Category Archives: Technology

Posts related to technology in general.

How to import boards from Trello

We have added an exciting new feature: if you were previously using Trello, you can import that data, completely, into Kerika!

We have been testing this as a convenience feature and based upon positive feedback we have expanded this for everyone.

New users will be offered this as an option when they set up their Kerika accounts:

Screenshot showing how new Kerika users can import boards from Trello
How new Kerika users can import boards from Trello

All users will have this option whenever they want to create a new Kerika board:

Screenshot showing how all users can import from Trello when creating a new Kerika board
All users can import from Trello when creating a new Kerika board

We built this feature because we have heard from many people switched over from Trello and really liked Kerika’s user experience, features, and support. In the past they had to manually recreate their work inside Trello; now that’s all automated!

Everything is handled nicely: your Trello cards, lists, people, task details, etc. come over. Once you are done, a single click can then send out invitations to all your old Trello colleagues to join you in Kerika.

Enjoy.

 

How to Plan a Virtual Marketing Event

Marketing events are all virtual these days, everywehere, as we all wait out the pandemic and try to figure out the shape of the “new normal”. To help our users who need to plan Virtual Marketing Events, we have a new template for you:

Screenshot of template for planning a virtual marketing event
Click to view this template

This is a very comprehensive template: it contains all the tasks you need to handle to make your virtual marketing event a success. Here’s an example of a task:

Screenshot showing an example task
Example Task

This template is rich in detail: tasks like this one also come with a checklist of subtasks to make sure you don’t overlook anything.

Screenshot showing an example checklist
Example Checklist

And links to useful online resources:

Screenshot showing example attachments
Example Attachments

The workflow is straightforward: Pre-PlanningLaunch PreparationPromotionsOperations.

We are making a big push to increase the quantity and quality of templates so our users can get started faster on their boards, because at Kerika it’s all about “getting more done”.

Check out this template and let us know if you think we can improve it!

Kerika’s New Search Capabilities

We have completely rebuilt Kerika’s search capabilities, both on the back end and on the user interface, to make it much easier to find tasks (cards) and documents across all your Kerika boards.

Screenshot showing Task results from Search
Search Task Results

Search results are organized into two tabs at the top: Tasks and Documents.

Within each tab, results are further segmented into two tabs: This Board, and Other Boards.  This makes the most common use of Search even easier: most people want to find something that’s on a large board that they are viewing.

For each search result Kerika shows you what part of the task/card matched the query; in the example above, the search term showed up in 8 Board Chat messages.

Clicking on a search result gives you two action buttons: Open the task/card, or get a link to that task.

The search results are ranked by relevance; we spent weeks fine-tuning the algorithm based upon real-world usage and we think we have got it right now! But we know there will be times when you really need to narrow your search very specifically, and that’s handled by the Filter Results button which gives you so many options:

Screenshot showing Task Filter options for Search
Task Filter

The Documents tab shows you all the content that matches your search results: we get this from Google, if you signed up using your Google ID or email, or from Box, if you signed up using your Box ID.

Screenshot showing Document Results from Search
Search Results for Documents

Selecting a document result gives you two buttons: OPEN, which will open the document for you in a new browser tab (or in Google Apps or Box on a mobile device), and DOWNLOAD.

As with Tasks, there are numerous options to filter and narrow your search for documents:

Screenshot showing Documents Filter options for Search
Documents Filter

 

How Kerika became zippy

With the new version you will notice that Kerika has become much faster on the desktop than previously: now any board, regardless of size, should load in under 3 seconds if you have a fast Internet connection.

With the old version this wasn’t true: the time to load a board was proportional to the number of cards (tasks) that were on the board, and while most users didn’t notice any lag, people who were using Kerika at a large scale, e.g. with boards of a thousand cards, would have to wait a while for the largest board to full open.

With our old code, every board was loaded sequentially column by column, starting with the leftmost column, and within each column every card was loaded before another column’s loading started.  This approach didn’t scale well, and the flaw of this approach became all to obvious when we built our mobile apps, which used a “lazy loading” approach.

To fix this, we rewrote the desktop app from scratch, an effort that took nearly nine months for our small team to complete, from design, implementation, testing and endless refinement.

With lazy loading the system prioritizes which cards to load, rather than trying to load all of them one by one.  If your board has 15 columns, for example, not all of these can be viewed at the same time: most displays will show just 5-6 columns at a time.  Kerika keeps track of which part of the board you were last viewing, and then intelligently loads the board from that point of view.

All the other columns are loaded only as the system senses you are going to need them: as you scroll to the left or right, for example, the system automatically (and quickly) fetches more columns into view. If the system does this fast enough, the user never realizes that her entire board wasn’t loaded at the very beginning, because no matter where she is looking, everything she needs is always in view.

We took a similar approach to loading columns with a lot of cards (tasks). Instead of loading all the cards that exist within a column — and these can number hundreds, for large boards — the system considers how many can be displayed at a time given the user’s particular device: laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone.

Having calculated how much of a column can be actually viewed by a user, the system loads just those many — and a few more in anticipation of the user scrolling her view of a column. As the user continues scrolling down a column, the system races to fetch more cards from the server so there’s never a gap in the user’s view.

But lazy loading alone wasn’t enough, we also had to deal with the speed at which a browser can display a bunch of cards. This speed varies by browser type, as well as device.  A low-powered computer, perhaps running an older browser, can’t render cards as fast as we need for the user to have a true real-time experience.

Our mobile apps improve every 2 weeks, whether you notice it or not.

Because of the way we developed our mobile apps for Android and iOS, it’s possible for us to make back-end and front-end improvements without necessarily requiring you to update the app that you have already installed.

A lot of these improvements are bug fixes and performance increases, and they have been going out steadily since the official launch of our apps.  So don’t be surprised if it seems the Kerika mobile app doesn’t ever need to be updated; it’s possible for us to improve Kerika without requiring to download anything.

Enjoy the app.

Welcoming Oakland Unified School District to our community of Academic Users

We have added the Oakland Unified School District to our roster of organizations where users will automatically get free Academic Accounts when they sign up, using their @ousd.org email addresses.

Kerika’s free Academic & Nonprofit Accounts let folks have up to 10 people working on boards owned by each account, and each individual within an approved organization can have their own account: that includes students, teachers and staff.

Our roster of whitelisted organizations now runs in the hundreds, and includes users from across the world.

Designed for, and built by remote teams

Our development team in India is under a national lock-down due to Covid-19, and we had been worried about a loss of productivity.

After a week of lock-down we have been checking with each person, and it turns out there was no cause for worry, especially from those who had the foresight to grab an extra monitor before leaving their office.

In fact, we expect that our team will ask for work-from-home as a regular work model even after the virus is gone.

Kerika is designed for, and built by remote teams!