User interface problems (Mayan 3.3.6)

When things don't work as they should.
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maathieu
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User interface problems (Mayan 3.3.6)

Post by maathieu »

(note : maybe this should be in the "Feature request" section?)

Hello,

So I have now been tinkering with Mayan for a few days and I have a few things I have problems with...

1. The pop-up notifications that appear in the top-right corner of the screen mask the System and User button. I found I need to spend a lot of time clicking on the System button to configure things and having to click once to close the notification, then again to go back to the Setup menu, is kind of annoying.

2. This is related to the lack of a consistent "validate"/"cancel" button. Mayan is a web interface using forms, but it is not really clear when the modifications we make to a form are validated (see for example the "Permissions for role" window: there is no way to cancel a series of modifications and go back to the previous state of the form, my guess is that there is a DB query every time the "add" or "remove" button is clicked.

Due to this I never feel sure how to go back to the previous page when I am finished - can I use the back button on my browser? I always end up clicking System > Setup again to go back to the main window.

It would be great to have a bar indicating where you are, like System > setup > Roles > Permissions for "Administrator" for example and be able to click my way back. And a way to validate a form.

3. The Cabinets item on the left-hand bar is really not useful as it is, with its two little buttons "all" and "create cabinet". Users would expect a list of first-level Cabinets to show up down the list when unrolling the Cabinet item. It would be a good shortcut. Also, the Cabinets window can be really improved. The most useful button is "details", as it allows to go to the navigation window. Why not allowing to click on the name in order to move to the navigation window? Or, even better, show the navigation window as soon as one clicks on "All cabinets"?

4. Workflows.

(I'll do a specific post about ACLs regarding this topic)

When a workflow is implemented for a given document type, the available transitions should be placed by the top of the window and be activated by a single click by the user, because this is the main action she will be looking for. The current workflow system is buried at the bottom-right corner of the Document detail window and takes a lot of clicks to be activated.

When the user leaves a comment during the workflow process, the comment should not only appear in the transition list, but also in the Comment section.

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rssfed23
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Re: User interface problems (Mayan 3.3.6)

Post by rssfed23 »

Welcome to Mayan thanks for having a tinker. Some thoughts:
maathieu wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:35 am
(note : maybe this should be in the "Feature request" section?)

1. The pop-up notifications that appear in the top-right corner of the screen mask the System and User button. I found I need to spend a lot of time clicking on the System button to configure things and having to click once to close the notification, then again to go back to the Setup menu, is kind of annoying.
This is configurable :D - If you go to settings > appearance you'll see the setting "APPEARANCE_MESSAGE_POSITION". You can change it to bottom-center if you want the toast to not block the top right anymore (when you update the setting after clicking save make sure you restart the docker container or run systemctl restart supervisor so the new setting can take effect. You can also update the setting in your config.yml file and add/change the line "APPEARANCE_MESSAGE_POSITION: bottom-center" then restart).
maathieu wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:35 am
2. This is related to the lack of a consistent "validate"/"cancel" button. Mayan is a web interface using forms, but it is not really clear when the modifications we make to a form are validated (see for example the "Permissions for role" window: there is no way to cancel a series of modifications and go back to the previous state of the form, my guess is that there is a DB query every time the "add" or "remove" button is clicked.
You're right that Mayan is just querying the DB and then committing changes to the DB/config files when you click save or add in most cases.
I guess it's not common to have instantly updating systems in place (I consider this a good thing about Mayan personally). If users are used to the windows-world style of making changes then those only coming into force when clicking apply or save I can see how this might make you wonder if it's actually saved. One thing you can do is subscribe to events so a popup toast comes up when that event happens (similar to what you see in your first point) but yes that won't give you the previous version of the form. I wonder if perhaps rather than going to a windows-style configuration view if there was more detailed history logging or config management (so you can get a historic list of all previous versions of those pages config items) would that help you? It's a feature request yes but I can see this being useful to enterprises as well to have a fully versioned config history they can revert to if they don't like a change.
maathieu wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:35 am
Due to this I never feel sure how to go back to the previous page when I am finished - can I use the back button on my browser? I always end up clicking System > Setup again to go back to the main window.
It would be great to have a bar indicating where you are, like System > setup > Roles > Permissions for "Administrator" for example and be able to click my way back. And a way to validate a form.
I agree here. The back button isn't ideal as it can take you back further than just the previous page depending on where you are. The options to navigate back are there BUT it does take a bit of figuring out. Usually at the top right you'll have the other configuration items available (like if you go to document types > metdata types you can also see "index templates", "setup OCR" etc for the same document type). On other views (like viewing a document) you have the actions button. The bottom of the popup that comes up when you click that usually has the Previous option/catagory you were on at the bottom of the list but it doesn't go all the way back to system (in your example you have Roles > Permissions for Administrator instead of including system and setup as well). I think this could be made more intuitive and a navigation section as you describe would help users get around. For now though have a play with the actions button and you'll see what I mean - it saves a lot of time when in the document view in particular.
maathieu wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:35 am
3. The Cabinets item on the left-hand bar is really not useful as it is, with its two little buttons "all" and "create cabinet". Users would expect a list of first-level Cabinets to show up down the list when unrolling the Cabinet item. It would be a good shortcut. Also, the Cabinets window can be really improved. The most useful button is "details", as it allows to go to the navigation window. Why not allowing to click on the name in order to move to the navigation window? Or, even better, show the navigation window as soon as one clicks on "All cabinets"?
This has been raised before I think. At the moment Cabinets are rendered by a third party library I believe then rendered with a Mayan template which has caused some limitations in the past. It's worth highlighting though that people often end up with long cabinet names that would be impossible to show in the left toolbar when sub-cabinets get involved they would either all be cropped or wrapped around. A top level view when expanding cabinets may be okay though and when clicking All Personally I think it would be good if we were presented with what we get when we click details on a specific cabinet view but for the very top level (so all opens up into a browser of all cabinets). Especially as all the other options on the All page can be easily accessed from the main setup menu or the action button when viewing a cabinet anyway.
I also want to say though that although fine for testing, if you are rolling out in production and end up with a lot of documents then Cabinets is not the best way to go. The manual overhead quickly becomes high. I strongly recommend using indexing and smart links over Cabinets (and know the devs agree). That way the organisation of documents becomes automatic and you can still preserve manual organisation using Tags that come up in index views. You also get the benefit of being able to mount those indexes as well and serve them over nfs/samba to the outside world (giving your end users a normal filesystem structure that would be identical to the cabinet view if you wanted to).
maathieu wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:35 am
4. Workflows.
I know there's some improvements coming to workflows in version 4 (https://gitlab.com/mayan-edms/mayan-edm ... is/roadmap) and I'm sure the devs will see the feedback you've listed and see how the UI can be tweaked going forward as workflows are improved :)


By the sounds of it though overall things are going pretty well for you with Mayan bar what are mostly UI/usability tweaks?
Please bear with us during the current global situation. The team all have families and local communities to look after as well as the community here. Responses may be delayed during this time, but rest assured we will get to your query eventually.

maathieu
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:17 am

Re: User interface problems (Mayan 3.3.6)

Post by maathieu »

Hi,

Thank you for the feedback.
I also want to say though that although fine for testing, if you are rolling out in production and end up with a lot of documents then Cabinets is not the best way to go. The manual overhead quickly becomes high. I strongly recommend using indexing and smart links over Cabinets (and know the devs agree). That way the organisation of documents becomes automatic and you can still preserve manual organisation using Tags that come up in index views. You also get the benefit of being able to mount those indexes as well and serve them over nfs/samba to the outside world (giving your end users a normal filesystem structure that would be identical to the cabinet view if you wanted to).
Noted, it's very important to start with a good data organization to begin with.


My testing is going well and I will be considering presenting a demo of Mayan EDMS at my company when I am feeling comfortable enough with it. Workflows are a blocker though. I really have to convince the teams that this is not just a document storage and retrieval system, but also something that can automate/streamline business procedures. Since version 4 will be released soon (?) I will wait for the improvements to the workflow system and interface and reevaluate it as it gets released (the web text editor is also a very welcome addition, the draft system I mentioned there would also be a worthy addition).

We are going to look for professional help for deployment, training & maintenance, do you know if some companies are providing consulting services for this software in France?

Cheers,

Mathieu

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Re: User interface problems (Mayan 3.3.6)

Post by rssfed23 »

maathieu wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:59 pm
Noted, it's very important to start with a good data organization to begin with.
That's what's so great about indexes vs cabinets. As long as you've got some basic metadata or know what metadata you want earlyish on then you can completely change the structure dynamically on the fly without ever having to move a document!
Since version 4 will be released soon (?)

It's published on the roadmap for Q2 2020 but of course that comes with the caveat that things change, not everything may make it into 4.0 but into 4.0.1 and there may be delays.
maathieu wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:59 pm
We are going to look for professional help for deployment, training & maintenance, do you know if some companies are providing consulting services for this software in France?

I'm so pleased you asked about this - I was going to bring the following up anyway:
https://www.mayan-edms.com/support/ has the support plan overview and for consulting you can email sales@mayan-edms.com or log a Gitlab issue and tick the "This issue is confidential" box to discuss further (if you mark it as confidential no one except the core Mayan team will see it).
Workflows are a blocker though
Aside from the draft feature in the other thread, are you able to provide any further detail in terms of requirements? Helping us understand what business need from Mayan would be much appreciated with the benefit of helping us meet your needs as well.
(as mentioned above feel free to put it in gitlab and mark it as confidential if you're not comfortable sharing company process details on a public forum)
I'll also highlight as well that paying customers get priority feature development where possible and some consulting arrangements in the past have included/sponsored development of specific features so it's definitely worth reaching out.
Please bear with us during the current global situation. The team all have families and local communities to look after as well as the community here. Responses may be delayed during this time, but rest assured we will get to your query eventually.

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