Salsa 2: Work It Harder, Make It Better, Do It Faster

March 8, 2012

by Dave Leichtman, VP, Services and Support & Charles Parsons, Product Manager

We told you last week about some of the exciting changes to Salsa's infrastructure that are in the pipeline. In the coming weeks, we'll be moving user-facing pages to cloud-based systems. That has exciting implications for reliability, scalability, and flexibility. But what about the product itself?

In survey after survey, our clients told us ease of use was at the top of their lists for technology. And, the creative, obsessive perfectionist within us, wasn’t happy with the status quo. So, we've been making a lot of under-the-hood changes to Salsa in the last few months, all with the goal of revamping the Headquarters to make it more useful, more user-friendly, and just a better piece of software.

So, with only a small bit of fanfare, we give you...Salsa 2!

"Hey Salsa," you say. "2006 called, and they want their 2 back." Fair enough. But the changes we've made to both the user interface and to our infrastructure are so major that we didn't know what else we could possibly call it. It is, simply put, the second iteration of Salsa. We promise to stop calling it Salsa 2 before the year is out. You can feel free to just keep calling it Salsa.

New layout

We've introduced a new, more pleasing and less cluttered layout. Application-wide features, such as account information and search, are gathered together along the top while package-specific features are gathered in the new sidebar. These groupings allow for a quick and consistent placement of tools, regardless of what you're doing in Salsa.

Salsa 2 Dashboard Screenshot

Dropdown Navigation

Dropdown navigation allows you quick access to packages, but stays out of the way while you work. Open Salsa presents you with all available packages, but the list conveniently hides itself when you're deep in your work. When you need it back, it's just as conveniently a click away.

Salsa 2 Donation Management Screenshot

New Sidebar

Our new sidebar gives quick access to common tasks and information within any package. The sidebar features the Tools, List, Reports and Commons tabs:

  • Tools: everything you can do in the package (and subpackages)
  • List: quick list of recently updated or accessed items
  • Reports: show reports related to the package as well as built-in reports available to all
  • Commons: see community questions and answers related to each package, as well as training and tutorials

For those of you on wider screens, expanding the width of your browser allows you to have two tabs open at once.

Salsa 2 Supporters Screenshot

Under the Hood

Just below the surface lies a new and magical world of design, code and acronyms. What you need to know is that it's faster to load, more reliable to use and double-plus redundant, allowing us to respond quickly to high loads and traffic. Also, it smells faintly of freedom and Pine Sol.

Hidden Complexity

The overriding goal of the our UI changes is to make your life easier. With more and more features, the stuff that we do most often can sometimes get lost. The new interface looks to correct this by putting common tasks front and center, while still providing the complexity of advanced features just under the surface. We're not there yet, but this release sets the groundwork that allows us to achieve this goal.

How can you get your hands on the new Salsa interface? Starting today, you'll have two separate login options when you visit the main HQ login page. You can still log in to the "classic" interface, or you can choose to use the new Salsa 2 interface. Note that we're not forcing it on you.

We think you'll really like the new user interface. It's got rave reviews from our Beta testers, and there's only more, better things to come. So enjoy, and of course, let us know if you have any questions, comments, or feedback. If you want to switch back to the old interface, you can do so at any time. As a matter of fact, you can switch back and forth as many times as you like.

Never hesitate to email or call us - feedback@salsalabs.com or 202-587-2807 - we're waiting to hear from you.

Thanks for your time, and be sure to look for more exciting things from Salsa Labs in the near future.