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The CRM 2013 Navigation Design Contest Winner is . . .

by Mark Rockwell, President | Jul 08, 2014
We've found a winner of the "CRM 2013 Navigation Contest - Win $5000."

CRM MVP Damian Sinay of Remoting Coders. Damian's design is simple and doesn't obstruct anything else CRM does, other than take up just a little bit of real estate. Here's a screen shot:


Notice the area-level navigation of the Site Map is listed at the top. Hovering over any one of the main areas produces a drop-down of the navigable links in that area. 


What I like about Damian's solution is that it works by hovering rather than clicking reducing two clicks and endless scrolling in the standard navigation. It also doesn't interfere with the standard navigation, and most importantly, it can be done as a supported solution. This design is not yet available as a project, but one I plan to incorporate into my own software.

I hope Damian will use his $5000 to keep innovating and maybe bring a complete solution to CodePlex.

**UPDATE**
Damian's winning entry did get coded, and it's available on CodePlex at 
https://crm2013oneclicknavigation.codeplex.com/.  
 
MegaDropDown
The next runner up is from Sven Latzel of hotel.de-AG. This design intercepts the hover-over of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM main button, giving you this:

The main problem with this design is that it's not supported. However, I hope Microsoft will take a look at this and see its benefits. It gives you most of the Site Map in one glance. One other concern I have is what happens if the Site Map is really huge? I think I prefer to see just one Area at a time. Visually, it's stunning, and it again eliminates clicking and scrolling--and getting lost. This design is not yet available as a project.

Quick View
Next up is an entry from CRM MVP Rhett Clinton. He adds an Area to the Site Map that looks like this:


Clicking on Quick View, you get this: 


I like that this is a supported solution. My main concern is that these tiles take up a lot of space. This causes unnecessary scrolling and more ways to get lost. I find my eyes having to travel up, down, sideways to find things. But this is still an amazing improvements and worthy of mention. Plus, you get to see the whole Site Map at once, which is a huge bonus. This solution is available today on CodePlex at
https://crm2013quickviewmenu.codeplex.com.

Start Menu Style Navigation
Here's a great design by CRM MVP Scott Durow of Develop 1 Limited.

The compass button follows you around throughout CRM in the secondary-navigation bar, and it has wonderful color (I'm not into flat monochrome, the fad that it is) but that makes navigation tiered and simple. Scott technically didn't enter the contest, so this entry doesn't win. The compass also requires a click and could be improved with hover instead of click. CRM need not be so clicky!

Scott's solution is available on
Git Hub and is a SparkleXRM project. I've got this solution installed in my live CRM environment. As a completed solution, its design flow is very nice!

Easy Navigate
Our next solution, which was not entered, is by Amine Kouddane of Klee Group. It's called Easy Navigate and is similar to Rhett Clinton's above, but it adds more color to the bland experience of CRM, and the ability to quickly edit the tiles and what you see. It also has some cool search functionality added.
 

This project is available on CodePlex at
https://easynavigate.codeplex.com/.

CRM 2013 Quick Navigation
Finally, it's worth mentioning this awesome find from CRM MVP Jason Lattimer of Ledgeview Partners. It brings back navigation to related records of a parent record.


I would agree that navigating to related and child records is difficult with the standard CRM 2013 navigation. With this solution, available on CodePlex at
https://crm2013quicknavigation.codeplex.com/, the footer stays put while you navigate around, helping you not get lost.

In Summary
I'm impressed with the innovation and different approaches to improving navigation in CRM 2013. I admit to having a tantrum or two in our offices dealing with the new interface, after years of being on CRM 2011. In just a few months of CRM 2013's release, there are several solutions published to help navigate CRM 2013. I hope Microsoft is listening and will use some of these ideas above to improve the core navigation of CRM for desktop users. I am so thankful so many people in the community are sharing their ideas and projects with the greater CRM community!