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!
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.