SCHEMA Blog (EN)

Corporate blog of SCHEMA GmbH

Maximilian Herrmann

Work more effectively with individualised interfaces

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Are you working in a team on an ST4 project? Or are you working on a project alone, but constantly performing different tasks? Sometimes you’re just working on the text, sometimes the graphics and the next week it’s all about importing and exporting for translation management.

Alongside the workflow module, which is already a huge help for this sort of work, there’s a great little function that can make your daily tasks that bit more effective. After all, ST4 does not just allow in-depth individualisation – you can also adjust the interface so it best fits your processes. The keyword here is workplace. As it’s the start of the year, we want to use this article to show you how to set up a workplace, explain what it can do and provide a few best-practice tips.

What does a “workplace” offer?

A workplace allows you customise viewlets as quickly as possible so that you can:

  • Get to your destination more quickly (a particular resource folder, for example)
  • Keep an overview
  • Always be where you need to be and have the right tools at hand
  • Hide unnecessary folders and views

In order to establish a workplace by customising the interface for translation management, for example, there are various different options that can be combined. Any changes to the layout of the interface can be saved at the end as a workplace and retrieved whenever necessary.

Let’s consider the options in relation to a concrete example:

We have two people working on the same piece of software documentation. A new software release is scheduled to be issued in both German and English. It is our job as technical writers to check the text nodes, make any revisions that may be necessary and create new German and English screenshots. Basically, entering the content, including version management.

Only display the viewlets you need

You’ll know that ST4 opens the previously used viewlets when started. Generally, that includes the information pool, the project tree, the Quick View and the properties.

Anyone involved with translation management will also open the Translation Report and the TMS Health Report. We now have somewhere between 4 and 7 viewlets filling the screen.

That means we now need to make a decision: which viewlets and functions do I need for which task? If I’m only dealing with content today, then I probably won’t need the Translation Report or the project tree.

For our example, we therefore need the following viewlets:

  • Information pool (probably at least once)
  • Quick View, to quickly view the content of the node the editor
  • Properties, to set meta data, for example
  • The usage info, because I will actually be changing node content and need to check which other nodes are affected
  • Standard search
  • Possibly a structure net to quickly check links

Once we have all these viewlets open, we are able to place them wherever they will be most useful.

Here’s our suggestion:

For most people, it’s best to place the information pool on the left. In the middle, we have the Quick View and properties. And on the far right (one above the other), the search and the usage info.

The viewlets are easy to re-arrange by dragging and dropping into the desired position. Pay attention to the position markers when moving the viewlets, and only let go of the mouse once you have moved the viewlet to the desired position marker. Your viewlet will now be in the desired position.

Give your eyes a break

You now have all the windows that are relevant to what you’re working on. But we still need to consider the information pool: it is still displaying all the records that you can access with your client. It is possible to narrow this down so that it only displays the records that you actually need. In our example, we only want to see the text and graphic nodes. This is easy to do by right-clicking on the desired folder and then selecting “Set nodes as root nodes”. Now only the desired nodes and their sub-elements will be displayed.

Another tip here is that you can set several root nodes within an information pool viewlet; just press and hold the control key when selecting folders. Or simply work with several information pool viewlets and set just one root node in each individual viewlet, for example.

The finishing touch

Especially when it comes to communal work, all viewlets should have appropriate process-oriented names. That makes it easier for colleagues who don’t work on the project very often to find what they’re looking for. If every opened information pool contains the same name, it won’t be clear why several have been opened.

This is the solution we came up with for our example: The first information pool was given the title “Text nodes”, the second “Graphic nodes”. We called the first Quick View (which is locked) “Quick View Frozen” and the second “Standard”.

Make available

Last but not least, we save our window arrangement as a workplace. In the menu beneath “Window”, there is the option to create your own or a shared workplace.

If you save your current viewlet arrangement as a shared workplace, then your colleagues can easily access it too. Otherwise only you will be able to use it.

In conclusion, the workplace function represents a very efficient tool that makes both your own and team work much easier. You have the flexibility to organise your viewlets according to either project or process, making you work with ST4 that much smoother.

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