Tag Archives: Usability

Our Views feature just got even better

We have improved our Views feature to include a simple toggle that lets you filter the entire View to show just those items that are assigned to you.

This new toggle appears on the top-right corner of the View, and we have added a Tip to help you understand the function:

What Needs Attention without filtering
What Needs Attention without filtering

Clicking on the toggle will immediately shrink the View to show just those items that are assigned to you:

What's Due with filtering
What’s Due with filtering

All the other items are hidden from the View, and a simple count at the bottom of each column shows you how many items are assigned to others. In the example shown above, 1 item is assigned to someone else, and is due today.

It’s a simple, fast feature that we think shows the best of Kerika’s design approach 🙂

This feature has been added to all of our Views that need this:

  • What’s Due
  • What Needs Attention
  • What Got Done
What's Due without filtering
What’s Due without filtering

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.

You can now hide columns in your Views as well

For some time now we have offered the ability for you to hide entire columns on a Task Board or Scrum Board; we are now extending that to Views as well:

Hidden column in Views
Hidden column in Views

In the example shown above, several columns are hidden in this What Needs Attention view, and Kerika shows a count of how many items are hidden in each column.

This feature is available through the Column Actions button that’s at the top of each column:

Hide column option for Views
Hide column option for Views

This can help you focus in on specific work items that need more attention than others.

Some usability improvements to the Billing Info screen

We noticed a number of folks were tripping over the process of entering their Billing Info (from the Manage Users page), which was embarrassing…

We have made some minor tweaks that we think will fix any potential confusion:

  • If you miss a required field — and remember: every field is required except for additional Billing Contacts — the system does a better job of getting you to pause and fix the mistake.
  • The process of selecting a Country and State/Province has been made easier.  If you select the USA or Canada as your country, the State/Province field becomes a drop-down list since we know which states and provinces to present as choices in each case. If your country is something else, this field becomes a free text field to let you type in anything you want.

An improved way of moving boards from one Account to another

As part of our next release, which will include a new billing system, we will make it easier for you to move boards that you own to another account.

This can help in several scenarios:

  • If someone is leaving a team, it’s good practice to have their boards transferred to someone who will remain, so that ownership of project assets — the boards and all the content in the boards, including documents — remains with the team.
  • More importantly, it is good practice to stay away from having individuals own boards, and instead use service accounts to be the single Account Owner in your organization.

A service account is an omnibus account, typically set up with an email address like kerika@example.org, that isn’t associated with a single individual.  A service account will never quit, never get fired, or take a vacation because a service account is not a real person — it is simply an account/ID used to be the permanent, omnipresent, owner of project assets so that team turnover doesn’t disrupt anyone.

If you own a board, you can move it to another account, i.e. effective change its ownership, by selecting the board on your Account’s Home, and clicking on the Board Actions button which appears on the top-right corner of the board card:

Board Actions Menu
Board Actions Menu

This will bring up a small menu of actions that are available to us as the board’s current owner:

Board Actions
Board Actions

(Note: this menu can also be accessed using the right mouse button.)

When you select the Move to another Account action from this menu, we will present you with this new dialog box:

Move Board dialog
Move Board dialog

A list of “known collaborators” is presented to you by Kerika to make it easy to select a coworker with a single mouse click, but you can also move the board to someone else, who isn’t part of your current Kerika collaboration network.

If you type in an email address, Kerika will immediately check to see whether this email address is that of a known Kerika user, before letting you proceed further:

Checking if new owner is a Kerika user
Checking if new owner is a Kerika user

We think these improvements will make it easier for our users to manage their organizations boards, and move towards consolidated ownership for easier asset management.

Some minor bug fixes

We did an update yesterday that included a bunch of minor bug fixes and usability tweaks. (It also included a ton of behind-the-scenes improvements to our architecture and product development processes, but if we did our job well you shouldn’t see any of that change…)

  1. When the Kerika server is being updated (to a newer version), your browser will no longer keep trying to reconnect while this is underway.

    We have some code in place to help fix broken network connections: if your browser can detect that it’s connection to the Kerika server is broken for any reason (usually a network error), the browser will automatically attempt to reconnect.

    This doesn’t make sense if the server is down for planned maintenance.
  2. If you are working in multiple accounts and you decide to switch between them, we offer your choices in a more logical way: all the account owners you are connected to are listed alphabetically, and then each account owned is listed alphabetically.

    Our previous display was kind of random making it hard to scroll through a long list of accounts. This affected only a very small number of users who were working on many different accounts, but still…
  3. Now that we are encouraging our customers to converge around service accounts, we are trying to make sure these service accounts don’t get too crowded from the perspective of any single user.

    We have always had the ability to “favorite” some boards (and templates) so you can have your own personal, curated list of boards that you care about — and so you can ignore the rest — but now we have made it easier for Board Admins to move their boards to the trash or archive (or to restore them later) so they can help keep the commonly-shared service account in a more useful and relevant state for all the users within that account.
  4. A really small thing, but we decided to change the Sort by Status feature on our Task Boards and Scrum Boards so that On Hold cards appear at the bottom of the column, below all the others.
  5. Bug fix: if you changed the name of a board using the Board Settings dialog (assuming you are one of the Board Admins), the new name is now reflected immediately in the breadcrumbs.
  6. If someone who is currently a Team Member on your Task Board or Scrum Board is made a Visitor, he/she will not be removed from the current card assignments.  This makes it easier to change your mind if you decide you want that person to be a Team Member after all: just change this person’s role in the Board Team dialog, back to Team Member, and all the old card assignments will be there.

 

A simpler menu for cards and columns on your Task Boards and Scrum Boards

We used to have separate button, and associated menus, for actions related to cards and for actions related to columns:

Separate card and column actions
Separate card and column actions

This reflected the history of the Kerika product: we first designed and built the card actions, and much later added the column actions.

In retrospect, however, we concluded that separating these into two separate menus was not a good idea: it was confusing for our users to remember which menu supported which action. (Even the Kerika team, which uses Kerika for everything that the company does, was having trouble remembering the differences between the two buttons and menus.)

We have fixed that usability problem with our latest release: a single button is shown, and the popup menu that appears includes both card actions and column actions:

Combined Card and Column Actions Menu
Combined Card and Column Actions Menu

Clicking on the Sort and Move actions brings up all the sorting and moving options you have; the Sort menu now has a much richer set of actions:

Sort options
Sort options

We have also done some small tweaks to the sorting action: Sort by Status now puts the On Hold cards at the bottom of the column, below all the ones flagged as Normal.

Seeing at a glance what’s hidden

If you hide a column from your view of a Task Board or Scrum Board, Kerika now makes it clear whether this column has any cards or not:

Hidden columns
Hidden columns

In the example shown above, the Release Notes column is empty, so it is shown in a light shade of grey, while the Final Review column has at least one card, and it is shown in black.

Kerika also helps you see, at a glance, whether the columns you are hiding have any updates you haven’t caught up on, or cards that are overdue:

Hidden columns with updates and overdue dates
Hidden columns with updates and overdue dates

The orange icon in the example above shows that the This Sprint column contains cards with updates on them that you haven’t caught up on yet, and the red icon shows that the Planning column contains overdue cards.

A style refresh for our Blog

Hope you like it — we finally got around to customizing the WordPress TwentyThirteen theme we have been using for this blog.

Nothing fancy; just making sure the colors and font (especially the fonts!) are consistent with our website and app.  We use Roboto everywhere now: we find this to be a really easy to read font for most screens, and think that Google did a great job in coming up to an alternative to the traditional Arial/Helvetica.

We are also trying to clean up the Categories and Tags we use to help you find older blogs: there were too many overlapping categories/tags that had accumulated over the years so we got rid of a bunch of them.

Let us know what you think…