Better looking emails

The emails you get from Kerika, e.g. when someone assigns you to a card on a Task Board or Scrum Board, have gotten better:

  • The formatting is better: neater, cleaner, and there’s less verbose junk.
  • They are all sent from the same Sender Email — notifications@kerikamail.com — so your mail clients (like Gmail) do a better job of clustering them in your Inbox.
  • They all have better footers, explaining why you are getting the email, and how to contact us. (In other words, they are better at conforming to the CAN-SPAM Act.)
  • They look better on mobile devices: the subject headers are easier to scan, so if the email is something you expected, it is easier to delete it unread.
  • We eliminated the use of our logo, which saves (every so slightly) on bandwidth, especially on mobile devices.

 

Bug, fixed: when you have a lot of boards open, you could run into problems

We found and fixed a problem that a small number of users were experiencing: if you had a lot of boards open at the same time — say around 40 — and you then used the URL of any of these boards in some context, e.g. by including it in a chat message, you could run up into a “502 Bad Gateway” server error.

This really was an unexpected edge case — we had never considered that people might be working on 40 boards at the same time, nor that they would routinely have so many boards open, but it turns out that for professional services firms that use Kerika to manage their different client engagements, this was actually not that unusual…

The underlying problem was obscure: Kerika uses a cookie to keep track of which boards you currently have open.

This helps us restore your session perfectly if you exit Kerika and then return, e.g. by simply closing your browser or actually logging out and logging back in.

In the scenario where a user might have had 40 boards open, the cookie was becoming really, really large (as far as cookies go), and our Web server wasn’t set up to handle such large cookies.

Fixed.

Bug, fixed: handling references to websites that redirect to HTTPS

Some sites like Kerika.com use HTTPS all the time: every URL reference, whether to our website, within our application, or even to any article on this blog is automatically converted to a secure HTTPS session.

(We are not the only ones doing this: type in “facebook.com” in your browser’s address bar, for example, and you will be automatically redirected to “https://www.facebook.com/” even though you didn’t type in “https”.)

Always using HTTPS is good security practice, but it can sometimes lead to problems for users: unless you are very familiar with a particular site, and also the type of person who plays close attention to these things, you might not understand this process.

And even if you did, you would still find it convenient to make short references to “kerika.com” (or “facebook.com”) instead of typing out “https://kerika.com”.

When you include a URL in any part of a Kerika board’s contents, e.g. in a card’s details, it’s chat or its attachments (and the same goes for canvases), Kerika tries to get the title of that Web page so the URL reference is easier to read.

We found and fixed a bug related to this: in situations where the URL, as typed by the user, actually resulted in a redirect from the referenced website (typically a “301 permanent redirect” rather than a “302 temporary redirect”), Kerika wasn’t properly showing the Web site’s page title.

All fixed now.

AdBlock was messing up our website (even though we don’t serve ads!)

We discovered recently, to our considerable annoyance, that it is possible for AdBlock to mess up our website in a really serious way, even though we don’t serve up any advertisements of any sort (and never have.)

Here’s what was happening: when you use AdBlock, you have the option to add various lists of advertising sources. (You can find them here.)

One of these lists is from someone called fanboy.

If you subscribed to fanboy’s EasyList, for example, Kerika’s sign up page would not display the buttons for Kerika+Google and Kerika+Box:

AdBlock problems
AdBlock problems

(The same problem showed upon the Login page as well.)

It turns out that the EasyList filter uses JavaScript classes called social-media-header’ and social-media-button,  social-button and soc-button which were also the names of classes that Kerika was using.

The conflict caused Kerika’s signup and login buttons for Kerika+Google and Kerika+Box to not appear for Chrome and Firefox users who had AdBlock installed.

It took a while to figure out this was the cause.  We are not fans of fanboy.

If you are thinking of using PayPal for invoicing…

Don’t.  The system is massively buggy and the company is completely unresponsive to complaints.

The web UI looks like it everything is nice and automated, but in reality you will end up doing a bunch of stuff by hand.  Examples of bugs and/or dumb design that have already driven us crazy:

  • If you have a bunch of outstanding invoices that you want to cancel, the bulk select/action doesn’t work.  No error or anything: it just doesn’t do anything, silently.|
  • They use lazy loading to show just a dozen or so invoices at a time, with the rest showing only after you scroll down (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.)  If you try to do a search or filter, that works only on the invoices that are currently being displayed, not the full set: presumably resulting from a design decision to make the filter work within the client rather than the server.
  • Thanks to a flaky implementation of lazy loading itself, some invoices will appear as duplicates.

It’s pretty clear that Elon Musk has left the building.

Bug, fixed: Export notification wasn’t going away

A small bug fix we did recently: when you do an Export of data from a Task Board or Scrum Board, you get a notification from Kerika when the export completes: that’s because the export could potentially take a long time, if you had a very large board, i.e. with hundreds of cards on it.

(In practice, most exports take just a few seconds, so the notification comes very quickly after you start the Export.)

The notification comes in two forms:

  • By email, with a link to open the file containing your exported data.
  • In your Kerika Inbox, on the top-right of the Kerika application, looking like this:
Export Notification in Kerika Inbox
Export Notification in Kerika Inbox

There was a bug that clicking on the “Dismiss” button on Kerika Inbox didn’t make the notification go away: it would reappear after a page refresh.

That bug has been fixed. Enjoy.

Apologies for the long absence…

Sorry for not having posted in a while; we have been swamped with a new UI design that has consumed all of our time.

The new UI, by the way, is all about making Kerika more accessible, particularly to people who are new to visual collaboration.

Our user feedback had revealed a couple of uncomfortable truths that we needed to address:

  • Very few users were aware of all the functionality that already exists in Kerika. Which means that we didn’t need to focus so much on building new functions as we did on making sure people understand what Kerika can already do.
  • Our new users aren’t just new to Kerika; in most cases, they are new to visual collaboration altogether.  Even though there has been a proliferation in recent months of all sorts of companies trying to recast old, tired products as exciting new visual collaboration (hello, Smartsheet!), our new users aren’t converting away from our competitors as much as converting away from paper, email, and SharePoint.

This, then, is the goal of our new UI: to make it easier for people to adapt from paper and email to visual collaboration, and to make it easier for all users to exploit all the great functionality that we have already built.

We will have more on this in the coming months, as we get closer to releasing our new user interface, but in the meantime we have queued up a bunch of blog posts to make sure you know about all the other great stuff we have been working.

Yeah, our biggest problem is we don’t tell people what we have already done…