One week before our public launch last November, we knew we had only a few days left before a lot of people would be seeing Asana for the first time. So, during that last week, we put our larger roadmap projects on hold and focused on making lots of small improvements to the product. We squashed bugs, sanded down rough interactions and added new visual touches, redesigned the signup pages and built a new support site from scratch. It was a fun and satisfying week for our team, and by the end, the improvements combined together to produce a substantially better experience for our new customers.
When we work on a mission and product as ambitious as Asana, it’s important to spend most of our energy on bold changes (like Inbox, our new iPhone app and Subtasks). However, we recognize that the finer details of a product are what bring delight to our users, so we built in time this episode to spend a week doing only product polish. We chose last week (almost the same dates as last year) for our Polish Week, and spent it in a fluid, fast-moving dedication to the really small stuff. One of the rules of Polish Week is that your code had to ship – so all of the things on this list are already in your hands. Taken together, we think the 60+ small changes we made over the week add up to a big step up in Asana’s, well, polish. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Image Thumbnails. We added image thumbnails to task comments and the Inbox. Whenever someone uploads an image (jpg, png, gif) to a task, it will appear as a small thumbnail in the task’s comments and as a larger image in the Inbox.
Drag-And-Drop Subtasks. We’ve made it easy to make an existing task into a subtask (and vice-versa). To demote an existing task to a subtask, simply grab it by clicking on the “drag handle” on the left edge of the task, and drag it into the subtasks area of the right pane for the parent task and drop it in. To promote a subtask into a standalone task, grab it from the subtask area and drag it into the center pane.
Project Notes in the Center Pane. We moved project notes from the right pane to a new field under the project title in the center pane. With this change, every project’s notes are always visible to your team, giving you a great place to explain what the project is, how it’s organized, and how it should be used. This notes area also supports Hypertext, so you can conveniently “@-link” to relevant people, projects and tags.
As part of this change, we decided to remove comments at the project level. If you had projects with existing project-level comments, don’t worry, we didn’t delete them. They are now in a completed task entitled “Project Comments: <Name of the Project>”. You can find the task in the project itself or search for it.
Better Firefox Support. We now support copying and pasting a list into Asana in Firefox (Chrome has always had this feature). We also play nicer with Firefox keyboard shortcuts.
Stripping email subject prefixes. We strip out all the “Fwd:” and “Re:” prefixes from the subject line of emails you forward to firstname.lastname@example.org, so the subject becomes a cleaner task title.
Copying tasks with links. When you highlight and copy (using CMD-C) a list of tasks, the copied tasks include hyperlinks to the Asana tasks, so you can include them in other documents or emails.
Many more improvements, including…
- Subtasks and Task Comments are now included when you print your project list.
- A small circle before the name in the browser tab indicates a new Inbox notification for the workspace.
- You can add a task to multiple projects when creating it via the Asana API, all with one API call.
- Search and Hypertext don’t show Archived projects in results by default.
- Email address links work in comments and notes.
- Clicking the Asana logo takes you to your My Tasks view.
- Clearer indication of read/unread state in the Inbox.
- Your Later list of tasks is now collapsed by default in your My Tasks view.
- Projects that are private to you now show the privacy icon when you type them in the Add Project field.
- Better support for right-to-left languages.
- Empty tasks don’t credit the creator until someone adds content to it.
- Multiple “<3″s now print as multiple hearts in comments (popular in the Asana office)
If you have other ideas for product polish, leave us a comment, and we’ll capture it for the next Polish Week at Asana.