One of my biggest challenges is the UI / UX and maintaining the look, positioning, and layout of layouts while a user is navigating through the system.
For example, a user may travel through the system like:
Home -> Customer List -> Customer -> Customer List -> Home -> Vendor List -> Vendor
Every time the user goes back to the list layouts, they look different.
In the case of list view layouts, the current record is shown at the bottom. In the case of portal lists, it requires some complicated scripting to get the portal to show the last selected record.
In general, it's very difficult to make a layout look like it was when they left it. List views, portals, tab controls, slide panels... they all have their specific challenges.
If a user visits a list view (customer list), performs a search, and then selects a customer - I would like the list view to reflect this upon their next visit to the same customer list layout (during their session only).
If a user visits a form view (customer), and selects a tab control tab to view related contacts, then views that contact, then returns to the customer, I would like the customer layout to reflect the tabs and portals as if they never left.
One alternative I have been considering is having everything open in different windows. For example:
Home (First Window) -> Customer List (new window) -> Customer (new window).
This way, the Customer List will look the same after they close the Customer Window.
Spawning everything in new windows adds a little more complexity, and clutters the screen with multiple windows. However, I will have almost no layout maintenance to worry about (i.e. making it look like they never left).
This was one of the reasons I really liked the older filemaker versions that had an SDI.
I see a lot of posts about "going to portal rows" and "scrolling to current record" to show the user where they left off. But it's becoming very cumbersome.
All of the filemaker example solutions use a single window interface. They allow the user to jump around from layout to layout, and while preserving the found set, they don't worry about the interface looking like the user never left it.
So I'd like to ask the question: how much effort are developers putting in to make the user interface appear as I have described? Are users having issue with not keeping the layouts appear as the user never left?