Archive | May, 2011

Now Available: PBworks (the next generation)

24 May

The following is a message from our founder, David Weekly, regarding the launch of PBworks’ next generation business product.

After having grown the product for a number of years beyond its workspace roots (and renaming the company two years ago), towards the end of last year we took stock of what we had accomplished and decided we needed to take what we had grown into organically and make it one cohesive whole.

I hired our Creative Director Dann Ledwick – who had been CEO of a technology and design company – to work with me to offer a modern and consistent look across the product. We went back and forth with dozens of ideas and mockups, trying to find an overall layout that would clearly showcase users’ content, show them where they were in a potentially vast sea of information, and give them clear visual affordances for browsing and modifying people, workspaces, files, and pages.

A lot of the problems of visual scale we’re trying to solve are pretty excitingly vast: making readily available millions of permissioned objects to corporate deployments potentially spanning hundreds of thousands of employees and keeping it all sane for the end user. We referenced operating system file navigators, the visual information hierarchies of modern websites like Facebook, the excellent work of Edward Tufte in minimizing cognitive distraction, and thought hard about the ways we could really make the user’s content shine and make the interface just get out of your way.

This work ends up being reflected in lots of small touches – like a little gear icon that shows up when you hover over a folder: if you click on the gear you get a menu that allows you to manipulate the folder, renaming it, deleting it, changing its permissions, etc.

We’ve tried to make the common actions really in-your-face easy (the file browsing interface now has a HUGE button that says ‘Upload’) and the more complex action clearly discoverable but not distracting. So when you need to do something more obscure, like modify a folder’s permissions, you know how to find it, but it’s not in front of you until you need it.

While we’ve left no pixel untouched in this visual refresh, what you’ll see in this first revision is just the beginning of a process of refinement to explore how people can work together joyfully and effectively. Stay tuned!

Sincerely,
David Weekly, Founder and Chief Product Officer

P.S. If you’d like to get a demonstration of the new PBworks, attend one of our webinars.

Pages & Files: Now 50% More Efficient

12 May

We’ve just rolled out a major improvement to all our users, both paid and free.

One of the important elements of PBworks is the ability to organize wiki pages, files, and folders in our Pages & Files manager.  This screen includes a lot of neat capabilities, like being able to drag and drop items between folders, and to upload files simply by dragging them from your desktop to the desired folder.

Today, we made it even better.

The new Pages & Files manager presents a cleaner, uncluttered interface AND provides more information on individual pages and files.  The secret to this seeming paradox is our “More” button, which allows you to see detailed information for the page or file you specify:

Pages & Files Manager

Now, rather than seeing a bunch of repetitive links that appear for each item (e.g. Edit, Rename, Delete, Move), you get a cleaner view with the ability to quickly drill down for the details.

As a by-product of this streamlining, we’re able to fit even more pages and files onto a single screen.  A typical user on a 1368 x 768 screen will be able to see 15 pages/files per screen, versus 10 files per screen on our previous interface.  That’s a 50% improvement.

For more details on using the Pages & Files manager, visit our user manual.

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