As part of our continuous efforts to improve User Experience across applications and desktops, we are pleased to announce the addition of the Swimlane UI to Glue42 Desktop. We developed this feature with the aim of making screen real-estate usage as efficient as possible for end users, whilst providing a means for configuring desktop layouts that optimise performance. The objective was to enable developers to deliver a UI that allows greater control of the user journey across apps and brings a more modern UI metaphor to suit their needs. The Swimlane UI improves efficiency, whilst adding another crucial layer to the governance process.
This feature simplifies the Windows desktop environment by allowing users to drag and drop applications into a column view, which we call a ‘Swimlane’. The different columns in this view dynamically resize, meaning the user can expand the width of one application, simultaneously decreasing the width of its neighbouring application. Alternatively, if it’s more appropriate, size and position of columns can also be locked to prevent resizing.
As well as interacting at a UI level, all applications making up a set of Swimlanes can update and share data context as one. For example, a user working on a customer account can view all the applications they need to work with, displayed as a set of columns laid out in the way that makes most sense to them. This could include an app displaying portfolio data, a price feed application and an app showing historical transaction data. When the user selects a new customer name in one application, the columns from those apps all update to show data relevant to that customer.
The flexibility of this UI allows for numerous use-cases in which the desktop layout assists the user in the completion of a task. Users are able to shrink columns into a tiled view in order to make space for other applications. When data from one of the tiled apps is then required they can easily resize it to the original column layout. In some cases, users may wish to focus on a single application in order to carry out a task – they can click ‘expand’ to force that application to fill the entire desktop view. This can then just as easily be reversed by collapsing the app back into the Swimlanes workspace.
We can see some examples of this flexibility in the screenshots below:
Resizing applications in the Swimlane UI
Viewing the Swimlane UI as a standalone window on the desktop
Layouts can be saved and subsequently restored for later use. For example, if a user has set up a desktop layout to cater for tasks they work on at the start of the day, they can save that layout as ‘start of day’ and then click on that name to instantly recall the position and state of those applications the following morning. Glue42’s auto-discovery of applications means that any new applications that are deployed will appear in the list of apps that are visible to the user inside the Swimlane UI. They can immediately start incorporating them into their layout. Layouts can also be configured centrally and then released to sets of users, so they can access a named layout that has been prebuilt for them to engage with a specific set of tasks.
The Swimlane UI opens interesting possibilities for management to implement best practices at a UI level. A specific set of apps and layouts can be configured and then locked down to ensure compliance among certain sets of users. Likewise, there are many situations in which management requires a high degree of visibility of user journeys in order to maximize productivity. The Swimlane UI caters to these use cases by enabling managers to map optimal user journeys for their users and then easily deploy them as required. Call centres are one set of users that benefit from this capability.
These features are yet another example of how Glue42 allows developers and users to save time when working with broad sets of desktop and web applications. The level of configuration is completely flexible – the platform provides the ability to compose a highly granular experience that is tailored to the apps you have in production and the needs of your users.
To see a comprehensive demo video showing the Swimlane UI appearance and functionality, check out our videos.