James Fisher - Aug 2, 2019

A look inside our new navigation

 

Today, after a short trial, we’re publicly launching a redesign of Expend’s dashboard. Much has changed, but fear not! All the spending management features you know and love are still here. Only now we’ve updated our visuals, cleaned up our menu bar, and implemented a more coherent structure across our entire expenses management platform.

 

Why?

Expend is a customer-first business. Which means we believe in actively listening to the problems our customers have, and working out how best to solve them. Since our official launch at the start of 2018, we’ve been heavily guided by our customers'. Employing their feedback when choosing and building new features for Expend. However, while it’s gratifying to make someone’s day with a new feature, it’s easy to get caught up in a breathless cycle of repeatedly jumping to the next big issue.

Occasionally it’s worthwhile to just pause, take stock of what you’ve done, and ask the (hard) questions. Such as: does everything still make sense? 

When you do that, you might find some surprising answers. We certainly did when, a few weeks ago, the Expend design team got together for a sprint. Expend started with a simple core principle: Help everyone spend less time doing (and managing) Expenses. We wanted to realign ourselves to that north star, an exercise that ended up sparking an entirely new look!

Read more about our new look.

 

Facing the hard questions

Our analysis revealed the admin dashboard had become a bit disjointed. With lots of useful tools and functions being underused because they were difficult to find. A few superfluous elements had also crept in, and some of the links between them did not make sense.

In short, the mildly ad-hoc addition of new features (to solve the aforementioned next big issue) had created a bit of a monster. It was time to reorganise the dashboard. We wanted coherence, consistency, and above all, a usable platform that worked not just for now, but for the exciting expenses management features we’re building towards.

It’s this navigation element we focus on here, for which there are three important areas to cover: The settings menu, the main menu, and the home page.

 

The ‘settings menu’

Previously, the top right corner of the dashboard was home to three things:

  • A ‘quick switch’ function
  • A quick link to our help portal
  • A small icon of a head and shoulders

Expend_accountcircleThis icon will never be seen again.

This last, unassuming icon, was actually home to a number of important, yet distinct functions including individual and company account settings as well as the billing centre. This really wasn’t that practical, as the icon was fairly small and easily missed - something we learned via our (highly rated) live chat support.

So we got rid of it. As well as the help guides link. Moving all of these items to our reorganised menu, and making them both more accessible and better grouped at the same time.

 

The ‘menu bar’

As it’s permanently visible, the left hand menu is an important gateway between different parts of the dashboard. In the redesign we wanted to achieve three things: add new items, reduce the total number of items, and render just about every element of the dashboard accessible in two clicks - from any other part of the dashboard!

No small task then.

First, this required assessing what was there already, what we are going to need to add in the future (including secret project 1&2), and how it is best organised. We concluded that there were elements that were not worth placing at the ‘top level’ because they were not frequently used (i.e. reports, and members). As well as some that could be better grouped under new top level items and making them, at most, two clicks away (i.e. tracking, and categories being grouped under ‘settings’). And that by adding these top level items, we could accommodate the additional features we’ll be adding in the near future.

The result is a menu bar for the ages:

Expend_new_navNavigation: one of those things that doesn't seem too important, but get it wrong and it will cause all kinds of headaches.

It has one less top level item (12->11), but far more packed in to it.

New to the bar is:

  •  ‘User’, which contains the individual profile and vehicle settings, and the ability to accept invites and recommend Expend.
  • ‘Company’, which contains elements to manage your organisation - including ‘Members’ and ‘Billing’
  • ‘Settings’, home to all the Expend account settings - such as custom categories, tracking groups and mileage claim parameters.
  • ‘Reporting’, which contains all the tools for succinctly querying the status of your company expenses.

Next up is making it interactive with an ‘expand on hover’! But that can wait, more pressign was the need to address the page everyone sees when logging in to their expenses management hub.

 

The Home Page

The home page is now more focused:

‘You at a glance’ has been removed. As we felt it essentially told you the same things as the personal Expend Assistant. And who wouldn’t rather be notified about things by a friendly A.I? 

We’ve also changed the quick ‘action’ buttons, to better reflect the most common quick actions performed with Expend (unsurprisingly, these relate to expense and mileage claims). Handily, the space created room for a brand new search bar! Start typing in what you’re looking for, and we’ll make suggestions with quick links.

This is especially handy while getting used to the new changes, and likely to become increasingly useful as our repertoire of all-in-one expenses management tools continues to grow.

Expend SearchSeek, and ye shall find. Unless it's cake.

 

A sign of things to come

A great element of doing forward-thinking exercises like these is getting to peek into the exciting future of Expend. 

The changes we’ve made help establish the strong foundation necessary for the impending addition of 3 brand new features and provide a consistent framework for the continued growth of Expend in general.

We realise this may take some getting used to, but we’re sure they’ll make sense once we’ve released all the exciting developments we have planned for the rest of the year. 

As always, we love to hear your feedback - let us know via our live chat support! It really does guide is towards building a genuinely useful platform for managing your business spending. Now with this cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing slate, our focus returns to doing exactly that.

 

Onwards!

Written by James Fisher