New Control Panel

News and new feature announcements
markkinchin
Site Admin
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New Control Panel

Post by markkinchin » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:04 pm

Our new control panel is finally ready for use.
It has taken much longer than planned but I think the work has been worth it.

It is optional and anyone who wants to try it can change over using the new Control panel setting on the ADMIN >> OWNER page.
If you want to go back there is a setting to change back to the old control panel on the new ACCOUNT settings page.

Eventually we will be changing our internal accounting at Beds24 from USD to EUR and charging for the new control panel in EUR.
Everyone that already has an account will have the choice of staying with the old control panel and the old USD prices or upgrading to the new control panel and paying in EUR.
New accounts will only be available in EUR.

The old control panel will continue to be supported and function with the features it has today.
Future development and new features will be added to the new control panel.
In the coming months we plan to add a guest management system, programmable automatic emails, a new mobile friendly booking page and a guest login system for the guest to amend bookings among other things.

amberbb
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:12 pm
Location: Centre of New Zealand - sunny Nelson!
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Re: New Control Panel

Post by amberbb » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:12 am

markkinchin wrote:Our new control panel is finally ready for use...
In the coming months we plan to add a guest management system, programmable automatic emails, a new mobile friendly booking page and a guest login system for the guest to amend bookings among other things.
Great news!

I look forward to taking things for a test spin in a week or two...
Amber House Limited trading as AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™
Mobile: +64 21 202 4961
Phone: +64 3 539 0605
Fax: +44 70 05 96 34 37
http://www.AmberHouse.co.nz
Amber House, 46 Weka Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand

amberbb
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:12 pm
Location: Centre of New Zealand - sunny Nelson!
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Re: New Control Panel

Post by amberbb » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:33 am

markkinchin wrote:Our new control panel is finally ready for use.

The old control panel will continue to be supported and function with the features it has today.
Future development and new features will be added to the new control panel.
Mmmm, I'm sorry to be dense but how do I get to a page similar to the one that I have for more than 5 years regarded as my home page:
https://www.beds24.com/control.php?page ... endartable

??

As you probably remember, I spent a lot of time working with you to get that page very utilitarian with the frippery pared down to a minimum at sides and top so that most of the screen real estate was occupied by as wide and deep a view of the room calendar as was humanly possible without incessant scrolling up and down or from side-to-side and much information available as hover text if we positioned the mouse cursor over a particular booking. This was what made beds24.com so attractive to me over all these years - quickness of use.

Where is the equivalent page in the new system, please?

Oh, and switching back to the old system did not seem to work for us I had to log out and back in again to get our usable home page back again.
Amber House Limited trading as AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™
Mobile: +64 21 202 4961
Phone: +64 3 539 0605
Fax: +44 70 05 96 34 37
http://www.AmberHouse.co.nz
Amber House, 46 Weka Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand

markkinchin
Site Admin
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:43 pm

Re: New Control Panel

Post by markkinchin » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:43 pm

Have a look at the "Room Grid" tab on the Dashboard. This is designed to be a modenised version of the old calendar view.

Yes it is true that you will need to log out and log back in to change back to the old control panel.

Epicea_old
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: New Control Panel

Post by Epicea_old » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:47 pm

The main problem with the new view is that you can't tell when one booking ends and the next starts. There's no boundary between bookings, you can about guess from where the text is but it's showstopper.

It also leaps around all over the place using chrome because chrome can't determine the page size and keeps adding and removing scrollbars.

The lack of hover isn't ideal but it's workable on the desktop. On a smaller device, like an ipad, the rate/detail windows open larger than the screen and there's no way to navigate outside the physical screen.

amberbb
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:12 pm
Location: Centre of New Zealand - sunny Nelson!
Contact:

Re: New Control Panel

Post by amberbb » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:16 pm

markkinchin wrote:Have a look at the "Room Grid" tab on the Dashboard. This is designed to be a modernised version of the old calendar view.
This shows potential, Mark and I am particularly glad that there is now an (optional) way to clearly distinguish by colour exceptional periods (my exceptional periods are now set to be Yellow, with booked dates showing Red amongst the Green band of available dates)

While I remember, may I notify my first bug for the new control panel: If you try to display dates before today's date (either by trying to pick a date from the drop-down calendar or by hitting the double arrow button to the left of the [[Today]] button this never works!

There are at least two immediate and urgent improvements needed at first glance, before this could become a usable home screen for us and a replacement for the "old" calendar table view:

1) Hover text. We need at least the hover text functionality of the "old" calendar table view to be restored. (The ability to choose what fields are displayed in hover text would be a neat new feature). May I assume that it will be relatively easy to restore at least the hover text functionality of the "old" and that this will, therefore, be quickly implemented?

2) The new screen has slightly reduced the width of the "twiddly bits" displayed at the left margin which is good since it leaves more width to display the "meat" of more days.

However, the extra depth of the "twiddly bits" displayed at the top is a huge leap backwards!
On my desktop machine the "twiddly bits" displayed at the top occupy more than 42% of the overall screen depth meaning that I am forever scrolling up and down to see 7 of my rooms displayed. On my notebook, less than 40% of screen depth is available for useful display! I do have some ideas for how to increase the depth available to display the "meat" and I should be in Europe in May to talk with you about them then...
Amber House Limited trading as AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™
Mobile: +64 21 202 4961
Phone: +64 3 539 0605
Fax: +44 70 05 96 34 37
http://www.AmberHouse.co.nz
Amber House, 46 Weka Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand

markkinchin
Site Admin
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:43 pm

Re: New Control Panel

Post by markkinchin » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:07 pm

Epicea wrote:The main problem with the new view is that you can't tell when one booking ends and the next starts. There's no boundary between bookings, you can about guess from where the text is but it's showstopper.
There is now a visible border between bookings.
Epicea wrote:It also leaps around all over the place using chrome because chrome can't determine the page size and keeps adding and removing scrollbars.
I have not been able to reproduce this with my chrome but I assume it was the tabs on the dashboard going crazy while the page loads.
The dashboard has now been split into 2 pages without tabs so they load nicer, dashboard and calendar (which was called room grid).
Do you still see the problem?
Epicea wrote:The lack of hover isn't ideal but it's workable on the desktop.
I will add hover.
Epicea wrote: On a smaller device, like an ipad, the rate/detail windows open larger than the screen and there's no way to navigate outside the physical screen.
The page is supposed to recognise the available screen size and open in a pop-up if it is big enough and in a new window if the screen is too small.
On my phone this works although it may be confusing if you are not expecting it. Are you sure it is bigger than the screen?

markkinchin
Site Admin
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:43 pm

Re: New Control Panel

Post by markkinchin » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:17 pm

amberbb wrote:While I remember, may I notify my first bug for the new control panel: If you try to display dates before today's date (either by trying to pick a date from the drop-down calendar or by hitting the double arrow button to the left of the [[Today]] button this never works!
It is actually designed this way, if you need to go back in time use the bookings or rates pages.
The reason is this page is resource hungry for the server to construct and contains some elements that are not relevant on past dates.
I added a popup warning if you try to go back in time so it is clear that this is not available.
amberbb wrote:1) Hover text. We need at least the hover text functionality of the "old" calendar table view to be restored. (The ability to choose what fields are displayed in hover text would be a neat new feature). May I assume that it will be relatively easy to restore at least the hover text functionality of the "old" and that this will, therefore, be quickly implemented?
The problem is hover text does not work on a touch screen. I will add it but I would really like to find a better alternative that works across all devices.
amberbb wrote: On my desktop machine the "twiddly bits" displayed at the top occupy more than 42% of the overall screen depth meaning that I am forever scrolling up and down to see 7 of my rooms displayed. On my notebook, less than 40% of screen depth is available for useful display!
How is it now with the tabs removed and the smaller logo?

amberbb
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:12 pm
Location: Centre of New Zealand - sunny Nelson!
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Re: New Control Panel

Post by amberbb » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:42 pm

markkinchin wrote:...actually designed this way, if you need to go back in time use the bookings or rates pages... popup warning if you try to go back in time so it is clear that this is not available.
I understand. I would suggest you add some text to the popup warning so that it then reads:

"Cannot show past dates.
"Use your bookings or rates pages, instead..."

markkinchin wrote:The problem is hover text does not work on a touch screen. I will add it but I would really like to find a better alternative that works across all devices.
I think you need to recognise that, for a few years at least, the primary device for the majority of hosts and their employees is going to be a desktop machine that will be using a physical keypad and probably a mouse and design for full and efficient functionality for that. (This is a truism that MS is going to learn very quickly with Windoze 8, I think)

By all means have a toggle to have reduced functionality or a different design philosophy for those handicapped by narrow, touch screens but please don't hobble the desktop version.

It's great to be able to do some work on the move but folks just have to recognise there are some serious inherent limitations to their smartphones.

After so many years with Beds24.com working beautifully for us I would be very reluctant to endure less functionality and interface efficiency.

markkinchin wrote:How is it now with the tabs removed and the smaller logo?
Better, but I think I can see a way to still cut the overhead depth in half and for you to have a LARGER logo but I need to talk with you voice about this.
I like the way you have distinguished the weekends of Saturday and Sunday by having them display (when "Show Inventory" is toggled off) as both fixed width and with the 2 letter day abbreviation adjacent to (rather than above) the date.
Amber House Limited trading as AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™
Mobile: +64 21 202 4961
Phone: +64 3 539 0605
Fax: +44 70 05 96 34 37
http://www.AmberHouse.co.nz
Amber House, 46 Weka Street, Nelson 7010, New Zealand

Epicea_old
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: New Control Panel

Post by Epicea_old » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:10 am

markkinchin wrote:There is now a visible border between bookings.
That makes all the difference, it's usable now.
markkinchin wrote: I have not been able to reproduce this with my chrome but I assume it was the tabs on the dashboard going crazy while the page loads.
The dashboard has now been split into 2 pages without tabs so they load nicer, dashboard and calendar (which was called room grid).
Do you still see the problem?
Yes, but it's confined to Chrome on Linux within the limited set I tested. It does highlight another problem though. Chrome/Linux always draws a horizontal scroll bar and then draws a vertical one as soon as you touch the mouse. In fact, the horizontal scroll bar is a real bonus for the desktop. On a tablet there's not enough white space beneath the grid to drag and scroll easily, in fact there's precious little white space above either. Something to hook onto would be a big help.
Epicea wrote:The lack of hover isn't ideal but it's workable on the desktop.
markkinchin wrote: I will add hover.
I'm not 100% convinced about that, it's only a partial solution really as it's not working with touch screens which was always a pain.
markkinchin wrote: The page is supposed to recognise the available screen size and open in a pop-up if it is big enough and in a new window if the screen is too small.
On my phone this works although it may be confusing if you are not expecting it. Are you sure it is bigger than the screen?
I've just glanced at the javascript, it might work but the window sizes aren't quite right I think. You're doing that for window sizes below 800x600, but what you're drawing is bigger than that. There's two distinct problems with that. The first is fairly superficial, the thresholds need tweaking and need to match some common sizes not forgetting that people use their tablet devices in different orientations.

The second problem is more profound and, it's somewhat personal and subjective, would have stopped me taking this approach in the current form. Tablets and especially phones have really high pixel densities, a 1024 pixel wide display on a phone is a very different thing from a domestic computer monitor. For example, the pixel density on an iPhone 4 or 5 is three times that of a standard 21 inch monitor and 2.5 times that of an iPad (without retina display). So, even if you tweak those numbers you have a serious problem because you're trying to cram a lot of text into a small physical area, the high pixel density makes video and images look great but small, even sharply rendered, text is hard to read. And I would have been very conservative with any approach that opened new windows but that's subjective.

Personally, I'd try and reduce the problem a bit. It could be that if the amount of data in the popup is reduced it all becomes a bit easier.

I also look at the logs quite a bit, it's not a perfect navigation to them now.

Congratulations on the new interface, it's already better and there's a clear direction of travel. I'm particularly pleased to see more support for tablets and mobile devices, obviously you did receive a lot of requests from people wanting to use mobile devices already and you clearly know from your server logs that mobile devices are growing exponentially. This to us is more important than the windows clients as we don't have a windows PC but we do need to access beds24 from mobile devices.

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