The term, "limited screen real estate", is a recurring one when designing for FSA iPhone/Android. There's a constant battle to decide how much information we fit on the screen. So when we started to design the "lines" of a work order, we adopted a list format where each line is limited to three fields.
As you can see in these screens, we've come to understand lines as a way to track expenses, labor, and parts — but these are merely our assumptions. Today, I want to challenge our assumptions and explore how you and your technicians think about lines.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on the topic so that we can continue to improve our product for you and your technicians.
UX Designer | Mobile
Also, please let us know if you'd like to see more of these blog/discussion posts that we're unofficially calling "Design Moments". It's something that we (the UX team) have been experimenting with to showcase new designs and upcoming changes with the community to get feedback and validation.
Hey Adam Homoly, Aleem Khawaja, Steve Mintz, Michael Majerus, Richard Lewis, Sharath Satheesh, Warren Halberstadt, and Toni Lou! I saw you commented on the last Design Moment discussion that focused targeted screens for technicians out in the field, and thought you might be interested in looking at another Design Moment conversation!
Hello Darrin Lin.
From a process perspective, our Engineers enter Work Details while onsite in the field. They do this in order to capture accurate date stamps which are automatically set in our SFMs.
It would be ideal to get the UI to the point that Engineers can actually enter lines on their phones. Currently, we only add work detail lines using a full size tablet or PC which gives enough space for all of the fields which are displayed on the lines. We have ~30 fields on our work detail lines within the SFM. The reason that we need so many is because of the requirement for SFM features to have fields be on the page layout in order to be considered in most SFM functionality like SFM validations, SFM formulas, form-fill e.g.
We would need this requirement solved for in conjunction with the new mobile UI design in order to keep the number of fields needed in the screen to a minimum. (I know this is in the works). Key fields we would want to see at a glance, are: Quantity, Discount, Price. Without listing the values down to add an additional field, is there a way to utilize some of the existing white space? Something like this:
1.000 10% $34.00
Typically, we only have (2) Travel Lines, (1) Labor Line, but we have several Parts lines which we would want to try and display in the same screen at a glance so saving vertical screen real-estate would be ideal.
I really like the highlighted Parts status as 'Installed'. We would like to see more important information highlighted in this UI. Items like Work Order, Part, and Line Status are all important to us to be able to see quickly at a glance. So we would prefer these to stand out against the white space and black text.
Hey Michael Majerus,
I think you'll be happy to hear that we are actively working on improving the workflow behind addition of lines on mobile. It seems like some of the other comments are interested in the topic of adding/editing lines as well, so maybe we can publish a separate post on the topic in the future.
You bring up a very interesting point about utilizing more of the whitespace by laying out the fields horizontally instead of vertically. This is something we have and are still considering, so the fact that you bring it up is very helpful for us to validate future decisions.
We're happy to hear that you the status badging is helpful! Right now, the style is hard coded to apply to any field with "status" in it. We hope to make configuration options available as we continue to iterate on these improvements in the future.
Thank you for the detailed feedback! If you happen to think of anything else, please let us know in the comments!
For us lines are very important, as we routinely work on more than one installed product per visit, so we have adopted Smx's site centric model, where the lines will contain the IP's being worked on, and then have child line, under the parent IP line, to record the individual labour and parts usage. We also have, what we call WO level lines, which are not related to an IP, but to the WO only, these are used to record such things as travel, safety briefings, breaks and customer training.
As you can see, we can end up with a lot of lines, and its important to we know what IP each line is referencing, so from your example above, we would need to know the parent serial number of the IP, and the product type, for each of the part shown. Also, a number of our parts are serial controlled, so being able to see the serial number of the part that has been added would be important.
We also add notes about work done etc, to some of the lines,to be shown on the service report, again how can these be entered or displayed?
So we need to be able to see lines, but we also need to know exactly what each line is related to, be it the WO or and what installed product line.
I saw some demos of the phone app last year, and they were supporting tabbed controls, which i thought could be a great way of displaying different data levels, is this still the case?
Thanks for telling us about how you use lines in regards to Installed Products! I can see how confusing it can get when it comes to associating different sections of lines to other sections of lines (like relating Parts, Labor, and Notes to Installed Products). It makes a lot of sense why the serial number is important as it helps to distinguish which lines are related. This is something we definitely need to work on to improve, so I'm glad you brought it up.
In regards to adding notes or other information to a line item, engineers and technicians can edit each line independently during a Work Order Debrief. The same applies when they add a new line. I'd be happy to do a follow up post to share some more designs around the actual workflow of adding and editing lines in a future post!
Could you provide some more information about the tabbed controls you saw last year? I'm not entirely sure if this is what you are referring, but we are looking into ways we can alleviate excessive vertical scrolling (potentially with tabs) -- since that was one of the common points of concern when we first showed off our SFM screens. Does that sound like the tabbed controls you saw?
Hi Darrin Lin, thanks for sharing your design ideas. Would it be possible to add a servicemax setting for more fields to be shown. So you could show 3,4 or 5 fields?
We use Work Detail lines for fees, parts, labour, travel, expenses, overtime and installed products. So it is very important they can be accessed and viewed easily.
I assume if you select one you are taken to a view where you can see all of the fields you have specified? More than just the three?
The design needs to support adding more than one line without saving in between and the same for editing multiple lines.
There is no setting for showing a custom number of fields at this time, but that's why your voice and feedback is important! Our basic assumption was to start with 3 fields without much validation, but it's pretty clear now that the ability to show more than 3 fields would be helpful. We recognize this, so we'll explore how we can improve our designs based on the community feedback.
You're right in your assumption that if the line were to be tapped, the user would be navigated to a view where all the fields are shown, not just the three fields shown in the screens I originally posted. This view would be a read only view, unless it was accessed during a debrief, where the fields can be edited as long as they're not set to be read only values.
We're currently working on some concepts in regards to allowing the user to add and edit multiple lines without saving between each line. We think it'll be a great productivity improvement and hope to share more about it soon. Hope you'll be able to provide us with more feedback when we do!