So, you have an awesome TrackVia app—users love it and it makes everyone’s life easier. However, you know that TrackVia is capable of much more. You know there are additional use cases and opportunities to expand on your current application. Below are some general guidelines to follow when building new applications, or for bringing your current app to the next level.
Put your TrackVia dashboards to use!
Dashboards allow you to have multiple resources in one central location. Rather than making users navigate from a form, to a view, to another view via the search field, simply place these elements on a dashboard for them to use. Not only will it simplify the navigation of your TrackVia app, it will also save time when entering or searching for data. As a good rule of thumb, 90% of a user’s time within TrackVia should be spent on a dashboard.
Normalize your tables
If you are like most TrackVia users, you will be creating new tables from one or more spreadsheets that you have been passing around for years. When creating new tables, it is important to consider which fields are related to one another.
For example, let’s say that you have a spreadsheet with the following fields: Company Name, Company Address, Company City, Company State, Company Zip, Contact Name, Contact Address, Contact City, Contact State and Contact Zip. As you can tell, there are really two groups (entities) of fields here—Company Information and Contact Information. Rather than importing this spreadsheet as one table, you will want to normalize, or split it up into two tables with the corresponding fields.
After the two tables of Company Info and Contact Info are created, you can link these together in a one-to-many relationship (click here to find a great TrackVia knowledge base article on creating relationships). There are two main benefits to normalizing your data.
1. Easier data input: When entering new contacts, you can simply chose the name of the company from a drop-down list rather than typing it in. This will save lots of time for your end users!
2. Data Integrity: Selecting the company name rather than typing it will ensure that the company name is spelled the same everywhere! This leads to better reporting and more reliable data.
Limit the number of fields and records in views
When you open a view, every record in the view along with every field in the view is returned from the database. Therefore, the greater the number of fields that are in the view, the longer the view will take to load. Similarly, the more records you have in a view, the longer the view takes to load. This is especially true with calculated fields. Because every calculation runs when the view is loaded, the more calculated fields you have in your view, the longer it will take to load.
In order to cut down on load times, which ensures a better user experience, you should only include fields and records in your view that are necessary for the user to see. Remember that they can always open a specific record should they need to see additional information.
Use associated parent fields rather than calculated fields
As we learned in the last tip, calculated fields will increase load times. To work around this, you can pull associated parent fields into a view rather than using a calculated field. When building a view, you may have noticed a drop-down list above the available fields. This drop-down list allows you to select fields from any parent table that is related to the current table that you are working in (associated parent fields).
Similarly, you can include these fields into a form:
Create a feedback app
Creating a way for your users to submit feedback about the application is something that we recommend to every customer. Your end users will have some of the best insight into how you can improve your current application. An easy way to provide this avenue is to create a table that everyone will have access to. This table will house feedback from the employees and allow you to systematically review the feedback.
You can get as fancy with this table as you want—we have seen multi-table feedback apps with action items, status updates, two-way communication with notifications, and even reporting. On the other hand, a simple form that allows your users to provide feedback is just as effective. The end goal is to allow for continual improvement on your already excellent TrackVia application!
Share Your Tips
Are there any best practices your organization uses when building TrackVia apps? Our team would love to hear about them! You can leave us a comment below, or tweet us @trackviasupport.