Quebec continues to enhance the mobile client features with some really cool stuff that will increase adoption to your end users. Here are a few of my favorites (and what I am most looking forward to when GA becomes available.)
Advanced Search (AI Search)
AI Search provides a more consumer-like experience across the platform. It is available on the instance as well as the mobile platform to produce more accurate search results than the traditional (Zing) keyword based search. Along with smarter search results, the new search includes:
- Auto-correct typos in search query areas
- Listings of recent and popular searches
- Auto-complete search queries
- Remove duplicate search terms
Just note that advanced Search is available with Quebec General Availability (GA)in Mid-March 2021.
Mobile Card Builder
The mobile card builder allows you to configure the layout of the cards presented on a list screen.
Prior to Quebec, you could select from serveral pre-configured patterns - now Quebec gives you a WYSIWYG builder interface to configure the layout and contents with greater flexibility; allowing you to put in your own text, images, and containers to refine the layout to your needs. There’s even a preview button to check your work with sample record data before you apply it to your applet.
The mobile builder is found on the List Screen tab in in the Applet form within Studio. Simply click Customize in Mobile Card Builder. There is another button, Open in Platform which takes you to the JSON payload used by the card builder. It’s fun to look at, but you likely won’t need to make changes at this level.
I was told by our mobile dev team that the old patterns are not available in Quebec, but it is on the roadmap to make them available as a quick starting point.
Card actions allow your users to perform actions directly from the card. No swiping, menus, or opening records required. This offers users a quick way to do simple actions like approve or reject and approval, for example. And we all know, the easier you make something, the more users are likely to adopt it! Card actions are available with GA in mid-March 2021.
Mobile UI Rules
- Put calculations on parameter input screens. Imagine - you can now have a screen that does something like get a quantity and unit price and automatically calculates the total price in a read-only field!
- Apply UI styling to mobile view elements. Want the due date to turn red after the date has passed? Easy!
- Disable buttons. Example: When the state is closed, disable the ‘Edit’ button.
- Hide or display elements. This pretty much speaks for itself.
- Make inputs read-only or mandatory. Again, I assume you know what this means and examples of how it could be used in mobile.
As of the Quebec release, Mobile UI rules and thier corresponding actions are not available within Studio. They are found under System Mobile > Mobile UI > Mobile Rules. While I was working on building one I made a couple additional notes:
- The Condition field is text and must be written as an Encoded Query so brush up on your Query Operators (hopefully this will become more dev-friendly in future releases.)
- Creating a Mobile UI Rule Action is much like creating a UI Policy Action, but there are subtle differences in the way you pick the element (or target) it applies to and the operation is a single reference field rather than a series of true/false fields.
Parameter screens enable you to create an easy interface for users to provide inputs including text, images, barcodes and more. While I haven’t had a chance to build one yet, they look very attractive.
As of this writing, I don’t have much information on the mobile surveys, but from what I’ve learned, they allow users to take ServiceNow surveys without leaving the mobile experience. You can either use the parameter screens (described above) or something called a scriptable screen. Users can even take surveys while offline!
Quebec introduces a new feature to allow you to bookmark your screens. Just look for the bookmark icon at the top of the screen. When you click it, you can then use the Saved option from the navigation bar at the bottom.
After adding a few of your favorite pages, you access them from the bookmark icon in the navigation bar at the bottom. Simply swipe-left to rename or remove any favorite.
Note this option is available out-of-the-box with Mobile Agent. If you want it available on Now Mobile, you need to go System Mobile > Navigation Bar and open the Now Mobile Nav record and create a new tab that navigates to Saved. Once that’s added (and the client does a metadata refresh), you’ll get your bookmarks.
What more needs saying here? Knowledge articles on the native UI. Ratings, comments, nice layout. ‘Nuf said.
If youv’e done mobile development in the past, you’ll likely know that it was a common occurrence to log out and log in, or kill the mobile app entirely and restart it to get your app changes pulled down from the instance. With Quebec, all you need to do is go to the applet launcher screen and swipe down to refresh the metadata. Nice time saver!