In the following section, we will explore some Open UI-specific features which differ in one way or another from the user experience in traditional High-Interactivity applications to which most Siebel users are familiar from their daily work. The features are categorized as follows:
- Browser Features
- Usability Enhancements
- Changed Navigation Patterns
- User Preferences
- Applet Features
- Application Banner Enhancements
- Updated Look and Feel
Because it is based on open web standards, native browser features such as zoom can be used much more easily with Siebel Open UI than other Siebel client interfaces.
With most browsers, you can simply use the CTRL key in conjunction with the mouse wheel or the + or – keys to zoom in and out. This makes it easy to adjust the Siebel client to your viewing preferences.
At any point in time, we can refresh a page by using the browser’s refresh button. However, we have to keep in mind that we could also just submit a query to refresh the data displayed. Keep in mind that Siebel CRM is an enterprise CRM application delivered as a website. Because of the ‘heavy lifting’ done by the Siebel Server in the background, the features, functions and capabilities provided by Siebel CRM are beyond the typical scope and range of a ‘regular’ web page.
With Siebel Open UI, it is possible to bookmark any view using native browser functionality. The ability to bookmark individual records is still available as pre-defined functionality from the applet menu.
Resizing Text Areas
Most modern browsers interpret the <textarea> element of a page’s HTML and provide a handle in the lower right corner to resize the text box using mouse gestures as shown in the screenshot below.
As indicated above, this is a browser feature and works on all text areas defined in applets without any further configuration. It must be noted that not all browsers support this functionality.
While the ActiveX-driven High-Interactivity client allowed users to end a session by simply closing the browser, be aware that this is not the case in Open UI as modern browsers do not offer an appropriate ‘close browser’ event. To ensure that the session is closed properly on the server, we should, therefore, use the Log Out command in the File menu.
Siebel Open UI introduces many usability features which provide a richer user experience. The following examples illustrate the most important changes.
Site Map Filter
A search box on top of the Site Map allows end users to simply enter any part of text they are looking for. The content of the Site Map is filtered as soon as we type the third character. The following screenshot shows the Site Map after entering the text “mani” (in lowercase) in the search box. Subsequently, only views which have a name that contains the search term are displayed.
Site map search is a useful enhancement, especially for users with access to a large number of views.
Drop-Down List Filter
In a similar fashion to the Site Map filter, end users can now work with static pick lists (also known as drop-down lists). The screenshot below shows how entering a part of the text, such as “lead” (note the lowercase), effectively filters the content of the drop-down list.
The drop-down list filter feature allows users to work more efficiently with static pick lists.
Siebel Open UI provides an updated look and feel for the most common controls such as the calculator and the date picker. The next screenshot shows the latter as an example.
As we will discuss in more detail in upcoming chapters, developers will benefit from high configurability regarding both functionality and style of the enhanced controls.
Changed Navigation Patterns
While Oracle engineering strived to maintain most navigational aspects of the well-established High-Interactivity client, they made some changes to traditionally used patterns such as the following.
- Right mouse click and double click (not available)
- Side menu (Innovation Pack 2014 or higher)
- Lock and sort of list columns (Innovation Pack 2014 or higher)
- Commit Pending Indicator (Innovation Pack 2016 or higher)
Right Mouse Click and Double Click
In contrast to the High Interactivity client, using the right mouse button does not open the applet menu in Siebel Open UI. Instead, the browser context menu is opened as it would on any normal website.
To open the applet menu, we have to explicitly click the Menu button on the applet header or use the CTRL+SHIFT+M keyboard shortcut.
In addition to tree and tab navigation (see the section on theme selection below), Innovation Pack 2014 introduced a new navigation pattern using a slide-in menu, also known as side menu or ‘hamburger’ menu. The following screenshot shows the new side menu.
The side menu flips in from the left when the user clicks or taps the ‘hamburger’ icon (three horizontal bars) and allows for screen selection.
Lock and Sort of List Columns
Another change in navigation patterns is found with regard to locking (freezing) and sorting columns in list applets. End users are presented with a menu when they click or tap a list column header. The menu options are to lock (or unlock) a list column or sort the data.
Commit Pending Indicator
With Innovation Pack 2016 and higher, applets that contain unsaved (uncommitted) data are highlighted with a red border. This serves as a visual indicator to end users so that they can take action to save the record in a timely fashion.