Design

Plugging in Real Data for the First Time

Jun 06, 2014

I recently sat down with a friend who has shown interest in Cushion since I first mentioned it. I gave her a demo, but we also set up an account for her and plugged in all of her data—clients, projects, and invoices. I was both amazed and thrilled that she would let me input her real data even after suggesting we use dummy data for privacy. I’m glad we used the real data because her data instantly revealed a dozen issues with the current version.

2014-06-05-new-project-client

For one, she doesn’t have a single client with more than one project. This became a huge issue as we constantly needed to jump back and forth, creating a client, then creating a project. It felt uncomfortably redundant. Because of this, I added a "New client" option to the client dropdown in the project form. Selecting it adds a few extra fields to the form, so you can also create a client there with a single click. The input fields also use the project fields as default values, so you don’t need to set the same color twice if it’s the same as the project.

2014-06-05-timeline-divider

The second major issue I discovered was sequential timeline items that shared the same color. It was difficult to see the edge between them, but also, smaller projects would easily be lost without a label. To fight this, I added a very thin, transparent line to the edge of each item. It’s dark enough to show a separation without too much contrast. Even though I’m a sucker for full fills of color, I actually love the look these lines provide. The timeline feels much more solid.

2014-06-05-timeline-hover

Along with the divider, I finalized the hover state of the timeline items for when a label collapses to its abbreviation. Prior, I would show a tooltip-like element above the item and call it a day, but after adding the divider line, I decided to dim the item behind the tooltip. With the smaller projects, this really makes it clear as to which project you are hovering.

The third and final problem I’ll point out is the timeline’s inability to handle tiny items. For example, if your timline is set up with a goal of $100,000 and you have an unpaid invoice of $100 for a friend project, it should show up as the tiniest of slivers. Unfortunately, a CSS border forces a minimum width of twice the border width, so a 4px border would make any item at least 8px wide. I got around this by using the CSS outline instead. It allows the same controls as border (except for sides), but doesn’t have a minimum width.

I hope to have more in-person demos in the coming weeks, so I can find even more of these issues. It’s an incredibly valuable learning experience for me.

Share this on Twitter or Facebook

Archive

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

Running Costs

Take a close look at the costs that go into running a web app and why we use specific services.

View the Costs

How It’s Made

Follow along with the journal for insight into the overall experience of building an app.

Read the Journal