A Little Better Every Day
I was taking with a user the other day and I asked “So, we’ve been doing a ton of work, what do you think?” He thought about it and replied:
I have noticed massive improvements in the iPhone app. With the HTTP application, I’m hard-pressed to think of the changes I’ve encountered.
I was struck in two ways. The first way was: ‘Wow, we’ve been working around the clock making this thing better, and he didn’t even notice?” But then the second was “Actually, that’s great news. That means we’re doing things right.”
See, we have two conflicting goals: make the service better, but do so without alarming or upsetting our existing users. We do this by making very small changes, continuously, and rolling them out in an incremental fashion such that — hopefully — nobody notices. It just gets a little faster, easier, and better every day. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) sometimes we need to make substantial changes that people will definitely notice. We’ve got a few of those coming up, so I’m going to try to explain what they are as they come, starting with the changes we just released to the reports page.
Behold, Stars and Simpler States
Expense reports can go through a surprising variety of states, many of which are generally uninteresting to you but we need to track anyway. But whereas before we just threw the full complexity out there for you soak in, in an effort to make things simpler we’ve opted to reduce the number of visible states from over ten to the following five:
- Open – This report is being edited
- Archived – The creator has archived the report
- Submitted – It has been submitted and is awaiting approval
- Approved – It has been “final approved”
- Reimbursed – It has been or is in the process of being reimbursed
Some of these states have informational sub-states — eg an “Open” report might have been “[rejected]“. It’s still open, but this gives a sense of how it got there. These sub-states appear in square brackets next to the name of the report. Additionally, for those reports that are waiting on you to do something, we’ve added a helpful “ToDo” column that has a friendly star in it:
So ya, it’s nothing earth shattering. Some people might not have even noticed. But it’s the sort of increasingly-visible change we make every day, rolled out in a way that hopefully minimizes the impact on existing users. We’ve got a lot more on the way, so please speak up if we do something you don’t like or if there’s something you’d like us to do more. Thanks!