How Client Manager Works
When discussing the Client Manager, there are two distinct perspectives that should be considered: the client's perspective (viewing the actual client page itself) and the agency's perspective (the administrative interface for creating and maintaining client pages). We will begin by reviewing the client's perspective. [Note: The client page templates that place the agency logo in the upper left hand corner and govern the overall color scheme can be adjusted for each agency. The general layout, categories and information types of the client pages are fixed.]
Client perspective - Logging in
Client pages are accessed through a log in screen usually set up from a sub domain of an agency's main web site. For example, our clients go to client.newfangled.com to access client pages. It's also a good idea to allow clients to log in through your main website by adding a "clients" section to your site's navigation. Your client's username and password are maintained through the agency side of the system, so we will discuss how to create usernames and passwords later. Once the client enters their username and password, their client page appears. The client page is made up of agency contact information, client contact information, a "Work in Progress" section, and a "Documents and Links" section.
Contacts - All contacts (both agency and client) will be displayed on the client page as links. Clicking the link will display a small window with the contact details such as phone, email, address etc.
Work in Progress - The "Work in Progress" section of the client page contains links to layouts, prototypes and websites in development (if the project is a website), and documents. Documents can actually be added to either the "Work in Progress" section or the "Document and Links" section. We'll explain how to choose which section a particular document displays in later. Documents and links - The "Documents and Links" section will display links to documents (if they are tagged to display in this section), links to external web sites, as well as project schedules. The "Documents and Links" section is made up of an optional reference section. Reference documents (also referred to as "universal documents") contain information that all your clients should have. For example, we place our technical policies and terms and conditions in our reference section. These pages are universal and show up on every client page that we create.
[info] - Specific jobs listed on a client page, document, and layout links can contain special notes. If a note is added to an item, an "[info]" link will appear next to the item. Clicking the link pops up a small window, similar to the contact details window, containing the special note.
Multiple projects per client page
Each client page can contain information from multiple projects. All items under the "Work in Progress" and "Documents and Links" sections are grouped together under the title of each project to keep multiple projects organized. The projects titles can also use the [info] area in order to provide further descriptions or notes related to each specific project.
How client page information is displayed
The various types of information on a client page are displayed in different ways. Documents (PDFs, Word documents, excel files, etc.) are downloaded to the client's computer. External links popup new browser windows. Layouts and schedules have their own special format discussed below.
Layouts - Since the design process usually involves more than one round, each project on a client page can link to multiple layout pages. Each layout page can contain multiple layouts. In order to distinguish one round of layouts from another, each layout link includes a title and date. When a particular layout page is clicked a new browser window pops up and displays the various layouts. Each layout within the layout page is individually titled and has a place for a description. The Client Manager system creates anchor links to each layout allowing a client to toggle from one layout to another. Each layout also has a "print layout" link. This link opens a new window that only displays the one layout. This feature allows a client to print out a particular layout without having to print all the others on the layout page.
Layouts can be tagged to be "internal." If a layout is internal, the client will not see a link to it on the client page, but internal agency staff (like a creative director) will see it. This has been an extremely useful tool for us. It allows me to review designs while away from the office, so I can provide feedback to our designer before posting them to a client, thereby keeping the project moving.
Schedules - Schedules also have a unique format. Project schedules display in a popup window that lists project events by date. Each item has a title that links to additional details, a date, a location (if the event is location specific like a meeting) and its completion status. The schedule can also be viewed in traditional month or week views. Like layouts, schedule items can be marked as internal so that a client will not see them in the schedule. For example, there may be an event scheduled for the internal review of layouts. The client would not need to see this particular event, but internal staff would. Internal items are displayed in italics to differentiate them from standard events.