Gimlet #2

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Gimlet v2 – Question Entry Improvements

Our time-tested interface for adding questions is simple, comfortable, and super easy to use. You can introduce new staff members to Gimlet and they “just get it” extremely fast. It’s intuitive and straightforward.

Gimlet v1 - Question Entry Form

So… How do you improve on all of that goodness? We have some GREAT ideas.

Gimlet v2 Question Entry Highlights

1) Site/Location

Our new design places these least frequently changing options outside of the main data entry form. You’ll sign into Gimlet, make sure your library branch and service point are properly selected, and you’ll basically never need to change them for the duration of your shift on the desk. Time saved for everyone.

2) Difficulty

Difficulty is an optional category in Gimlet and it will also be optional the Gimlet v2 — if you’re interested, an account administrator can toggle this feature on or off.

In Gimlet v1, the difficulty option was a set of radio button options below our tagging feature. In Gimlet v2, we’ve moved difficulty into the main form entry area, which makes using the option faster, and allows you to better label your difficulty levels. It streamlines the entire form, making it the same type of input as the other main categories. Again, this change will help to speed up data capture significantly.

3) Time and Date

It might not be well known, but Gimlet v1 has this feature where you can enter time as a spoken phrase: “1 hour ago”, “15 minutes ago”, “yesterday at 3pm”, etc. We also auto-increment the time of day per second, which is pretty nice most of the time, but it hides that today’s date is the assumed date.

No more. Enough being cute.

We’ve separated time input from date input in Gimlet v2. Now time works all by itself. You won’t get one of those silly data entry errors saying Gimlet doesn’t understand the time you entered. The date input also includes a native calendar picker, too. These changes will keep you accurate and raise your confidence as you enter data.

4) Tagging

Tagging helps everyone keep their data terse and accurate. A nice set of promoted tags helps make Gimlet easy and quick to use. Because of it’s importance, we’ve given the tag input area more prominence. Free-text tag entry is disabled by default, which will help cut down on all the “dvd” versus “dvds” tags in your data. And, if you do enable free-text entry, tags will now be comma separated (because that’s how most of us assume they’ll work). We’ve simplified the tag auto-suggestion and entry process, too.


So, ultimately, what is already a quick system to use at the desk today, will be a much, much faster system to use in the future. Sound good? Let me know what you think and drop a comment below!

Okok, that’s all for today. I’ll return next week to write a post about search improvements in Gimlet — something I’m thrilled about. Stay tuned!

Cheers,
– Eric

April 28th, 2017  |  Published in Gimlet #2

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Gimlet v2 – Development Update

Gimlet #2

Hi everyone,

For the better part of a year, we’ve been hard at work building the next version of Gimlet. Internally, the project has a lot of nicknames — “G2” or “#2” or “Version 2” or “the next Gimlet” — and it is pretty much all I work on outside of customer service and support these days.

Last spring at the Public Library Association conference and last summer on this blog we shared some demonstration screenshots of G2 and we were extremely excited about a design prototype we had created. Since that time we’ve worked to write the actual application code that will power our new design. We are quite a ways toward that goal now, with the hope we can begin testing an early-release of the application with a few select clients very soon (more below).

My ten favorite things Gimlet #2 actually can do today, that Gimlet #1 cannot:

1) Hide the free-hand, tag-entry form
2) Support bulk tag-editing
3) Edit text using Markdown
4) Perform faceted searches
5) Run a date comparison report
6) Download embedded charts as images
7) Perform a three-level, pivot-table report
8) Mobile interface
9) Separate time entry from date entry
10) Highlight search result text matches

SO! Our next steps for Gimlet #2 are to lock down a preview branch of the project and start collecting feedback from current clients. That step will happen later this month (April 2017).

We have already identified a few clients that are interested in helping with this next stage of the process, and we’re extremely grateful for their offer to help. If your library uses Gimlet #1 and you’d like to help us complete Gimlet #2 by previewing your data in the new interface, and providing us feedback, please contact us. We unfortunately don’t have the capacity to offer every current client a preview, but we’ll try hard to help the first handful of clients that reach out.

We’ll be back in touch with additional Gimlet v2 details each week this month. Stay tuned.

Cheers!
– Eric for the Gimlet Team

April 13th, 2017  |  Published in Gimlet #2

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Gimlet – Improvements Coming!

Today we’re excited to announce a series of feature improvements coming to Gimlet. I’m thrilled about the future of Gimlet and you should be, too.

We’ve spent a great deal of time analyzing customer service requests and we’ve talked directly with several clients to build a solid vision for how we can add the most value back to the software.  This post is going to provide an overview of the work we’re undertaking, with more posts to follow providing detailed information on each of these major new features.

Okay! Here’s the list of coming improvements:

Improved Search

One of our principal design goals in this round of updates is to give you better access to your data in Gimlet.  To that end, we’re adding a faceting search engine to allow you complete control over how you query your data.

Features

  • Facets for limiting your results to particular category values
  • Full support for complex, nested Boolean queries
  • Improved phrase and proximity searching

Search Results


Improved Reports

Our new search engine will also power our next generation of reporting tools.  Doubling down on this new technology will allow you to query and facet directly within reports, providing you all the means to analyze your data in great detail with rich, ad-hoc control entirely at your command.

Features

  • New downloadable charts and graphs
  • Compare data between date ranges
  • Facet or query directly within reports

Comparison Report


Awesome Mobile Support

We know a lot of Gimlet use occurs at a traditional service desk, using a standard desktop computer. We also know your staff use Gimlet throughout your library on a wide variety of devices.  We’ve designed the next version of Gimlet to be mobile-first, and fully responsive, to create a user experience that’s natural and optimized for any device.

Features

  • Use Gimlet on any device, anywhere.
  • All the power desktop Gimlet on your phone
  • Speech-to-text entry on mobile devices
Mobile question form

Mobile question form


Speed Entry

New clients are always worried about how much time it takes to use Gimlet.  It’s dreadful for them to imagine typing each question verbatim into the question form. PLEASE DON’T.

It’s always been our recommendation that people only write question and answer text into Gimlet if it’s worth searching for again in the future.  Many times (perhaps most even?) it’s not worth adding that text, but you still need to record the transaction.  Enter speed entry.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. Choose a question type
  2. Add tags (optional)
  3. Save! 🙂
Speed entry

Speed Entry – Choose a question type, optionally add tags.

That’s as quick as entering data can be.  You’ll be able to switch between Traditional Entry and Speed Entry on-the-fly, so select whichever makes the most sense for you at the time of need.


Okok, that all sounds wonderful! When are these updates coming?

That’s a really good question.  The new search engine is a large and important update for us.  We’ll be moving that tool into production first and before we release any other changes. In fact, when the new search engine upgrade occurs you won’t even see anything different in Gimlet.

All of the user-interface improvements described here are next. These upgrades are significant, so we’re stilling working on the details for how we’ll release them. More information will follow in the coming weeks, but for now, we felt it was high-time we shared a glimpse into the future of Gimlet.

Do you have any thoughts, concerns, or feedback? Please drop a comment below! Thanks.

July 19th, 2016  |  Published in Gimlet #2