Category Archives: Technology

Posts related to technology in general.

An easier way to get in touch with us

We have made a bunch of improvements to the Contact Us feature in Kerika, which — as before — can be accessed by clicking on the help button (“?”) in the top-right corner of the Kerika app:

Contact Us
Contact Us

Previously this simply opened up your local email client to send us a message; now the feature is built into Kerika itself, and is smarter about how it works.

When we analyzed our old trouble tickets, and emails to info@kerika.com in general, we found there were very few instances of actual bugs being found, but more commonly there was some confusion about how Kerika was working for the users.

And very frequently when people got in touch with us, they didn’t include important information in their original emails that would help us understand what problem they were currently facing.

This meant we had to reply back to ask them some common questions, like “have you already invited this person to join your board?”, and this led to unwelcome delays in resolving the problem for our users, especially when they were located many time-zones away and there was a 24-hour delay before they replied, and then we replied, and so on.

Our new Contact Us dialog, while very simple in appearance, acts as a smart collector of key information that can help us understand the context of the user’s query:

  • Which board was she looking at, when she decided to contact us? Many users assume that the Kerika team can automatically view their boards, but this isn’t true: it’s not just against our privacy policy; our software was designed to protect your privacy from our intrusion as well.
  • Who is part of this board team right now? Again, this isn’t something we would know without being told by the user, since we don’t have any easy way to look at someone else’s boards.  If you think you have added someone to your board, but haven’t yet, this can help us clarify any misunderstanding on your part.
  • What’s the current state of your Inbox and Sentbox? Are there invitations waiting for you to accept that perhaps got missed, because they unfortunately ended up in your spam folder? Are there invitations that you had previously sent to coworkers, that haven’t been accepted yet?
  • What’s your current computer environment? What operating system and browser are you using? In the very few instances when someone reports an actual bug, it’s very important to know which browser and OS they were using, since the bug may be limited to a single environment.

And, finally, the Contact Us process reminds our users that any intermittent problem they are facing can often be resolved simply by refreshing their browser: if they had experienced any fleeting network problem or latency that interfered with their Kerika view, a simple browser refresh will fix that quickly.

Updating the look of Board Settings

One final (?) bit of restyling, to make all of Kerika consistent with our new look-and-feel, has been updating the Board Settings dialogs.

Board Settings
Board Settings

The functionality is essentially the same, but the appearance is cleaner, lighter and more in keeping with the Material Design standards we have (mostly) adopted.

(We say “mostly”, because there are some elements of Material Design that we find unattractive.  For example, for the on/off toggle switches we prefer the iOS style buttons.)

Column Settings
Column Settings

The Column Settings dialog has also been restyled, and looks nicer and cleaner. The example above shows a board that uses Work-In-Progress Limits.

Tag Settings
Tag Settings

And the same with Tag Settings: we have a restyled color picker, and better messages for warnings when tag names or colors might clash.

Enjoy.

Usability tweak: reordering Board Attachments

We have made it easier for you to re-organize all the Board Attachments on your Kerika Task Boards and Scrum Boards: you can grab any of these and drag up or down the list to re-order them:

Drag handles on board attachments
Drag handles on board attachments

Use the drag-handle shown on the left edge of the attachment to drag it up or down.

Dragging board attachments
Dragging board attachments

(And, by the way, this feature is also available for Card Attachments.)

Visitors can view chat on public boards

Some of our users are working on open-source, advocacy, or volunteering projects, and for these people privacy is less important than publicity: rather than hide their work, they would prefer to have as many people as possible view it, in real-time, so they can build momentum for their initiatives.

Here’s an example of a public board:

Example of public board
Example of public board

We have always accommodated such users, by offering an Anyone with link option that Board Admins can use to make their boards accessible by anyone who has the URL of that board, even if they aren’t Kerika users:

Making boards public
Making boards public

When a board is made public, all the files attached to and all the chat as well can be viewed by anyone.

As with any other Visitors, members of the public cannot make any changes.

Our latest improvement to this public boards feature has been to make the chat also viewable by anyone who has the URL of the board.

Note: a Board Admin can change their mind at any time, and revert a public board back to one that’s restricted to the board team or account team.

 

More options to add Google files to your Whiteboards

We have added more options for you to add Google files to your Whiteboards.

We used to have a quick way to create, name, and add a new Google Doc to your Whiteboard:

Old options for adding content
Old options for adding content

As part of our big redesign earlier this year, we added more options for people to create Google documents from within Task Boards and Scrum Boards; now we have the same flexibility for Whiteboards:

Google document options
Google document options

With this new functionality you can create a larger variety of Google Documents from within your Kerika Whiteboards:

  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • Google Forms

After you name your new document, it is automatically added to the canvas you are working on, while the new document itself is opened in a new browser tab for you to start working on.

Enjoy.

Updating the look-and-feel of our Whiteboards

Something that we didn’t finish as part of our year-long redesign of Task Boards and Scrum Boards: moving to Material Design-style icons and dialog box layouts for our Whiteboards.

Well, we are caught up now: the Whiteboard toolbars and dialog boxes have been redesigned to be conformant with Material Design guidelines.

The basic toolbars for Whiteboards used to look like this:

Old Canvas toolbar
Old Canvas Toolbar

This is how it looks now:

New Canvas toolbar
New Canvas toolbar

The old table formatting toolbar used to look like this:

Old Table toolbar
Old Table toolbar

Now this looks cleaner and more modern:

New Table toolbar
New Table toolbar

The larger icons and buttons make for a more touch-friendly user interface as well.

Internet Explorer on Windows 7 is too retro for us

If you are still using Windows 7, please use Chrome or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer 11 (or, worse yet, an even older version of Internet Explorer).

We are not in a position to support Internet Explorer on Windows 7 anymore: for one thing, we don’t have any PCs running Windows 7 anymore.  And Microsoft itself has stopped selling Windows 7 several years ago, and mainstream support ended two years ago.

We realize that some of our enterprise customers are forced to stay with Windows 7 because of legacy systems that don’t work well with newer versions of Windows, but supporting Windows 7 is not something we are in a position do, or have any interest in pursuing.

Too retro for us
Too retro for us

Chrome is the workaround.