Netsuite is putting in some overtime in getting their customer’s ready for a large change. They are finally updating the look of their interface.
For those customers who have eCommerce via Simple Website, Site Builder or Suite Commerce Advanced, the common term is the backend website when referring to the NetSuite interface. These webpages were last updated in 2008, with functional changes in each and every release.
The current release is 2014.1 and NetSuite is preparing for their new version 2014.2 in the August/September timeframe. As part of that new release, NetSuite has offered free training to their customers on the improved UI.
So what gives?
The big shift is in the area of fonts. They are bigger. NetSuite is finally following the internet trend of making the font more readable, and easier to see. However, when you increase the size of an element in your webpage, something else has to give. What gives in this instance is a better utilization of pop-over text which stays hidden until you place your mouse cursor over the area.
NetSuite is making great use of this feature but this feature does have some learning curves. Knowing what area to move the mouse to see these prompts is critical to understanding the navigation. Many times users, who are unfamiliar with where something is located, will not move their cursor until they locate their target. It is critical to remind users to keep the mouse moving, and treat the mouse like a bird dog trying to find the bird. Once the pointer rolls over the right area, users catch on. Until they do, there may be lots of questions about where some things are placed.
The top navigation bar however doesn’t give. That is a good thing. The bar now stays put keeping the new centered (and all powerful) Global search in the top of the screen. Global Search used to be on the right side of the screen and a smaller box. In my opinion this is one of the killer features of NetSuite when you know how to configure it. Also, new record creation is now moved to this top bar allowing the creation of a new record at any time on the current page. Lastly, the menu system has been improved for when there are more menu options than screen. They now just slide down to give you access.
Having a backbone
The new design actually has a backbone. Backbone.js that is. Backbone allows the interface to respond to various size screens better. This will make full screen use as well as Tablet use a simple process. There is also more whitespace to allow users to use their fingers to navigate.
One additional change is the movement of elements at the bottom of the page, to the top. This makes the ability to scroll the records screens much easier.
Keeping the form clean
We mentioned this earlier, but NetSuite has moved many of the icons and action elements in a form to being available only when the field has focus. This does increase the users ability to interact with the form easier on a tablet, but also allows NetSuite to be a bit more creative in the actions around the fields.
The forms are much easier to read, with the emphasis on the data rather than emphasis on the application.
Things that make you go meh
There are several things that really don’t matter that much. NetSuite has improved the Dashboard with a new way to customize the Dashboard. While the Dashboard customization is critical to applications like NetSuite, this is mostly a “do it once” thing for most users. Once they get the dashboard they desire, most users don’t change the dashboard. Unless there is something new to put on it… and we can help in that area.
NetSuite is also phasing out old browser support but still support Chrome, Firefox, Safari and because they must, Internet Explorer. You will want to make sure you are on the latest revisions of your browser for the change.
NetSuite is also still supporting all the existing SuiteScript code which uses the nlapiCreateForm, but if you have custom HTML code in your portlets or Suitelets, you are going to want to review this code to make sure it works with the new design.
If you started with NetSuite prior to 2010.2, you will want to make sure all your forms are updated. These old forms will NOT be supported in the new interface. NetSuite was not clear on what would happen, but just that they are not supported. You must upgrade to the newer version of the form.
For all the nitty gritty details, NetSuite has release a PDF with some additional information.
(These images are snapshots from NetSuite’s demo and are copyright of NetSuite Inc. Usage of these photos is to educate those who are current NetSuite customers, partners, or intending to purchase their product. In no manner does Office Data & Design, LLC take ownership of these images.)