|BrainBlog is the Brains4All weblog. Established 2004 in The Netherlands. Brains have been working in IT since 1983, working on the internet since 1993, and using their own agile development process for design and application development since 2003. We talk about about design and usability, the industry of software and web development, web applications and simplicity, beautiful and spectacular things.|
Scheduled maintenance on our services
12:35 PM |
Please note that on Thursday July 18th from 22:45 hrs CEST up to Friday July 19th 08:00 hrs CEST our services will be down for maintenance.
This means you will not be able to any of our services during these times. E-mail will be stored on our backup mail servers during this time. Also our blog will be unavailable during these times.
I apologize for the inconvenience.
9:14 PM |
The latest blog entry for Brain Blog was about a year ago.
In the meantime we of Brains4All have renewed our hardware and infrastructure. So that we are able to handle the constantly growth of the amount of users from 14Dayz.
Within this release we have also fulfilled several great wishes from our users.
For instance the pdf – reports are totally customized for every team. On the top of every report you will find your team name on the left and your business logo on the right side of every page.
Now we are implementing some user stories, but we are soon back with some great new features.
Let us know what your most wanted feature is and we are listening to our customers and will implement it in one of the upcoming releases.
Thank you for being a loyal user of 14Dayz.
Scheduled maintenance on our mailserver and blog
2:04 PM |
Please note that on Thursday November 21st from 23:00 hrs CEST up to Friday November 22nd 04:00 hrs CEST and again on Friday 22nd from 23:00 hrs CEST up to Saturday 23rd of November 04:00 hrs CEST our mail server and blog will be down for maintenance.
This means you will not be able to send or receive e-mail from Brains4All, 14Dayz or any other of our services during these times. E-mail will be stored on our backup mail servers during this time. Also our blog will be unavailable during these times. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Issues with PayPal payments not coming in.
5:15 PM |
As of this morning October 14th 2009 at 09:42 am CEST we're experiencing issues with incoming payments and subscriptions from PayPal not being verified and processed correctly through the PayPal IPN.
This issue only effects new subscriptions, account upgrades or renewals.
Don't worry, we've received your payment and as soon as PayPal fixes these issues we'll process the backlog as quickly as possible. We understand and share your frustration on this issue. Sorry!
Are the Dutch finally catching the web app wave?
2:07 PM |
It seems awareness of how web applications can add value to your organization begins to increase in the Netherlands and that is great news for customers and vendors alike.
14Dayz support e-mail delays...
1:48 PM |
We've been experiencing technical issues with GMail which we use for our support e-mail. As a result, you may experience a delay in what we strive for as being a prompt service. Please accept our appologies for the delay, we'll get your questions answered as soon as we can.
No mail has been lost and we'll do our best to get to your question as soon as we can.
14Dayz Scheduled Maintenance
12:40 PM |
Notice: Maintenance is scheduled to take place on Saturday May 31th between 10:00 pm and Sunday June 1st 4:00 am GMT. We apologize for the inconvenience. The last scheduled maintenance was almost 2 years ago, when in August 2006 we moved 14Dayz to new hardware and a new data center. Please check here for updates on our progress and background information.
Update: Maintenance has been completed
This release addresses:
Thanks for your patience, we hope you continue to enjoy Simple web based on-line time tracking with 14Dayz.
Shhhh... A secret little brother
5:30 PM |
Okay, it's still top secret, but 14Dayz is about to get a little brother...
Tell us what you think, do you have a need for this and what would be important for us to know about how you would like to use this?
14Dayz Case studies
4:20 PM |
We’d like to believe we’re a customer centered company. That means it is extremely important to us how YOU feel about our products. To help us better understand your needs so we can improve our service to you please consider taking part in a case-study.
A case study is a simple on-line questionnaire that you can fill out at your leisure. The most interesting case studies will be rewarded with a free upgrade or a month’s free subscription.
If you participate, thanks for your time and effort! You're helping to make 14Dayz a better product!
Improving contrast: Serving you better legibility!
3:13 PM |
When you started up 14dayz this morning, did the feeling occur to you someone adjusted your monitor settings?
I can imagine you're thinking this way.
We've been getting praise for the Design of the user interface from day one, seeing as this is what has made 14Dayz simple to use and easy to get in to.
Still, there is always room for improvement. You've requested more than anything that you'd want slightly better contrast in the user interface.
And we think you were right!
So here it is, making for an even better experience for you and your team. In case you are already getting used to the new contrast or you did not notice any improvement at all, here's a little reminder.
Save $10 when you sign up today*
1:35 PM |
If you'd like to sign up for your own 14Dayz account, here's a little something to help you get started:
What does this mean?
For example: If you sign up today for a new Personal Plan, you get a free trial of 1 month, then you pay $ 5 USD for your second month which will be credited to your PayPal account as well as your $ 5 USD third month payment. Essentially you can enjoy a personal plan for three months for free, to see if it is right for you. Or you can save $ 10 USD on your next payment of the Plan of your choice.
And there's no catch. You can cancel any time you want. If you decide to cancel you do not have to pay any more.
Español por favor
1:26 PM |
We very pleased to announce the Spanish interface for 14Dayz for beta testing. Finally you can now experience 14Dayz in a fourth language; starting today the 14Dayz interface is now available in Spanish as well as English, German and Dutch. A big thanks to Marcos and Gonzalo over at Clover Studio in Madrid who've helped us out with the translation. We're still beta testing the Spanish version, so we'd love to get your feedback on it. If you'd like to help out with translation drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let us know who you are and which language you'd like to assist with.
14Dayz review on Demomarks
10:42 AM |
Our concern for privacy
11:46 PM |
One question we get from our customers is; “We need to be assured that the information we have on the system will not be shared to others. Do you have a confidentiality agreement for your service?”
Brains4All is committed to protecting the privacy of visitors to our website, as well as our account holders and clients. In general Brains4All treats your contact information as private and confidential. Brains4All will not give, sell, rent, exchange or otherwise provide your information with anyone else without your prior consent (except when compelled by law — see below).
What that means in short is that we will not disclose any information in our customers' account without a court order or subpoena, issued under valid Dutch or European law and try to inform you of the fact as well.
Please be advised that in order to ensure the privacy of your data your team needs to connect to the service by secure https encrypted connections.
We understand your concern for privacy and I hope our policy demonstrates our commitment to that. Please write in with any further questions you might have, we're glad to help.
Added firefox 2.0 support
1:29 PM |
Support for IE7 is still a work in progress as we struggle with the rest of the web to implement support. Our apologies for any inconvenience you might experience.
3:52 PM |
Yesterday we soft launched a big change to 14Dayz. A selected group of clients has been testing this release and helping us get it right for the past eight weeks. And now it is finally ready.
Here are some of the changes that are in this release:
Also this release includes some mayor internal overhaul that will help us get ready for future expansions. So keep your eyes open for future developments from your favorite on-line time tracking application.
All-in-all we think it is another great release that we feel you will enjoy immensely and we hope will help you make your simple time registration and reporting even more simple.
11:54 AM |
Today in your 14Dayz account you will find a slight update to the navigation. We've moved some less used items off the main navigation bar and put them in a more out of the way place, just above and to the right. We've moved the logout link next to the You're logged in as ... information, since we felt these were related. Also today's release fixes some minor issues with the service.
4:04 AM |
Everything is going smoothly with the server upgrade. We've completed our activities for today.
Update August 7 1:53 am GMT
Our new hardware is available to you now. However please be advised that we've changed datacenters too. This means that for some slow hosts it may take up to a week or more for this change to "walk the zone" as they say. Simply put, if you're behind a lazy DNS server, you might have to wait a week to experience any change in speed.
Drop us a line on email@example.com if you have any problems.
10:40 PM |
Maintenance is scheduled to take place on Saturday August 5th between 10:00 pm and Sunday 4:00 am GMT and again on Sunday August 6th between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am GMT Monday morning. We apologize for the inconvenience. We hope to significantly improve your experience with 14Dayz. Please check back here for updates on our progress and background information.
eHub interviews 14Dayz
1:06 PM |
We've had the privilige to have been interviewed by the lovely and intelligent Emily Chang of eHub about 14Dayz, the simple web time tracker. Emily is an award-winning web and interaction designer, technology strategist and principal of Ideacodes, a web consultancy in San Francisco co-founded with Max Kiesler. She writes about web and user experience design, technology, and next generation web at EmilyChang.com, and is the creator of the popular web 2.0 resource, eHub. Emily is also an invited member of the Web 2.0 Workgroup, Corante Web Hub, and Ajax Developer's Journal.
Export all data as .xml
4:00 PM |
Bart is giving 14Dayz some extra special TLC these next few weeks.... He's dumped in a load of fixes yesterday and brings home a much requested feature today: Export all data as .xml
The export all data feature allows you to keep a copy of your data for yourself. And you can extend the functionality of 14Dayz using this xml-file. If you've found an interesting application for it, let us know. We love to hear about your experiences with 14Dayz.
11:57 AM |
We have been working with our customers to keep improving the user experience of 14Dayz, the simple - hassle free - time tracking solution for online teams. Thanks to you, we've been able to catch and fix a lot of minor issues, enhancements and tweaks to make the 14Dayz experience better for everyone. Here are some of the new features you will find in today's release:
* Upload your own logo to customize the appearance of 14Dayz. 14Dayz has never looked better with your logo on it. And we have more logo news later, stay tuned...
We'll continue to implement your requests and suggestions. We plan another release next week. Also we're working on a new time tracking product for the Dutch legal market, integrating all the experience we gained working on 14Dayz. Watch this space for more news.
A message from a client
12:48 AM |
Just wanted to say that I’m liking your service so far, and the way you have set up the customization and labeling of categories/sub categories is brilliant and the best move you could make. Here has been my experience after a couple days:
The stopwatch is a handy feature, but can easily disappear by accidentially closing it or navigating away. I recommend making a pop-up window for the timer which would be more accessible and would be less likely to close by accident. ;)
Other than that:
Set-up was fairly easy
Like MickeyD’s – I’m lovin’ it!
Brian J. Collins
The stopwatch continues to run if you accidently close the site. Just go back in and you'll find it is still running and keeping the actual time. (Marko)
Brian goes on to report his findings in more detail over in the comments of our original beta review at TechCrunch. Brian, thanks again for your wonderful feedback. If you've got something to share, we'd love to hear about it.
When people like what you do
10:32 PM |
There has been some brilliant feedback on the release of 14Dayz online time tracking last week. Here's the story from Brandon Watts that he's posted in his Blog:
14Dayz is simple online time tracking that won’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Whether you're self-employed, a boss, or an employee, the service has something to offer you. Creating and managing your projects is easy enough, and once you invite your team members to participate, things should start to run like clockwork. Time is reported by client, task, and description, so there's no doubt as to what's been going on. Reports can then be printed and exported for your company or client so that you can present thorough data about where the time has gone. Various pricing plans exist, but you can enjoy some of the core features for free.
11:45 PM |
Good news for all Dutch 14Dayz fans. Today 14Dayz was released in Dutch as well. We still have some work to do on the web site, but the application is available completely in Dutch. Just choose your preferred language on the login screen and the application will be automatically translated. If you spot any mistakes, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also we would like to get in touch with volunteers who can help translate to other languages as well. Translations of the application are done in a simple text file that we email you. Let us know if you'd like to help translate and into which languages.
14Dayz is live!
4:21 PM |
14Dayz is the simple online time tracker. 14Dayz makes time tracking simple for teams, life hackers, contractors and freelancers. 14Dayz ends the hassle you have with your current time registration solution. If you get paid by the hour, you need 14Dayz. Check it out now, go to: http://www.14dayz.com
You don't need to install anything, 14Dayz is entirely web based. All you need is a web browser and an Internet connection. You can access your time sheet wherever you are, at work, at home, at a client or on the move. Don't worry, we take good care of your data, you can use encryption to secure your data as you send it over the line* and we have extensive back-up strategies to keep your data safe.
Keeping track of your valuable time can't be simpler than with 14Dayz:
. Organize your work
With 14Dayz you can easily:
Enhanced features include:
*Only available on some paid plans, view a plan comparison: http://www.14dayz.com/site/home/pricing
Try 14Dayz now for free, sign up for a simple free plan or evaluate a paid plan free for one month. There are no long term obligations, just pay on a month-to-month basis for what you really need. Upgrade, downgrade or cancel your plan at any time. If you cancel or downgrade back to the free plan, you won't be billed again.
So sign up now and get rid of today's time tracking hassle. Try 14Dayz now for free. Please go to http://www.14dayz.com
Just email email@example.com if you have any questions. Thank you for signing up and we hope you will share your experiences with us.
14Dayz goes live today
4:18 AM |
We still have some minor issues to tweak but we will be going live later today. Check out http://www.14dayz.com When we go live, beta testing officially ends and you can no longer sign up for the discounted beta plans.
12:42 AM |
Sunday April 30th from 8am GMT to 10am GMT our systems will be down for maintenance and hardware upgrades. You will not be able to access any Brains4All websites and applications during this period. We appologize for the inconvenience.
14Dayz beta testing ends in 3 dayz.
4:28 PM |
Today marks the final release of 14Dayz before beta testing ends. We’d like to get your final thoughts on the product over the weekend. 14Dayz launches on May 1st, next Monday.
We would like to extend our gratitude to all our beta testers for helping us out during the past 6 weeks. It has been a thrilling experience for us; your input has greatly improved the quality and value of 14Dayz. Thank you.
To show our thanks we offer every beta tester the opportunity to subscribe to a single paid plan of their choice for a reduced fee of 50% off list price for life*, all you have to do is sign up for a paid account before May 1st.
This does not mean development on 14Dayz will stop. I think we have shown that it is possible to be responsive to our customers wants and needs in a rapid fashion. By keeping in close contact with you and using short feedback cycles we were able to deliver a huge amount of valuable features that are simple and easy to use, and that don’t get in your way if you don’t need them. And we’ve done that in less then 6 weeks time.
We still have a substantial wish list from beta testers and we have some needs ourselves. You can expect the product to continue to evolve. We will be adding more value to its service for you. Keep writing with your suggestions for improvements, we love your feedback.
Features in this release:
The value proposition of all plans has been significantly improved by more than doubling the amount of clients/projects. The free plan now even has 4 projects in stead of just a single project. This means that the free plan is now much more valuable for personal use. The other plans offer much more clients/projects than initially.
• It is now possible to deactivate or delete projects on the free plan.
A special mention must go to our Designer Serge, who has continued the redesign of the 14Dayz home page with only one hand. His other was injured in a breathtaking accident involving his stairs at home. We’ve tried to send him home but he just wouldn’t go. ;) Respect.
If you would like to work with us on product development, web application design or usability send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now would also be the time to help us get a successful launch of the service next Monday. So please write those reviews, post those blog entries, signal your favourite editor and tell all your friends; 14Dayz is going live on Monday! Be sure to send us any buzz or post a comment here in BrainBlog. We love to hear what you think. Please link or bookmark http://www.14dayz.com and not the beta site as that will disappear next Monday. Thanks for your continued support!
7 Dayz left...
11:56 PM |
14Dayz Business Release 21/4
2:05 PM |
Brains4All is again proud to deliver an on-time release of 14Dayz.
Today you will again find a few happy surprises in the time sheet that we feel you will like. Check out the new date navigation for your team. We hope you can provide feedback on how you like it and how it is working for you.
Features delivered in this release:
We are very happy with these features and are confident that you will also find these features as valuable as we do. We feel this release makes the work of your business simpler. You have better insight into your projects cost/revenue structure and actual effort against estimates or contracts. You have a more flexible terminology that will simply match your 14Dayz time tracking solution to your business. This means it will be easier for your team to transition or adopt a professional time tracking solution like 14Dayz.
All in all a release that makes for a lot more value for you. Why not sign up for an account today?
Feedback on these designs...
9:15 PM |
We're working on improving date navigation. We'd like to get your
Click on the Designs to see a full screen mock up.
5:30 PM |
Brains4All is again proud to deliver an on-time release of 14Dayz.
Features delivered in this release:
So these are all features that makes things simpler for you. It means fewer clicks and easier access to your tracking data. You have fewer calculations to do yourself and you can have better insight into your projects cost/revenue structure. You can have a more flexible structure in your projects so you can simply match your time tracking to your business and not the other way around.
When you sign up for a new account you do not have to wonder where the time sheet is or how to enter a project, but you can start tracking time right away...
All in all a release that makes things simple.
By the way, most of us are taking a little well earned time off to share our easter holidays with our friends and family. That means we will still answer support email inside 24 hours if possible. Replies just may not be as prompt as you might have come to expect from us on working days.
We hope you like the new release. Happy Easter!
What people are saying...
10:10 PM |
What people are saying about 14Dayz...
Our beta tester crowd consists of the most amazing people. People from all over the world who are playing a pivotal role in the evolution of 14Dayz into the simple and useful application it has become. And we’re not stopping now or slowing down, no sir! We’re just picking up the pace. All the great feedback we’re getting from you motivates us even stronger. We will push just a little bit harder after every wonderful comment. To give you the simplest and most valuable service we possible can.
Here is a selection of the most praising feedback our beta testers have bestowed upon us;
“I’m really happy to see the improvements on this new release. Thank you very much [...] it’s awesome.”
“The site and application look terrific.”
“Its a cool serivce.”
“I think the design is very clean, and the use of AJAX-type interaction is very nice. They certainly did do the job well, and they represent timesheets nicely. I think people will like it”
“Thanks. Looks interesting and I like your philosophy.”
“I’m using 14dayz for almost 5 days and it’s awesome. I was looking for a simple solution like that a long time ago. Thank you very much”
“I am very impressed with your product! Here’s what I liked/loved about it:
- Dashboard: Wow. Very Clean. Very Simply.
Keep up the great work!!!”
“It does one thing, and well: time tracking.”
“This is super simple. My grandmum could use it.”
“I think your application is tremendous.”
“Keep up the great work. Your UI looks great.”
“Looks pretty nice so far.”
“The user interface of 14dayz.com just dropped me completely off my chair. What a marvelous piece of technology and simplicity!! My compliments.”
“I like it, it’s pretty cool!”
“Thanks [...] for a very handy tool!”
“Looks great guys… a day early and everything. Keep up the good work.”
“Attention Freelancers: Border-crossing time registration service…”
Thank you all for your kind words.
A special debt of gratitude should go out to these dedicated testers that have worked closely with the team to help improve 14Dayz. They are commended here because they have invested their time and often their professional insights and expertise to the benefit of every current and future user of the system: David, Raoul, Rodrigo, Rene, Steven, Stephen, Jon, Peter, Serge, Scott, Saul, Marco, Justin, Joel and Arthur. Thank you for your continued constructive criticism and positive feedback. You have gone way beyond the call of duty. You are wonderful persons! We feel privileged to work for you.
To all beta testers currently involved; Keep up the great work! We would welcome some feedback on the planning of next week’s iteration.
If you’d like to become part of this wonderful team of beta testers or if you’d like to be notified when 14Dayz is ready for public release; please leave your email over at http://www.14dayz.com
The Business Iterations
6:18 PM |
While in previous iterations we've worked mainly on the core of 14Dayz, improving simple-ness, usability and navigation. Now it is time to address business value. In the next releases we hope to provide simple features to help you solve complex business issues. Like always, we need your feedback to get it right.
Here are some of the stories we are scheduling to implement in the next releases. We have two 4 days iterations because of the Easter holidays here in Europe so we’re cramped as it is:
Need to have:
End of iteration, release on Thursday. [DONE]
To be scheduled:
10. Fix UTF8 export on excel losing formatting information.
End of iteration, release Friday April 21th.
19. Add team member to project. Only added members can log hours to that project.
Nice to have (unsorted):
22. Slight improvement to Scarab back-office CRM.
Need to have:
Now we wouldn’t be Brains4All if we weren’t agile. So this here above is the list we will be planning in Tuesdays session. Last session was good, lots of discussion going on and interesting insights to be found. All the user stories you see here are based on beta tester suggestions and feedback, except one or two of our own. This list isn’t exhaustive. And what’s more: You get a say in it!
You can help reschedule any story that we haven’t started on yet. Let us know which 3 stories are most important to you in the comments and what business value you feel they would provide to you and your team. Needless to say, we favor paying account holders’ feedback but we listen to any feedback we get. Thanks for sharing.
4:26 PM |
One day ahead of schedule and with even more features than promised, Brains4All is proud to present the latest release of 14Dayz, everybody’s favorite friendly online time tracker that is fun and easy to use.
All of the features in this release are based on user suggestions or beta tester feedback. Thank you so much for sharing!
We’ve got one very special feature we’d like to mention up front that we feel makes time tracking even more fun and simple to do. In today’s time sheet it is now possible to start a real-time tracker.
This timer helps you keep track of how much time you are really taking on a task. We’ve been using it over the past week and we have become addicted to it. Not once did I need to ask anyone to complete their sheets. Everybody just loves having the tracker on.
Also the fixes in this release allow you to make a plan or a daily schedule in the morning. Working through the day you only have to click to start or stop the appropriate timer for each task. Its the simplest thing!
Try it now in your own time sheet and please tell us how you like it.
Here is what else is new in this release:
• the fourteenDayz icon in the bottom now takes you back to the main menu.
Did you know beta testers are eligible for a 50% discount for life* on the plan they are holding when beta testing ends in less then one month? Check the beta website or your invitation for more details. Still want to help out with testing or get notified when 14dayz goes public? Please leave your email on the 14dayz landing page.
11:36 PM |
In the next release of 14dayz (that we will release probably next Friday) 100% of the improvements were based upon beta tester feedback and user suggestions for improvement:
* the fourteenDayz icon in the bottom now takes you back to the main menu.
So you can see, we’ve been too busy writing code last week to keep the blog up to date. :) Still it’s worth it. I’m sure you’ll agree. And we have a special surprise feature we hope to release next Friday as well, which we think will make time tracking even more fun and simple to do! So check back here regularly as we’ll keep you up to date here first. Look out next Friday for all these improvements. Thanks to all testers who provided us with these excellent suggestions.
10:39 PM |
We've about wrapped up the first week of 14Dayz beta testing. First of all let me again show my appreciation to the dedication with which some of you have worked to help us.
Stuff we've addressed this week at your request:
- We've talked to Christian Heidel and he had some interesting points. Accept from a small oddity in the Projects chapter, Christian says 14Dayz works great on IE7 too.
- I've been talking to Patrick Akua about using 14Dayz for projections. While we didn't plan for this to happen, it turns out to be quite feasible in 14dayz as it is.
- We've discussed the need to send a password in an email to you or your team members when you invite them. Do you have a need to have a clickable link to login to the service fast? We appreciate your views. What do you like more? Security or ease of use?
All in all we are looking back on what we feel is an extremely successful week of 14Dayz beta testing, except for the outage earlier today. (The server was fine, I checked) We are all looking forward to next week. I’d like to say a word of appreciation to my colleagues, Serge, Bart and Jan and to all the beta testers who have joined us, writing, commenting or silently testing. We do so much love to hear from you, bad or good. I do hope to talk to more testers over the weekend and next week.
4:32 PM |
Interest in 14Dayz has been booming beyond our wildest beliefs. We felt there was a market for an easy to use get out of my face time tracker, but this is insane. Over a thousand people have signed up to be informed or to help with beta testing inside of just a few days. Thank you for your interest. Beta testers, please be patient. We're sending out invitations all the time.
There has been some unexpected coverage in the Dutch press as well. Emerce, BlueAce and Nieuwe Revu picking up on it, thanks. The Dutch will be pleased to know a Dutch version is also in the works. Other languages will follow later.
Most beta testers made a point about (the lack of) navigation. Point well taken. I have posted the new concept for you to look over at the top of this post. Click on it to see it in full. Please tell us what you think.
Other feedback has resulted in the inclusion of the possibility to add categories from within' the time sheet. Press '+' in the categories select box or select "New Category". For you that means you don't have to leave the time sheet to add a new category. Please let us know if this has improved usability of the time sheets.
Thanks again for joining us in the beta test and thanks for being such a productive feedback team. We hope to show you that we take your feedback seriously.
11:07 PM |
* more information, pricing and terms on your invitation. so get yourself invited already.
11:14 PM |
Today we have silently begun sending off the first invitations to beta testers. We were all very excited upon delivering a product that we all have a very good feeling about in such a short amount of time (guess where the name comes from). We'll be sending off more in the next couple of days. Don’t worry if you are not invited yet. You’re next!
Serge remarked brilliantly that "in the old days" we had a rule not to release on Fridays. Why did we have that rule? Many applications were breaking down over the weekend. Serge made me see how far we've come in those past few years. By adopting change as a constant, by focusing on simplicity, by excelling every day and feeling good about it we are now so confident that we just look at each other and release it. It'll hold.
All ready we've had some valuable feedback from some of our beta testers. Serge wrote up from Russia "one of the Russian leading bloggers for web 2.0 services." he had some excellent tips to make 14Dayz even more user friendly. Saul Weiner wrote this raving review on his blog. Thanks for your feedback!
1:01 AM |
I have stated before that the core technology for 14Dayz online time tracking was developed to help lawyers comply with recent Dutch legislation for time tracking in bankruptcies. During development lawyers and their secretaries were closely involved in perfecting the system.
One of our biggest challenges in convincing lawyers and their secretaries was asserting that a web based application like 14Dayz can work as fast as a stand alone application installed on their computer. We realized that to satisfy these customers we not only had to prove logging hours can be made just as fast as a traditional system, or a spread sheet for that matter. We had to prove online time tracking could actually be a whole lot faster.
We’ve studied to our customers’ experiences and worked with them again and again to squeeze out every single burst of data entry speed, whilst keeping the user interface clean, easy and simple. And we were successful: Every secretary and lawyer that now uses this system is convinced logging hours online is just as fast as or faster than traditional time tracking in stand alone software.
Functionalities introduced at our clients request:
How simple is it?
You see the time sheet for this team member for this particular date. Select the project, category or sub category you want to log these hours on, enter a short description and enter the time. Now enter the next line, you can see the line you entered being saved in the background.
What makes it different?
Research tools like systems thinking and mind maps have helped to discover the best way to present the time sheet in the user interface that is instantly recognizable and intuitive to grasp.
Short cuts, how to enter time:
11:02 PM |
Lets talk some more about our vision on time tracking. I've detailed the design and usability decisions that went into the design and layout of the Main Menu in a previous post. Serge Nijsten has designed the screen and user interface. Click on the image above to see the full image.
What we offer is a simple web based time tracking tool for groups of loosely connected professionals that collaborate on a professional basis. Finally distributed teams can also have simple and easy to use time tracking software that does what you need and then leaves you alone.
We are drivers in the movement for better software. Too many features make software complex and tedious to use, install or maintain. That is why we believe in simple but well crafted solutions. Traditional time tracking software is bothersome because there are so many features you do not need getting in the way of what you need to do:
Log hours. Create specifications. Get paid.
What functionality is there then?
To enable easy-to-use time tracking effectively there are only a few things you need to actually do:
In 14Dayz work is organized by using Projects, Categories and Sub categories. This setup is simple and flexible. It allows you the freedom to organize your work so that it matches your style and preferences closely. For example you can choose to setup your clients as projects. You can have a single 14Dayz project for each contract you do. That way you have multiple projects for the same client in 14Dayz. You could choose to set up releases or iterations as a Project.
In 14Dayz this chapter is called Projects, which is just a name. We called it Projects because that is the natural way to use 14Dayz. There is no need for you to do the same. You can have projects that are files, folders, clients, releases, sites, locations, events, contracts or products. It's up to you.
I use 14Dayz daily to keep track of the time spend on all projects at Brains4All. Coming from a project manager background I know how hectic things can get. Most project managers need to manage multiple projects concurrently. There are always dynamics. A project that's hot can end up in the fridge for a long time and then all of a sudden live up again.
To accommodate these dynamics in your projects you can activate or deactivate them at will. When you deactivate a project team members can no longer log hours to this project and a deactivated project doesn't count towards your plan. The plan you choose defines the number of projects you can have active at one time.
Most of the information that you can enter for a project is optional. All you need is a name for your project and a project lead or administrator. This is the team member responsible for this project. When I have a prospect or a new request for proposal I enter a new project in 14Dayz. That way I can start logging hours from even before the project starts. This allows me to see the complete amount of time taken up by acquisition as well as a total number of hours spend on the project as a whole, including acquisition.
I assign a project number and a project lead. Then I enter the project name and maybe add a short description. Saving is done in the background using AJAX technologies excellently provided by prototype and scriptaculous. There is no need to wait for a page reload. You can enter series of projects one after another quickly.
I have organized my work into projects for all our products and contracts. I use some overhead projects as well. I have projects for events we help organize and there's even a Gold card project for self-development of team members where they can log their hours spend on researching new technologies (like Comet) they find interesting or contributing to communities they love.
Here's a part of my active project list:
- 14Dayz - Online time tracking
Jan, my partner and co-founder of Brains4All has come up with an all together different setup for his projects. Jan has optimized his project list for speed in the time sheet data entry. I'll talk to him about posting his list here as well. It will be interesting to see how others have organized their work in 14Dayz as its setup is very flexible. Share and Enjoy!
To summarize: 14Dayz projects' feature is simple and therefore flexible. All you really need is a name for your project and your home free. Projects can be activated or deactivated at will by the project lead. You don't want to spend a long time creating projects, you've got hours to log!
Brains4All products apply the "simplest thing that could possibly work" routine. No annoying features that you'll find in other time tracking software and get in your way. Instead, use only the options you really need.
Saul Weiners' web 2.0 blog
1:36 AM |
Saul Weiner, who by the way runs a great blog about web 2.0 which I think you should check out, writes a short entry where he is comparing our upcoming product 14Dayz to Tadalist. Well.., in some ways 14Dayz is not like tadalist.
First of all 14Dayz is not a completely free product. It sports an always free plan for personal use and allows for free trials of each of the commercial plans. Second; 14Dayz is not a todo list, nor does it have one. Tadalist is about the future, stuff you are planning to get to eventually. 14Dayz is about "what really happened while you were making other plans." Sure, you can click the box and have that satisfied feeling of fulfillment of getting things done. However plans change (if they're good ones) and I always have to prioritize what I need to do over what I want to do over what would be nice to do. Also I find that I always end up doing stuff I hadn't planned on doing at all! Stuff that wasn't in my to do list. Still I write that up in 14Dayz. That allows me to review what I've done and how I spend my time. It also enables me to get paid, which allows me to pay for all the other things I need to do, like fixing our house.
In other ways 14Dayz is a lot like Tadalist and that is perhaps what Saul is referring to. 14Dayz is a simple web application. 14Dayz is easy to use. Why? How?
The core technology of 14Dayz has been built to help lawyers comply to recent Dutch legislation for time tracking in bankruptcies. So it is not a new app. It's a mesh up :). During development we have been working closely with lawyers (as in sitting next to...) and their secretaries to perfect the system. Because of the target audience, which was not very technical, we had to keep the application as simple as possible. And because secretaries often log the lawyers hours, data entry had to be fast. So we've worked with the secretaries to make it fast. We've worked with the lawyers and examined the way lawyers enter data and made it easy. After launch we've had a steady flow of requests to implement time tracking for other applications and wider fields of use as well. 14Dayz is that product. And that is why we believe 14Dayz is going to be easy, fast and fun to use web based time tracking for everyone.
Of course you get to decide that for yourself in 14dayz if you join our beta testing effort.Saul, thanks for a great blog and thanks for the write up.
12:28 AM |
I know we have been scarce with information. That is why I am currently writing up all the stuff that was in our brains when we built it. Take for example this fragment of the 14Dayz Main Menu. Its design was driven by the actual expected use of the product that we researched at start up. Then in small incremental iterations, working closely with the customers, we evolved and improved upon it.
The main menu is like the city central of an application. It's job is to get you where you need to be fast. However not every task is as important as any other task. Not every task is as frequently executed as others. You have to show that in your design otherwise users will get lost and frustrated. Furthermore the UI design has to connect with the flow of the actual tasks being executed. We call that aligned with the customer. It is the designers' job to get that right with the layout. It is the programmers' job to get that right with the behaviour.
In the example of the 14Dayz main menu what is the most important and most used task executed? Right; Logging hours into the time sheet. So that is the most prominent in the UI design. It gets your attention right away. Pick a name of the list, press the Go button and you're on your way. Another important function is Reports. Because it is slightly less used compared to the time sheet it is smaller in size and in a less prominent position. However the main menu allows you to interface with the most used filter functions in the reports section. You don't have to go to reports first and wait for a general report to be made. Then adjust the filters and wait for the report you want. Just bring up the project or team member you want to get a report for and again press the Go button. The report you want is shown instantly.But please, let us know what you think of the user interface design. Your comments are most welcome.
14Dayz beta invite
12:12 PM |
Soon, we will start with limited private beta testing of our latest product. 14Dayz is a "Simplest thing that could possibly work" web based time registration and reporting tool. It is a Web 2.0 application featuring AJAX technologies. 14Dayz uses prototype and scriptaculous to enrich the user experience. Some of the features are:
You can sign up to be notified when 14Dayz is ready. There is some space left for a few beta testers who are willing to share their experiences and help us improve the product as it is going into production.Selected beta testers get a 50% discount on any plan bought during beta testing phase for life!
So join 14Dayz and get invited now!