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Monday, March 31, 2014

Completely revamped webclient - Now in Beta!

Recently we helped you freshen up the look and feel of your virtual service with a chat widget makeover. Now its time for us to follow our own advice. Today, we are excited to announce the beta release of a completely revamped webclient for staff!

Beta webclient. One chat in main chat workspace and two pinned in sidebar. New chat flagged in contacts list on left.

Give it a spin!

Summary of features

The revamped webclient has all the bells and whistles to which you are already accustomed in our
original webchat client as well as exciting new features (with more to come!) and a fresh look and feel. Here are some highlights:

  • Customizable settings 
    • Configurable sound notifications (oh yes, we did!)
    • Chat font size controls
    • Nicknames
    • Avatars
    • Desktop notifications in Chrome and Firefox (FF no longer requires a plugin)
  • Improved workflow
    • Large main area for your current chat
    • Right sidebar to pin other chats you wish to keep visible
    • Minimize inactive chats to hide from view
    • New chats are clearly marked as such in contacts list
    • New message indicators in contacts list, navigation menu, and page title
    • Short, anonymous guest IDs by default (operator can re-name guests)
  • Integrated profiles.  You can browse profile content even without an active chat.

The revamped webclient workflow aims to save chat operators time. The main, central workspace represents a single chat and the focus of your attention in that particular moment. Additional new chats arrive minimized, but with plenty of visual and audible notification, and are available for pinning with a single click. Your time and energy are spent on the guest rather than re-arranging your workspace and fiddling with overlapping chat windows. But the new layout goes beyond window arrangement: it imparts a sense of prioritization, supported and automated by the software.

Please give the new webclient a try and let us know how we can improve it! We'll fold your feedback into the final version.  Both the new and old clients will operate in parallel through the end of the year to allow ample time for transition and staff training.

And of course, with LibraryH3lp, you're not locked into staffing through a web browser.  XMPP-based chat clients like Pidgin and Adium continue to be excellent tools for staffing your VR service.


walking473 said...

Activity display seems to be intermittent... Is there a secret to getting it to work?

Amy Shelton said...

Sounds like a potential bug. Can you e-mail details to

coyotelibrarian said...

The new version doesn't seem to work with Internet Explorer 8. The old version works fine.

Pam Sessoms said...

@coyotelibrarian: alas, IE8 and earlier won't be supported in the new client, given Microsoft's ending of IE8 support this month. Making it work in IE8 would hamper performance and limit new features. We'll see about providing something better than a non-loading front page.

We can continue to run the old client even after the end of the year if your librarians will still limited to IE8 then. But the old client won't get new features.

cm, bookbinder said...

I can't figure out how to transfer chats on the new interface. Is that ability still there?

Pam Sessoms said...

@cm, bookbinder: Yes, indeed! Chats for queues can be transferred as always. Look for the row of icons just above the area where you type. The icons should have tool-tips on hover over for things like transfer, tag for followup, send file, block. Let us know if you don't see that.

Dawn said...

When will there be a FAQ page for the new interface? The FAQ link is only for current one.


cm, bookbinder said...

@Pam: I saw it now, thanks! It doesn't seem to transfer the entire chat, though -- just the words before it was first accepted.

Pam Sessoms said...

@Dawn, very good point! We hope to buff up our documentation for the webclient next week, so stay tuned. For now, the best thing is the little in-place tour you can click through via the green question mark icon when signed in.

I'll update this comments thread when our help stuff is out next week.

Pam Sessoms said...

@cm, bookbinder: Hm, we'll test on this and see what's going on. Thanks a bunch for the report!