Behance team members Scott Belsky and Bryan Latten share some insights about the next version of ActionMethod Online, currently under development.
A major update for ActionMethod Online is long overdue. We have just completed the concepting process and are already underway in developing the next generation of ActionMethod Online. We wanted to share some background for the project as well as guidance for some of the changes and improvements you will see.
Our team created ActionMethod to help us live and work with a bias towards action. As a company with a mission to organize and empower creative professionals, we wanted to help people DO stuff. Before “the cloud” was a common term, we envisioned multiple devices and online apps keeping our tasks in sync at all times. What started as a simple paper product line and an online application for task management has become an entire task management ecosystem with a value for design and simplicity.
Over the past year we have brought ActionMethod Online to the Android, iPhone, and iPad platforms. The mobile versions of task management have been extremely well received. We have also introduced new features on the mobile versions, including: (1) “Focus” – a subset of tasks that you wish to focus on, (2) “Advisor” – data on your productivity within ActionMethod, (3) “Project Notes” – a way to capture small notations within a particular project.
Crafting The Future Of ActionMethod
We have learned a lot by observing the way people use the online application in conjunction with their mobile devices. We have also received hundreds of requests for new features and improvements, and have sought to find the common themes.
Our criteria in the process of reviewing ideas and designing the next version of ActionMethod Online were the following:
- We believe that the struggle to manage and complete tasks is ultimately a design problem, and the solution is to focus MORE on action (managing tasks) and less on the other stuff.
- We believe that task management should be done “in the cloud.” Your desktop application should always be in sync with all of your devices, and you should be able to sync over your cellular or wifi network.
- We want ActionMethod Online to be ALL ABOUT MANAGING ACTION. There are now many other applications available online for managing references (Google Docs, Zoho, Evernote) and discussions (Yammer, Google+, Basecamp, etc…). Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, we want to focus on what ActionMethod does best: Action.
- We want to build the best collaborative task management application on the planet.
With the above criteria in mind, we have made some big decisions for the next version of ActionMethod Online, including the following:
- New Feature: Focus Area: The iPhone, Android, and iPad versions include a popular option to gather a short list of five Action Steps – across all projects – to focus on. This feature, “Focus Area,” will be brought into the online application.
- All New “Reference Items” (will combine old “Backburners” and “References”)
From the feedback, it is clear to us that people aren’t using these two sections consistently – some use them interchangeably, randomly, or in place of an Action Step. So, we’re combining them. The new “Reference Items” will allow you to store notes associated with projects as well files. The methodology would suggest that ideas for the future (Backburners) can be captured as either a note associated with a project or as an Action Step without a target date.
- New Feature: Team Projects: Many users have asked for the ability to associate Action Steps with a shared project so that other team members can view them. In the future, in addition to assigning every Action Step to a personal project, you will ALSO be able to tag it with a “Team Project.” Team Projects serve as filters that can be created and shared with your colleagues, and will allow you to see all Action Steps by you and your colleagues that are tagged with a particular Team Project. This feature will help you work collaboratively and stay in the loop on what others are doing on the project while still maintaining your own target dates and project organization. With this new functionality, we will remove “Event” tagging for Action Steps.
- Events: The ability to tag Action Steps with an “Event” was seldom used and, with the new “Team Projects” feature explained above, will no longer be necessary.
- Discussions: Broad project-wide discussions will no longer be supported in the new version of ActionMethod Online. In the future, “micro-discussions” will only take place around particular Action Steps that have been delegated or are tagged with a “Team Project.” The feature will allow you and others to comment/discuss progress on Action Steps. This was a tough decision for our team, but we want to focus on the actionable elements of projects, and there are way better utilities for team discussions online.
Don’t worry, we will be developing ways to convert current “Backburners” you may have to the new Reference Items environment. For Discussions, we will be associating all uploaded files in discussions with the appropriate project in the new version, and you will be able to view the discussion transcript as a reference.
We will keep you posted on the ongoing development of the next version of ActionMethod Online. We will also be considering a number of third-party integrations and the possibility of opening up the API. Needless to say, we will also be rapidly iterating throughout the development and early launch of the next version of the application. Our team is thrilled about the roadmap for the product and we’re grateful for your patience as we make it happen.
Bryan Latten, Scott Belsky, & the Behance Team