Three big changes in the geofence panel
Big improvements in the geofence panel are included in our February release. The new panel design offers a better overview, workflow, and search.
The design of the geofence panel had not been updated in several years so it was definitely time to modernize it. We had a few goals:
- Make it easier to see the relationship between geofences and tags (NOTE: we now call them groups instead of tags).
- Be sure that all features show. Viewing, editing, and creating a new geofence were all put in the same select box previously.
- Create a better overview of all geofences and make it easy to find specific geofences.
The previous geofence panel basically had two separate views - geofences and groups. We wanted to merge these two views into one to make it more coherent. Since there is a two-dimensional relationship between groups (parent) and geofences (children) it made sense to use cards grouped in carousels (see picture 1). We adapted this from the dispatch panel redesign. We had the same situation with Dispatch, and the cards and carousels approach worked well. You can read about the benefits of this approach in this blog post about dispatch, parts of which also apply to geofencing.
Picture 1. Geofences shown in groups
We believe this way of presenting geofences will give you a good overview of which geofences belong to which groups. The number of geofences shown per group is limited depending on the size of the panel. If needed the user can expand the group to show more geofences by clicking on the “expand” icon in the top left corner of each group. We also added labels to see how many geofences there are in each group.
Viewing a geofence, editing one, or creating a new one were previously all features put in the same place - in the same ‘select’ box. These are basically three different features so we wanted to separate them.
First, we wanted to expose the creating features as primary actions. To make them more visible for the users, we added the buttons to the top right corner. You see this navigation through the application panels (e.g. creating new user in the vehicles panel).
Second, we updated the creation workflow - you now select your geofence type (circle, polygon or route) from the main creation feature (see picture 2). Clicking the left part of the button (where it says “Geofence”) will create a geofence with the same type as the one most recently created. This makes it easier to create several geofences of the same type. This helpful button behavior might be used in more features in the future.
Picture 2. New button for creating geofences
Third, we wanted to separate between reading and editing modes. In the previous version, we basically only had an editing mode. With our new design (cards and carousels), we now had a good reading mode but no editing. The solution was to use the same principle as we do in many other panels - we open the form in a window (see picture 3). We will continue to make the user experience consistent like this across panels and features.
Picture 3. Geofence form now shown in a window
Since the process of drawing geofences on the map is slightly different depending on what type of geofence, we added a tooltip to the map. It shows instructions as you create geofences on the map (see picture 4). We hope this will ease the drawing process for users.
Picture 4. New tooltip for drawing geofences
Easier to find
A search feature makes it possible to find specific geofences in an efficient way, since there is a limited number of cards shown in each group. Imagine trying to find a geofence among hundreds of groups - or thousands of geofences - by scrolling through them…. now imagine doing that with a search function. The feature makes it possible to search for geofences and groups based on their name or description.
Searching in a one-dimensional list is quite straight forward - you show the items that match your query. However, searching in a two-dimensional list comes with a few challenges. For example, if your query matches the parent (in our case, the group) what children should show (in our case, goefences)? All children or just the ones that also match the query? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but rather different solutions. We believe we came up with a useful solution (see picture 5). To make it more clear why a certain geofence displays in the query, we highlighted the matching search results with grey background.
Picture 5. Searching for geofences
Update: March 2018
Batch operations make the new geofence panel even more functional and quick to work with. After implementing batch operations in the dispatch panel, we recognized how well it worked for customers. Adding the same functionality and benefits to the geofence panel was an obvious next step.
From the panel menu in the geofence panel, one can enable the “batch operations” mode. A footer will be displayed at the bottom of the panel (see picture 6). The total number of selected geofences will be displayed together with buttons for deleting, ungrouping, adding, and moving them. You can easily perform these functions for a whole group, or for the selected geofences within a group.
*Note - it’s important to understand the difference between ‘delete’ and ‘ungroup.’ If you select delete, all selected geofences will be deleted. They will no longer be in the system, and will disappear from any other groups they were a part of. If you want to simply remove them from the group under which they are selected, select ungroup. The geofences will remain in any other groups they are currently in. If they are in no other groups they will be listed under ‘Ungrouped Geofences.’
Picture 6. Performing batch operations
The geofence panel redesign is part of our February release. To learn more about the full February release:
Read the full release notes on the forum post here.
Check out the blog on how the geofence panel meets the GpsGate promise to be scalable, user-friendly, and customizable software.
We would like to know what you think about the new layout with geofences organized by group.
Join our beta feedback group to tell us here!
Discuss this blog post on the forum please