Composer solution time saving tip – Starter templates

By Tammy Lake on Mar 25, 2020

If I asked you what key features should be included in all web form workflows before they are considered user-friendly and easy to use, what features would your answer include?  What if you could build workflow solutions with all of your “must have” features already built in?  What if you could use these solutions as a starting point every time you create a new solution?

When you start creating multiple Composer solutions you may realize no matter what the use case, there are always things you want to include in every solution to achieve consistency and a positive user experience.  In the solution author world, one thing that comes to mind is “Happy users, happy life”.

Common web form workflow features users expect

  • Same basic look and feel
  • Form object (buttons, drop down lists, etc.) consistent behavior
  • Automated guidance that helps make users’ lives easier (auto-populated fields, online instructions, relevant look up values, etc.)
  • Feeling like the form was built with their needs in mind
  • Predictable workflows

While making web forms and workflows user friendly may be important to you, sometimes project demands and deadlines for data governance and ensuring business rules and processes are being followed can make the look and feel of the user interface fall down in the priority list.  However, there are some things you can do ahead of time to help.  Think of it in terms of pouring a solid concrete foundation before you build the house.

Ideas for starter solutions that can be used again and again

Form Header
Include things like:

Composer Screenshot
Form Header
Include things like:

  • Process control Options to display workflow participants, assignments, comments, and process history
  • Button functions – Standard or custom buttons that can perform form or workflow actions
Composer Screenshot
Provide Guidance

  • Adding instructions to form fields – Instructions or hints that pop up when an input field is activated
  • Sub-labels – Small labels under an input field can provide a description of the input field
  • Placeholder Text – short description or hint that describes the expected value of an input field.  For example phone number “XXX-XXX-XXX”
Composer Screenshot
Control the Look
Use a custom cascading style sheet to control how form elements look from one central location – see Adding custom CSS
Without CSS
Composer Screenshot
With CSS
Composer Screenshot

Reusable workflows with repeatable steps

Build common workflows that can be used again and again across different use cases.  Start with a basic workflow and easily modify to better fit the current use case – see Working with Workflows

 

Composer Screenshot

The examples above are just the beginning. I’m sure you have already thought of even more possibilities that would fit your company’s requirements. The idea is to help you start imagining what’s possible.

Other things to think about

  • Should I have starter templates by subject (materials, equipment, vendors, customers, purchase order, customer order, classes and characteristics, etc.)?
  • What fields should be part of every template (workflow status, task name, request number)?
  • Are there company standard service level agreement (SLA) or other company standard fields I should include?
  • Do I want to allow email approvals?
  • Do I want to attach a copy of the form in PDF (other options available) format in workflow notifications and tasks?
  • Are there data connections I use all of the time (perhaps delegation of authority data stored in SQL)?
  • The list goes on and on…

Once you have a starter template, you can use the template when you are ready to create a new solution.  Simply open the starter template and save it under a new name – see Saving a solution.

 

To learn more about Composer solutions and more ways to help you imagine what is possible, see Getting Started with Composer.

About the author

Tammy Lake

Tammy Lake is a Solutions Engineer at Winshuttle, with over 20 years of business IT experience working together with all business units inside manufacturing and oil and gas companies. Her professional goals have always included helping others simplify and automate business processes. She loves working with customers to help them imagine the possibilities with Winshuttle.

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