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How to build a winning Jira Server interface with Dynamic Forms

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User experience is important not only when it comes to the customer support but also our own employees. If we want people working for us to be happy, we need to look at them as an internal customer who has their needs and expectations we have to fulfill. That's why we need to take a closer look at the working environment, especially at the software our employees work with, and make their work tools as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. We should get to know what are the most frequent pain points or what takes the most of the employees' time during their interaction with the software. Especially when using such complex project management tools as Jira, we need to ensure that there are no bottlenecks, no communication problems, and each action taken within the software is seamless and trouble-free, even though it may seem that the tool itself wasn't designed that way.

How people feel with Jira Server interface

On social media and even within the Atlassian Community, we can come across people hating Jira Server for its poor user interface, thus user experience. Yes, Jira may not be as intuitive as, for instance, Trello, but it was also designed with different target group in mind. Only in the last few years, Jira has become a tool used not only by technical staff but also by those who work in sales, marketing or even HR departments, where people aren't usually as technically fluent as their colleagues from IT. For them, this software may look a bit raw and unintuitive at times in comparison to Trello or other project management tool they've used before.

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In comparison to Trello, creating issues in Jira may look a bit raw and unintuitive to non-technical users

The truth is, Jira can be a hard nut to crack for those new to this software as well as for those who work in it on a daily basis. It can be a result of not only Jira's limited out-of-the-box functionalities but also of either lack of communication between Jira admins and teams about recent updates to Jira Software, faulty configuration of projects, or even limited knowledge about the tool. Seeing as employees in IT industry spend probably every business day working in Jira, these factors can greatly affect how people in the companies use it, as well as their productivity in general. They need to create documents, track their progress, plan their work, add new tasks to their boards, which means going through all those screens full of fields and options and often challenging to wrap their mind around. When creating tasks, too many fields to fill on the Create screen may sometimes be overwhelming. Without the knowledge about how to use Jira properly, it becomes a chore for them to interact with the software, and not a friendly work tool that's there to help tackle the most complex assignments. 

By devoting our time to configure Jira properly and educate our employees on how to work with it, we make it easier for them to navigate, understand, and even enjoy using the tool.

Designing better Jira UI with advanced configurations

No matter how much time we spend on configuring Jira natively, it often isn't enough. The out-of-the-box functionalities offered by this project tracking tool are limited to the basics, and so we need to search for appropriate apps on the Atlassian Marketplace to extend them. We'll find there hundreds of various apps that expand Jira Server features, but we should remember that taking baby steps is the best way to make big changes. Building a clear and understandable Create screen is just as important as smooth navigation between various tabs. That's why we need to first focus on making it easier for our employees to create issues within Jira Software. 

One of the apps focused on improving this aspect is Dynamic Forms for Jira, which enables us to create short issue creation forms going from the general to the particular. We can do it using Dynamic Forms where we can build a three-level structure of conditions defining which options from the fields on the general view of the Create issue form will reveal context-relevant fields. However, we can increase the number of levels in this structure enabling Deep nesting option available in the app's configuration section. 

Let's say we need an additional laptop for upcoming event we're attending. As we create all the tasks connected to the event, we can as well create a little reminder about taking care of hardware. So we fill the short form with only two questions we need to answer. Or at least it seems like it, because after choosing the Laptop option, two more fields show up with additional questions about screen size and operating system. After selecting Windows as the operating system, one more field shows up regarding a laptop brands list.

Another useful feature is Dynamic Tabs which allows us to display additional tabs on the form depending on the options chosen from a field. When filling out the form for our hardware request, we need to decide if we want to have this laptop delivered to the office or to our home. After choosing the Company option, an additional tab with Business address shows up above the Summary. There, we have to provide the delivery address, where Bundled Fields come into play. Even though it seems like we fill separate fields, they will be bundled together and displayed as one custom field with all information on the issue detail view. The Mapper feature is also helpful - it is a custom field where we're able to define, for example, who should take care of a task when a specific option from a certain field is selected. For instance, when we select the Company Delivery option, then we will know we should contact Mark Evans about this kind of issues.

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Dynamic Forms for Jira enable us to go from general to particular when creating issues

Let your team create issues effectively

The Create issue screen may not seem as something that much important from the business point of view, even though it is the most used screen in Jira, and probably everyone had to fill one at least once in their career. No one likes scrolling through dozens of questions, which can even have nothing to do with our request or the question we answered two fields earlier. Dynamic Forms for Jira helps us with structuring the Create forms in such a way that it's easier and faster for the users to fill in the relevant fields, and they don't have to spend too much time on overthinking the meaning of a question on the form, because it's not clear for them or isn't necessary for certain issue types. Let's put comfort and clarity in the first place when it comes to our employees' work tools. 

If you’d like to learn more about Dynamic Forms for Jira, take a free 30-day trial from the Atlassian Marketplace. You can also book a live demo via Calendly, if you’d like to see the app in action, or read more on letting your team work faster and easier in Jira Software:

Also published on Deviniti blog.

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