New Labels

ActiveCollab 4 offers several ways to categorize and organize tasks: labels, categories and milestones. They feel they have to fill in everything. This can lead to friction in the task creation process. It doesn’t seem like much work. One click here, two keystrokes here, one more click here. Multiply this with the number of tasks created and you’ll find a lot of effort that gets wasted on something that can be skipped easily by most teams. My network is mostly professional and I don’t use it to access the content I consume. I read books more than articles so I only use social media for a few minutes each day. Now that 2014 is over, I ran my annual Time Report. Guess how much this “couple minutes every day” presumed “couple” actually is on a yearly basis? 104 hours. This is more than four days of active use! Are you a light social media user? Yes, that’s right… Next, we discussed the real need for task categorization, and extra information tracking, by teams. Most teams find that task lists are sufficient. They don’t need any other dimensions. Users with such basic needs should not be confused with the other dimensions. On the other hand, there are teams such as ours that require more than one dimension to organize their tasks. In a typical development project, we track: Type of task (bug enhancement, feature).
Affected area (backend and frontend, infrastructure)
Status (from an idea to a report to full execution with QA done and documentation written).
Component (like Notes, Tasks, Mailing, Invoices etc),
Branch where the work is done.
ActiveCollab 4 makes it easy to accomplish all of these tasks. Labels can be used to indicate statuses and areas, and custom fields can be added for components and branches. This is how the form looks: There are many select boxes. Category, Milestones, Labels, Branch and Component all do the same thing: categorize tasks by different dimensions. We wanted something simpler. An input form that could be easily embedded into the page and that offered the same flexibility but with less stuff. This is the final design that we came up with after many iterations. The task definition process was shortened by our design team. This was possible because the Tasks tab design had to be clean and simple. The previous iterations had more information and more options, but were difficult to read and felt overwhelming. It was sent to our team and we used it for a few days before noticing these issues. It’s less likely that people will use task lists if they are hidden in a form. Instead of opening a form and selecting a list to categorize their tasks, they will first find a list and click the Add Task button beneath it to create a task. Double win – form is simpler, yet people end up with neatly organized assignments without worrying about categorization.Labels
We renamed milestones into task lists and introduced column view to tasks. Labels fell off quickly when we did this. Labels were always used to indicate the status of a task, such as whether it is open or closed. They also serve to indicate when it is resolved. We have always thought of labels as a way to mark a task’s status between open and completed, or resolution when it is complete. However, lists can be used to do that. After many discussions, the team decided to go for something simple, flexible, and familiar.

Author: Kody