Note: This article contains references to Advanced Web Ranking Desktop, a version that is no longer under active development.
Fresh, surprising, and finally out of the box!
We started the adventure about 6 months ago, with a Sunday afternoon discussion between old friends. As everything in the SEO world grows and changes continuously, we felt it was about time for good old AWR to change its looks and put on some new fancy clothes.
So we took our time and thoroughly analyzed the impact of major design changes on the application usability. In a few weeks, our idea became a viable project, challenging both for us and for our customers. Designers, developers, testers and a nice coffee machine joined in a common effort to improve an already established seo software solution.
We also had lots of help from customers and friends who tried our Beta version, and we kindly thank them for this effort. Many will find their suggestions implemented in the new AWR 8.0 version, among the changes and improvements we have made.
UI and Functional Improvements
The redesign of AWR is impressive, both in regards of the visual impact and the features usability. We constantly kept in mind the anticipated use of the solution, so we pictured the best graphic design that helps you keep the focus on the action performed:
- Simplified Menus
- Redistribution of Features and Tools
- Better Contrast
- Flexibility in Editing Printable Reports
To keep up with the latest changes and trends in rank checking, we also implemented some new functionalities which perfectly fit the redesigned UI:
At some point, during our testing sessions, we received different feedback so we started to have our doubts. In our rush to help users keep their focus on the ranking data without being distracted by all the surrounding tabs and buttons, we`ve hidden good tools so well that testers were having a really hard time finding them.
Here is where the “balloons” idea came up, which put an end to our hide and seek game. This made some testers happy, guys who were unfamiliar with our products. But it was hell on earth for guys (and some girls 🙂 ) who knew the application very well and found the balloons quite annoying.
In time, we`ve chosen the best options and all things sorted out.
Plans for the Near Future
One stage of our project is done and another begins. This is how it has always been here at Caphyon, where all efforts are focused on customer satisfaction.
We are currently in the process of improving the update speed, as we know how important fast rank checking is for you. Just as well, new features, which are now just funny drafts in our notebooks, will find their place in the versions to come.
Below you can find more details about features included or improved in our new version.
Features and tools hidden under the 11 main menus you have gotten custom with in AWR 7.5 are now grouped under 7 more visible and intuitive menus, all located on a left side vertical menu bar. Also, adding the Back/Forward buttons makes navigation much easier throughout the different sections of the application.
We made major changes in the way AWR great features and tools are spread across the application. Accessing crucial items can be now done from multiple locations. For example, the New Project Wizard, which assists you in creating all your projects for gathering ranking data, is now reachable in four different ways. This is very helpful as you can open it in no time, regardless of the location you are in the application.
There is a good reason why we`ve chosen these dark grey and blue shades, and is not because our graphic designer pictured the new AWR version on a rainy day. The strong contrast created with the reports white background helps you better focus on the ranking data or on the action you are performing in the application. Also, the suggestive icons and the colors for keywords and websites cheer up the global image of the application, providing a good user experience.
Making report templates editing more flexible was a very challenging task. But the outcome was just as satisfactory. We finally got rid of the wizard which popped up every time you needed to make a minor change in the template of your Printable Reports (like modifying the Save to path, for example), forcing you to go through all its steps.
Now all you need to do is enter the Edit Mode of any report template and all its sections become available. Just make the changes you need in the relevant section. The change becomes effective immediately and you can see how the report looks now with only one click.
Google made a major change in the way results are returned, offering users the possibility to search from a virtual location. Normally, the search engine returned results depending on the location which the search was made from. This location is automatically detected by the search engine, which then provides results from the nearest Data Center.
But now you have the possibility to manually instruct Google to provide results from a different location than the one from which your queries are sent.
Thus, if your office is based in Cambridge and you have a customer with a local business in London, you can use the Google Location Search Engine feature to add the Google UK (loc: London) search engine to your project.
During update, results will be retrieved from the Data Center relevant for the selected location, being the same as if the queries were sent from a London IP address.
We experienced some problems in the past with the Windows Scheduler Service that AWR used to run scheduled tasks. Therefore, our developers implemented an integrated Scheduler Service in the application replacing the old mechanism, which brings more stability to the version preventing incompatibility cases with operating systems from this perspective. This change does not have an impact however on the way scheduled tasks are created and monitored in the application.
A new great addition is the Automatically add competitors option, which saves you a lot of time when it comes to assessing ranking data for your and your competitors websites. Once it is enabled, the application will automatically add the relevant competitors to your project websites section after the first update. Thus, you will have the possibility to compare ranking positions without having to manually add the competitors yourself.
I hope you enjoyed the story about how AWR 8.0 was born and I look forward to seeing your comments below.