Friday, April 24

Designing Nozbe for Apple Watch

Nozbe for Apple Watch

Today, April 24 2015, a very exciting new product hit the market — the Apple Watch. We've already announced that we were working on a version of Nozbe for the Watch, but we've never really said when we were going to release it. The answer is: we already have.

That’s right. If you have your Apple Watch tethered with your iPhone, all you have to do is update the Nozbe app to 2.1.5 and it will show up on your watch. There’s no step two!

Anyway, I wanted to show you what Nozbe for Apple Watch can do and walk you through the design process behind our app.

Starting point

On virtually every other platform, we would start by designing an app from, well… the app itself. We would design its screens, decide what it should do… it’s so obvious it doesn’t even need to be said.

The Watch is different. It’s a tiny device on your wrist. You’re rarely ever going to hold it in front of you and play with it for more than a few seconds. It’s simply uncomfortable to hold up your wrist for long. And, almost surely, there’s already a far more powerful and capable device in your pocket. It’s a simple equation: if you want to do something that takes more than a few moments, you’ll naturally reach for your phone. Therefore, when designing for Apple Watch, we focused and optimized for the shortest of interactions.

And there’s nothing more immediate than notifications.

Notifications

On iOS, notifications are generally quite dumb. You get the app name, its icon, and a line or two of text. That’s about it.

Apple Watch allows for much richer, more dynamic and more interactive notifications. Here’s what we came up with:

notifications photo

First off, we can customize how the notification text is displayed. When you get an invitation to a project, the notification header says “Invitation”. When you get mentioned in a comment, you see “Mention”. You don’t need to read the whole thing to understand what it’s about. The key words, like project, task or person names are highlighted. Those are small changes, but help you instantly digest the notification.

The second part is far more important and interesting:

Actions

Traditionally, when you get invited to a project, for instance, you had to tap on the notification, wait for the app to load, and only then accept or decline the invite. That’s not fast enough for your wrist. On the Apple Watch, you can just scroll down on the notification and tap one of the action buttons.

In this way, notifications on Apple Watch are much more than just about letting you know that something is happening. They allow you to instantly respond to what’s going on.

Here’s another type of notification: at-mention. It’s when someone mentions your name in a comment, preceded by the “@” sign (e.g. “@John”). There are two actions you can take: you can Show the task where you’re mentioned, or you can Make Priority — add that task to your priority list so that you remember to deal with it later.

One more scenario. Imagine you have a task scheduled for today. You get it done, but you forget to update it in Nozbe. When you get notified about an upcoming task, you can simply tap Complete to mark it as done. No need to open the full-blown app.

(Fun fact: we liked those instant responses so much that we also added them on iOS. When you get a notification on your lock screen, just swipe to the left to reveal them. And if you get notified while using your device, swipe down.)

Glance

glance screenshot

Glances are one-page summaries of apps — and your digital life. You can access them from anywhere on the Watch. Just swipe up from the watch face. You can see there your physical activity, your calendar, the weather… and your tasks.

The Nozbe glance gives you a quick overview of what’s done today and what’s ahead of you.

The circle at the center shows you how many priority tasks that you’ve completed today. The more you get done, the closer you get to a full green circle. In this way, you get an instant sense of how you’re doing today.

Below, there are additional stats you might want to know. If you have overdue tasks, you’ll see the number of them in red. If there are unread comments, or pending invitations, you’ll see them too.

The Watch App Itself

And then there’s the actual app. I mention it last, because you’ll probably use it far less often than notifications and glances.

When designing Nozbe for Apple Watch, we didn’t try to recreate the whole Nozbe experience. It just doesn’t make any sense. No one’s going to manage their projects or categories on their wrist. Why would they, if they can just reach for their phone? Not only would 99% of functionality go unused, but also it would make the app on such a small display extremely bloated and difficult to use.

That’s why we only included the small subset of key functionality in our Watch app:

screenshots

We focused on Priority tasks

When you open Nozbe for Apple Watch you see your priority tasks.

Imagine you’re running errands or doing shopping. When you’re putting groceries in your basket, or walking into the subway, or in other similar contexts, reaching for your phone to see your tasks is quite inconvenient (unless your have three arms).

With the Watch you can just mark the right tasks as priority so they show up on your wrist.

You can tap them to see their details. Often, you might have important notes in the comments, or you might want to know what time the task is supposed to get done.

May the Force Touch be with you

force touch menu actions

So you do your groceries, run your errands, what’s next? When you press firmly on the screen, a few options show up. Again, we didn’t try to replicate everything Nozbe can do, only the things you’ll want to do most often on your wrist.

You can Complete, Delegate and Comment on the task.

The first one is the most obvious. You get something done, you complete the task. The second one is very related. Often, you’re only doing a part of the task, and then you want to delegate it back to someone else.

The third option requires a screenshot to explain:

comment screenshot

You can tap the button in the bottom right corner to start dictating a comment. But often times, you just want to say “Done” before completing a task, so that your coworkers know you completed it. Or when someone delegates an urgent task to you, you can comment “I’m on it” to quickly acknowledge it.

Force touch to add a task:

There’s one more action, and it’s on the priority list. When you press firmly on the screen, you can add a task to your inbox. Useful for quick notes.

Handoff

A few months ago, we introduced a feature called Handoff. It allows you to quickly move between devices. So when you’re using Nozbe on your Mac and you want to leave your desk, you can instantly hand off to your iPhone, without losing your place in the app.

I’m happy to say that Nozbe for Apple Watch also supports Handoff. It’s a tiny little feature, but it makes the watch way more useful. For example, you’re looking a task and want to reply to it, you don’t have to speak to your wrist, or have to unlock your phone, find Nozbe, find the project, find the task… No, just swipe up on the Nozbe icon from your lock screen, and you’ll be looking at the same task as on your wrist. The same thing works when you get a notification about a task.

This is just the beginning...

What you’re seeing is just the 1.0 version, made in an amazingly short time. We already have a bunch of improvements in the pipeline, and many more ideas to explore. What’s more, the kinds of apps 3rd parties can make for the Apple Watch are quite limited at the moment. There are many possibilities yet to be uncovered.

In the meantime, we can’t wait to get our hands on Apple Watches (and Apple Watches on our hands!) and we can’t wait to hear your feedback! Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

You can download Nozbe with Apple Watch support on App Store.

written by Radek, VP Apple Technologies

Friday, April 3

To comment, or not to comment. That is the question.

I believe everyone knows there are comments to tasks in Nozbe. Yet, it seems not all see a point in that. Therefore a question - to comment or not to comment - arises.

comment or not

All about comments

Most of us are aware of the definition and the basic use as per instructions found on Nozbe Help Page. Their principal function is to facilitate communication on issues relevant to a given task within a team.

And that's just great. Once your team gets disciplined about it, the function can replace emailing almost entirely and thus save much time.

Attachments that can be added to comments are a great way of speeding up your work and storing relevant reference materials in order to make everythign clear.

You can also email tasks already with comments to Nozbe or add comments via email at later time.

That's all great, you may say, but what is the point then of this post? Well.. here it is

Alternative uses of comments - notes

One of the most obvious secondary uses are simply notes. If you do not share the project with anyone, or even when you do, you might wish to add things to your own tasks.. in that case they become your notes.

Track records

Of recent, I have met with some more creative ways of using comments. An example of such is as a track record for tasks. Some users have high need for tracking this or that task and to see what happens to it at all times.

Although it is in a sense a duplication of the project activity feature, I do find it quite interesting. Basically, a comment, apart from being a comment or a note becomes also a spot to mark things like "passed to John", "moved from project:x", "sent to a client on 12/09/" and so on.

Reminders

Even more creative way is what some users who don't share any projects with anyone have come up with. Namely, let's say I have a large project that I do not wish to share, but I do have tasks in it that should be done by someone else than me.

It is obvious I can't simply delegate it to them as it is my private project and I wish it to keep it so. Thus, I make a comment - Tom's task - and inform Tom in another, mutually agreed upon way, that he should get it done so I can push forward the whole project. Once he is done, he lets me know and I mark the task as done, yet having the background info that it was done by him.

Let's say, the same as above situation, with the exception that I do not want to share this particular project but do have some other project that I share with Tom... what can be done?

Simple. Make a comment - task from project X- then I move it to the project we do share, delegate it to Tom and once he is done I move it back to the original, privately owned project.

So? To comment or not to comment?

I say comment, but under no circumstance limit yourself to seeing this feature as only comments. It is so much more. Examples given above are just examples... it is up to you to use the hints creatively and as your team sees fit.

The comments could make your mutual communication way more effective and save you much time in the process... do not fret them.. they are your friend.

- Delfina (VP Support)

Friday, March 13

Nozbe 2.1.4 is out! New Nozbe release with lots of improvements!

We kicked off 2015 with lots of power, expanded our team and focused on polishing the new Nozbe 2.0 (which we launched a few months ago). You'll love what we've got for you:

Nozbe 2.1.4

After the latest auto-update you should be now operating Nozbe 2.1.4. Here are some new goodies we've prepared:

  • You will now find Affiliate Program details in your Settings section in Nozbe
  • We've made Payment Change/Update options also more convenient for you
  • Adding tasks to the list with active filters automatically adds parameters from these filters
  • Improved Capture Photo option in Nozbe Android app
  • and lots of minor fixes and improvements - we managed to add this extra layer of polish thanks to your feedback! Keep it coming! Thank you!

Nozbe 2.1.4 comes as auto-update to existing users, but if for some reason you need to re-download Nozbe, go here for all the Nozbe apps: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android and iPad or iPhone

And if you're thinking about getting the all-new Apple Watch this April, please rest assured that Nozbe is coming to the Apple Watch.

Thursday, March 12

Nozbe Magazine #3 - achieve your goals, new video tutorials & Remag

We have just released a new issue of Nozbe Magazine. We've gathered the top blog entries and news from the last couple of months. If you haven't been following our blog regularly, it is worth checking out.

Nozbe Magazine 3

Why would you need our magazine app?

This way, you can stay up to date with what is going on in Nozbe and get practical tips for using our app to be even more productive. Read Nozbe Mag:

In this edition

How Nozbe can help you achieve your goals in 2015

A guest post by one of our Nozbe power users: Michael Hyatt - the author of the "New York Times" bestseller, "Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World." He is also the founder of Platform University and the massively popular course "5 Days to Your Best Year Ever."

Michael shows you - step-by-step - who he sets up his goals in Nozbe to be able to review them regularly and achieve them, of course.

How to get your New Year's goals done - video tutorial

Spend less than 2 minutes and see how to set up your goals as projects in Nozbe:

How to work with your partner to get your goals done in Nozbe

10 simple steps to getting your projects done with others:

How to use categories in Nozbe

Categories prove really handy when managing and processing your tasks. In case you are not sure how to use thi option in Nozbe, we have described it step by step.

Uses of Nozbe – students

Nozbe users come from all professions and backgrounds: from teachers and doctors, house-wifes through managers and entrepreneurs. In the previous issue of Nozbe Magazine we presented some solutions for teachers. This article is intended for students.

Remag - revolution in mobile publishing

Michael - the Nozbe CEO - has launched his second startup: Remag. Why? To revolutionize digital mobile publishing. Learn, what it is all about and why we are kicking it off right now.

Actually, we've been building our Nozbe Magazine using Remag all along and now you can also build your own magazine using the same technology, so check it out!

Tuesday, March 10

Nozbe is coming to the  Watch on your wrist - the most personal project management tool ever :-)

Like most of tech industries, we watched the Apple Event yesterday. And now we know for sure:  Watch is real, it's coming very soon (end of April in first countries - which happen to be the countries where we have most of our customers: USA, UK, Japan...) and yes, we're building an  Watch Nozbe app for you:

Nozbe for  Watch

We can't wait to show it to you. The best part? You won't have to download anything extra to get this new app, it'll come as a part of your Nozbe app for your iPhone. Just like the Apple Watch depends on your iPhone, the watch app will depend on your Nozbe app.

Tasks are getting personal...

We're working on the design now: we're tweaking the iOS widget and trying to fit it to the phone, taking advantage of "glances" and other short-term interactions you'll have with your watch. We're trying to visualize how the watch will make you more productive and then make it happen.

What we like about the  Watch is the fact that it's really a very personal device. Thus, we're going to try to learn which tasks, notifications, comments are important to you and make sense to be displayed on your wrist... and which don't. We're very excited about this!

We will need your help! :-) So get your Apple Watches ready!

We're aiming to be on the  Watch on day one, meaning on April 24, just as you get your first watch from the Apple Store. And we'll be in line with you to get it, too :-)

But this is a new territory and we really want to do it right. So as you begin configuring your new  Watch, make sure to check out Nozbe on your wrist and start using it to get things done. Then, let us know what we can improve, how you use it, what's important to you, what's not, which interactions you miss, which you don't... you get the idea.

This is personal, because we're going to design it with you!

Just like I remember designing Nozbe for the first iPhone together with my customers back in 2007, this time we're designing Nozbe for a completely new device together with our customers. Together with you. We're counting on your help and on your active participation. We're doing this with you and for you. And for all of us. This is going to be fun. I can't wait. The wrist-productivity era has begun! Let's go!

written by Michael Sliwinski, Nozbe founder