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NetDocuments released a brand-new interface to the public on September 30th, and we think it’s pretty awesome. Feedback from firms that have adopted the new interface is that it is “very intuitive, easy to learn, and much more user friendly in daily operations.”
We took it for a spin ourselves, and agree it presents significant usability improvements. We’ll share our observations:
The basic unit of navigation is your “Home Page”. This is now a customizable, easy navigation page that has default sections of Favorite Workspaces, Favorite Items and Active Matters. One of the most exciting features in this new interface is the ability to click on a yellow star icon next to any of your Files, Workspaces and Projects; they are then automatically added to your home page.
You can also use the “Customize Layout” button that allows you to edit the layout of existing sections, as well as add your own custom section. In the “Nifty” category is the ability to drag any item on this page to any of the other sections there! Bottom line: if you want to, you have your own familiar place to go, while the basic functionality of the program (List results, Details Panel, Navigation Pane, Basic/Advanced Search Dialogs) are still the same for all users. The Home Page is always easy to get back to, because no matter what window you’re on, there’s always a clickable “Home” link that will take you back to your home page.
Graphically, how the rest of the interface is organized is pretty simple. Basically, unless you are on your home page, you will be looking at search results or a pop-up window giving you options for an action you want to perform. When looking at search results, you will have your “Navigator” on the left, your search results in the middle, and a “Detail Pane” on the right.
The Navigator lets you navigate your existing Cabinet Folders or Workspaces, with lookups for Clients and Matters (this also includes convenient “Recent” and “Favorite” Matter sections).
Search results quickly and easily present you with options for which fields you want to display ("define display list” button – up to 4 fields) and you can also easily decide which field should be the main sort for the list.
When one document is selected, the Detail Pane on the right displays the document properties and quick buttons for Email, View, and More Options (everything else you can do with a document); as well as subsections for profile details, versions, attachments, and location information. If multiple documents are selected you get a quick button for Group Options (everything you can do with multiple documents).
Application integration with Microsoft Office, ease of file management (in terms of Check-In/Check-Out (or downloading local copies), and e-mail integration remain core parts of the program and work very well, if not better than they did before because they’re more accessible and intuitive.
So, what does it mean to you? Essentially, you have all of the power and logic previously available in the program, but in a much easier, attractive, and intuitive interface. We also think a few improvements have been made in the actual execution of some of the functions. With a little bit of orientation, we think you will be very pleasantly surprised, and if you are a viable candidate for the SAAS document management option, NetDocuments has made the changes it needed to take it “over the top”, in terms of accessibility, and feature-richness. Furthermore, once you’ve got the basics down, you will also find additional features that will address your more advanced needs.