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Udo Hering

New User Interface for OpenDXM GlobalX

By Udo Hering

The current trend in user interface design is moving towards providing the user only with the functions required for their tasks, as in an app. PROSTEP will completely redesign the OpenDXM GlobalX user interface to increase usability for occasional users while taking the discontinuation of browser support of Java applets into account.

The OpenDXM GlobalX data exchange solution was launched in 2008 and is being utilized by thousands of users worldwide for secure data exchange. Many of them work with OpenDXM GlobalX every day, but there is also a growing number of users in company sectors who only have the need for occasional data exchange. For those users, an intuitive interface containing only the most important functions is crucial for acceptance of the tool. ‘Power users,’ however, are looking to use the entire functional scope of the data exchange solution. PROSTEP will meet those expectations by redesigning the user interface.

Moreover, PROSTEP will also use the redesign to update the graphics as well as the technological backend of the Web interface. In the past, many functions of Web-based applications were provided by Java applets which independently from user interaction plugged into the browser. While this was a very convenient process for the user, it created potential risks for security, which is why browsers will no longer support this technology. PROSTEP has developed an alternative on the basis of Java Web Start technology so that OpenDXM GlobalX users can continue taking advantage of their customary functions in a browser-based environment. However, this is only intended as a temporary solution until the new Web client becomes available.

In the future, there will a purely browser-based user interface which will provide all the essential functionalities of OpenDXM GlobalX using HTML5 and JavaScript without any additional software in the browser. A local desktop app will be required for certain use cases or additional functions which are rarely used and which are impossible to carry out through the browser, such as sending complete directories or uploading extremely large data volumes. The desktop app and Web client will be identical in look and feel. The user interface of the Web client will not only have a new, more modern layout, but will also have a more ergonomic design.

PROSTEP cooperated with User Interface Design GmbH, a true professional in terms of interface design and ergonomics to ensure that the new OpenDXM GlobalX interface will satisfy customers’ expectations in terms of user experience. The user interface design specialists from Ludwigsburg, Germany, captured the user requirements and closely analyzed how users currently work with software, which features they use the most, and where exactly users have problems operating the interface.

The new usability concept is currently being introduced to selected customers, tested and optimized using click dummies. Implementation was started at the same time. The new interface will be available for the first time in Version 9.0 of OpenDXM GlobalX, which will be launched in Q4/2018. PROSTEP is expecting the simplified usability to facilitate even broader use of Web-based data exchange solutions in departments outside of engineering as well as along the entire supply chain.