WORK[etc] is a big application, there’s no denying it. Right out of the box it does maybe 80% of everything a small business needs to operate. That means a lot of code and a lot of tools.
But, no matter how comprehensive an app is, how robust the code is or fast the infrastructure, it is meaningless if it isn’t easy to use. And this is compounded within WORK[etc] as most users are logging more than 5 sessions per day and doing everything from creating sales leads, to managing projects and logging time.
If software isn’t simple to use, fast to use, then within a few weeks users inevitably suffer from click fatigue.
From click fatigue comes mounting frustration and from frustration is borne a general contempt toward the product (particularly if you’re already stressed or just having a bad day – we all know that hurl-the-laptop-across-the-room feeling).
Awareness of the click fatigue pandemic is fast spreading – Microsoft recently changed default settings of a critical Windows 7 security feature because users balked at clicking more than two prompts per day. Amazon has been ahead of the curve for years with its 1-Click patent. So far ahead of the curve that Apple was forced to license this technology(!) for use in the iTunes store.
And unfortunately, some of our users started reporting click fatigue within WORK[etc]
Soooooooooo – late last week we quietly introduced an interface change that massively streamlines entering data. This one simple change took less than 8 hours to code yet the impact on usability is profound. It took one of our customers, iDonny, to point this out to us.
And I’ll admit I’m a little dumbfounded that we’ve been using WORK[etc] internally now for 2 years and it never occured to any of us. In fact, I’m pretty sure it had never been suggested before. 37Signals (Basecamp) famously pulls out the “forget feature requests” – but if we had followed that advice, we would never have got here in the first place.
So yes, we read, capture and evaluate every feature request posted.
Everyone who knows WORK[etc], knows that we feature a “create” menu on most pages. This allows you to quickly create a new timesheet, calendar event, project etc. Previously, hitting this create menu would just take you to that page where you would then need to click through the options and enter data.
What changed last week was that for most create functions, we now float a window with data pre-loaded. It looks like this:
Another sneaky new feature lets you email contacts directly from with WORK[etc]:
These new tools, and others, make working with WORK[etc] that much more efficient. Oh – and astute readers might notice the new “contacts’ screen in the background (again this came out of listening to real customer feedback). More on this next week…