5% effort can make user satisfaction explode

The goal of process-centric application is to optimize a business process, eliminate bottlenecks and increase efficiency. That, in many cases, requires a sophisticated logic, integration with external systems and well-thought design.

With all of those factors, it’s easy to forget or underestimate the value of simple things that technically don’t have a significant impact on application configuration but can make a whole lot of difference in user experience department.

With that being said, from my experience 5% of additional effort may result in 50% increase in user adoption. That’s why it’s worth to reserve some additional time during implementation process to make sure users get not only functional solution, but also good-looking and easy to use as well J.

Here’s are several things that can help:

  • client’s logo and colors – to make users identify more with the new application, it’s good to embed corporate identity into the interface. WEBCON BPS allows to adjust the whole portal as well as forms interface according to individual preference by:
    • embedding company logo
    • changing colors of Portal interface
    • changing colors of elements of forms

      o changing colors of elements of forms

  • home page & dashboards – in the latest version of WEBCON BPS (2019.1.4), you can also use a dashboard as a home page. That’s especially helpful when you want to deliver a single page for users where all of their tasks will be gather together along with list and graphical reports. Please remember that every dashboard can consist not only of WEBCON BPS elements, but also external content can be embedded. Some clients (especially those with thousands of end users) create short tutorial videos for their employees to introduce them to the new system/solution. That saves a lot of time on trainings but also is easy to use by employees.

    • home page & dashboards

  • neat arrangement of steps via workflow designer – use the grid function for proper placement and hide technical paths if they’re not relevant to the core of the process. That makes the business logic of the workflow significantly easier to understand
  • workflow preview – once the workflow design is done, generate a preview that will be accessible from the form level by clicking on a step in the status panel. That can be used to explain the scenario of your application.

    workflow preview

  • field groups and tabs – use them to separate and group fields, especially if there are many on the form at the same time. That makes the form neat and transparent
  • task details and tooltips – fill them in to make the end-user interface as self-explanatory as possible. PS. “Task details” that appear on every single step of the workflow can be filled with text and basically any HTML code (YouTube videos can be embedded here as well)
  • soft CSS styling – apply colors, bolds and other soft modifications to crucial paths and fields on the form. Keep in mind you don’t need to insert custom JavaScripts to get this done. WEBCON Designer Studio has dedicated placeholders to insert CSS for fields and transition path buttons
  • bonus features – prepare some extras that may be useful for your client’s business case like:
    • mass action function (e.g. for mass approval)

      mass action function

    • Status buttons: traffic lights based on status/date or any other parameter

      status buttons

    • think abut mobile users. Forms in WEBCON BPS are automatically mobile-ready, however in case of especially more complex forms it’s good to spend some extra time on deciding what information should be shown on mobile devices and how.

Each of those things will take you 5 minutes tops but they can really boost the user experience of your application and users will definitely appreciate your attention to detail and usability of the solution.

3 Tips to make your applications easily exportable

Applies to version 2019; author: Anna Puka, Michal Rykiert


InstantChange™ technology can be seductive. There’s no restarting or (re)deployment involved, and the results are available immediately after hitting the save button. That’s one of the things that make power users fall in love with the platform.

Although, it also entices to execute the wild-wild-west approach to provide on-the-fly changes for ongoing workflow instances directly on PROD environment. Which is great, but with great power comes great responsibility. Some enjoy the thrill, but most prefer it safe. For the second group, WEBCON BPS enables the Export-Import mechanism, which combines safe with the flexibility of InstantChange™.

In essence, the Export-Import allows packaging whole configuration of application: workflow(s), forms, actions, rules, data source definitions, etc. into a single file. Such file is then transported between DEV/TEST/PROD or to a completely new environment. Et voila! Changes are embedded immediately and new applications are imported.

To make sure the importing process involves as little manual work as possible (or not at all), we’ve prepared 3 tips to keep in mind while preparing to export.

1. Make your applications as no-code as possible

WEBCON BPS offers vast capabilities to deliver applications without writing a single line of code or script. Use it towards your advantage! Some of our old school clients/partners still prefer to use SQL queries (instead of graphical rules engine) or JavaScripts (instead of form rules engine), but in most cases, there’s no need for that.

WEBCON business rule

Using a built-in rules engine not only ensures functional compatibility for all devices (desktop, mobile) but also allows to easily leverage Export/Import mechanism. While we are at it, make sure to always use variables (reference tags) within the configuration of your rules to ensure your rules would work on any environment. For instance, whenever you need to reference process or workflow ID, use a variable instead of a fixed number. Depending on the environment the ID may change, but the variable will always be right :).

Protip: WEBCON BPS 2019, a configuration of Data row and Data Table fields allow for using variables to create hyperlinks to open a referenced workflow instance. Very useful when you want to allow users to get additional information about the item of interest :).


2. Reuse the reusable

Some business applications delivered with WEBCON BPS can be highly complex and will require some manual changes in the configuration whenever the application is imported to a new environment. To make the modification as easy as possible, as well to ensure future swift maintenance, it’s worth to remember that many configuration pieces can be created as reusable templates. Why should you care?

  • Reason 1: It’s super easy to find. All reusable elements are available in the main configuration node.
  • Reason 2: You provide modification(s) once and your change is automatically populated to every place where your template is used.
Protip: Every reusable configuration elements have “Usages” tab available that will allow you to quickly find where exactly it is used.

Here’s what specifically you should consider:

  • Action templates – especially useful when you create task creation actions that are based on Active Directory Groups or actions using Hyperlinks. Those for sure will need to be adjusted per each environment and surfacing them in the top configuration layer will make it easier.
  • Constants are typically used to specify thresholds (e.g. value threshold for additional approval in the process) or to store site addresses. The huge advantage of constants is the fact that they can be embedded not only in process configuration but also as a part of other configuration pieces (hence storing site addresses as constants is so crucial).
Protip: Constants are also environment-sensitive which means you can provide different constant for DEV, TEST and PROD.
  • Business & form rules templates can be nested! Which means you can specify a rule within a rule. Truly helpful, especially for more complex applications. It will save you a lot of time during the introduction of modifications.

3. Be smart with data sources

Data sources are a crucial element of most applications, so it’s really important to take care of them during export/import process.

First of all, in WEBCON BPS data sources are environment-sensitive, which means (once properly configured) when you migrate your application from TEST to PROD, the system will automatically connect you to the proper instances of your external data sources.

You’ll find proper connection placeholders in Designer Studio (Data sources -> Connections)

Secondly, if you have a data source with values that rarely change (or not at all), always configure them as Fixed values list directly in Designer Studio. That’s the easiest way to have them automatically exported, compared e.g. to SharePoint lists which as such are not exported by WEBCON BPS (although the definition of the data source using SP list in fact is).

Additionally, if you want business users to be able to add/change your selectable values from time to time, the best way to handle this (without giving the business user access to the Designer Studio) is to have a small process that would allow them to do so. Therefore, they’ll be able to interact with it just like with any other application in the system. In such case use data source type: BPS Internal View

Side note: soon, so-called dictionary processes will be available in Designer Studio as a standard, so you won’t even have to configure them to store data :).

Last but not least, keep in mind that since v. 2019, the system allows exporting processes as a template. Selecting this option will create a package with a template process. It means that whenever you import it to any server it will create a new process (instead of amending the existing one if there is any). With that, you can create:

  • simple acceptance application that will be the basis for more complex workflows (e.g. cost approval, purchase order),
  • dictionary processes template that will always have the same business logic (workflow) but different form fields, e.g.: Departments list, Cases, Contact person, etc.
  • the basis for OCR teaching processes – again the same workflow but different OCR projects and form fields.

Export-import is a very powerful mechanism and if you give your processes a little bit of extra love, they’ll return you a favor by being super easy to import wherever you choose :).