Since our next app, Languages, is more or less designed and is now in the programming stage, we’re hungry for yet another adventure. And we’ve already decided what we’re going to do. In addition to Languages and Cleaning Mona Lisa, we’re taking on two new in-house projects. One is Grades 3.0. Stay tuned for more information on that in the coming weeks. But right now I will be telling you about our other new in-house app. We’re really excited about it. And, like all great apps, it begins with a problem.
It’s all a matter of time
Every week day we go to work. Most of us are obliged to keep track of our hours. Innumerable small headaches, pains, and inconveniences accompany this. Some find logging hours tedious because they are constantly switching tasks (lawyers, for example). Other find it tricky because they opt to fudge it and may not record their hours until the end of the day or the end of the end of the week; they often cannot remember exactly what they did and when. Everybody does it differently and everybody has their unique woes.
Bosses, employees, and self-employed entrepreneurs all wrestle with this issue: how to reduce the tedium and trickiness of time-tracking to an absolute minimum.
Is there an app for that?
Yes—sort of. There is a throng of time-tracker apps. But in our experience none of them are satisfactory. We have tried to use a number of them, only to abandon them in favor of timesheet and pencil. We find that generally the cure kills more than the disease and the side-effects are worse than the sickness. There is no alpha dog in this space.
We have identified three areas that none of our competitors deals with successfully:
1. Starting, stopping, switching between tasks and remembering to do so—all via a simple and coherent interface.
2. Identifying errors and fixing them. All the apps now make it extremely difficult to edit your time once you record it.
3. Back-end integration with billing and invoicing systems such as FreshBooks.
Where we come in
We believe that it must be possible to create an hours-tracker app that is simple, intuitive, and simultaneously powerful. Having failed to find any such app available today, we have decided to make it ourselves. We want to create an app that will cover as many use-cases as possible—from the programmer who switches tasks twice a day to the lawyer who switches clients continually. We want to serve the meticulous time-tracker as well as the guy who fudges it. And we want to do all of this via a UI that is clear, crisp, and delightful.
That is the vision.
And we’ve decided on a name. In keeping with our other product names inspired by Apple’s Pages—Grades and Languages—we are calling our time-tracker “Hours.”
We are already deep into interaction design and are laboring on it furiously in the hopes of launching it ASAP. Now back to work!