Aeries has always been a user-oriented platform, dating back to our early inception prior to the advent of the Internet. Our focus on customers is a philosphy we've held throughout our more than 20 years of serving California schools, and we're happy to continue that tradition in the refreshed and improved user interface (or "UI"). We've designed this update to make Aeries easier to use and more efficient to navigate, as well as introduce a new look that is pleasing to the eye.
Perhaps most crucially, this update lays the foundation for exciting ongoing improvements to the underlying user experience behind Aeries. As we embrace web technologies and the amazing things Aeries can do with them, we're focused on making sure that our application's user interface is growing more intuitive, consistent and easy to use. This new UI release is the first step on our continual journey into the brave new world of user-centric design.
Likely what you'll notice first is that we've updated the styling and fonts, embracing a design that emphasizes negative space to boost comprehension and clarity.
Another area we knew we could make a big improvement was the sidebar navigation. In user testing, we uncovered that users found our previous sidebar difficult to navigate due to small text size and massive tree structure. Other users outlined that they never actually browsed reports, choosing to search for them instead. So, the sidebar is all-new with 3 switchable sections you can easily navigate between - "Pages", "Reports" and "Favorites". With these enhancements, it's possible to get anywhere in Aeries in just a couple of clicks.
Even though the style and font changes might seem like a relatively small change, it can feel much more significant for daily users. We wanted to make sure we were as clear about these changes (and how they'll impact your daily workflow) as possible. We created two brief walkthrough tours that you can access right from the Home screen of the new UI that will outline all of the wonderful new improvements we've made with you in mind.
This first iteration of the new UI is the result of countless hours of collaboration between Aeries and users, but we're just getting started. We want this update to signal a newfound focus on bringing UX / UI principles to our software development. That's why we included a tool you can use to send us feedback on specific pages or elements of the new UI very easily. Watch out for the floating action button in the lower right-hand corner of our demo instance, and use it to let us know what you think!
For those that already possess a sandbox environment or have the technical knowledge to create one, we will also be making the new UI build available for download so you can create a sandbox for your staff to test with your district's data. That build is available under a new category under our Updates page for those with valid permissions.