What's next for Simul
Here are some of the new features that are coming to Simul over the coming months
Over the past 6 months we’ve interviewed over 50 Simul customers and one of the most common things we heard was ‘Simul is great, but it’s a bit difficult to wrap your head around at first’ or ‘I love Simul, but it’s been hard getting other people in my company to understand and use it’.
As a result, we’re creating a redesigned user interface with a focus on making Simul easier to understand and use.
We’re giving it a more modern look, simplifying the navigation, making highly used features more prominent and de-emphasising others.
Here’s an early sneak peek at the new Document page:
As you can see, the new interface highlights important features such as the Actions menu which has been pulled out of a dropdown and displayed much more prominently.
Collaborating outside Simul
Another piece of feedback we heard often was that ‘Simul works great when all collaborators are using it, but there are times when I need to collaborate on a document with someone I can’t invite to Simul’.
Simul has always had the ability to download versions, email them to 3rd parties and import the changes back in as a new version. But we want to make it easier to collaborate with people outside Simul.
Instead of downloading and emailing, you’ll soon be able to grab a link and send it to your external collaborators. When they click it, they’ll get directed to a page where they can preview the document & download it to their computer to make edits. Once they’re done, they can upload it via the same link and the new version will automatically be pulled into Simul as a branch, ready for you to merge back in.
Not only is this easier than downloading versions, emailing them around and importing the changes, there’s some extra features we’ll be adding which we think you’ll like:
- Notifications - When you send a document via email, you have no idea whether the recipient received the email or opened the attachment. When sharing through Simul however, you’ll get notified when the document is opened & downloaded so you know exactly when the external party has seen it.
- Access Logs - If you send a document via email, you have no idea who accesses it, who they forward it on to, etc. When sharing through Simul, you'll be able to see a timeline of who accessed your document, when they accessed it and where.
- Password Protection - Sending documents via email is highly insecure. Sending them through Simul however will give you a number of security options such as password protection, which will allow you to set a password that must be entered before accessing the document.
Updated User Roles
When thinking about the roles of different people in creating a document, we realised we didn’t cater well to one particular person: The Suggester. The suggester is someone you want to be able to ‘suggest’ changes, but you don’t necessarily want them to make it back into your document automatically (i.e. You want to approve them first).
- You’re a lawyer writing a legal contract and you want to get your colleague, who specialises in a different aspect of law than you, to review it and give their perspective. However, you need to stay on top of every word in the contract so you want to approve their changes before they make it back in to make sure you agree and are aware of them.
- You’re a medical researcher writing a paper and want to get your Principal Investigator to review it before submission. You want them to be able to edit the document freely, but you want to review and approve their suggestions before their changes make it back into your paper.
To better facilitate this style of collaboration, we’ll be rolling out a ‘Suggester’ user role (name not finalised) in the product that will allow you to better control whether people’s changes make it back into your document or not.
When we thought about the authoring stage of the document creation process, we realised one key thing: The majority of documents start from a template or previous document.
If you’re a lawyer writing a legal contract for the sale of a business, you’re not starting from scratch. You’re using a template you’ve gotten from somewhere or using a previous contract and modifying it to suit the requirements of this individual situation.
While there are a few ways you can create and use Templates already, they are workarounds and there’s a lot more we could do to make template creation, updating & management easier. So in 2020, we’ll be rolling out the ability to create Templates within Simul and then reuse them for new documents.
You’ll also be able to version control your templates, so you can keep them up to date with the latest information and see a full history of how they changed and when.
Finally, the documents you create using a template will remain linked to that template forever. So in one spot, you'll be able to see every document that uses that template, and if you update the template you’ll be able to compare the content of the template to the content of documents that use it, and in one click push the changes you made to the template out to the documents that use it.