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Delightful Collaboration IX – Smarter At-A-Glance Displays

It’s just occurred to me that it’s been a LONG time since I wrote up a blog post under the “Delightful Collaboration” theme.  It’s not for lack of that sort of thing happening: feature requests stemming for good ideas, insightful perspectives, and specific use cases still come to us at a regular clip and we still act upon them to make CA accordingly better for everyone (recent examples include this and this!).

I figure it would be a shame for anyone to get the impression that we don’t do that sort of thing anymore, so here’s a pair of suggested improvements to CA that came in recently!

The first is another from Megan of Fidelity National Financial.  She wrote:

I had another idea for a new feature.  Would it be possible to add an option in the “What’s New” tab that would allow you to pull new items not only from a specific date (“show from..”) but also “since our last call”?  Or a drop down list of the calls logged in CA.  That way, coaches don’t have to look up the date of the last call.  They can select a call in the past and easily see what’s been accomplished since the selected call.

Let me know what you think.  Thanks!

I admit, I had to think on this one a bit.  Should the dates suggested by the system here be based on recent session notes?  Or recent scheduled appointments?  What about coaches who are prone to using one and not the other, or vice-versa?  Maybe include both, with filtering out the duplicates?

And how can I add this without cluttering up the UI for everyone with what might be a very niche-desired feature?  (After all, this was the first time I’d heard such a request in 7 years!)

The current system simply recalls your preference of your preferred look back window of X days, but there’s something nice about the precision of seeing what’s new precisely from the last call, which of course will vary from client to client.  Then I figured out an elegant way to tuck that new feature away, and I was sold: this could be a very cool thing to add for everyone.

Here’s the result:

When there is one or more to choose from, click the little appointment icon just right of the “Show since” date picker to reveal options.

I can’t deny I was tickled and stoked by the reply I got for adding this:

This is AMAZING and will make our jobs as coaches SO much easier! We’ll be able to easily narrow down what has been accomplished since the last time we spoke to our clients!  Thank you thank you!

Talk about good deeds being their own reward, and then some!  That I’ve managed to make any coaches’ lives easier is music to my ears (and something I daresay I’ve developed a healthy addiction for).


The second recent suggestion came from Twila Gates, long time CA user and generally a fan.  Twila asked:

Quick question: Is it possible to have a magic tag for “date of next appointment” and “date of last session notes” that I could place in the “profile extra” space in the settings.  It would make it quick and easy to see if each client has a next appointment set and also to know if I have completed all notes.

This one, too, I had to mull on.  A magic tag seemed a bit clunky: it would be such an easy-to-miss thing that one would have to manually add to each client’s Profile Extra.  I could see the next appointment date being universally handy, but date of last session notes felt a little niche in terms of utility and, coupled with the next appointment date, perhaps too much clutter to add to the standard display.

Ultimately I settled on adding just the next appointment date, when present, displayed standard for all clients in the My Clients listing (one out of two ain’t bad!).  To make space and prevent information overload in that listing I removed client physical addresses, figuring that sort of thing it’s nearly as a timely or topical in an at-a-glance listing (and not apt to change often, to say the least!).

And I saw a way to do Twila one better on her suggestion, which was to enable sort by next appointment, thus allowing the soonest-for-next-conversation clients to bubble right up to the top.

Here’s what this looks like:

“So, who am I working with next? Ah right, these guys!” Hover your mouse over the appointment date for more information.

And there you have it!  Delightful collaboration with the CA community remains alive and well, and everyone’s happier for it (myself included).

What I really love about these two requests in particular is that their born of nuanced experience of routinely using the system over time, and doing so with particular habits, patterns, or workflows.  Megan and Twila were both crystal clear on what would make those workflows more convenient, and clued me in to what would otherwise be a blind spot.

So to Megan and Twila, and the countless other coaches who have weighed in on how CA could be better, I say thank you!

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