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Software should get out of your way and let you work

Last week, Seth Godin made a good point about website design.

Seth made me think about software interface design. I think the same principle should apply here as well: your interface should not be noticeable. It should not take from the work that’s being done.

With AceProject, our goal is to get out of our users’ way and let them manage their projects. It’s nonsense that someone should spend so much time just setting up the project. It’s nonsense that the project manager would have to spend hours and hours babysitting the project. And the sad truth is, with many project management solutions (online and offline), it is often the case.

It is a challenge to make an interface easy to use and functional, without forgetting to make it aesthetically pleasing. But it has to be done. It’s a delicate balance between making features easily accessible and not drowing the users with choices.

I’ve rarely heard someone say “This interface is so complicated, but it’s just too pretty, I can’t stop using the product.” I’ve often […]

By |2009-04-14T13:58:00-04:002009-04-14|

Out with the old, in with the new: AceProject’s icons

With AceProject’s new version, we’ve been working on making it more usable. There were the big features, like task dependencies and the Portfolio tab, and there were the smaller features, like the user workload report.

And finally, there’s Aceproject’s look and feel. MIchel, our graphic designer, had been asking to redo our icon set for a long time. With AceProject 4.7, he took on the challenge. And it was quite a challenge. There are over 100 icons in AceProject. We started with a good set of icons, and then, with time, as we added more and more features, we started loosing consistency in our icons.

It was time for a refresh.

Michel started by building a list of all the icons in the system, and then he created “icon concepts” like adding something, and “icon basics” like representations of tasks, projects, and users. He then put together the basics with the concepts, and the icons were born. Adding a task  is the task icon with the + , just like creating an account is the account icon with […]

By |2009-04-10T12:32:00-04:002009-04-10|
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