Since most of you are on a number of different projects at any given time, you are frequently accessing many of them throughout the day. Instead of going back to the Global Projects page each time you want to access another project, the most recent projects you've opened will automatically pin to the top of the screen for you to access with one simple click. The six most recent projects will stay pinned to the top of the screen as shown below and you can close them anytime. You can also simply rearrange your project tabs in the order that works best for you by using drag and drop.
When clicking a tab to change the project, the new project will open to the same section you are currently in. This allows you to switch between projects without unnecessary clicks of going back to the section you are using. Another benefit of the project tabs is that you can click the settings icon on the current tab to quickly navigate to the project settings page. From there you can add new project team members, change the status of your project, add a budget, and much more. By pinning project tabs you can quickly access what you need in your project management software.
Last week, we rolled out a very large upgrade that primarily addresses the speed of Projecturf. I won't get into the nerdy details too much, but at a high level we moved from our dedicated server environment to a cloud-based one instead. We left our Oracle database on it's own dedicated server (as it was before), but now both the cloud servers and the database server are located in the same geographic location, which eliminated the latency we were experiencing before. After thorough testing, I'm happy to report that we're seeing page loading times drastically improved across the board, and in some instances, they have increased up to 20 times. However, the most important thing to you, the customer, is that as you hop around Projecturf from project-to-project or section-to-section to get things done, you will notice a significant difference in how fast things load.
If you would like to read more about this update, check out the press release.
I want to personally apologize for the week prior where we did have several maintenance periods and a few issues we tried to fix very quickly. Thank you for your patience. These updates make things much speedier, but also have addressed a few requests a lot of our customers have asked for on our suggestion forum. It also sets the table, sorta speak, for some bigger things coming later this year :)
As designers, the details of every aspect of an interface are critical. Even the smallest change can affect how people use your product or website, so sweating the small stuff, as they say, takes on a whole new meaning in UI design. To illustrate this point, I'm going to discuss our thinking on where to place toggle arrows in the next version of Projecturf, which may, on the surface, appear to be a minor if not insignificant detail, but I would argue that it makes all the difference in the world.
In our initial design, we placed the toggle arrow on the inside (to the right) of the checkbox in the tasks section. The arrow allows you to expand and collapse the subtasks that are connected to the parent task, and if no subtasks exist, the arrow simply is not displayed. The mere presence of the arrow indicates that the task has additional items connected to it. The checkbox, in contrast, will exist on every single task on the screen, which allows you to mark the item complete. Given that the checkbox always exists, we initially thought it made sense to have it be the first item on the left. But after we started building the screen and testing it out, we realized this was a mistake that we had to fix.
Something about its placement felt strange. This led to doing some research and we used a computer OS as the foundation of our decision. What we found was that both MAC and Windows placed the arrow to the outside of any additional elements, such as folders or icons. The arrow was always on the far left. When we flipped it's position in our design, it naturally felt odd. This resulted in us moving the arrow to the outside of all elements, whether it's a checkbox or an icon (as you'd find in Documents), and it now feels natural and easy. You no longer think about it; you just intuitively use it.
There is something to be said for familiarity when it comes to interface design. The simple fact that the user is already familiar with how toggling works because they use this functionality on computers already allows us to position our element in the same fashion; essentially eliminating confusion. If the user has to stop and think about something like a toggle arrow (either consciously or subconsciously), we've complicated the experience. Therefore, it's extremely important to consider how a user will inherently perceive the elements in your UI as you are designing them. This is the level of detail of superior interfaces, and that we constantly strive to achieve.
This year is already well underway and it's been a very busy and hectic time at Projecturf. There are a few big ticket items that we're concentrating on and that currently have the majority of our focus. I want to share which items these are with you.
Early this year, some of you may have started to experience slower response times in our application. This slowness is a result of the growth in our user base and traffic, some hardware issues, and to a large extent, our database. We have been focused intensely on this issue and have made serious headway as of today. Our database has been upgraded to an enterprise-level Oracle database and the majority of our procedures have been completely rewritten from scratch. In our testing thus far, in some instances, we are seeing speed increases upwards of 20 times faster than the current application. This, obviously, is a drastic and very important update that we will be rolling out shortly.
This has, unfortunately, stalled our progress with a couple of other projects that are very important to me and our company. These projects include our iPhone app and our API. The good news, however, is that while we have been focusing on the new database, we have been essentially finishing the API at the same time. This does not mean that our API will roll out in conjunction with the speed update, but it does mean that it will be coming shortly afterwards. In addition, the database updates have allowed us to work in a single sign-on approach. This will give many of you the ability to use one email address to sign into Projecturf where you can then access all the various systems and client accounts you work in. This is another big update that I know many of you are waiting for. These two updates should drastically improve your work efficiency.
In short, our aim is to roll out the new speed improvements as soon as we can in the next few weeks and then follow that up with single sign-on ability. After that, we are going to publish the beta version of our API followed by our iPhone app. We are striving to have all these items for summer.
I also wanted to share with you a little bit about our evolution as a product. I will discuss this in more detail in future posts, but needless to say we have been working on the next generation of our app. We started this process last year and it is starting to really ramp up. It's a little too early to share screenshots or other details, but over the next couple of months I will be discussing it more here, on our blog. We have some very exciting things in the works.
There's a lot we're working on this year to make your Projecturf life better. Follow me on Twitter and check our blog often. I am going to start discussing some of the interface challenges and resolutions we work though on a regular basis and will be providing insights and hints as to what you can expect out of Projecturf 4.
The current Projecturf design and layout is the result of over a year spent in the lab refining every last detail with pixel-perfect precision and throughly testing each component. Projecturf was designed with the end user in mind to offer an intuitive and flexible project management software which is easy to navigate and customize, has practically no learning curve, significantly improves productivity, is aesthetically pleasing, and is enjoyable to use.
Here are some key components of the User Interface that differentiate Projecturf and make managing your projects simple:
The UI is a top priority for us in order to create the best possible experience for our users. This results in a user-friendly and polished application which is easily adaptable into your workflow, without sacrificing features or functionality. Clients and employees will learn how to navigate and fully utilize Projecturf in minutes.
We have added an enhancement that allows you to enter the project settings page with just one click. If you have a project open and need to make changes to the settings, simply click the icon on the right side of the project tab (as shown below). This will take you directly to the settings tab where you can add users, change permissions, set your project budgets, and more. This comes in handy when you need to make frequent changes to the project and easily navigate back and forth.
You can also enter the settings page from the Projects page using the actions panel to the right of the project name. This enhancement was a direct result of your feedback. To vote on ideas or request new functionality, visit our suggestion forum here.
You can now share Vimeo and Youtube videos in Projecturf and watch them inline. By adding your videos to Projecturf you also have the options to set permissions, seek approvals, track versions, create discussions and gather feedback, add a title, and group your videos. You can easily do this right from the documents section on any project and we automatically convert the video for your users to watch it inline. Each video will have the custom video icon to quickly differentiate it from your other files as seen here:
To add and share a Vimeo or Youtube video in your project management software, copy the URL from the address bar on the video webpage and paste it into the link field when adding a new document in Projecturf. This feature allows you to easily integrate with Vimeo and Youtube for sharing and viewing videos inline while utilizing all of Projecturf's capabilities. For step by step instructions, please visit our Support Center for this feature. This new enhancement was a direct result of feedback from our customers. To submit your ideas and vote on existing suggestions, click here.
A new Projecturf enhancement allows you to quickly scroll through designs with the preview window open. When in the Designs section for one of your projects, open up a preview window by clicking on the design thumbnail or the magnifying glass underneath it. With the preview window now open, you can quickly scroll using the arrow keys on your keyboard or by clicking the arrows on the left and right side of the image.
This enhancement provides a fast and efficient way to view designs in your project management system.
Version 3.0 offers the ability to add multiple items into any section of Projecturf at once. By using the "Add Another" option when inputting records, you can include as many entries as you need to quickly get data into your project management software. Another benefit of using this feature is that it saves your settings for each consecutive entry. For example, if you are assigning multiple tasks to a user that have the same due dates, when clicking "Add Another" the responsibility, dates, and priority will be the same as the prior task. Therefore, all you'll need to do is fill in the new task description.
This usability enhancement is available in all project sections such as the Tasks, Calendar, and Document sections - to name a few. To free up more of your time and focus on getting things done, visit Projecturf here.
The latest version of Projecturf includes a major redesign of the user interface which allows you to open multiple projects at once by pinning your project tabs. When you open a new project, the tab will pin to the top of your screen for simple navigation between your projects, similar to how internet browsers work. You can open up to six projects at a time and also rearrange them in any order you prefer using drag and drop. The new design also offers new custom icons and full brand customization of the navigation bar using your company colors.
The latest UI enhancements provide more vertical space resulting in less scrolling, inline panels for visibility of your project data when adding items, quick search feature available in most sections, viewing active timers from anywhere, an uncluttered and user-centric layout, and quicker navigation throughout your project management software.