Introducing streamlined action items


Action Items performed as part of a Health and Safety Management System provides the vehicle for continuous improvement when gaps or preventative actions are identified. While the workflow of our Action Items module is quite comprehensive, our customers have expressed how complex this feature was to use. We've gathered their feedback to simplify this feature.

Here are some of those concerns that were addressed in the release on 2015/05/13.

  1. There are too many states and statuses and I don't know where the action item is at in the process?
  2. When I see the main listing of action items, I cannot quickly decipher which action items require my attention.
  3. When looking at the detail of action item it's hard to know what I need to do next?
  4. There are too many buttons and it's hard to know which button is the one I want at any stage in the process. 

The rest of this article outlines our changes to alleviate the concerns mentioned above.

Here is a before and after screenshot of the Action Item listing:

Notable areas of improvement:

Along with reordering columns to put related fields next to each other, we've made these improvements to this screen (numbered in red):

  1. Updating an action item only has 1 column that contains the available actions.  The 1 call-to-action column makes it easier for a user to see what they need to do (before there were 4 places that a user could click on to update the action item on the listing view)
  2. We've simplified the action item progress into 4 steps known as the "Quick View". This Quick View summarizes the complex steps that a action item can be in. We've reiterated this Quick View in all action item views so that users can ascertain the status quickly without needing to dive down into the details. For more information on how the Quick View summarizes the original states please checkout this article
  3. Due Date fields are now in human readable formats. Previously we showed dates formatted like Sep 15 2015, and it was hard to see when things were due. Now with the latest release we're showing number of days an action item is overdue (from today). Also we're showing  "Due in X days" because it's easier to see one number consistently over a scale rather than have to do the calculation for what the date is today vs when an action item is due. Also we show 3 colours for the text (red = overdue, orange = due within 7 days, and green = due further than 7 days away).

Here is a before and after screenshot of the Action Item details view:


Notable areas of improvement:

We've made these improvements to this screen (numbered in red):

  1. We've added the "Quick View" at the top of the action item to summarize the progress. Within a few seconds a user can quickly see how far the action item is from being complete. For more information on how the Quick View summarizes the original states please checkout this article
  2. At the top of the page next to the Quick View is the most important aspect of an action item, the amount of days until it is due or if it's overdue. This date is shown in easy to read format calculated from today, "Due in X days".
  3. We've also summarized the most important information at the top of the form. This is shown as "What you need to do" because often there's a lot of information to consider but only a few that are most important depending on the state the action item is in and the person who is looking at it. If you're the creator of the action item, you'll see something different than the assignee, and a manager sees something slightly different as well.
  4. We've streamlined the process to get action items completed faster. By hiding the management buttons and focusing the user into doing the most common action to complete the action item. Previously, there were 7 buttons and the feedback from our customers was there were too many optional buttons that need to be considered before moving forward with the correct action. Now the next step is very apparent as we always show the most important buttons to progress the action item. And the buttons are shown higher up in the screen so users don't have to scroll to see it; this helps with the concept known as "above the scroll".
  5. Don't be alarmed if you don't see all the same fields as before. We've included them at the bottom of the form separated into the fields that are most important for the creator of the action item and the assignee of the action item. These are all the same fields that were available before just grouped into the fields that are important to each user of the action item. 
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