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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|

Something can always be changed…but should it?

Seth Godin has a very insightful post about ignoring your critics.

I agree with him.

From a sales standpoint, critics are everywhere. People who are shopping for project management software often have a very definite set of features they would like to see in their tool. And when they are faced with the reality of an actual project management system, which cannot possibly include all the features everyone ever wanted, they may say something like “I would definitely buy AceProject is it did X.”

The problem is, if we added every feature asked during the sales process, AceProject would be a mess. It would have so many features, it would be unusable. And no one would want to buy it.

So, we need to balance what we choose to add to AceProject. If it keeps coming back (like task dependencies being too hard to use), we should do it. If it’s been asked only once, we’ll wait.

By |2009-04-03T12:04:00-04:002009-04-03|

Patience in an instant world

Having patience in today’s world is waiting more than 5 minutes for your latte at the coffee shop without throwing a tantrum.

Seth Godin’s article about patience and success is food for thought.

Like anything else in life, projects are an investment in time. It doesn’t matter how fast someone wants the project to be completed, things take time and, short of a time machine, time itself cannot be sped up.

Not every delay problem can be solved by throwing more people at it. If you need 100 boxes moved from room 1 to room 2, having more people moving the boxes will get the job done faster. However, there are only a few tasks that really gain speed from adding people on the team.

Writing the documentation for a product, for example, cannot be sped up by adding more people on the team. If you get several writers working on the same document, all you’ll get is a patched-up user’s manual that looks not quite put together. The cost in quality is not worth the savings in […]

By |2008-09-17T12:38:00-04:002008-09-17|
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