An overarching Ready Room design principle is for the interface to be clear and free of distractions. We don’t always hit that mark—no one does—but we continuously strive to improve the user experience. With our latest release we have made a number of enhancements that make managing an inspection even more intuitive.
The most evident change is the introduction of the tabbed inspection board, which filters requests into four distinct categories: Active, Staged, Mine, and All.
As a reminder, staged tasks are those requests that were (presumably) created ahead on the inspection’s actual start date. These requests may have been made by the regulator in advance of an inspector’s arrival or they may simply represent requests you expect an inspector to make. Until now, staged requests in Ready Room were shown alongside actual requests with only the presence or lack of a “globe” icon to distinguish one from the other. Granted, it was possible to hide staged requests, but only once they had progressed to the Host Review column.
The latest release of Ready Room more clearly distinguishes staged from active requests by rendering each in separate tabs. The expectation is that ahead of an inspection, the Quality Assurance team will be spending most of their time working in the Staged tab, but once the inspection is underway, most team members will be laser focused on the Active tab. Consequently, when creating a new request, the “staged” toggle switch defaults to the tab you are currently viewing. This allows you to create one staged (or active) task after another without having to actively toggle that setting.
It is no longer possible to release a staged request to an inspector, a staged request must be made active before it can be released. To do this simply click the “Activate” button found in the lower left of every staged request. (There’s a corresponding “Stage” button on active requests, just in case you made the request active by mistake).
Since a staged request cannot be released, the staged tab does not show the Inspector Review column, which provides another visual clue that helps guide Ready Room users. Each change in a task’s active/staged state is captured in the audit log.
It may still be desirable to see both active and staged requests at the same time, just as we always have. This is what the “All” tab does. To be honest, we don’t expect users to spend much time in this view, but it is helpful for visualizing all inspection work.
In order to further increase a user’s ability to focus on the tasks at hand, we have introduced the “Mine” tab, which shows staged and unstaged tasks that are assigned to the current user. This is exactly the same thing as going to the All tab and filtering tasks by assignee (you), but the Mine tab is more obvious and allows the user to further filter their board, for instance by label, if desired.
Finally, we have enhanced the Restricted Subject Matter Expert view. Previously, a restricted SME had a very simple view of only tasks in the Fulfill column that were assigned to them, and that’s it. By customer request, this release allows Restricted SMEs to see three columns: Assign, Fulfill, and Ready Room Review, and no other tabs. That is, in essence, a Restricted SME is limited to a three-column Mine-tab view. This allows Restricted SMEs to see their tasks before and after they complete them, and to more easily interact via comments with the assigner and/or reviewer.
Each tab also shows two numbers next to the tab name. These are the number of tasks visible with the current filter applied (left) and the total number of tasks (right). Filters are active across all tabs at once, such that you’ll see that first number change for all tabs as you modify the current filter. Accordingly, the metrics that were previously displayed next to inspection data have been moved to the right of the tabs. The total number of requests metric has been removed since it’s the same as the rightmost number on the All tab. The number of attachments (filtered and unfiltered) for the current tab is shown as well as the mean time to release the currently visible tickets.
Furthermore, the mean time to release (MTTR) metric has been improved by excluding staged tasks from the calculation. Since staged tasks are typically created days or weeks in advance of an inspection and may never be released, they skewed the MTTR metric to the point of near uselessness. The MTTR now includes only active tasks and starts counting from the time each task was last made active.
We’ve made some changes to where and how rich text (bold, lists, links, etc) is supported in this release. To date, we have supported rich text only for scribe notes and storyboards. Today’s release adds rich text “bubble” menus to the release notes, description, and comment fields on a task. We plan to add rich text support to the formal response field and to chat in future releases. A bubble menu becomes visible when text is selected, until then these fields appear no different than ever.
All this is to say that notes, descriptions, and comments can now contain links (a long awaited feature!), lists, and simple formatting. The rich text bubble menu is intentionally limited to: bold, underline, italics,
strike-through, quotes, links, and ordered and unordered lists, as well as a clear all formatting button.
There is one other important change to rich text support; users can now edit the underlying HTML of scribe notes and storyboards. This feature was added because under rare circumstances it’s possible to get a document into a—shall we say—funky state, typically by putting a table inside a list inside an italicized link or some such. If you find yourself in such a state, your best bet is to lean on the undo button (Ctrl-Z), but sometimes it may be easier to surgically modify the HTML code instead.
While HTML is not difficult, we do not expect that typical inspection team members know how to perform this surgery themselves. However, editing HTML is well within the wheelhouse of the Ready Room support team and your own IT department. That said, the code editor will highlight any syntactical and semantic errors in red, and will clean up and properly format all HTML on exit.