Release Update: Introducing v0.19.0

The dashboard is your central hub. It’s the space where all your operations, merchandising, fulfillment, and marketing takes place. It’s where the magic happens in real-time. And, much like the world around us, it’s in a state of flux, constantly evolving to meet the needs of our fellow Reactionaries.

To see how the dashboard has evolved through time, let’s take a walk down memory lane:

The Evolution of a Dashboard

alt Ahh, the days of old.

alt Here's v0.7.0 through v0.9.0.

alt And here's v0.10.0 through v0.12.0, which paved the way for....

alt v0.13 through v0.18!

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Last week on GitHub, we launched v0.19.0, our latest and greatest. For those of you who have already switched to the new version, you may have noticed a big change right away: we’ve done away with dashboard cards! In fact, a ton of dashboard functionality has been moved to the side panel, allowing for a more seamless, inline flow—one which never interrupts the operator experience. Everything you need is in plain sight.

To open up the new dashboard panel, click on the blue Reaction logo, located on the top-right corner of the screen. You’ll notice that the panel is broken off into two distinct categories: Actions and Settings. In the Actions section, you’ll find important tasks that might be used on a daily basis, like processing orders and managing user accounts. In the Settings section, you’ll find the rest of your shop’s feature settings, which you may access, configure, and customize to your heart’s content.

Always There When You Need It

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In previous releases, users were saddled with the cumbersome expectation of jumping from page to page in order to access core feature settings, while more minor feature settings were configurable only through the side panel. The Product Details page operated similarly, resulting in a slightly disjointed split-screen experience. v0.19.0 heralds in a more cohesive, intuitive user flow overall.

“We want Reaction to be different, so we went in a different direction,” said Ryan Morgan, Director of Design. “The user shouldn’t have to go from page to page and panel to panel to run their shop. We wanted everything to be visible, accessible, and always there when you need it.”

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Our latest release also introduces a new publishing workflow. With edit mode, users can now easily toggle between what they see and what their customers see. And when edit mode is enabled, all real-time changes, which are marked in yellow, must be published before they are public and visible to customers. It’s kinda like you're using a CMS, only way cooler.

Look & Feel

We spent a week going back and forth on ideas for a new color palette. In the end, we created a consistent palette around our key color, Reaction blue. We did away with the wash of gray that marked our previous dashboards and opted for more simplified shades of blue. We also thought hard about how each and every element, including little things like the warning and error message colors, might vibe with each other. In v0.19.0, you’ll see more pops of colors, but executed in a subtle way.

We also switched our typeface to Source Sans, an open source typeface that reads clearly in paragraphs and across all interfaces. It’s a modern workhorse that, with its humanist elements, conveys warmth. It’s also slightly more condensed, so it gives us more room for variance, more freedom to refine, and more control of the space. Since our platform supports dozens of written languages, being flexible is a crucial part of our design.

Future Vision

We’re always aiming to be contextual and forward-thinking. Our vision is to head toward a dashboard that displays key analytics in a clean way, similar to how the orders section looks right now. We’re also building out functionality in the top nav bar and giving users the ability to add more than just products to their shop. Imagine a publishing experience that seamlessly marries commerce with editorial content, social, and other exciting new commerce models. Pretty neat, right?

What Else?

In addition to the UI changes, v0.19.0 includes the addition of two major features: taxes and shipping. We now offer Avalara tax reporting, which not only looks up rates, but also reports them whenever an order is completed. And, thanks to contributions from @lcampanis and @prosf, the Reaction platform now supports integration with Shippo, a multi-carrier shipping dashboard and API.

For a full list of feature changes, check out our release notes on GitHub.

As always, we’d like to give special thanks to our contributors for this release:

@reactioncommerce/core
@reactioncommerce/engineering
@lcampanis
@prosf
@chluke123
@f3rnando

A Glimpse Ahead

In v0.19.0, we effectively defined the role of the main store and the dashboard panel, separating the two from each other on a UI level. We’ll define and contrast these two interfaces through styling in the near future.

As for the next release, we’re continuing to add and clean up UI elements for a better merchandising and publishing experience. This includes larger elements, like adding in the ability to view Product Details page templates via dropdown, as well as smaller ones, like adding dimensions to products in the Shipping section. And architecturally, we’re continuing to convert all of our Blaze components to React, bit by bit. The main goal is to ensure that every single component, and not just our cool new UI, works together as harmoniously as possible.

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