Timelog Changes 10/12/2013

We shipped some minor improvements on Timelog last night. Here’s what to expect:

+ More information about our motivation and privacy on “Info & About”
+ Sweetened error page when you deleted or disabled your cookies (take a closer look on dribbble)
+ SEO, og and twitter tag homework
+ Added a small hint that you can close the browser while running a log
+ “Delete summary” now only deletes existing logs and no active ones
+ Fixed a bug where your timer already starts some seconds or minutes in the future, while still logging the correct time
+ Fixed a smartphone resize bug
+ Fixed some typos

We’re still looking into white background when on “Summary” and problems on Windows Phone.

Thank you for all your feedback. We can’t wait to show you, what’s next.

Finishing a tutorial with a swipe? Why not?!

Swipe to Start

I know there are a lot of opinions when it comes down to tutorials in apps. Some do a walkthrough via swipe (e.g. Wunderlist) upfront or some display tipps as overlays on the regarding screens (e.g. Evomail).

But when I swiped yesterday until the end of the walkthrough of the pretty well made new Airbnb App for iOS 7, I couldn’t jump right into the app with another swipe. I had to tap on the “Get Started” button to end the tutorial and start using the app.

That really confused me because before I was four times taught that I can move with a swipe through the tutorial three times before. Why did they suddenly changed the navigation method?

I’m right now not quite sure which apps do it the same way like Airbnb but there are definitely some. Some companies probably do it this way because they want users to register or log in before using the app and display the appropiate buttons below the last step. But even in this case you could show the buttons more prominent on a separate screen after a user swiped on the last tutorial to go on.

I clearly see the button as the obvious solution for “everybody” showing how to end the tutorial and start using the app. But why isn’t there also the possibility to just “swipe on” if it’s the gesture I used 3-4 times before to go through the steps?

UPDATE:

The recent iOS 7 Update for Day One makes it so right:

Day One iOS 7 Walkthrough from Tim Herbig on Vimeo.

A short update on Alertify

Update on Alertify

It’s been a while since I posted something about Alertify, the alarm app Michael Dolejš and I founded some months ago. While we started to develop the app together with a iOS developer we found, it turned out to be some kind of partnership with him Michael and I didn’t wanted for the product. So after some weeks of work, we decided to cut the cords with him and started again to search for an iOS developer to take on Alertify.

We quickly got in talks with Hans Pinckaers who already worked with Michael on some projects in the past. So we’re back in productive development mode for some weeks and are making some progress. Of course it’s still a small side project for all of us and will take some time, but we’re committed to it and want to see Alertify become real.

Follow Michael, Hans or me on Twitter for further updates if you want to stay informed about the progress on Alertify.

Fear and Competition

Watch Marco Arment talking at this year’s XOXO festival about fear and competition in the market of digital products and why he finally admits to enter an already crowded market.

It’s especially valuable for people who are working on their own products and have probably to deal with the same challenges Marco had to in the past with his former products Instapaper and The Magazine.

The Death of the Product Manager (as we know it)

Product Manager

When it comes down to responsibilities in a company or a team, the world of product development as we know it always provided a pretty clear structure: CEOs have to lead, designers have to design, developers have to code and product managers have to…well, actually manage everybody by writing tickets, preparing presentations or thinking about new features and the future product roadmap.

But it was sometimes around last year when the web suddenly started to discuss wether designers should know/learn how to code or not.
The reasons for this question were obvious. Designers and developers work closely together but often really never understand each other which leads to pretty much waste in communication, mostly caused by missing knowledge about the work from the other.
Advantages would be that designers could on the one hand make an early reality check on their drafts and impress developers a little bit more on the other one while the developers would start to value design work more.
Though there were a lot of opinions for and against that statement and it sometimes also depends on what kind of designer you are and what you’re working on, I felt like the essence was: »Yes, designers definitely should know how to code.«

So, if designers learn how to code so they maybe don’t even need a developer to launch a product and developers would vice versa learn more about photoshop, who would need someone else to make awesome digital products? Depending on the size of your company or team you probably still need a project manager to structure the work with scheduled meetings and caring about some orga stuff like reports or having an eye on the budget.
But do you then still need a guy who can’t design or code pushing wireframes around, writing tickets and testing the latest version all the day in addition?

When I take a look at many great new products which are made by awesome solo people like Drew Wilson, Marco Arment or small teams like the ones behind Evomail, Authentic Weather or Day One I’m pretty sure the answer is no – at least not the classical way anymore.
But let’s take a closer look at this. Can’t we just put up the same question that rose last year on designers who code? Isn’t it time to ask: »Should Product Managers know how to design and to code?« – I think it is.

If product managers would gain a deeper understanding of what’s really happening inside “their” teams by having practical skills in both disciplines, it would be a huge win for the product itself. So in my opinion we should rethink the role of the product manager. He or she should become someone who’s really involved in the actual process of building things.

As a consequence, skills in teams could become more concentrated on fewer people and team size could be reduced to iterate even faster.

Seeing how small teams gain so much traction with their products without including a personal “overhead” like a product manager really made me think about this role (which is what I do for money, too).
One of they key learnings I took away from a journey to the US this year was that I simply had to learn how to design and how to code (of course I know that just don’t »learn« design, but I think you know what I mean), if I want to stay relevant for the process of digital product development in the upcoming years.

So I headed over to treehouse.com and started learning. It’s been a fun journey so far which gave me a lot of new insights and skills. And though I know, it will still take a while until I’m on a really productive level in one or both disciplines, I’m pretty thrilled to continue.

Missing the rule of thumb

This morning I just read about this app Top of the Morning on The Next Web.

It’s quite a nicely designed app which is kind of a mixture between a calendar app, a weather app and a news app. I especially like the ability to connect any news site you want and not just some preselected ones.
But while playing around with the UI walkthrough I suddenly got forced to close a view with a pinch.

Top of the morning

I don’t know how you feel but whem I’m in bed just after stopping the alarm on my phone and start tapping around to check my day ahead, one of the last things I want to do is to use a second hand to navigate further on my smartphone.

So Top of the Morning really has a nice idea, but totally fails for me when using it in one of the situations it was built for.

(Almost) Nothing but a big mouth

Google News

Thank god I didn’t bet on this – Even content from Axel Springer will remain available for Google News after August 1st. That means that even the publisher who was the stronges supporter when it came down to fighting for the LSR in Germany, backs down under the power of Google (News).

I personally had thought that at least Springer would remain consequent – just because you have to finish what you start (that does of course not mean, that I support the LSR – I think it’s a big mistake).

All the legal stuff like the only temporary permission Springer points out doesn’t make any difference to me, if you take a look at the hard facts:
They hardly fought for an end of free snippets like in Google and now, where the law becomes valid, they don’t use it.
It’ll be pretty interesting to see, where all this will go.