else out there have similar needs?  If so, maybe
> these concepts would be a good addition to the community project list.
> I'd also like to see some discussion about which of these requests are
> plausible, and which are not...

They are all plausible -- it is just a question of doing the pages and
code, after a reasonable definition process.

It is a lot of work. My guess is that I would be 50 hours in by the
time I got to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Perhaps the
best use of the time would be a more flexible order/display listing,
with defineable links for all of the columns. The individual popups
and batching procedures could then be added in on a case-by-case basis.

Mike Heins
Perusion -- Expert Interchange Consulting    http://www.perusion.com/
phone +1.765.647.1295  tollfree 800-949-1889 <mike at perusion.com>

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just
sit there." -- Will Rogers

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