As part of our continuing series on Microsoft CRM 2013, we’re going to dive back into the new features and functions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and ask “Is Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 ready for fulltime, production use?” Obviously, at Tricension, we ultimately feel the answer to that question is “Yes,” but at the same time we acknowledge that like any new Microsoft product, it’s going to have its quirks, especially since it’s only been out for a few months at the time of this post.
Microsoft CRM 2013 UI Quirks
So, as the title of this post suggests, we’re going to spend today looking at user interface quirks introduced in CRM 2013. To frame the conversation, as we sat down to write this post, it occurred to us that we’re somewhat at a disadvantage talking about Microsoft CRM 2013’s user interface. Most of the team here has been using Microsoft CRM since CRM 4.0 (or before.) Microsoft CRM 2013 is a massive departure from previous version’s UI as the new CRM moved from a straightforward, no-frills “business app” look to a more Windows 8-style, big-colorful-boxes look. In other words, it’s a pretty radical change that has us old timers sticking up our noses and telling stories about how in our day, we didn’t have colorful dropdown menus. That’s the way it was and we liked it!! However, none of the customers who are new to CRM comment on many of the new changes. They have no basis to compare and so CRM 2013 is just the way Microsoft CRM is. This is good a thing, though even with an unjaundiced eye, there are some things about CRM 2013’s UI that are quirky.
Microsoft CRM 2013’s Navigation
This is Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 main navigation bar. On the surface, it looks nice, but it has the unfortunate side effect of requiring a lot of extra clicks. For instance, try to go to Sales or Marketing. You have to click on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM part, which produces a drop down. Then you have to click on the right button, which can be hard since those drop downs have a bad habit of disappearing. Contrast this with CRM 2011 and, frankly, Microsoft CRM 2013 is a lot more cumbersome to navigate. Not only that, the navigation bar is woefully space inefficient. It’s not a big thing, but since you have to click to dropdown, you then may have to click to scroll around through the various options until you finally arrive at the menu button you want. Having more compact buttons would help this.
Microsoft CRM 2013’s magically shrinking dropdown
Another quirk we noticed in Microsoft CRM 2013 is dropdown spacing. The good news with CRM 2013 is that it appears to make heavy utilization of CSS and HTML5-approved methods for styling. The bad news is that leads to some funky behavior. Like this: That dropdown has 10 options, but only one is being shown. Workaround: This is caused by the fact that dropdown is at the bottom of its section (layout element.) If you add spacers below the section (creating artificial, unartistic whitespace), the dropdown has room to grow.
Microsoft CRM 2013’s lack of radio buttons
Finally, Microsoft CRM 2013 hates radio buttons. Or at least doesn’t let you use them. Before, when you had a Two Option field (Yes/No, True/False, etc.) you could present it is a single checkbox, a dropdown, or as two radio buttons. Now, even if you choose radio button, you still get a dropdown. Kind of frustrating. Workaround: None that I know of. This particular “feature” is totally controlled by Microsoft CRM.
Where to next?
In the final installment of “Is CRM 2013 ready for primetime?” we’ll look at some of the backend changes and see how they perform. In the meantime, if you need CRM consulting for CRM 2011 or CRM 2013, feel free to contact us. We’d love to talk to you.