Learning from the gurus
By admin, posted on Jun 8th 2007
There is less than a week to go to the release of version Brookmeyer of projectGenie. In quite what state I’ll drag myself across the line I’m not sure, but I’m fairly pleased with progress. The install, database, templating, security and application modules are done, so I’m now just faced with modifying the actual display screens to be easier to use.
Speaking of user interfaces, those clever blokes over at 37signals have updated the dashboard of Basecamp again. Basecamp is their insanely popular project management system (over 1 million people have signed up!) and is a huge inspiration to me. Basecamp is projectGenie‘s main competitor, but seeing as I’m giving my software away for free, and they host theirs and take care of all the technical headaches, we’re not quite in the same market.
Their dashboard is now better than ever. Here’s a quick list of some of the goodies are;
- It’s not weighed down by loads of icons (I have a tendency to throw an icon at anything that moves)
- It has colour-coding, but not so much that it overwhelms the eye
- It has a calendar that shows you what you need to see, but then gets out of the way
- It has easy-to-read lists instead of clunky grids
- It shows the *required* information, not frippery (do I really need to know what time a message was posted at three weeks ago? No, I just need the date)
- It groups tasks logically, by project
As I mentioned, projectGenie and Basecamp are targeted at two different markets (OK, projectGenie isn’t really targeted at any market) so while there’s a lot to learn from the masters of lean, mean web applications, I won’t be copying it wholesale. That would be bad-mannered. Instead I’m going to try to be a little more selective in the graphical elements and layouts I choose (less icons, more simple lists, group things logically).
And, who knows, I may even get it done by the deadline.