Tag Archives: Preferences

About the Preferences feature in Kerika.

Making Kerika less chatty for new users

It’s hard for us to get the balance right between making sure our users don’t miss out on important project updates, while avoiding the impression that Kerika is “too chatty”.

We are changing out default preferences settings — this will affect new users only, not existing users — to have most notifications emails turned OFF by default:

Notification defaults
Notification defaults

One reason for this change is that our Views feature does a good job of providing an overview of important updates across boards — and we are going to make it even better in the near future — so for new users in particular, we don’t want to give the impression that Kerika will increase their incoming emails, rather than actually streamline their existing communications.

The 6AM Task Summary Email is back

We used to have a feature that let you get a task summary email from Kerika everyday at 6AM that summarized all the things that you were responsible for that are overdue, due this week or due next week.

When we introduced the Views feature, we thought perhaps this 6AM email was not needed any more, so we took it out of the user interface for a few months — although people who had previously been using this feature continued to get their daily emails.

It seems like we underestimated the usefulness of this feature: new users started asking for something just like it, so we have brought the feature back. (And thanks for helping us understand we had screwed up in taking it away.)

You can access this feature from your Preferences page:

Daily Task Reminder Preference
Daily Task Reminder Preference

“Responsible for” includes not just the items that were assigned to you, but also items on boards where you are a Board Admin (and, presumably, have some responsibility for.)

This email can show your tasks organized in two different ways, and, if you like, you can get both sent to you every day:

6AM Task Summary Options
6AM Task Summary Options

A typical task summary, where tasks are grouped by date, would look like this:

Example of 6AM Task Summary
Example of 6AM Task Summary

The board names and card names are also links that you can use to open the relevant work item.

Enjoy, again.

 

 

Managing the privacy of your Kerika boards

Kerika offers a great deal of control over how each board is shared:

  1. A board can be made public to everyone.  This makes sense for open-source projects and many nonprofit and advocacy groups, where the goal is to get maximum visibility and publicity rather than to hide the details of what the project is about.

    Making a board public means that anyone who has the URL of the board can view it, even people who are not Kerika users.  Note: we are talking about viewing the board; viewing doesn’t mean anyone who isn’t part of the board team can make changes.

    If a board is viewable by the public, it can be found by anyone using Kerika’s search function.

  2. A board can be viewable by everyone who is part of the account team. This is the default setting, and it makes a lot of sense for most organizations: you want your coworkers to be aware of what your team is doing, unless the project is particularly sensitive.

    An account team consists of everyone who is a Team Member or Visitor on any board owned by the account.

    As people get added to individual boards, they are also automatically added to the account team.  When someone is removed from every board owned by an account, they are automatically removed from the account team as well.

    As with public boards, described above, we are talking only about viewing, not changing: only people who are Board Admins or Team Members on a particular board’s team can make any changes to that board. (And, of course, the Account Owner who owns the board.)
    If you use Kerika’s search function, you can find boards that are being shared with the account team, provided you are part of that particular account team.

  3. A board can be kept private.  This means that only the people who are listed on the board’s team — as a Board Admin, Team Member or Visitor — can view the board.  (And, of course, the Account Owner who owns the board.)

    This is appropriate for any sensitive projects, e.g. stuff related to personnel matters or confidential contracts.

    Private boards can’t be found by Kerika’s search function either, and it doesn’t matter if you know the URL for the board: only the specific people listed on the board team can see anything related to that board.

For each board owned by an account, the Account Owner or Board Admins can manage the board’s team: decide who is part of the team, and what sort of role (Board Admin, Team Member, or Visitor) each person has.

  • Board Admins and Team Members can make changes to all the items on the board, including any documents attached to the board.
  • Visitors have read-only access to the board and all its documents.
  • A person’s role can be changed at any time by the Board Admin or Account Owner: the effect is immediate, and extends to all the documents associated with the board as well regardless of whether you are using Google or Box for your file storage, or whether you are storing your files with Kerika.

A board’s team and current privacy settings can be viewed by clicking on the Team button that appears on the top-right of the Kerika app, when viewing a board:

Board Team button
Board Team button

Clicking on this button brings up the Board Team dialog:

Board Team dialog
Board Team dialog

Each person who is part of the Board Team is listed in this dialog, in alphabetical order along with their role.

At the bottom of the dialog is the board’s current privacy setting: in the example shown above, the board is being shared with everyone who is part of this user’s account team. (We have obscured the URL in the screenshot for security reasons.)

If you are a Board Admin or the Account Owner, you can change the privacy of the board using the Change Privacy link that’s shown on the bottom of the dialog:

Board Privacy options
Board Privacy options

So, every board can have it’s own privacy settings: private, shared with account team, or public.

When you are viewing the boards in an account, Kerika shows clearly what the privacy setting is for each board:

Privacy settings, at a glance
Privacy settings, at a glance

If you are part of someone’s account, you will be able to create new boards in that account: you will automatically be a Board Admin on those new boards, but the owner will always be the account you are working in.

You can set your privacy preferences for each account; this will determine whether new boards you create are automatically shared with your coworkers or not:

Privacy preferences
Privacy preferences

All your preferences can be set at https://kerika.com/preferences.  The default setting is Share with Account Team, which works well for most people, most of the time.

 

Using Service Accounts to manage all your Kerika Users

For some segments of our users, e.g. college students using Kerika for their course projects, it makes sense to treat each user as an independent entity, since the relationships between these students will vary from class to class, from semester to semester.

These collaboration networks are very dynamic, and it’s impossible to predict whether a team that got together to work on a three-month class project will stick together after that project is over, or work as the same group of people on the next class project.

In business environments (companies, nonprofits and government agencies), however, the teams are more stable: people don’t change jobs every few months.  But, turnover can still be a problem: if Joe leaves your company, how can you be sure that all the boards and documents that Joe had created are not lost along when Joe is gone?

The simple solution to this is to use service accounts to own all the boards that are being used by a community of users, like a department or even the entire company (if the company is small enough).

A service account looks like any other Kerika account — it is associated with it’s own email, e.g. kerika@example.com — but it isn’t actually a real person: the email will have been set up by the organization’s IT staff or management, and the password is typically shared between a small handful of supervisory people.

Unlike real people, service accounts will always stick around: they won’t retire, resign, or get run over by a bus…

This means the organization has continuity and security with respect to it’s Kerika boards and documents: because the project assets are owned by kerika@example.com, rather than joe@example.com, it doesn’t matter whether Joe is still working at the company or not.

We encourage all our professional users — people working in companies, nonprofits and governments — to set up service accounts as a best practice, and we can help you: just email us at info@kerika.com and we will do all the account consolidation for you:

  • All the boards owned by the people in your organization will be transferred to the ownership of the service account instead.
  • Everything about each board is preserved as part of the transfer: all the cards, canvases, due dates, etc. remain the same after the transfer; it’s just that the boards are no longer owned by joe@example.com and susan@example.com, but instead are now owned by kerika@example.com
  • You can decide who to consolidate within the service account: typically it is everyone in the organization, but if you have different departments or cost centers, it will make sense to have more than one service account — one for each department or cost center.
  • After the consolidation, individual users within your organization will no longer have separate accounts: their Kerika identity, preferences, history, etc. are all preserved, but instead of working in several different accounts, they will all be working in a single service account, that’s under the control of your organization.
  • All this can be done by us, overnight: the next day your users can come into work and login as they did before, and have access to all the boards they had the previous day. All the boards will look the same, and your users can pick exactly where they left off.

When users have been consolidated within a service account, any new boards that they create will automatically be owned by that service account, rather than by the individual users.  This ensures that all current and all future project assets are owned by the service account, i.e. by the company, rather than by individual users.

It’s still possible for individual users to have privacy within the service account: for sensitive work (e.g. personnel matters) they can adjust the privacy of individual boards to be “share with board team only”.  When the privacy is set to board team only, the board will be visible only to the people who are specifically added by the Board Admins to the board’s team.

The Account Owner, i.e. the service account, will always have access to every board within that account, regardless of the board’s privacy settings. This is consistent with how other organizational assets are currently managed: if you have a work email, for example, you expect to have privacy from your coworkers, but you know that the company’s IT department will always have access to your email if they need it — and your email doesn’t really belong to you, but to your employer.

 

Your 6AM summary email now includes Tasks

All Kerika users have the option of getting an email sent to them at 6AM everyday, in their local time, that summarizes all the cards that are overdue, due this week, and due next week.

(Actually, we have two options for this email: you can get these cards summarized by due date, or by board. Or both.)

This is turned on by default for new users but you can change your preferences at https://kerika.com/preferences.

We have improved this email to include Tasks as well as cards.

This required some smarts in the code to handle scenarios where a Task’s Due Date is different from the Card’s Due Date, but we managed to do this nicely.

Enjoy.

Restyling Preferences

We have restyled your Preferences page, to be more in line with the new design of Kerika that we released a couple of months ago.  It now looks like this:

Board Preferences
Board Preferences

We are using the familiar “card container” style for showing different categories of preferences, like WIP limits, along with the left-side tabs that are similar to those you find on the Home page.

The Boards tab lets you set the following preferences:

  • The privacy of new boards you create: you can make them accessible to anyone with a link; to just people who are part of your Account Team; or to only those people you invite to the board as Board Admins, Team Members or Visitors.
  • Whether to use Work-In-Progress (WIP Limits) on new Task Boards or Scrum Boards that you create.
  • Whether to have your documents converted to the Google Docs format, if you are using Kerika+Google, or whether you want to retain them in their original format e.g. Microsoft Office.  (This preference isn’t shown to Kerika+Box users, or those users who signed up directly.)

 

Notification Preferences
Notification Preferences

In the Notifications tab you can decide how much you want to hear from Kerika when stuff happens (that concerns you).

If you are assigned a card on a Task Board or Scrum Board, and someone does chat on that card, Kerika will always push that to you as an email: we assume that since you are responsible for a card, you need to know sooner rather than later when someone has a comment or question about that work item.

If you are a Board Admin, however, you can decide how many notifications you want when stuff happens on boards that you are responsible for.

For example, you could be notified if someone adds a new card on a board: this usually means that there is new/more work to be done by your team, so you might want to quickly check whether it is important — or whether it is even relevant for that particular board.

And, as a Board Admin, you might want to know whenever someone moves a card to Done.  This is usually a welcome notification: people like to hear that stuff is getting done, but if a team/board gets a lot of stuff done every day these emails can be a nuisance and you might want to turn off this preference.

And, depending upon how involved you want to be with each card and each Team Member, you can get notified whenever a card is reassigned from one person to another.  Some Board Admins like to be very much in control over who is doing what, so if a Team Member takes the initiative to reassign work to another Team Member the Board Admin may want to know right away. Other Board Admins take a more relaxed, hands-off approach and let the team handle its own work allocation.

Finally, you can choose to get a 6AM email summary of everything that is overdue, due this week, and due next week: for all cards assigned to you personally, as well as a all cards on boards where you are one of the Board Admins.  You have the additional option of getting this list summarized by date, or by board — or both.

Canvas Preferences
Canvas Preferences

The Canvas Preferences let you determine how lines, shapes and text look like, by default, when you use Whiteboards.

One useful preference in this tab is to have items snap to grids: this helps you lay out process diagrams more neatly.

 

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.

 

Preferences

New options for the 6AM Task Summary Email from Kerika

Welcome to 2017! We have a big bunch of goodies lined up for release in the coming weeks and months, and we are going to start off with some nice improvements to the 6AM Task Summary email that you can (optionally) get from Kerika:

You now have two options: you can get all your overdue and due items sorted by date, or by board. Or both.

To turn this on, go to https://kerika.com/preferences, and check these boxes:

Preferences
Preferences

We have also improved the “group items by date”: instead of showing what’s due today and tomorrow, this email now includes What’s Due This Week and What’s Due Next Week.

“This Week” is adjusted automatically as the week progresses to keep track of what’s left for the current week, which always ends on Sunday.

Enjoy.

Kerika+Google users can decide whether to use Google Docs, or stay with Microsoft Office

If you are a Kerika+Google user — you signed up for Kerika using your Google ID (like a Gmail address) — your Kerika files will be stored in your own Google Drive.

Most Kerika+Google users prefer to have their files converted to the Google Docs format when they upload them their Kerika cards, canvases or boards: this makes it easy for them to edit these files from inside a browser.

A small minority of our Kerika+Google users, however, prefer to keep their files in their original Microsoft Office format.

(The most common reason for this is if you are working with complex spreadsheets: Microsoft Excel is still far better than Google’s Spreadsheets!)

If you are a Kerika+Google user, you have a choice of using Google Docs or not: just go https://kerika.com/preferences and select this option:

Google Docs format
Google Docs format

Either way your files will still be stored in your Google Drive; the only difference is whether they are stored in the Google Docs format or kept in their original Microsoft Office format.