Category Archives: Usability

Posts related to product design, user experience and usability.

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.

New feature: alpha sort of cards

At a user’s request, we have added alpha sorting of cards on Task Boards and Scrum Boards:

Sorting alphabetically
Sorting alphabetically

This is most useful if combined with the Auto-Numbering feature in Kerika, that can automatically insert a number at the beginning of each new card: the alpha sort will sort all the cards in the column by their number.

New feature: partial sorting of cards in a column

We have improved the sorting feature for cards on Task Boards and Scrum Boards to allow for partial sorting: if you select some cards within a column and then do a sort, the sorting action will apply only for the selected cards.

Sort options
Sort options

This will make it easier to organize very large boards, e.g. where a single column may contain a hundred cards or more.

New feature: we made it easier to use Card URLs

Every card (and every canvas) on a Task Board or Scrum Board in Kerika has a unique URL, but most of the time you might not notice the URL shown in your browser’s address bar is changing as you open one card after another.

(And if you are using Safari on Macs, you definitely won’t notice this since Safari hides most of the URL anyway.)

These URLs can be helpful in many ways: Kerika recognizes them as pointing to other cards or canvases, and makes these links an easy way to connect up different work items.

Here’s an example of a card URL that’s referenced in a chat message:

Referencing Card URL in Chat
Referencing Card URL in Chat

Any URLs that are included as part of the chat or details of a card, that reference other cards, canvases or boards within Kerika, are automatically recognized and presented as useful links as you can see from the first chat message shown in the above example.

To make it easier to get these card URLs (and to help you notice that they are important in the first place), we have made it possible to grab any card’s URL with a single click:

Card URL button
Card URL button

Clicking on the new Card URL button that appears on the top-right of each card’s detail view makes it possible to see, and copy, the card’s URL with a simple click:

Getting Card URL
Getting Card URL

We have made it easier to grab the URL of an entire board as well, from your Home Page:

Board URL
Board URL

Try this way of creating links between related work items, across all your Kerika boards.

An improvement to Views: eliminating Templates

As one of our users pointed out, Kerika’s ViewsWhat’s Assigned to Me, What Got Done, etc. — shouldn’t include any cards from templates, just regular boards.

People who use templates on a regular basis often pre-assign cards in the template: for example, an employee on-boarding template that involves HR tasks may be preassigned to a specific HR employee.

Our initial implementation of Views included cards from Templates as well, which led to a misleading impression of the amount of work, particularly unscheduled work, that was waiting for a particular person.

That’s fixed now: Views will automatically exclude cards from Templates.

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.

Changing the Owner of a Board

People usually don’t pay attention to the question of who owns a particular board, but it is an important question to consider when you create a new board: the Account Owner owns not just the board, but also all the files attached to cards and canvases on that board.

This is not always important (and often not important in day-to-day use of Kerika): our deep integration with Google and Box ensures that everyone who is part of the board team has automatic access to all the files needed for that board, with access permissions managed according to each individual’s role on the board: Board Admins and Team Members get read+write access; Visitors get read-only access.

(And, as people join or leave board teams, or their roles on a particular board’s team changes, Kerika automatically manages their access to the underlying project files, regardless of whether these are being stored in Google or Box.)

But when someone is planning to leave an organization, the question of ownership can suddenly become important: you don’t want an ex-employee to continue to own critical project files.

Changing ownership of boards was not something that was easily done in the past — there were workarounds, but they were fairly cumbersome and obscure — and we mostly handled these as special requests, on a case-by-case basis.

With our newest update to Kerika, this is no longer the case: changing the ownership of a board is a simple process that can be initiated at any time by the current owner of a board:

Change Board Owner
Change Board Owner

You can ask any other Kerika user, who has signed up the same way as you did (i.e. either as Kerika+Google, Kerika+Box, or by directly signing up) to take ownership of a board. Because this is a consequential action, not something you should rush into, you are asked to confirm your intention by typing the word “YES”:

Confirming change in ownership
Confirming change in ownership

Once your request is sent off to the other user, the board is in a frozen state: existing members of the board team can continue to view the board, but no one can make any changes:

Board waiting for new owner
Board waiting for new owner
Board frozen while waiting for new owner
Board frozen while waiting for new owner

If you change your mind, you can cancel the request before it has been accepted.  This can be done by selecting the board from your Home Page:

Cancel ownership request
Cancel ownership request

You can also find your pending request in your Sentbox, and cancel it from there:

Cancelling pending request
Cancelling pending request

Note: once a board’s transfer is complete, it can’t be undone by you. If you really need to get ownership back of a board, you will need to ask the new owner to transfer the board to you.

An important caveat for Kerika+Google users

We try to ensure that files attached to a Kerika+Google board have their ownership changed at the same time as the board itself is transferred, but there are some limits to how Google will allow for a change in ownership:

All Kerika-related files are stored in a set of folders in a user’s Google Drive, organized by account and board.

Google let’s us change the owner of a folder, so we can make sure that when a board is transferred the ownership of the associated Google Drive folder is also changed.

However, for the individual files contained within the folder, Google only allows for a change of ownership of files that are part of Google Docs: documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, etc.

Files like images (.jpg, .png, .gif), zip files, and PDFs, for example, retain their old ownership between the Google API doesn’t let Kerika change the ownership of these “non-Google-formatted” file types.

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.