Group Tools, the Windows-based third-party client aimed at users who need to manage large groups in terms of regular notices, group-wide IMs, or operate a region greeter bot, etc., updated on December 28th to version 2.2.26.
With it – or quite possibly before the update, as I’ve not visited the Group Tools website since my week 51 viewer release summary – came a revamp to the Group Tools website itself, which very much helps to put information clearly and cleanly before people unfamiliar with the client.
I last looked at Group Tools itself in September 2012. The client has been through several iterations since then, so I’ve no idea how relevant that review is compared to the current version. Because Group Tools requires the purchase of a licence, and I don’t actually have any specific need for the client, I’ve not actually subscribed to the services in order to keep up-to-date. As a result, and given there are no publicly available release notes for updates, it’s a little hard for the likes of me to keep track of changes to the client as they are released.
I have tended to poke my nose into the website on a weekly basis, however, if only to check for application updates for my weekly viewer release summaries, which is why I copped the changes to the site this week.
The amount of information – with a couple of possible exceptions – in the site hasn’t overly changed; however, the layout has, and the result is a series of web pages which are easier to read, have improved navigation (the left-side menus would appear easier to read than the old white-on-blue menus), and the site appears to benefit somewhat from smoother loading – although that could be purely a placebo effect on my part. Some of the individual pages lack clear subject headings, it’s true, and the text could perhaps benefit from a little more white spacing between lines, but these really are minor niggles on my part; overall the look is very sharp and pleasing to the eye.
The two possible exceptions to the information presented appear to be the Support Ticket area and the updated FAQ area. I’m a little cautious as to calling these part of the revamp, as it is entirely possible they’ve been part of the website for at least a couple of months, and I’ve simply messed them when visiting it – although neither appear to have been there prior to late October. So if they are new, they’re likely to be very welcome for established users and those coming to Group Tools for the first time.
One thing I would personally like to see added to the site are details of updates to the client alongside of the downloads. While it may well be that such details are sent to registered users of Group Tools when an update is available, having them also recorded on the website, either as formal release notes or simply as a bullet-list of key changes, would also be of benefit both to registered users and to parties potentially interested in the client.
If you are a Group Tools users and haven’t seen the updated website, it might be worth hopping over and taking a quick look. In the meantime, for those unfamiliar with the application, here’s an introductory video.