When we designed e-Quip we felt (and still do) that engineers and others using the software for several hours a day needed the advanced functionality of a desktop application. Web access has always been important, but for different types of user. For several years we have had a web application (you can have a play with it here).
This is a traditional web application in that it has several screens that you can navigate between. That web application was created for clinical users (Ward Managers etc) who want to search for equipment, find out what equipment is due for maintenance and to check the progress of jobs. However, as more diverse users require web access for a specific piece of functionality (such as call-logging, device competence self-certification etc), in theory the web application would grow and grow to the point where it almost duplicates the desktop application. The downside of this is that the application becomes harder to use and requires training, which is not really desirable for a web application.
Rather than keep extending the web app, we have taken a different approach, namely micro-sites. A micro-site is a simple web page with very specific functionality which can be easily integrated with your existing Intranet infrastructure. For example, rather than extend the web app so that it supports call-logging, we have created a call-logging micro-site. Suppose that you have a Nurses’ Portal on your Intranet maintained by SharePoint. With a micro-site it is simple to create a hyperlink within that portal, like Report a Fault With a Medical Device which can open the call-logging page. There is no need for users to know the URL of the e-Quip web app, or to know how it works. The call-logging micro-site is trivially simple to use and requires no training.
The first two micro-sites that we have produced are:
1. Call logging
2. An auto-refreshing Call Centre “Open Jobs” screen
The first of these is self-explanatory. The second displays a list of jobs which match any filter which you define. It is designed to fit onto a large-screen TV or monitor. It auto-refreshes so that the Call Centre staff can see the jobs which still need attention.
We think that micro-sites are a great way of getting e-Quip functionality out to the people in your organisation who need it. If you can think of a good candidate for a micro-site, then let us know.
We will put some examples on our server as soon as possible.