Design

Vacations

Jan 19, 2016

These past few days, I’ve been working on a feature that’s been on my to-do list for over a year now—vacations (or holidays... or breaks... or leave... depending on where you live). Regardless of the name, the gist is that you’ll be able to block off spans of time throughout the year when you plan to not work. These breaks could be a trip to another country, a staycation, or even a sabbatical—it doesn’t matter. Their purpose is to provide a visual of when you plan to take off, so you don’t accidentally schedule a project at the same time.

vacations-tooltip

In the interface, vacations live alongside timelines, as a global object with no parent associations besides the user. Because of this, they’ll appear in any schedule graph for planning, like the clients or projects view. They won’t appear in the invoices view because I consider that to be a schedule graph for tracking. Vacations don’t factor into when you issue invoices or receive payment from a client, so there’s no need to include them there.

vacations-table

From a structural standpoint, vacations are pretty simple—they have a description, a start date, and an end date. From there, Cushion can calculate a vacation’s duration as well as how long until it begins—the “countdown”. I thought about including a “location” field, which could be a fun detail, but I didn’t want to assume that everyone would treat a vacation as a trip away from home. First and foremost, vacations are indicators of when you’re not working—completely agnostic of where you are or what you’re doing in your time off.

vacations-insight

As of today, I finished the ability to create vacations and include them in the schedule graph. I also have plans for smart interactions throughout Cushion. For example, if you try to create a project that spans a vacation, Cushion will give you a heads-up, so you can think twice about taking that project.

As for the name “Vacations”, I thought a lot about this and considered what it would mean for people outside the US. After speaking with international users, it’s clear that “vacation” is understood, but not a commonly used term. In Europe, “holiday” is more common, but in the US, “holiday” only means government or religion-recognized days, like Christmas or Thanksgiving. “Holiday” is never used to indicate personal time off in the US. In New Zealand, “leave” is the more appropriate term. I also considered “break”, which is the most impartial, but not exactly clear when taken out of context.

In the end, I decided to go with “Vacations” as the default, but allow users to switch it to “Holiday” in the preferences. I might even work in some fancy UX to default to “Holiday” if the user’s timezone is outside the US. In any case, I’m certain that people will be thrilled to have this feature.

I’ve spoken to dozens of users who desperately need the ability to block out time off—many of which hacked Cushion to represent vacations using projects under a “Vacation” client. Personally, I can’t wait for vacations. I’m mostly excited to see a visual of my time off and learn more about my work/life balance. Am I taking enough time off? Do I follow a consistent pattern, or are my breaks on more of a need-basis?

I hope to have vacations wrapped up this week, so keep an eye out if you use Cushion. If you have any ideas in the meantime, I’d love to hear them.

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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
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  7. Writing a Job Listing
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  8. Using Feature Flags to Run Betas
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  9. Our First Company Lunch
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  10. How to embed Vue.js & Vuex inside an AngularJS app... wait what?
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  11. Funding Cushion
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  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
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  24. From Beta to Launch - The Subdomain
    Dev
  25. From Beta to Launch - Sign up
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  26. From Beta to Launch - Messaging
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  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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