Design

Restructuring the Individual Project Page

Dec 10, 2014

In the last post, I wrote about the plan to introduce project blocks—a way to divide projects into smaller segments that could represent phases or show the varying intensity throughout a project. This plan assumed that all the groundwork had been done and I could just implement the feature. Not so fast.

2014-10-10-old-project-page

As soon as I finished writing the post and started working on project blocks, I realized that Cushion would need considerable restructuring—specifically, on the individual project page. At the time, clicking a project link would take you directly to the form to edit the project. The project’s invoices were below the form and this always bothered me because I knew that if I ever added one more piece, this page would be too overwhelming to keep as one.

The time had come. With project blocks, I had a new resource to consider, like invoices in the budget view. This association actually introduced a clear direction to take with restructuring. If the budgeting view has invoices, then the scheduling view could have blocks.

Early on, I knew it would be useful to carry the budget/schedule views into individual pages, but the question of how to handle the form always remained the issue. Now that I had more useful information to display, like delay, drag, and estimate difference, I could easily populate a couple more pages and extract the form as its own page.

2014-10-10-edit-link

The structure was crystal clear. Clicking a project link would take you to the project, but maintain the view you are in—schedule or budget. Then, within either of those pages, you could click an “edit project” link, which would take you to the project’s edit page. Even though this is an extra click to edit the project, it’s apparent that the majority of users don’t edit a project much beyond marking it as finished.

Now that I had the structure in place, what would I put in the scheduling and budgeting views? I had a good amount of data to choose from, but really needed to narrow it down. I didn’t want each page to become another overwhelming mess.

2014-10-10-budget-data

The budget view was easier because I had less data points to work with and they were all currency-based. I could leave the income estimate as-is because it has enough value on its own. For the invoice amounts, I already had the paid total and invoiced total below each invoice table, so an obvious higher-level piece of data would simply be a total of all the invoices. If the user needs to dig deeper, they can just scroll down to the tables.

Lastly, I re-introduced the estimate difference. I previously had this on the projects page, but felt that it detracted from the summary feel—it was too detailed a value to show in a list of projects. With just one project to focus on, however, it’s perfect. This time, I wasn’t limited for room, so I maintained the currency format for the main estimate difference value and calculated its percentage as a less-emphasized value below it.

2014-10-10-budget-timeline

As for the budget timeline, I realized I could take this opportunity to provide much more value to the user by forgeting the financial goals of the current timeline. Instead, I could use the project’s estimate as the goal and fill up the bar with its individual invoices. This would allow the user to see a more segmented view of the income and click into each invoice if a change were needed. For the timeline labels, I use the invoice number. If one doesn’t exist, I fall back to its date—either the issued date for unpaid invoices or the paid date for paid invoices.

2014-10-10-budget-view

To wrap it all together, above is the final budget view.

2014-10-10-schedule-data

The schedule view wasn’t nearly as easy to lay out, but I knew I had to at least show the delay, drag, and duration. That didn’t leave me with much room for more, so I took advantage of the scenarios when no data existed for these values.

2014-10-10-estimated-start

If a project hasn’t started, its delay cannot be calculated, so I leave a dash in its place. Same goes for unfinished projects with drag and duration. Because a dash barely takes up any space, I know for sure I have enough room for an extra column.

2014-10-10-estimated-finish

The benefit of this extra column makes absolute sense, too—it’s not just a space to shove more data. Considering the column will only appear for unstarted or unfinished projects, I can show the estimated start date for unstarted projects and the estimated finish date for unfinished projects. If I’m waiting on a project to start, I want to know when it might start and if I’m in the thick of things with an existing project, I want to know when it’s expected to wrap up.

With a small last touch, I took advantage of using a secondary value once again to show the date range of a finished project just below its duration. Now a user can look at one place on the screen and see when a project started, when it ended, and how long it took.

2014-10-10-schedule-timeline

As for the schedule timeline, I wanted to show the entirety of the project, but knew the existing design would be humorously small on its own. Luckily, I’ve been working with EMs the whole time, so I was able to double the font size of the timeline and everything scaled perfectly. I also vertically aligned the project, since I knew I wouldn’t need to stack anything on top of it.

2014-10-10-blocks

Above is the final schedule view along with the upcoming project blocks. I’m not 100% finished, but far enough along that I’m excited to show it off.

If you’re still reading this and interested in participating in the Cushion beta, you can request an invite here.

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Archive

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

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