Tag Archives: New Version

A new feature or version of Kerika.

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.


Tweaking the styling of Tasks inside Cards

We really like the Tasks feature that we introduced recently: this has significantly cut down on the number of cards that we have to track on boards, since many items can be easily captured, assigned and scheduled as tasks rather than independent tasks.

This means we have a better, epic-oriented view of our boards; we don’t get lost in the weeds.

However, the first implementation of the styling could do with some improvement, so that’s what we did:

Improved styling for tasks
Improved styling for tasks

This makes it easier to see the names of people assigned to cards, and the due dates, more easily.

By the way, it took a surprising amount of experimentation before we settled on these colors: in Kerika’s design every color is supposed to have a particular meaning, so that colors appear in a consistent context in every instance.

For example, if we use blue to indicate a clickable link — like we do on the card details left tab, to let you switch between Tasks, Attachments, Chat, etc. — we can’t use blue anywhere else where it wouldn’t be clickable.

So, if blue is clickable in one place, it must always be clickable everywhere else.

This is easy enough, but we also have rules about using colors consistently across actions or displays that seem related, again to minimize the learning effort needed by new users.

Our green is used for Highlights in a consistent way:

What's Assigned to Me
What’s Assigned to Me

The breadcrumbs includes the suffix “What’s Assigned to Me” in green, the Highlights button is green to indicate that it is in use, and a green button is used to indicate that items matching the highlight are out of view.

If we are rigorous about this, there is an internal consistency about the Kerika user experience that makes it easier to learn.  But it takes a lot of discipline.

So if consistency applies a bunch of constraints in our choice of colors, so do legibility and color-blindness: we have to be careful to avoid using color combinations like red and green that are difficult for some people to distinguish.   (About 8 percent of males, and 0.6 percent of females, are red-green color blind in some way or another, whether it is one color, a color combination, or another mutation.)

All of this means that it isn’t easy to pick a new color when we design!

What's Assigned to Me

Highlights, a better alternative to old-fashioned Filters

We have replaced the old Filters feature for our Task Boards and Scrum Boards with a new Highlights feature that we think is better in every way!

Click on the Flashlight icon on the top right corner of the Kerika app:

Highlights button
Highlights button

And you will see this menu of actions:

Highlight options
Highlight options

The default is No highlights. We have a couple of built-in highlights that we know you will find useful right away:

  • What’s assigned to me: very useful if you are working on a large board, or with a large team, and you focus on just what you need to get done.
  • What needs attention: this highlights all the cards on the board that we think need to pay attention too — items that are overdue, on hold, or flagged as needing review.

Here’s how the Highlights work:

What's Assigned to Me
What’s Assigned to Me

A shadow effect helps spotlight all the cards that match the highlight, making them literally pop out of the screen!

If you are working on a board with a lot of columns, there’s always a chance that something that is being highlighted is currently out of view — if, for example, it is near the bottom of a long column.

Kerika takes care of that as well: if a card that matches your highlight choice is currently out of view, a green button appears at the top or bottom, as needed, of each column to indicate that there are cards out of view that match your highlight.

Matched cards are below the scroll
When matched cards are below the scroll

The green arrow acts as more than just an indication that you need to scroll: it is also a button that will scroll the column to show you the next card that you need to see.

(Pretty cool, huh?)

We will be adding more smart highlights in the coming weeks, but in the meantime you can also create your own custom highlights:

Custom Highlights
Custom Highlights

A Custom Highlight can include any combination of people assigned to cards, status, due dates and tags.

For the due dates, we have offered several smart options that are a lot easier to use than standard date pickers:

Smart choices for Due Dates
Smart choices for Due Dates

These ways of specifying due dates — like “Due Next Week” or “Next Month” — make it even easier to set up a custom highlight.


Tasks within Cards

We have added a new feature to our Task Boards and Scrum Boards: you can now manage a list of tasks for each card on a board, like this:

Example of tasks in a card
Example of tasks in a card

Every card can have as many tasks as you like, organized in a simple, smart checklist.

Individual tasks can be assigned (to one person at a time) and scheduled, and Kerika is smart about rolling up these assignments and due dates to reflect them on the card as well:

Managing tasks in a card
Managing tasks in a card

As you mark off tasks as Done, they slide to the bottom of the list to make it easy to see what remains to be done.


An easier way to hide or show columns

We are extending the Column Actions menu (featured in a previous post) to provide a quicker, easier way to hide (or show) individual columns on your Kerika Task Boards and Scrum Boards:

Option to hide column
Option to hide column

When a column is hidden, it’s name is shown vertically, so you can easily remember which columns you have hidden at this time.

Hidden columns
Hidden columns

Revealing columns that are hidden is easy: just click on the “eye” button and the column immediately comes back into view.

Every Team Member can decide whether to show or hide individual columns: their choices won’t affect the way other Team Members choose to view the same board.

Column Actions: a simpler way for Board Admins to customize Task Boards and Scrum Boards

We have added a new feature to our Kerika Task Boards and Scrum Boards, to make it easier for Board Admins to customize the layout of their boards (i.e. to customize the workflow of their projects).

This Column Actions menu appears the top of each column, as shown below:

Column Actions menu
Column Actions menu

When clicked, the button shows the following actions that can be performed on the column:

  • Rename the column
  • Add a new column, to the left
  • Add a new column, to the right
  • Move the column one position over to the left
  • Move the column one position over to the right
  • Delete the column, which means move all its contents to the Trash

This new button and menu makes it easy to access the most common actions that Board Admins need to organize their project’s workflow.

The Board Settings dialog will continue to support this feature, as well as handle more advanced scenarios such as boards that use Work-In-Progress limits on columns:

Column Operations
Column Operations

Note: only Board Admins can customize the columns on a board; not Team Members or Visitors.

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.


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…

Bug, fixed: adding SharePoint URLs as attachments on cards

Thanks to one of our users at Washington State’s Employment Security Department, we found and fixed a bug that was causing problems when users tried to add SharePoint URLs as attachments on cards, for Task Boards and Scrum Boards.

The problem turned out to be in some code we have that tries to check whether a user is entering a valid-looking URL.  SharePoint’s URLs are somewhat unusual in that they include the “{” and “}” characters, which most other web servers don’t use.

Our old code was treating these characters as invalid, thereby rejecting URLs coming from SharePoint.

This has been fixed now.