Applying “Considerate Software” to Timeneye Time Tracking

by Daniele

We are really committed to create better interactions and experiences for our users; to achieve this goal, we like to think our products as “human”, asking ourselves how to make them “considerate and helpful”, just like any good assistant should be (for an interesting article about it, read our CEO’s post: “Considerate Software”).

To become “considerate”, a software has to become aware of user’s preferences, without the need of tampering him with questions. The information gathered should be used to modify the interface and the interactions to hide unnecessary features and simplify the most used ones, deepening their power.

Timeneye is an online time tracking tool that we released to the public last June. We have in mind a clear image (persona) of the two kind of users that interact with it: the employees who need to track time, and the project manager who needs to run reports and extract data.

Timeneye integrates smoothly with Basecamp, allowing time tracking directly from there. One of the way this integration makes the life of users simpler is presenting the latest completed to-dos in the main Timeneye screen, where users can simply enter the time spent on each of them.

This feature, that we call “Completed to-dos”, is something that not all the users necessarily need: some of them, for example, prefer entering time using comments in Basecamp, or entering them manually.

The result is that for some of them the “Completed to-dos” block, when not used, “steals screen” to other (more used) features on the page.

To make Timeneye more “considerate”, we tweaked the “Completed to-dos” block to automatically hide or show himself depending on the user’s actions: if Timeneye detects that the user seems annoyed by that block, hiding right away completed todos without entering time for them, the Completed to-dos block will be automatically hidden, saving space and making the view more clear for those who don’t need that feature.

It’s a small step, if you want, but we think it’s really important for the meaning it has: it’s just the first step for making Timeneye a really considerate and helpful assistant.

Author: Daniele Grassi
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CEO, Software Designer and UX enthusiast.