14Dec
By: Greg Brogan On: December 14, 2018 In: iPortal Comments: 0

As we to this point have never upgraded the iHound user interface to meet current technology such as (among a list of other things) responsive HTML 5 (meaning the screen seen on PC will also adapt itself to fit and adapt features to work on different screen sizes, browsers and all mobiles and tablets) we did not meet the minimal requirements as laid out for the ZoHo Integration. The ZoHo integration as detailed in its own post requires us to build a “plug in” which is not the current iHound user interface, nor is it the ZoHo CRM interface but a stand alone user interface which takes all it’s data from both the iHound server and the ZoHo server and shows the data to the customer in a user friendly and efficient interface.

This means that the iHound ZoHo “Plug in” will show the user all the data they require concerning their customer ie; address, contact details, appointments, responsible sales person, sales records etc and combine this / overlay this with data coming from the iHound GPS app installed on theirs teams phones. Such as scheduled visits, completed visits, amount of time spent with client (live and historical), routing staff to visit clients, staff activity (with client, in office, at home etc), team member efficiency,  acquisition costs over sales reports, plus much more.

This is the last and most important step on the road to integrating the iHound application not only with ZoHo but we will also adapt this user interface down the track to work with other providers such as SalesForce, Xero, Magento, Amazon etc. We have already built and are fine tuning parallel to building the “plug in” our public API.

An open API (often referred to as a public API) is a publicly available application programming interface that provides developers with programmatic access to a proprietary software application or web service. APIs are sets of requirements that govern how one application can communicate and interact with another.”

Meaning that once the ZoHo Integration is complete, the integration with other platforms will be much easier and cost efficient as theoretically it will only be a matter of connecting both theirs and our API and then fine tuning the functionality to suit.

In the beginning the iHound API (which essentially a database road map to all the iHound functionality) needed to be built from scratch and, at the time we were also under the impression that the user interface would also need to be built from scratch and many hours were spent designing the front end, colours, modules, functionality presentation etc. But and luckily during some late night research I found a company in the UK that has developed a template for a responsive  user interface which exactly fit our requirements. They sell all the code required for the front end of the template which includes all the absolute latest tech including HTML 5, Bootstrap and Retina Display, you need to then plug in you API to the back of it and customise the look, feel and functionality. I purchased this template for USD34.00 (they sell thousands of copies as no two will ever look the same) which saved us hundreds of hours work and over ten thousand dollars.

I then took this template, which has full customisation by the end user (meaning they can drag and drop boxes and modules wherever they desire making their own custom user interface saved to their profile) and I broke it down into each individual module and widget {an application, or a component of an interface, that enables a user to perform a function or access a service.} then built it back up inclusive of all the data we want to show the end user in our ZoHo plugin and handed this whole file over to the developers who are now busy coding all of my changes, API additions, functionality and widgets with a December 22nd deadline for Beta Testing {In software development, a beta test is the second phase of software testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out.} 

The new, responsive user interface is being primarily built for use on PC as it is intended the user will be a Sales Manager or Business Owner / Administrator who will be using the plugin the orchestrate their workforce from their desk. A limited functionality Apple and Android app is also in the works which will be and add on / adaptation of the current application (add features).

Among other things the User Interface will show:

  • Scheduled Visits
  • Visits Underway
  • Completed Visits
  • Customer Sales records
  • Time with client / clients
  • Expenditure (user can enter the average hourly rate for team member. We then use this number multiplied by the total time on site to give “Estimated Expenditure”.) daily, weekly, annually
  • Visitor Analytics (Charts and graphs showing time with client, expenditure, sales)
  • Current locations (globally) of all team members and their current status (Moving, Stationary, Offline, With Client, In Office)
  • Notifications and alerts (accepted scheduled visit, arrived at client, left clients, arrived at airport etc)
  • Calendar with all team members appointments etc
  • Team member profiles and status (total sales made, total distance travelled, number of visits this week etc)
  • Full mapping functionality
  • All the current iHound functionality

Earlier I mentioned that this is the most important stage of the development as just about everything up to this point will not actually ever be seen by anyone. It was all the groundwork, coding, development, functionality and testing done to produce this, the bit that people will actually see, use and pay for.

 

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