Bulletins are an invaluable part of your Apricot™ database as they are fully customisable and provide a starting point for data entry, system navigation and report access by ensuring your dashboard contains actionable functionality where information is at the user’s fingertips. This blog outlines how you can customize Apricot software with three specific types of bulletins to improve your user experience and capability and take your Apricot database to the next level.
Announcement bulletins are the simplest of the three types of bulletins and are the easiest to implement. The bulletin builder uses a HTML editor to customise the content of a bulletin by adding text, graphics, tables, and other content to a bulletin.
An announcement bulletin communicates a message to a single user, a group of users, or all users in your Apricot database. You can use permission sets to assign the bulletin to users that need access.
Some examples of use include:
- Due Dates– Announce a due date to a group of users that are responsible for a task or item. Set start and end dates on the bulletin so the announcement is visible at the right time. Enter a message or set of instructions to remind users of the task deliverables.
- Database Updates– Notify users when administrators will make updates to the database structure. You can ask users not to enter data in certain places while forms are reorganised or modified. These types of notifications are primarily used for internal database updates, not Social Solutions system updates. You can also notify users when Social Solutions is making updates to the database if updates are relevant to your users.
- Links to Resources– Your organisation may have special instructions for making referrals to community partners, links to specific online resources, or other technology portals for data entry. Place those links in an Apricot bulletin so users have direct access from Apricot software.
- Management– Announcement bulletins can also be used for fun messages, morale boosters, or even company-wide updates. Add a bulletin if it is someone’s birthday, there is a team meeting coming up, or link to a feedback survey when you need staff input. You can also add announcement bulletins to remind users to provide their input on various human resource related topics.
2. Navigation Shortcuts
Apricot bulletins can also be used to simplify data entry and navigation.
Navigation bulletins reduce the number of clicks to get from one place to another in Apricot software. For example, it normally takes two clicks to enter a new Tier 1 record using the navigation panel on the left of the Apricot home screen, but a navigation shortcut can reduce this to one click. One click may not seem like much, but it adds up if you create many new Tier 1 records each day.
All navigation shortcut bulletins have one thing in common. They embed the unique URL of the location you’re navigating to in a HTML button script in the bulletin builder.
Some examples of use include:
- Tier 1 Create Button– All data entry in Apricot begins with a Tier 1 record, so you can reduce the number of clicks to create a new Tier 1 record with a button in a bulletin.
- Tier 1 Search Button– You can also add a second button to a bulletin for the Tier 1 search. A Tier 1 search might be for a list of clients, volunteers, donors, or referral partners. This button doesn’t reduce the number of clicks in Apricot, but it is a perfect pair for a Tier 1 Create Button in a bulletin.
- Tier 1 View Folder Links– A link to a specific Tier 1 folder removes multiple clicks in navigation and lets users jump around the database. Create links to view specific Tier 1 folders with custom expressions in reports (so this bulletin type is technically a dashboard report). This navigation shortcut is only feasible for small batches of Tier 1 records. For example, you might generate these shortcut links for all active clients by case manager (a caseload) so that a case manager can quickly access information about that client without searching for the client in the Tier 1 search.
- Tier 2 Create Links– A link to create Tier 2 records is similar to a link to view a Tier 1 folder. Tier 2 records cannot be created without an associated Tier 1 record in Apricot software. As a result, users must navigate to a Tier 1 document folder to create new Tier 2 records. A link to create a Tier 2 record is created with custom expressions in reports (so this bulletin type is also technically a dashboard report). This navigation shortcut is also only feasible for small batches of Tier 1 records and only for Tier 2 records that are created frequently. For example, you might generate these shortcut links for all active clients by case manager (caseload) for a specific type of record, like a case note. That way a case manager can quickly create a case note in one click rather than the normal three clicks using standard Apricot navigation.
3. Dashboard Reports
Every Apricot database has the capability to create dashboards on the Apricot home screen and each dashboard can be customized to match a user or group’s requirements. Dashboards can present data visually and make data actionable by displaying anything contained within a report on the Apricot home screen as a dashboard.
The Apricot report bulletin type is a setting in the bulletin builder. Flip the bulletin settings from HTML to report and select the report in Apricot you want to display in the bulletin.
Some examples of use include:
- Operational Stats– An operational stats dashboard might display total active cases or clients or a queued report showing the next follow-up date for a case or client. Operational dashboards display the data you need to “operate” and “manage” your programs or services. These dashboards are often day-to-day reports used to make real-time decisions about program or service workflow.
- Annual/Quarterly Benchmarks– Use Apricot dashboard bulletins in a management capacity as well by building dashboards that display quarterly or annual metrics. These dashboards may track client demographics (who you serve), total services provided by month (how you serve), or the outcomes of a group of clients (the impact of your services) to determine if your organisation is on track to achieve its goals.
Other tips for Apricot bulletins
Here are some other tips and best practices to consider when building new bulletins in Apricot software.
- Set a start date when the bulletin should be visible and an end date when it should no longer be visible to users.
- Manage bulletins in categories so they are organised, and assign bulletins in bulk to permission sets using categories.
- Assign view access to bulletins in categories or one bulletin at a time with permission sets.
- Use the “Start Collapsed” mode to minimize a bulletin on the home screen or keep bulletins open for greater visibility.
Read our blog for more information on these bulletin tips.