Simple UI suggestion: Summary button

A simple suggestion that would save a lot of people a lot of clicks:

Move the “Summary” button from the side navigation bar to the top main menu between the <Back button and the Business button (or have it both on top and on the side nav bar), so it’s always visible and never scrolls off the screen.

That way, it’s always one click to get out of a report or any other page and back to the “main” screen. No scrolling needed!

Very good idea Jon

Summary screen is logically within Businesses tab. So it cannot be next to it. That would violate mental model I’m trying to establish.

I would rather implement some keyboard shortcuts which could take you back to Summary screen (or some other screen) without scrolling around.

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Funny, it never occurred to me that the top navigation bar items are actually tabs! I see that now, and I understand what you mean.

Still, the < Back button is up there next to the tabs, so why not a Summary or Home button? Going through Businesses means an additional click, and using the Back button can mean many, many clicks.

How about this, to put this issue together with the Screen Is Too Wide issue: Allow the left-nav bar to auto-collapse (or get rid of the text labels alt0gether in the left-nav bar and just go with icons and tooltips/hover-text), and put the nav-bar in its own frame so it stays in place even when the main part of the screen scrolls up or scrolls right. That way, the Summary button would be where it belongs, and it would never go away. Problem solved.


I really like this idea.

That is actually a very good idea Jon - putting the nav-bar in its own frame so that when you scroll down for other part of screen the lhs menu is always visible. This is something that has irritated me for a while, but never thought of using frames - I guess that you are a website developer huh!

I am not sure about your suggestion of removing the wording and just keeping the picture. That works well with modules that you use al the time, but I don’t want to have to click on things to see which picture is for whatever module I am looking for. I don’t really think that the screen width issue is anything to do with the size of the lhs menu, but more to do with screen size being set by specific pixel sizes instead of percentages of screen width?

But I definitely endorse the separate frame for LHS Menu as I am always scrolling up to get back to summary screen! :grinning:

The problem with this proposal is that sometime the left navigation can be longer than vertical space.

If that’s the case, you will have two scrollbars. One for left navigation and one for content…

The best solution would be to add shortcuts support. That way if you find yourself jumping to certain screen often, you can simply associate that screen with some shortcut, like CTRL + S for Summary screen. Etc.

@Lubos: The solution you propose would require taking hands off the mouse and moving eyes off the screen in order to type a chord. From a usability perspective, that’s at least as bad as the current situation.

There really should be a Home (or Summary) button in the upper left corner that never moves, right next to the Back button.

(And how about a Forward button while we’re at it, to go with the Back?)

Sorry to Dig up an old Thread but easier then starting a new one.

I have a suggestion as to how to compact the menu on the Left side or as a Horizontal Bar. Group sections together have the all the related in a folder or ribbon like in Office eg Business -> Customers -> Sales Quote, Sales Order, Sales Invoices, Credit Note, Delivery.

Do you know how many people consider the Office ribbon the most irritating thing ever invented? The thing people were requesting in earlier posts was a way to keep things visible, not make them disappear.

Sorry to drag up an old’ish thread, but the current top menu items seem to me to be items I don’t care about on a day to day basis whilst running my business. Perhaps a collapsible navigation triggered by a settings/hamburger icon would be appropriate?

Then the top menu, which stays visible all the time when in an active business, can have all the shortcuts you want in it without changing the current workspace, such as: Summary | Spend Money | Create New Invoice | Create New Customer.

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The underlying design philosophy for Manager’s user interface makes items intended for all users visible in the top menu bar. Things like creating new invoices and customers are only useful to those who have enabled certain tabs. Such functions are available within the tabs.

@Tut: As you like to say, I disagree. @Zark raises an excellent point. The top navigation bar is very valuable UI real estate, and it’s put to poor use here. Manager is an excellent – even awesome – program, but there are a number of basic, universally accepted User Experience principles that are not adhered to in Manager’s user interface. Among these are the one that @Zark raises and the one that I raised in starting this thread: Functions that are most-frequently used should be accessible through a minimal number of clicks (optimally, one) on a control that is always visible (or at least always easily accessible) in an intuitive location and labeled in a semantically clear way. Conversely, functions that are rarely used should not clutter the interface but should be accessible through a subsidiary menu or other control.

I agree with @Zark, that the top-menu bar is rarely – or literally never – used. Some oft-used features on the left-side navigation bar scroll off the screen vertically at times (like the Summary tab) or, if too many tabs are activated, start off below the bottom of the screen (like the Settings tab and the Customize link). As for the metaphor of the left-side navigation bar representing tabs in a notebook, unfortunately the visual implementation doesn’t even make it clear that the navigation links are meant to be tabs so the metaphor doesn’t hold well for most users.

It’s little details like these (and like the upside-down triangle issue and the screen too wide issue, for example) that make the Manager UI look less polished. The feature set, the efficiency of the code, the price (free!), and most of all @Lubos’s dedication and commitment and customer-focus all make Manager a spectacular piece of work, for which I and so many of us are extremely grateful. Adding a little polish in the way of streamlining and perfecting the UI would improve the overall user experience and take Manager to the next level.

Fortunately, @Jon, we don’t have to disagree. I wasn’t defending the UI design, only explaining the current state to @Zark. Clearly, the principles you discuss are excellent guidelines.

One thing I would really like to see is easier access to comprehensive documentation/guidance from within the program. While this forum is great for raising problems and asking questions, there are many aspects the program that are incompletely covered in the Guides. Context-specific help would be welcome, including background guidance on how features are intended to be used. We see a lot of confusion, especially on inventory-related topics. Users experiencing problems are now at the mercy of well-intentioned but incompletely informed others (such as you and me) to resolve many problems. The hectic pace of development, though, seems to take priority over solidifying the experience of users. Perhaps that is an unavoidable price we pay for the unbelievable responsiveness by the developer.

I think that your idea has tremendous merit in terms of removing the current top menu tabs which are almost never used by the vast majority of people. Its is retail space that is being wasted. In addition, where the company name and Backup is located is another row of wasted retail space.

What I would recommend is replacing the tabs with buttons for Summary Page, Reports, Settings, Customize and Prferences.

That would accomplish the following:

  1. Reduce the number of Items on the LHS
  2. Only the modules where all the data is entered is on the LHS. Settings and Reports and so on, would naturally work together on the top row as you don’t enter data there. So it separates the modules from the default things like Reports and Summary Page.
  3. Also Reports and Settings don’t get used frequently and its logical to separate frequently used items from the infrequent ones.
  4. Moving the Summary Page to the top will help users get back to the Summary Page quickly, without having to scroll up all the time.
  5. It would mean that virtually everything that is always visible - the top row and the LHS section are populated with links that people use quite frequently.

Some other changes that I would make

I would move About Manager, Guides, Preferences, Backup and Forums into the Settings Tab and I would move the Company Name on the Second Row - where it says backup - and put the company name in the top Row.
I would move non-inventory items and inventory kits into the LHS section as it should be in the same area as inventory items and more importantly it reduces the number of clicks to get there.
I would move Customize into the Settings Section and I would rename customize as modules.
I would move backup to settings and rename that “export business” as one should use this to export your data to another computer, not as a backup system. You should have a proper automated backup regime that backsup your data to a NAS or cloud storage.
I would move the recurring payslips button into the payslips module and the same for the recurring sales invoices so settings can then only ever be used for actual settings for the program.
I would rename Cash Accounts as Money Accounts as it really is the best name for it and is more intuitive for many users who don’t equate cash with bank accounts.

I understand the point that Lubos made about the top row containing links that are pertinent to all businesses within Manager, but Summary Page, Reports, Settings, Customize and Preferences are all settings that are present in every business and some of them like Customize and Preferences can actually go in Settings. So I think that this would work well as we would have defaults like Summary Page on the top and have all the modules (that are selected in customize) on the LHS.

What do other people think?