Monday, April 13, 2015

Updated Webclient: auto-busy, simpler workflow, and more

We've introduced some updates to the webclient chat workflow designed to simplify chat management, especially for operators of busy services.  The basic layout of the webclient is unchanged.  However, you'll find that the chat area better uses the available real estate, making it easier to juggle lots of simultaneous chats with minimal fuss.  Plus there are other goodies too, so let's dig in!


New goodies: tiled layout; highlighted chat; greyed chat indicating guest has left the conversation.



Use auto-busy to control incoming chats

You might already know about busy (do not disturb) status, which allows an operator to continue with all of their active chats but not receive any brand new ones.  But it can be difficult for an overwhelmed operator to remember to change their own status.  Enter auto-busy!  When an operator reaches the auto-busy threshold configured in their settings, the webclient will automatically change their status to busy until they close a chat and again are under their auto-busy threshold.

When an operator changes to Busy status, other operators available on a queue will continue to receive the new chats, or if no other operators are available, the queue itself will change to Busy until at least one operator is Available again.   The auto-busy default is 9, which is deliberately set high so that it won't catch anyone by surprise, but can be changed to any number the operator desires.  Only chats on queues count towards an operator's auto-busy threshold; private IMs from colleagues are not counted.  

Pinning replaced by auto-split

The old webclient chat layout supported two chat areas, a large space for a primary chat of interest and a right sidebar for pinning up to three additional chats.  Some of our users with busier services found this old layout limiting, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with a Hollywood Squares workflow that auto-partitions a single chat area into tiles.  

You can control the number of tiles that are auto-opened in the chat area via an auto-open setting.  Auto-open only controls the number of tiles that are automatically displayed and doesn't represent a hard limit on the number of tiles you can have open at any time.  You can always open additional tiles by clicking the desired contact in your contacts list.

Check out this screencast with Pam to see the auto-split feature in action...



Chats grey when the guest leaves the conversation

Chats already include textual notifications to the operator when a guest leaves the conversation.  But we've also added a new, more visual cue to the chat.  When the guest navigates away, the chat background will turn grey and should the guest return the background will return to its original color, signaling to the operator that they can send messages to the guest again.  This improvement to the webclient goes along with some recent improvements to the chat widget's ability to detect when a guest leaves the conversation.  

Highlighting a chat with the star icon

Operators can highlight chats of interest using a new star icon at the top right-hand corner of a chat.  The highlight feature has no functional impact on the chat, but instead serves as a visual cue to draw the operator's eye.  

'Press Enter to send' is now part of your settings

Previously, you could toggle between using the Enter key to send messages and using a Send button to send message directly within each chat and within the conference room area.  In order to dedicate more real estate to chatting, we've removed the per chat toggle and added it to the Settings area.  The default setting is to use the Enter key to send messages to the guest.

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