It seemed like just yesterday when we rolled out Zopim ver0.2 on 8 Apr 2008, which was quite an overhaul of our initial prototype. Five short months later, here we are again, announcing the release of our spanking shiny new dashboard, along with some improvements to the visitor’s chat experience. This wasn’t your typical makeover. It was extreme.. Here’s the before and after of the old desktop and our new dashboard. Note the upgrade in the name as well.. desktop is a maliciously confusing word. Imagine us troubleshooting a problem,

developer1: “Is the desktop still running?”

developer2: “What, are you dumb, of course my desktop (computer) is running..”

or

sales guy: “Hang on, let me check..”
*closes all desktop applications to go to windows desktop view*
“Ya, hmm.. wait, I seem to be missing some icons here..”

Old Desktop

Old Desktop

Old Desktop

New Dashboard

New Dashboard

New Dashboard

So, whats different? The most obvious difference is of course the cosmetic upgrade. We tried to retain certain elements of the interface design so that existing users won’t have difficulty transitioning from the old desktop. At the same time, wherever possible, we have tried to make the dashboard even more intuitive and easier to use than before. More details on that below..

Technological Upgrade (For the geeks who simply must know)

  1. Migrated from using DHTML/Javascript (or AJAX if you like..) to Flex
  2. Multi-mode of communication, TCP Socket / HTTP Long Polling (or Comet if you like..)

What this means (Translation for the non-geeks)

  1. Better cross-browser compatibility. The new dashboard is a swf (flash) file which kinda runs the same on all browsers.
  2. Ability to churn out nicer looking graphs to display statistics and analytics – chat analytics as well as agent-performance analytics – which will be rolled out as a paid feature later this year. Basic web analytics will still be free.
  3. Better handling of animation and effects, enabling better interaction between user and application.
  4. With the multi-mode of communication, if your visitors are surfing behind a corporate firewall (yes, thats what most of them are doing, secretly surfing during work ;p), they would still be able to chat with you. Based on initial observations, you should be able to see around 5-10% more visitors.

Feature upgrades

  • Tour / Help which helps to quickly bring first-time users up-2-speed with the dashboard interface
  • Web statistics overview. See at one glance how many visitors, page views, conversations, etc.. you’ve had over the past days, weeks or months. Find out if Zopim has actually helped you increase web traffic, and number of conversations compared with your previous solution. Let us know if we did =)
  • Administration panel. Administrators can now add and manage agents. Go crazy and add as many agents as you like, while we still haven’t imposed any restrictions on the number of agents you can have. ;p

Interface upgrades

  • Adding shortcuts shouldn’t be a hassle. Thats why we included a click-to-add interface. Just chat normally and whenever you feel like you’ve just said something smart, simply hover over that message and click to add it into your database of shortcuts.
  • Searching through your chat logs is a breeze now. No more complex fields to fill up. Just a plain search box and you should be able to find what you want. There’s still advanced search in case you really need to fine-tune your search parameters
  • Want to find out more about the visitor you’re currently chatting with? You can now easily cross-reference his previous chat logs and other details in the same view

Known issues

  • Scrollbars appearing randomly – Seems to be a flex issue and appears pretty randomly. Usually resizing your dashboard would fix the problem. We’ll find a way to fix this.
  • Double-clicking and ctrl-? commands (eg. Ctrl-A to select all) sometimes don’t work – Seems to be a flex issue as well. Before we find a fix for this, it would help to hold down the keys longer.
  • File takes a long time to load. Because of the features we’ve packed into this upgrade, the file size of our flash application stands at just below 1MB. But no worries, it should be a one-time thing, once your dashboard loaded the first time, it should be cached subsequently. Our next step would be optimize our code and make the file much lighter-weight than before.

What to expect (In the near future)

  • People Browser – Trace the visitors you’ve had since deploying our product. Cross reference their webpath and chat logs to better understand their mentality while surfing your site. If they’ve left their details such as name, email address etc.. you would be able to export these information and handle click-to-chat email campaigns in the future.
  • Chat Trigger Interface – want the system to automatically send out chat requests on your behalf after a visitor performs a certain action (like going to a particular url, staying on the site for more than 3 mins)? The chat trigger interface will enable you to customize this behavior. In the meantime, we can provide advice as well as help implement such triggers for you on a consultation basis.

Thats it, do send us your feedback at support@zopim.com. Enjoy!

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Royston Tay

Royston Tay

Chief Executive Dude at Zopim
Royston is CEO and Co-Founder of Zopim. He spends his time envisioning how Zopim can help other businesses by providing simple, yet effective products. When he's free, Royston dreams of being back in Tahoe, tumbling down the double black diamonds with his trusty snowboard.
Royston Tay

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