Restyling Preferences

We have restyled your Preferences page, to be more in line with the new design of Kerika that we released a couple of months ago.  It now looks like this:

Board Preferences
Board Preferences

We are using the familiar “card container” style for showing different categories of preferences, like WIP limits, along with the left-side tabs that are similar to those you find on the Home page.

The Boards tab lets you set the following preferences:

  • The privacy of new boards you create: you can make them accessible to anyone with a link; to just people who are part of your Account Team; or to only those people you invite to the board as Board Admins, Team Members or Visitors.
  • Whether to use Work-In-Progress (WIP Limits) on new Task Boards or Scrum Boards that you create.
  • Whether to have your documents converted to the Google Docs format, if you are using Kerika+Google, or whether you want to retain them in their original format e.g. Microsoft Office.  (This preference isn’t shown to Kerika+Box users, or those users who signed up directly.)

 

Notification Preferences
Notification Preferences

In the Notifications tab you can decide how much you want to hear from Kerika when stuff happens (that concerns you).

If you are assigned a card on a Task Board or Scrum Board, and someone does chat on that card, Kerika will always push that to you as an email: we assume that since you are responsible for a card, you need to know sooner rather than later when someone has a comment or question about that work item.

If you are a Board Admin, however, you can decide how many notifications you want when stuff happens on boards that you are responsible for.

For example, you could be notified if someone adds a new card on a board: this usually means that there is new/more work to be done by your team, so you might want to quickly check whether it is important — or whether it is even relevant for that particular board.

And, as a Board Admin, you might want to know whenever someone moves a card to Done.  This is usually a welcome notification: people like to hear that stuff is getting done, but if a team/board gets a lot of stuff done every day these emails can be a nuisance and you might want to turn off this preference.

And, depending upon how involved you want to be with each card and each Team Member, you can get notified whenever a card is reassigned from one person to another.  Some Board Admins like to be very much in control over who is doing what, so if a Team Member takes the initiative to reassign work to another Team Member the Board Admin may want to know right away. Other Board Admins take a more relaxed, hands-off approach and let the team handle its own work allocation.

Finally, you can choose to get a 6AM email summary of everything that is overdue, due this week, and due next week: for all cards assigned to you personally, as well as a all cards on boards where you are one of the Board Admins.  You have the additional option of getting this list summarized by date, or by board — or both.

Canvas Preferences
Canvas Preferences

The Canvas Preferences let you determine how lines, shapes and text look like, by default, when you use Whiteboards.

One useful preference in this tab is to have items snap to grids: this helps you lay out process diagrams more neatly.

 

Sometimes we need to slow you down

While fast access to actions is generally a good thing in user interfaces, we think there are some circumstances where it might be a good idea to deliberately slow down users, if they are likely to rush into making a mistake.

One such tweak we have introduced is to collapse the Move and Sort options for arranging cards within a column into sub-menus:

Collapsed Sort menu
Collapsed Sort menu

When clicked, the Sort cards option expands to show the different sorts that are available:

Expanded Sort menu
Expanded Sort menu

Effectively, this use of a sub-menu within a an already short menu is a deliberate decision on our part to slow you down from rushing into a sorting action.

An inadvertent sort can cause some havoc if the team had previously spent many hours, or even days, carefully grooming the cards on a column (like the Backlog, for example) to arrange them in a precise order.

One rushed sort could wreck all that, so perhaps access to Sort needs to be a little harder?

We have done something similar for the Move actions that are available on cards:

Collapsed Move menu
Collapsed Move menu
Expanded Move menu
Expanded Move menu

What do you think? Smart move on our part, or dumb?  Let us know.

 

We made it easier to sync your Kerika Due Dates with your Calendar

We made some user interface tweaks to make sure people are aware of a really great feature in Kerika that’s existed for a while, but was buried in a Preferences screen that not everyone paid attention to: you can have your Kerika Due Dates automatically show up on your Google, Microsoft or Apple Calendar.

Well, that’s buried no more: we have added a Calendar Synch button in a more prominent place on the top-right of the Kerika app:

Calendar button
Calendar button

Clicking on this button will let you choose the type of calendar you want to synch with:

Calendar choices
Calendar choices

(Hint: you can have your Kerika Due Dates synch with more than one calendar, if you like.)

Pick your favorite calendar type, and you will see detailed instructions on how to set up syncing of your Kerika Due Dates. Here’s an example of syncing with Apple Calendars:

Calendar instructions
Calendar instructions

The URL is personal, and should be kept confidential. (That’s why we aren’t showing it in the illustration above.)

The URL is long and random so it will be impossible for others to guess, but it’s not a good idea to share it with others unless you really want them to know all your Kerika Due Dates, e.g. if you have an assistant or delegate that helps manage your daily schedule.

 

Views across all your boards

At long last, we have built Views — one of the most commonly requested features, and something that we had been obsessively designing and redesigning over years, trying to figure out the best way to handle this need.

We have done it now. Views has been built, and is automatically available across all your Task Boards and Scrum Boards, whether they are owned by you or shared with you.

We are starting off with four standard Views, and we will built more in the future, and add a way for you to build your own Views as well.

The Views we have built are:

What’s Assigned To Me

The most commonly asked for feature by people who are working on several projects — and, hence, several boards — at the same time.  This is what it looks like:

What's Assigned To Me
What’s Assigned To Me

Everything that’s currently assigned to, on all boards except for those that are in the Trash or Archive, are collected for you into a single View, where cards are organized as follows:

  • Not Scheduled
  • Overdue
  • Due Today
  • Due This Week (excluding what’s already included in Due Today)
  • Due Next Week
  • Due This Month (excluding what’s already included in Due Today and Due This Week)
  • Due This Quarter
  • Due Next Quarter

It is a comprehensive summary of everything you need to get done, and it will be invaluable for managers and anyone else who has to work on multiple projects at the same time.

If you select a card in a View, like this

Selecting card from a View
Selecting card from a View

You get quick access to key actions:

  • Move to Done
  • Move to Trash
  • View Board
  • Open

Open opens the card right there, inside the View itself.  View Board, on the other hand, opens the card in the board in which it is located.

Both are useful, depending upon the card and what you want to do: in some cases you just need to update a particular card — e.g. reschedule it, add a comment or file — and opening the card in the View itself, which is very fast, is enough.

In other situations you might want to be sure you are understanding the context of the card, and it is better to see where it is on the board that contains it.  This can be helpful for cards that you are not quite sure about.

What’s Due

This View will be particularly helpful to managers (Board Admins): it summarizes everything that’s due, on all boards where you are one of the Board Admins:

What's Due
What’s Due

This basically brings to life everything that you can also (optionally) get in your 6AM Task Summary email.

Cards are organized for you as follows:

  • Overdue
  • Due Today
  • Due This Week (excluding what’s already shown as Due Today)
  • Due Next Week
  • Due This Month
  • Due Next Month

For this View, as with the What’s Assigned to Me View, we try to be smart about not showing duplicate cards: if something is due today, for example, it will show up in the Due Today column, but not get duplicated in the Due This Week or Due This Month column.

This makes it easier for you to plan your schedule: you can see what needs to get right away, and what needs to get done later.

What Needs Attention

Again, a View that will be of particular interest to managers concerned with several ongoing boards:

What Needs Attention
What Needs Attention

Here, Kerika tries to show everything that needs a little extra attention: things that are

  • Overdue
  • Flagged as Critical
  • Flagged as Blocked
  • Flagged as Needs Review
  • Flagged as Needs Rework
  • Flagged as being On Hold

These items typically represent your risk profile across all your boards, and Kerika brings it all together in a single View.

What Got Done

Great for anyone who needs to produce a status report, or any manager who needs to monitor progress across many different projects:

What Got Done
What Got Done

Across all boards where you are a Board Admin, this View summarizes

  • What got done Today
  • What got done This Week (excluding items shown in This Week)
  • What got done Last Week
  • What got done This Month (again, excluding items shown for Today and This Week)
  • What got done Last Month
  • What got done This Quarter

Accessing Views:

All your Views can be accessed from a new tab called Views (naturally) on your Home Page:

All your Views
All your Views

On each View card, Kerika shows how many items are included in that View, and as of when.  The Views are automatically refreshed when you open them, but in-between they are not updated because we do not expect the information shown to change on a second-by-second basis.

If you are worried that your View is out of date, you can update it by selecting it on your Home Page:

Refreshing a View
Refreshing a View

You can also update any View that you currently have open, by clicking on the Refresh button shown on the top-right of the View:

Refreshing a View
Refreshing a View

We will let you go crazy with these Views, for now. In the future we will add more (we already have some ideas on that front, but would love to hear from you as well!) and also add a Custom View capability.

Meanwhile, enjoy.

We aren’t going to support Highlights in the Planning Views (at least for now)

Most of the time, users are in what we call the Workflow View of their Task Boards and Scrum Boards:

Workflow View
Workflow View

It’s in the Workflow View that our new Highlights feature proves really useful:

Highlights in Workflow View
Highlights in Workflow View

In the Planning Views, however, Highlights are not as important since we expect the Planning Views to be used primarily for quick scheduling:

Planning View
Planning View

(The Planning Views, by the way, are what we refer to as the views that Kerika provides over the next few days, next few weeks and next few months.)

Is this a good assumption on our part? If not, let us know and we will add Highlights to the Planning Views as well.

A bunch of bug fixes and usability improvements for Tasks

We have done a bunch of small bug fixes and usability tweaks to the Tasks feature we introduced a few weeks ago:

  • When a user’s last Task within a card is marked as Done, the user’s name is removed from the list of people shown as being assigned to that card. (Previously you had to do this cleanup manually.)
  • When a Task that was previously marked as Done is changed to be “undone” (open/remaining), the user who had previously been assigned to that Task is added back to the list of people shown assigned to the card.
  • Bug fix: If someone is assigned to a Task, and this person had previously completed a Done Task, this user wasn’t getting added automatically to the list of people shown on the card. This has been fixed.

 

Detecting if third-party cookies are disabled

If you have signed up directly with Kerika, we use the Box Platform to store your files for you — Box is a secure, reliable cloud service and we have been a partner with them for several years.

But we do all this for you: efficiently, quietly and behind the scenes.

Which means you may never notice (and, really, you shouldn’t have to…)

However, we found that some users automatically block third-party cookies (this is a browser setting available in all types of browsers).

This was causing problems for the preview function for these users: when a user clicks on a file attached to a card or canvas, that’s getting stored in Box by Kerika for that user, we use Box’s Preview function in the form of an IFRAME.

Using an IFRAME enables us to add some Kerika-specific features, like automatic version tracking, to the standard Box Preview function.

This, however, requires users to allow Box.com to set a cookie, and this can fail if the user has never permitted Box.com to set cookies, or is automatically blocking all third-party cookies in their browser: when you are using Kerika.com, Box.com is effectively a third-party to the connection.

We want to make sure people understand this can be a problem, so we have added some smarts to Kerika to detect when people who have signed up directly are blocking Box.com.

If this is the case, a pop-up dialog box will appear explaining why the Preview function won’t work correctly without allowing Box.com’s cookies to be stored in the browser.

Including Overdue Tasks in Due This Week

In the recently added Highlights feature, we let you create your own custom highlights:

Smart choices for Due Dates

We fixed a problem where “This Week”, “Next Week”, etc. wasn’t including Overdue Tasks and cards, which could give users a somewhat misleading impression of what they needed to get done in a particular week or month.

 

After all, if something is already overdue, you will need to get that done this week along with anything that’s scheduled for this week!

Bug, fixed: Custom Highlights were getting carried over from one board to another

We fixed a bug that was kind of annoying: if you had a Custom Highlight defined for one board, and then switched to another open board, the Custom Highlight was getting applied automatically to the second board as well.

This happened only if people used the Board Switcher button that appears on the top left of the Kerika app:

Board Switcher
Board Switcher

The Board Switcher keeps track of all your open boards and is a fast way to switch between them if you are working on several different projects at the same time — you don’t have to go back to the Home page to find your boards again and again.

Every of your open boards can have Highlights set, or not, as you like. This bug fix makes that a smoother process.