Tag Archives: sitemap

CRM 2013 New Features: New Menu Experience

Gone is the traditional left hand navigation pane, now we have a top menu that admittedly takes a little getting used to:

Out with the old:

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And in with the new:

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At first glance the menu doesn’t feel that intuitive.  For example to switch Areas you click on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM dropdown:

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This seems strange to me.  But then again, in my experience most customers use CRM for only one functional area and I have commonly ditched Sales, Service and Marketing and replaced with a single custom area named something like “CRM” or “Home” – whatever looks good in the UI.  So I expect it will be common for users to not need to switch Areas making this peculiar user experience irrelevant.

Next level of navigation is to pick a menu item from within the selected Area (i.e. pick Opportunities from the Sales Area).  Here you click on the SALES dropdown, to pick the child menu items that belong under that Area:

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It will be common for the number of menu items to exceed the width of the window, so the user will need to use the arrow on the right to scroll across:

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The Groups that we are used to from the SiteMap are still there, they appear as subtle headings above the first menu item in each Group.  Not sure I see any value in these now:

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Editing of the new menu is done the same way as it was before, either manual XML editing of the SiteMap or via a third party SiteMap editor.   

Let’s try trimming the menu down and see if we can’t make the menu a little more intuitive.  I gave Microsoft’s Site Map Editor a whirl and it seemed to work just fine against CRM 2013.  I created a “MAIN MENU” Area and placed my menu items there and then deleted the Sales, Service and Marketing:

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This approach results in what feels like a more intuitive user experience to me:

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With the user accessing menu items from the MAIN MENU dropdown:

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Its going to be interesting to see what sort of Site Map configurations work best in CRM 2013.

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Intro to Editing the Site Map in CRM 2011

Here’s a quick run through on editing the Site Map in 2011 to get you started on the new process…

Step 1 – Create a new Solution called SiteMap

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Step 2 – Click Add Existing and select the Site Map component

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Step 3 – Click Export Solution and save the ZIP file to your desktop

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Step 4 – Navigate to the exported Solution file, unzip it into a folder of the same name, and then navigate to the unzipped files

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Step 5 – Open the customisation.xml file in an xml editor (ideally Visual Studio, but Notepad will suffice)

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Step 6 – Paste the following new Area definition above the Workplace Area and then Save your changes

 

XML to copy:

<Area Id="GarethsMenu" ShowGroups="true" Icon="/_imgs/workplace_24x24.gif" Title ="Gareth's Menu">

  <Group Id="MyWorkGT" Title ="End User">

    <SubArea Id="nav_dashboardsGT" ResourceId="Homepage_Dashboards" Icon="/_imgs/area/18_home.gif" DescriptionResourceId="Dashboards_Description" Url="/workplace/home_dashboards.aspx" GetStartedPanePath="Dashboards_Web_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdmin="Dashboards_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathOutlook="Dashboards_Outlook_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdminOutlook="Dashboards_Outlook_Admin_Visor.html" />

    <SubArea Id="nav_activitiesGT" Entity="activitypointer" DescriptionResourceId="Activities_SubArea_Description" Url="/_root/homepage.aspx?etc=4200" GetStartedPanePath="Activities_Web_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdmin="Activities_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathOutlook="Activities_Outlook_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdminOutlook="Activities_Outlook_Admin_Visor.html" />

    <SubArea Id="nav_acctsGT" Entity="account" DescriptionResourceId="Account_SubArea_Description" GetStartedPanePath="Accounts_Web_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdmin="Accounts_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathOutlook="Accounts_Outlook_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdminOutlook="Accounts_Outlook_Admin_Visor.html" />

    <SubArea Id="nav_contsGT" Entity="contact" DescriptionResourceId="Contact_SubArea_Description" GetStartedPanePath="Contacts_Web_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdmin="Contacts_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathOutlook="Contacts_Outlook_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdminOutlook="Contacts_Outlook_Admin_Visor.html" />

  </Group>

  <Group Id="CustomizationsGT" ResourceId="Homepage_SystemCustomization" DescriptionResourceId="Homepage_SystemCustomization" Title ="System Config">

    <SubArea Id="nav_syscustGT" ResourceId="Menu_Label_Customizations" DescriptionResourceId="Customization_SubArea_Description" Icon="/_imgs/area/18_syscust.gif" Url="/tools/systemcustomization/systemcustomization.aspx" AvailableOffline="false" />

    <SubArea Id="nav_solutionGT" Entity="solution" ResourceId="Web.Tools.Solution.map_xml.aspx_1" AvailableOffline="false" GetStartedPanePath="Solutions_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdmin="Solutions_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathOutlook="Solutions_Outlook_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdminOutlook="Solutions_Outlook_Admin_Visor" DescriptionResourceId="Web.Tools.Solution.map_xml.aspx_2" Url="/tools/Solution/home_solution.aspx?etc=7100">

      <Privilege Entity="solution" Privilege="Read" />

    </SubArea>

    <SubArea Id="nav_workflow" Entity="workflow" DescriptionResourceId="Workflow_SubArea_Description" AvailableOffline="false" GetStartedPanePath="Workflows_Web_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdmin="Workflows_Web_Admin_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathOutlook="Workflows_Outlook_User_Visor.html" GetStartedPanePathAdminOutlook="Workflows_Outlook_Admin_Visor.html" />

  </Group>

</Area>

 

Location:

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Desired end result:

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Step 7 – Select the 3 unzipped solution files and zip them up.  I like to follow the naming convention and version numbering that CRM used at export.  Here’s an easy way to do this:

  • Select the 3 files
  • Right-click
  • From the WinZip menu select:  “Add to SiteMap_1_0_0_0.zip”

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  • Rename the zip file created to the next version number:

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WARNING: Make sure the structure of your zip file matches the format CRM exports solutions in – i.e. no additional folder layers

 

Step 8 – Import the Solution, Publish, refresh your browser

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Done!.  You should now have a new Menu area labelled “Gareth’s Menu”

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