Feedback on your branding - maybe everyone in your social circle eats bacon and it's cool and loves it, but the name will probably be an emotional level turnoff to vegetarians, Jews who eat kosher, and Muslims who eat halal, or people who otherwise don't eat pork. Something to think about before you really get rolling, because you might potentially have an unnecessarily hard time breaking through to those groups of people.
Disclaimer: I've got kind of a weird diet - I don't eat mammals (chicken, poultry, fish okay - beef, pork, venison, no). The name kind of has a mild yuck factor to me, which I'd get over if the tools were valuable enough, but I'd hesitate at least a half-second to recommend it to, say, my Jewish friends.
Sometimes it's hard to discuss topics like this without being judged as PC at best or a Milquetoast at worst. But ultimately this is a business forum and businesses need to market.
Copywriter Joseph Sugarman wrote a book called Advertising Secrets of the Written Word. It's the kind of title you'd expect from a long-copy copywriter, but it's worth reading for his list of 57 points to consider in advertising. Part of marketing is about breaking down walls to acceptance, which is what I really got out of the 57 points. So the last thing you want to do is build a wall to conversion right out of the gate.
In other words, this is my long-winded way of saying that I agree with lionhearted.
Disclaimer: on a moral level, I can totally understand why you don't eat mammals. That's an awesome personal choice I can sympathize with. However, the name is still great.
It reminds me of a large percentage of screenshots that come from certain Linux projects. Wallpapers and themes often have scantily clad women on them. I can imagine that this would put a lot of folks off from contributing to or using those products.
I'd consider "Tempeh Bacon" as name, but I'm biased, as my partner made a delicious batch of it the other day :)
When I finished the first year of my return to University in 2001 I decided to buy myself a domain name as a reward. (Positive reinforcement and all that...)
Due to all the single word domains being long-gone I looked at two word combinations that were still available and--exactly how is lost to the mists of time--ended up with: rancidbacon.com
I decided that it would serve my purposes in the short term but figured eventually I'd have to get a more "professional" domain for supporting my freelance contracting career.
One thing lead to another, I got some contracting gigs from various places and then got involved in Google Maps hacking which lead to the first amusing domain reference.
I got invited to the O'Reilly Where 2.0 conference and got referenced in telephone press conference for the event:
"He runs the rancidbacon web site, where all of this was first documented,"
On meeting fellow map hackers on the trip to the conference the first question I got asked after introducing myself was "Hey, what's the story behind your domain name?".
As a result of that hacking I got more contract development work (and an email from Google but that's a story for another time) and I started to think "Hmmm, maybe I won't have to move to a 'more professional' domain name after all..."
In the end I kept the name because in the circles I moved in, it had good "brand recognition" and I figured the name itself acted as a filter for people who could work with my more laid back style (although I must admit I hadn't considered the cultural issue before now...).
The second amusing story happened a few years later when I ended up being interviewed on a nationwide publicly funded radio show because I was the user of a local startup. Before I went on air the producer said "Hey, look we'd prefer if you didn't mention your domain name on air because some of our listeners might not appreciate it."
Then as soon as I got on air the host introduced me as being from "rancidbacon" and once she was wrapping up the interview finished with "So, what does rancidbacon mean?". In response, I got to spend a minute of nationwide radio telling the story behind the domain. And a recording of the host saying "You're the Rancid Bacon guy!" on air. :) (Although she also said she hoped the name wouldn't come back to haunt me if I ever turned vegan.)
Plus, it gives random people on the internet something to do if time machines ever get invented: "If they ever invent a time machine, I'm going to go back to 1995 and say that sentence to somebody: 'In this case, the enabler is ... Python libraries made available by rancid bacon.'" http://hello.typepad.com/hello/2005/06/the_future_of_o.html
It's okay to offend people if offending people furthers your goals and strategy. Typically though, if the offense is tangential to your product and doesn't polarize people, or get one group really excited, or target your customerbase while turning off other people, then it's a bad idea.
So, "Yummy Maggots" could work for... I don't know, some sort of grossout humor site, or maybe some hybrid survival horror/dark humor game, or something like that. But it probably wouldn't be a good name for bug tracking software, because it'd turn off legitimate potential users without turning on, segmenting, or otherwise intelligently engaging other users.
It's okay to offend people. Just know why exactly you're doing it.
(I know I just gave a serious reply to a sarcastic remark, but I thought it was a good topic to riff on)
Yummy Maggots: "Splat your bugs before they pupate".
First, this app is 48 hours old so we didn't have too much time to build features. We'll likely introduce new stuff later on.
Second, this tool is actually more for project portfolio management than project management per se. The goal is to let teams use the tools that they like for ticketing, bug reports, etc. and focus more on scheduling, resourcing and overview of the projects in an organization.
Currently we have GitHub integration with commit messages updating the project activity stream. We have plans to introduce other integrations like this.
Anyways it seems as if you guys want to only focus on the overview of the project management side and not on the task management side or collaboration side, which in my book is OK because most products make a mess of those things when done in tandem.
If you want to focus on only that for now my advice is to implement milestones first (you said you wanted to focus on scheduling and this is the cornerstone of scheduling IMO) and change the timeline to have less thick bars and emphasize milestones instead of project beginnings and endings (though this should be shown also off course), and figure out which direction you plan to take... collaboration angle, the task based angle, the "I only need a Gantt chart" oldschool project management angle, etc.
Overall I feel you guys have gotten the design idea quite nicely of what the needs in simple project management are, you just need to decide which type of project manager you're going to market to.
With that said, I think it looks and functions great. Very user-friendly. Would I use it? Probably not. My team seems to hate every simple project management website service. The ultimate project management service is to integrate something within the current workflow, which does not involve a separate website nor does it involve creating tasks, etc. I'm just stating the problem, but unfortunately I don't have a solution. I just find it fascinating that there are SO many project management services, but none work for our team.
The ideal solution would HAVE to have smartphone apps for major platforms, and gmail integration. Heck, it doesn't even need to have a website frontend.
That's why there are so many. I bet that is what each developer was thinking when they came up with their product.
Also acunote makes sure you don't have to reload the page most of the time (even though Splendid's reload is very fast). I'd really recommend competitors to borrow from it.
> Acunote is still better.
We think it solves a different problem than Acunote. From our own experience, tools often get in the way of working and Acunote does a lot more than we and other small teams need.
And as I eluded to in another comment, we think Splendid Bacon lets you use tools like Acunote to manage the backlog and other details or accomplish other similar project tasks.
I suggest that you run a background process that always ensures you have say 5 demo databases 'ready to go' so you can dish them out with no delay when a user clicks on the evaluate link. The speed of that first click really is essential.
Also, you could come up with some clever hacks to share the caching for the default dashboards. Until a user makes a modification, they are essentially on a static site which has huge advantages for you under load. If you could automatically bake the site into pure HTML and switch over to a real version on the first modification that might be a big speed win when you get dug or slashdotted.
Then again, it could be a premature optimisation. Well done. Very slick.
Consider making your login page (http://splendidbacon.com/users/sign_in) expand into a sign up page rather than making them separate.
Finally, there should be an easy way to convert the demo account into a real trial account. There could be a big button to do it in the header, or the account button could be re-labeled TRIAL or FREE ACCOUNT and could lead to a form that allowed conversion from demo to real. Right now I can't do this conversion because I don't know the password for the demo account.
Keep the prices low, you have a naturally viral product here (people pulling other people in). You might want to engineer in features that draw in the dev shop's clients too (bug tracker, public project dashboards, etc)
Also we didn't have time to do any caching, but it's a good way to learn the bottle necks :D
Thanks for the great feedback! Much appreciated!
* We've been talking about this kind of project portfolio / dashboard app for our company quite a while.
* I worked on the concept and the first sketches to my notebook like week before while attending some rather boring keynote presentation. Took photos with my iPhone and send it to the team.
* We had couple of 30min planning sessions on Tue and Fri where we scoped app and what features it should have.
* On Friday afternoon I sketched couple of iterations of the views to paper, so everyone would know what to expect. Also I had the style of the design pretty imagined in my head (I wanted it dark and fancy, and definitely there's inspiration from Cultured Code). Like previously linked, if you like to know I work, I gave a lecture on the subject last week: http://www.slideshare.net/karrisaarinen/just-design-it-an-ap...)
* On Saturday I started about 8 hours late(since I didn't want to wake up too early :-) and I had Photoshop comps of all the main views ready after 7 hours(including couple of iterations each). Key to this was to reuse elements and use layer styles as much as possible
* Before and right after that we started implementing the UI. We choose JQuery, 960.gs, Haml, SASS and Pictos icon-font the frontend. I tried to do as much I could with css so I could reuse it, and SASS was really helpful because you could define and include complex styles elements with a oneliner.
* The app backend was mostly ready Saturday evening as we planned, so when others left on 11pm, I stayed for other 3 hours and implemented the dashboard and some other views.
* We used most the Sunday to polishing the views and the app, and I designed and implement the frontpage on the afternoon.
* On like 10-11pm while other guys where fiddling with the deployment I made a iOS icon and some other small tweaks.
* Sunday 11pm the first deployment went through, we had some problems with Pictos, Firefox and emails but those were solved pretty quickly.
* Then We opened the champange bottle http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8355/deployed.jpg and it's was done which was really good feeling. After 16 hours the whole team is still really stoked about the app and the feedback. BIG THANKS TO YOU ALL :)
Secondly: what is the purpose of the random characters (e.g. %, 2) on the front page and elsewhere? I found the characters on the front page to be somewhat unbalanced, especially the comma. Once I tried the demo, I thought they might be indicating keyboard shortcuts, but nothing happened (firefox 3.0, crunchbang linux). I'm not sure if they're not working, or if I just don't understand the joke or something, but that was my biggest issue. It seemed a bit unprofessional -- not that it is (seriously, 48 hours? awesome!), but that's what I saw.
I hope this helps you, and thanks for sharing this with us!
I'm sorry to hear that the site doesn't render properly on Firefox 3.0. We are using @font-face and the Pictos icon set for the icons, and only newer browsers support it.
Here's what it actually looks like: http://skitch.com/jcxplorer/d5hdh/splendid-bacon
Best part - the automatic demo account, great job on that. That is by far the easiest way to understand how something is going work and I wish all apps had that feature.
I would love to be able to embed images and code, though. A service like present.ly stands out better in this regard. At the moment, I don't know how well I would use it in a CS study group without at least a <code> tag.
One thing we'd happily pay for would be the ability to have finer grained resourcing. So instead of just saying who is working on what project, say precisely when they are working on it.
The goal would be for every person in my team to look at this in the morning to see what they need to work on that day or week.
Is this something you had planned?
Great start for 2 days work though!
What are your plans for this? I could definitely see myself paying for this.
Due to the excellent feedback we've received, we are planning on commercializing this soon.
I really love how this turned out.
I just hope all this positive feedback doesn't result in crazy-ass pricing :)
What are your pricing plans? An installable, roll-your-own-server option would be cool...
Firewall version has been planned, but we had no time to think about the pricing yet. I'm sure we need some sleep before that :)
I started with a few projects and I have a couple of feature requests: show the latest status update in the project dashboard and maybe consider an RSS feed for each project?
I also couldn't figure out what the little person silhouette at the bottom of each project in the dashboard was for?
We've have thought about RSS feeds, but we pretty much run out of time with that :)
Little person silhouette is just a marker. We'll have person filters for projects at some point. Also if you see "-" next to the silhouette there are no people in the project (you can add them by opening the project and clicking "Edit").
I guess that'll get ironed out in testing.
It would be cool if you could assign an arbitrary numeric value to a "post" and display a running total. For example, set the value of a post to 4 and ask the team members to check in twice a day.
This gives you a rough idea of the time spent so far (and perhaps time remaining) without any additional effort on the part of the team and lets you dial-in the granularity on the human side of things.
Or isn't it possible ?
So does the app allow to share status between people working on a project and see a timeline of projects ?
Much prefer white on black to vice versa.
Great design and very usable!
Is the gantt chart from a UI library, or created from scratch?
The timeline was created from scratch since there wasn't any solution out there that was good enough for us.
After a while I figured out I needed to logout and sign up again.
Perhaps some sorting & filtering options on the dashboard? An 'overdue, current and complete tabs?
Yes there needs to be some kind of sorting/filtering if you many projects.
However, we need to think this through.
As trivial as it might be, i think the welcome email does what 'thanks for coming' does in offline stores
You may wish to add a CSV export feature for me, and some nice metrics/graphic reporting in other charts.
Besides that, I'm switching to this from toggl.com right now.