Design

The Schedule Timeline

Jun 16, 2014

After a ton of work on the budgeting side of Cushion, I decided to step back and focus on scheduling. I met with a few more fellow freelancers and the verdict seems to be that scheduling is a day-to-day activity, whereas budgeting is done less often—maybe week-to-week. If this is the case, I definitely want to have scheduling from day one, so everyone could get some frequent use out of Cushion. A weekly-used app won’t cut it.

2014-06-15-schedule-tabs

The navigation for switching between the scheduling and budgeting views stumped me for a few days. With the model tabs as an established navigation on the app, I didn’t want to add anything that would compete too much. I decided to scrap the Cushion title in the top-left for now. With UI real estate becoming a premium in this app, that spot is much better suited for the view switcher—it also allows more views in the future.

Along with the positioning of the view tabs, I had difficulty deciding on a URL structure, since this completely flips the current one on its head. With these two views, essentially every page will have two pages—one for scheduling and one for budgeting. If you look at a project page, instead of /projects/:id, it would be /projects/:id/schedule or /projects/:id/budget. This makes complete sense, but for some reason, it didn’t seem like the clear answer at first. I started thinking of what /projects/new would be, since it currently shows the budgeting timeline. Would it now show both scheduling and budgeting, or neither?

2014-06-15-schedule-coded-vs-mockup

The scheduling timeline layout has been designed from the start of the app, but now that I needed to code it, a new challenge arose. Positioning a bunch of rectangles in a mockup is easy—the positioning logic is executed by the designer. With code, the simplest layout could come with a few hurdles of its own. For the scheduling timeline, all projects should rest on the baseline if they fit. If a project overlaps another project, it should rest above it.

2014-06-15-schedule-timeline

Unfortunately, this can’t be done solely with CSS, like the budgeting timeline. After a few searches describing the layout I was after, I found a chart that depicted the basic idea. It’s called a “swim lane” and is often used in flow charts. Once I saw the code required, I realized that this layout is actually pretty simple. Since I have start and finish dates for each project, I can just check for overlaps with those dates—no need for hit-detection. If a project’s finish date comes after another project’s start date, but its start date comes before that project’s finish date, you have an overlap. Upon finding an overlap, simply use a new “lane” for that item.

2014-06-15-actual-schedule

At the moment, I have two dates for each project—started_on and finished_on. These represent the actual dates for when the project started and finished, not their planned dates, which is why I use the past-tense. The next step is to add two more dates for estimated start and finish dates. These will be set upon creating the project and represent the agreed upon dates with the client. When you start a project, you set its started_on date and its finished_on date upon completion, so we have something to diff against. These four dates will let you see which clients are late to start or which ones drag on too long. From there, I can then find trends in specific clients.

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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

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