The major update of HacknPlan was released recently and, as we expected, many people felt a bit lost with all the changes on the interface and the reorganization of many sections. We understand when a tool you’re used to changes, there is an adaptation period and some energy is required to learn how the new features work. This tutorial covers those aspects of the application that have changed the most so you understand the logic behind them and learn some tips about how to get the most of the new interface.
Organization and navigation
One of the most relevant and breaking changes is the reorganization of some sections of the project structure. The main concept behind this reorganization is: don’t mix admin actions with regular work sections.
We often found that our old layout, where most of the sections had both admin and regular actions, was confusing for people new to the tool. For instance, we used to receive many support requests asking how to add a user to the project, or how to edit or remove a project. Before, those actions were directly embedded in the Summary section, which is not very intuitive because they seem to be informative sections. All the administration options for projects or workspaces are now located under the Administration section of the left menu. Also, this separation makes the other sections clearer and lighter.
On the other hand, we have unified Personal and Studio project structures, so transitioning between them is easier, and made every single section of the project or workspace directly available from the left menu, avoiding having to load sections to then go to a specific tab, which takes more time.
TIPS & TRICKS:
- If you are looking for an admin or management action, it is under the Administration section of the left menu.
- You can press M on your keyboard to expand/collapse the left menu.
- If you are not on the kanban board but on another section of a project, you can press D on your keyboard to be automatically redirected to the default board.
- You can create a new task or board from anywhere in the project by clicking on the Create entry of the left menu or pressing T and B on the keyboard respectively. Press H anytime to get a list of the available keyboard shortcuts.
Another very important change comes with the new task creation dialog which has been completely rebuilt to be more flexible, customizable and progressive. One of the main issues new users had while learning to use the tool is how overwhelming task creation seemed, even though most fields were just optional, especially for those who had a lightweight approach to project management.
With this update, we wanted to make task creation simple by default, allowing you to add fields to the task as you need them and also allowing you to remember those fields for subsequent tasks, so you don’t have to be adding them all the time.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
- If you want to define your custom set of default fields, check the Remember fields checkbox at the bottom of the task creation dialog, so when the task is saved, your field selection is stored and they will be already visible next time you launch the dialog.
- There are some of the fields that are currently optional that can be made mandatory at a project level. Go to Administration -> Modules on the left menu, Mandatory task fields panel.
- By default, when you create a task, no user is automatically assigned and the board is automatically calculated depending on the context. Those default values can be changed from your user Settings -> Application, Behavior panel.
Important: We have noticed many people didn’t find the Remember fields checkbox intuitive, so we are working on a better way of setting the default fields for task creation for the next update.
Task edition and visualization has changed considerably too. We followed the same concept of making the edition of tasks progressive, not displaying optional fields that are not defined. Also, we made all the sections of the task available in a single scrollable page, making the information more discoverable and requiring fewer clicks.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Most fields and items can be added to the task using keyboard shortcuts. S for subtasks, C for comments, D for dependencies…. Press H when the task details panel is open to get a complete list of available shortcuts.
- All the editable list elements such as subtasks, comments or worklogs can be edited by performing a double-click on them.
- Clicking on a design element or board on the task details panel will open the task in the context of that design element or board (depending on where you are).
Important: We have realized that displaying a list of recent activity by default on every task adds too much noise for a piece on information which is not often consulted. We are working on improving that by showing that information on demand from a button or menu entry.
Design element edition
The edition of design elements has been modified following the same style than the task creation.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- You can add a new design element pressing C on the keyboard. If a design element is currently selected, the new element will be added as a child by default.
- The comments can be edited by performing a double-click on them.
Important: Exactly like the task detail panel, we have realized that displaying a list of recent activity and the metrics by default is too much noise for a piece on information which is not often consulted. We are working on improving that by showing that information on demand from a button or menu entry.
In order to make the tool more flexible and allow you to adapt it to your workflow better, we have made many of the features and sections in HacknPlan optional. This way, you can decide which features you need and which you don’t, refining your user experience with our service.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Go to Administration -> Modules to enable or disable the features of an existing project. Disabling a feature won’t remove any existing information, it just hides everything from the UI for a better user experience.
- You can enable or disable features during project creation too.
- There is a new type of filter for the kanban board which allows you to enter any text and will filter the tasks by comparing the text with any visible field of the task card. You can quickly filter by title, username, category, design element…
- Most of the data selection is now using typeahead fields, so a list of matching values is displayed as you type. Also, if you enter a value that doesn’t exist and you have the proper permissions, you can create it right away.
- You can modify the theme, background picture, time format and other application options from your user Settings -> Application (go to settings by clicking on your user avatar on the top right corner of the application).
- You can modify which notifications you receive from the service and how from Settings -> Notifications.
Important: We are working on another iteration of the typeaheads to make them support the classic dropdown selection too, combining the two methods.
That’s all, we hope this helps with the learning process of this new user interface. If you have any suggestions about things that should be on this list, let us know.