This post is the 3rd part of a series in which we dive deep into Forest admin interface’s feature to explain how to fully exploit them. Read the prologue 👇

Intro of the new Forest series

As we previously wrote in the intro of this series, from day one to the moment when business takes off 🚀, a lot of changes happen in a startup life. More people come on board, departments are created, features are added to the product and requests for data from business partners increase.

To keep up with all these changes, tools and internal processes evolve on a regular basis. It’s particularly true with the admin interface which is the backbone of all business operations.

What gets done first? Do we have enough information on the project? Which features or experiences stay and which one gets cut or postponed? How long does it take to develop it? Should I listen to customers, business team or my boss to prioritize? …

These are some of the most frequently discussed questions in product teams today and a great source of inspiration for Medium articles 😄 These are also a source of frustration for business teams with last minutes needs.

Let’s imagine one of your company salesman (randomly John) wants a new dashboard with several data to track, and a way to manage it. Indeed, the dashboard he’s currently using doesn’t fit his need. Unfortunately, there’s no way he can handle this problem by himself. The solution?

John has to explain what he wants, maybe via a mockup design, before reaching the product team, in charge of the product roadmap. A quick interview or exchange via tools like Trello or Slack, to name but a few, is needed to make sure everyone’s project comprehension is synced. Then, the product team has to talk with the tech team to share and explain John new needs but also to define its position in the product roadmap. Design, development, and test are mandatory before John can start playing with his new dashboard and interface.

This process obviously is totally different from a company to another, same as time spent from end to end, but you get the point! Even in small structures, several people will be involved in a similar scenario and it will take time to answer the need. So, what is the real solution?

We tackle this problem by developing the Layout Editor which is for sure, one of the main Forest admin interface feature, probably Top1 if you ask our customers. The idea behind the Layout Editor was to help business teams to become completely autonomous to configure & optimize, in a few clicks, the admin interface by themselves. Without any coding required!

If you have read our two previous articles (CRUD 💪 & Search🕵️‍), you already know that our mission is to increase companies’ operational efficiency, not the time they spent building admin tools.

By activating the Layout Editor in the navigation sidebar of Forest admin interface, you will have access to a multitude of features to customize your interface. For instance, you will be able to:

  • reorder collections* by drag & drop ;
  • and hide or show collections* by checking (or not) the box next to the collection name.
Drag & Drop power 💪

In the same way as for collections, you can perform these actions on your database fields.

We at Forest, love chocolate cookies, muffins, etc. What about you?

By clicking on the orange “cog” icon beside each collection name in the navigation sidebar, you will have access to your collection settings.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them…

This is where you can rename your collection to make it more user-friendly, set a nice icon, change the default sorting (e.g. created_at) and more.

In the Fields section of your collection settings, you are able to:

  • change the display name of your field
  • add a description to your field for a clearer explanation
  • set the field in read-only mode so that users won’t be able to modify it
  • choose from a list of widgets to better display your data (googles map, rich text editor, file picker, document viewer, … and more)

Segments are made for those who are willing to systematically visualize data according to specific sets of filters. It allows you to save your filters configuration so that you don’t have to compute the same actions every day (e.g. signup this week, pending transactions or paying customer).

“Save a new segment” feature on our online live demo

Sometimes, segments are complicated and closely tied to your business. The Smart Segment allows you to describe the business logic behind your segment … with code. An interesting topic for a future article 😉

Smart Actions
Smart Actions are specific to your business (e.g. customer refund, password generation or element approval). It can be triggered by a record (e.g. user, company) or a collection. In the Smart Actions section of your collection settings you have 3 different options:

  • display or not the action to restrict the access from your teammates
  • ask for confirmation before triggering the action
  • make the action visible on some segments only

Like Smart Segments, Smart Actions logic can also be coded by our tech team to perfectly fit your business process.

Team’s management
As a user with the “admin” role (see users, roles, and permissions in our knowledge base), you can moreover create different teams and easily configure the interface for them. For instance, you may want to display only relevant information to your teammates. Indeed, sensible data shouldn’t be exposed to everyone within your company. More details about teams’ management in our online doc.

In conclusion, with Forest Layout Editor, business teams are completely autonomous to configure & optimize the admin interface by themselves. With some help from tech teams, they can even go further and … possibilities are endless! Don’t hesitate to challenge our solution!

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you like this article or if you want more details on our solution ✌️

The next article of this series will explain more in details what are Smart Actions and how powerful there are.

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