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CRM 2013 Navigation Contest – Win $5000

by Mark Rockwell, President of Rockton Software | May 28, 2014

There’s something to be said about the decision to make Dynamics CRM 2013’s top-bar navigation system universal to all screen sizes.  It provides one code base and one experience for users across all devices.  For our team, these changes have caused some challenges.

Fortunately, we have a rich CRM community of creative geniuses out there who know how to fix problems like this.  And I’m so desperate for a decent navigation system, one where I can see more than six tile choices at a given time, that I’m offering $5,000 cold hard cash for a winning navigation design to improve CRM 2013 specifically for desktop computers. 

You’ve got until June 30, 2014 to put together a design for your navigation system.  Test your design so you know it can be coded. Post your ideas publicly online and send me a link. Sell your idea to the community. I'll collect all the entries, and my design team will pick the best ideas and offer them up for community vote. You do NOT have to code your design, just prove it can be coded. Once the community votes on the best design, just prove it can be coded. Once the community votes on the best design, the winner gets $5,000. Of course, the world hopes you'll code your design and share it on CodePlex, but that's up to you.

UPDATE: We were going to have you code your design and retain the intellectual rights to it, but that stifles creativity. So that part's been nixed. We want GREAT ideas, so focus on creativity and the best design you can think of. No coding or deliverables are required.

Here’s some tips that I consider part of a great design:
1. It has to be super-simple to install, configure, implement, and toggle.  I picture a standard CRM Solution with no complicated extras.  This might be impossible, but it’s a design goal.  For a given user, they should be able to toggle the new navigation on or off, and it should switch between the old way and new way quickly and painlessly.  Better yet, is it possible to have both navigation systems on at all times?
2. It should use the Site Map.  But I also want to be open to the idea that the Site Map just might be a limiting feature of CRM, and I welcome a new way of doing things.  Think about it.
3. Color and icons are awesome.  Huge horizontal tiles suck.
4. I can be bribed.  Chocolate works best.  But, it only gets my attention.  You still have to deliver quality.
5. Rockton makes work simpler & easier®.  Make sure your design does too.

So get your thinking caps on and get designing!

If you have any questions, email the Rockton Software team at or leave a comment!

P.S. As a parting comment, I’ve been a loyal NBC News reader for almost a decade.  This past year, they changed their navigation to be agnostic to screen size, favoring the mobile experience.  I’m almost exclusively a desktop user, and their desktop design is horrible.  So horrible I refuse to use the site anymore, and instead go to ABC News or USA Today.  This is a case where a smart company made the wrong choice to alienate users by providing the same experience to everyone, in the name of a single code base.  When will we learn?  Developers and technology DO NOT DRIVE usability—users do.  And a desktop application that navigates like a mobile device is a total design crime.  To NBC’s credit, I do love reading their news on my smartphone, so they did awesome with that design.  Mobile and Desktop are not the same, so let’s stop forcing the desktop warriors to work that way.