Design

Improved Form UX

Jul 29, 2014

This past weekend, I focused on usability. My first stab on the layout of model forms was haphazard. While showing Cushion to a few people, I could see an obvious hesitation on where to start when creating a new project. All of a sudden, the user is presented with fields all over the place with no clear direction.

2014-07-29-new-form-layout

Believe it or not, I had a dream about the new layout and it’s the one I’m going with. Instead of letting the sections rest aside each other and reflow when needed, I just stack them and separate with dividers. Now, the sections actually represent the different views of Cushion (schedule and budget) and there’s a clear flow from top to bottom.

At first, I was worried there would be too much negative space in the smaller sections, like budget, but it doesn’t feel as bad—especially if I end up going with a budget range instead of a single value. Also, this layout allows me to potentially include mini visuals for each section that provides more context than just input fields. Imagine the budget section including the average budget for your projects or the average budget for the client of that project. All of a sudden, you have a better idea of where to start.

Along with a revision of the layout, I’ve been working on improving the actual input fields. From the start, I chose HTML5’s native input types, thinking these would take care of a ton of extra work in the early stages. Unfortunately, some of the native input types, like <input type='date'>, are cemented in ugly (can’t be styled) and don’t even work in common browsers like Safari.

2014-07-29-color-picker

The first input type I tackled was the color picker. I took a page from my buddies at Friends of the Web with their Dayswork app and provided a simple popover of suggested colors. I hate color pickers on the web that mimic those in design tools like Photoshop—they assume everyone is a designer. With suggested colors, any one of them will look good, and in most cases, you won’t need to use it because your client already has an established color. Considering this, the color picker is more of an easy way to get started.

2014-07-29-date-picker

Next, I addressed the date picker. For this, I wanted a design that is both useful and obvious to navigate—it should also have a couple Cushion-specific features that support the reasoning behind going custom. For instance, if the date is part of a range, the dates within the range should highlight to indicate that. Also, for validation purposes, you shouldn’t be able to pick a finish date that comes before the range’s start date.

2014-07-29-color-inheritance

In filling out the forms, I also realized how tedious the process felt. Because of this, I added value inheritance. Let’s say you create a new project, but it doesn’t necessarily call for a color other than its client’s. Before, you would need to re-enter your client’s color. Now, it defaults to using the client’s color unless specified otherwise.

2014-07-29-inline-client-inheritance

This also works reversely for the inline client creation. If you create a new project and set its color, the inline client will inherit that color by default.

Lastly, client and project symbols are now auto-generated with the ability to override them. This means if you create a new client named “Vandelay Industries”, its symbol will be “VI” by default, but you could overwrite it to something like “VanInd” if you want.

These recent updates have me incredibly excited to get Cushion in the hands of others as soon as possible. I know most of them are unnecessary for an initial beta release, but I want this app to be a joy to use from the start.

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  1. Our First Company Lunch
    Story
  2. How to embed Vue.js & Vuex inside an AngularJS app... wait what?
    Dev
  3. Funding Cushion
    Story
  4. Hiring a Team of Freelancers
    Story
  5. Taking a Real Break From Work
    Story
  6. Slack as a Notification Center
    Dev
  7. Document Your Features
    Story
  8. 300
    Story
  9. Vacations
    Design
  10. Offering Discounts
    Design
  11. Waves of Traffic
    Story
  12. Less Blogging, More Journaling
    Story
  13. Retention Through Useful Features
    Design
  14. The Onboarding Checklist
    Design
  15. Spreading the Word
    Story
  16. From Beta to Launch - The Subdomain
    Dev
  17. From Beta to Launch - Sign up
    Design
  18. From Beta to Launch - Messaging
    Design
  19. Launch
    Story
  20. Authenticating with 3rd Party Services
    Dev
  21. Intro to Integrations
    Design
  22. Inspiration vs Imitation
    Story
  23. The Emotional Rollercoaster
    Story
  24. Designing Project Blocks
    Design
  25. Everything in Increments
    Story
  26. Deleting Your Account
    Design
  27. Designing the Subscription Page
    Design
  28. Rewriting the Timeline
    Dev
  29. Restructuring the Individual Project Page
    Design
  30. Project Blocks
    Story
  31. Redesigning the Homepage
    Design
  32. Multiple Timelines
    Design
  33. Archiving and Estimate Differences
    Design
  34. Multiple Financial Goals
    Design
  35. Zooming in on the Timeline
    Design
  36. Currency
    Dev
  37. Preferences, Accounts, and a Typeface Change
    Design
  38. Sending Out the First Email
    Story
  39. Currency Inputs, Notifications, and Invoice Nets
    Design
  40. Dots and Lines
    Design
  41. Calculating in the Database and Revealing Tendencies
    Dev
  42. Improved Form UX
    Design
  43. Cushion is Online
    Story
  44. Schedule Timeline Patterns
    Design
  45. A Slimmer Schedule Timeline
    Design
  46. The Schedule Timeline
    Design
  47. Plugging in Real Data for the First Time
    Design
  48. Transitions and Project Lists
    Design
  49. Death to Modals
    Design
  50. The Individual Project Page
    Design
  51. Estimated Incomes and Talks with Other Freelancers
    Story
  52. Statuses to Lists and the Paid Beta
    Story
  53. The Timeline
    Story
  54. Invoice Terminology
    Dev
  55. Modal Forms
    Dev
  56. Wiring the Backend to the Frontend
    Dev
  57. Balancing Design and Dev
    Story
  58. Timecop, Monocle, and Vagrant
    Dev
  59. Going with Ruby and Sinatra
    Dev
  60. Ditching local-first and trying out Node.js
    Dev
  61. Switching to AngularJS
    Dev
  62. Building the Table with Vue.js
    Dev
  63. Clients, Projects, and Invoices
    Dev
  64. Introduction
    Story

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