Sunday, May 14, 2006

Make poor user interface design more interesting

Cognos Impromtpu has been the standard report writer for Costpoint at least since version 2.0C when I began using Costpoint. It is fairly easy to learn and yet powerful. Unlike most other applications that display a progress bar or an hourglass while processing data, Cognos Impromptu displays a fish swimming endlessly back and forth in the application status bar. Costpoint users all over have probably, cumulatively, spent months watching this fish go back and forth.

It is a poor user interface design element because it fails to convey to the user how much progress is remaining or the current stage of the report generation process. The user is left wondering to herself, "Is this report done running or is this fish going to swim another lap?"

Over the years, many users have asked me if it is possible to change the fish to a different icon. This is possible! While this will not make your report run any faster, it will hopefully make you feel more "in control" of your report and provide some comic relief as you watch a dinosaur, airplane, man, car, or horse travel back and forth!
Note: The airplane flying back and forth does not make your report run any faster than the fish! Please contact your DBA or administator to review the query behind your report to make it run faster.

Please click on "Read the rest of this article!" link below to download a zip file with new icons and instructions on where the new icons need to be copied.

To replace the fish icon, simply create a new icon bitmap file, 14 pixels tall and 14 pixels wide. You can download a zip file with the following images from here.
You will need 2 icons, one for travelling left and one for travelling right. One file should be named "imp_activityLeft.bmp" and the other "imp_activityRight.bmp". Copy these two icons into your "User Workspace" folder. This path to this folder typically looks like this:
"C:\Program Files\Cognos\cer4\bin\User Workspace"
If you are using a different version of Impromptu, "cer4" may be "cer3" on your computer.

Have you created your own icons that you would like to share? Email them to me and I will post them here.


At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHere are the instructions? The only things in the zip file seem to be bitmap images.

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instructions are in the post body. All you have to do is unzip the files to the User Workspace folder.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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