User-friendliness: less complexity and more flexibility
Last Friday, Weagree released our spring 2015 contract creation software update containing numerous new features. These features, rather than making the administrator tool more complex, bring about more flexibility and less complexity in the template building process.
Being – as ever – focused on user-friendliness, we are proud to present the following new functionality:
1. Significant improvements of the Q&A-functionality:
a) Answer-visibility. The visibility of individual Q&A answer options can be set with reference to a minimum user authorisation level. The result is that certain answers to Q&A questions will be unavailable to users of a lower level, whilst higher level users may still opt for them. Apart from the obvious filtering effect, it will make it possible for a legal department to delegate contract creation to the business.
b) Tick boxes. These are selectable Q&A boxes, allowing to tick one or more options (or none at all). Since Weagree’s prototyping we had no specific need to introduce tick boxes: single tick box (‘clause inclusion’) had been there since the beginning; listed tick-boxes could easily be dealt with differently. Their availability adds to the flexibility.As part of this functionality, we also provided for a solution to determine how ticked elements should be separated (e.g. commas or semi-colons), and to automatically place a penultimate separator (“; or ” or “, and “) in the correct (penultimate) place.
c) Dropdowns. Apart from country lists, we never had a specific need for dropdown-questions. The availability of this type of Q&A-question will improve the perception of the users: they use considerably less screen-space than radio buttons (which have the same function), but they may also reduce a user’s inclination to change the default selection.
d) Lookup lists. An unexpectedly powerful solution comes with the introduction of lookup lists. Whilst the user is presented with a list of simple Q&A-answer options, the selected answer can put several related answers in the correct place.
Example 1, if the sales manager selects one product from a list of products, the fields addressing product ID, packaging form (bottles or cans, trays or pallets), unit price, volume discounts will be inserted automatically.
Example 2, if the HR manager identifies a function title (e.g. director, team manager, co-worker shared service center or secretary), the applicable question addressing the correct range of salary scales can be triggered: for the director 10-12, and for the co-worker and secretary the salary scales proposed during the Q&A will be limited to other ranges.
e) ‘If unanswered‘. It is at times difficult to answer a Q&A question during contract creation. Particularly with dates, the signing date is unknown. Thus far, it was impossible to replace the date with a non-date text element (such as a thick blob • (much thicker than here). Drawing an unanswered question to the user’s attention by marking it is now possible.
The implementation of these changes has been done in such a way that an administrator will intuitively pick the most suitable option.
2. Improved workflow:
a) Subtab my colleagues: it will be possible to pick up your colleagues’ work when they are away or have left the firm. This functionality requires being switched on (per user).
b) Re-routeability of a contract entry (divertability / rearrange). We expanded the workflow capabilities by allowing an approver to create a contract and to push it back to a ‘submitter’. This functionality enables a shared services center to answer part of the Q&A-answers, to reroute the contract entry to an HR manager and to receive back the (answered and) submitted Q&A for finalisation and approval.
3. Insert pictures. We made it possible to insert pictures in the contract text (e.g. a picture of the general terms and conditions), as well as on the cover page, headers and footers. Obviously, this leaves your current tailoring of the contract house style unaffected; it gives greater flexibility in positioning a logo.
4. Inline numbering. Sometimes, a clause lists a number of items, within the paragraph separated by “(a)”, “(b)”, “(c)” etc. To facilitate that such items are inserted or deleted as a result of the Q&A (or if you want to have your contracts ‘the royal way’), they can now be numbered automatically. If an item is removed, the others renumber automatically.
5. Various optimisations for users in:
a) the underwater screen;
b) the knowhow-management functionality and the clause library;
c) although (slow) ‘speed’ is by no means an issue in the Weagree Wizard: performance improvements if several users generate a contract at exactly the same time.
6. Various optimisations for administrators:
a) in the template creation tool, upon opening a template, an automatic check whether all settings are set (and if not, the administrator is automatically prompted to fix it);
b) a filter on accessibility of templates (i.e. administrators will only be able to modify templates from groups of which they are a member);
c) optimised design and arrangement of icons (colouring and positioning of buttons are slightly more intuitive);
d) several technical improvements allow a multitude of administrators to insert templates (or to work together on one single template) at the same time;
e) inserting and handling tables.
7. …and yes, a few bug fixes.
- Connectivity with external applications (e.g. Effacts, SAP, Salesforce, Ariba, Oracle, public companies registries, and ‘easy ones’ such as Sharepoint and WorkSite). We will start with the most challenging one, because it is complex and not web-based: SAP. Our solution will obviously be highly user-friendly and will enable multiple-source and multiple-target connectivity. Our software development company is a certified SAP-partner. They will set up an SAP-demo portal connected with the Weagree Wizard.
- Multilingual interface. All text labels anywhere in the Weagree Wizard will become customisable and translatable (e.g. in Dutch, French, Chinese), as is already possible with the Q&A and contract text.
- Maximising flexibility in the user interaction design!
- Focus on knowledge management. As you know, the success of contract assembly depends on the quality and number of model contracts. We will create solutions by which our experience in this field will become better accessible, and which empowers you to work on your model contracts.
- Last but not least, we have tripled the workforce for realising these projects. This increased programming capacity also improves the response time of our technical support.