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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Hyper Plan feedback

Following upon this post from October:
http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.859274
I launched Hyper Plan yesterday and made some sales. Hooray!

I put some details about the launch here:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2015/01/15/hyper-plan-v1-launched/

I would love to get some feedback, particularly on the web site.
http://www.hyperplan.com
-first impressions
-do you understand what Hyper Plan does?
-does it look OK in your browser?
etc
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, January 15, 2015
 
 
Just a sampling of random thoughts:

I think your opening/landing screencast should be "clips" of functions rather than wandering the mouse around. And you should use some title cards to help explain each point - they would certainly help make the whole thing look a bit more polished.

Could do with a bit clearer enunciation voiceover.

When you add a task, the unassigned tasks seem to be that narrow row at the bottom. In my projects I always have a bountiful supply of tasks that don't have a specific category or assigned person.

I'm not that keen on the magnify tool; maybe some sort of snapping to align tasks under the pointer would make them more readable ?

I would prefer if all the stuff in the UI on the left was invisible until needed. Then you would have a bit more space for larger text on the tasks.

In fact, your GUI looks like a Windows editor for a data file but with some nice animations. I would much prefer it if it was more oriented around juggling/organising/visualising the tasks.

No screenshots for OSX ?

Some aspects of your site seem to take a long time to load. e.g. Avangate logo on the buy page, the index page.

HTH
koan Send private email
Thursday, January 15, 2015
 
 
Put the video on YouTube. They have more bandwidth than your site (I couldn't view it because it pause loading several times)
edddy Send private email
Thursday, January 15, 2015
 
 
@Koan

The video is 'home made'. I plan to get it professional re-done once I am sure the product has a market.

>When you add a task, the unassigned tasks seem to be that narrow row at the bottom. In my projects I always have a bountiful supply of tasks that don't have a specific category or assigned person.

You could default cards to have status=unassigned (or blank) and made the unassigned row/column anywhere you want.

>I'm not that keen on the magnify tool; maybe some sort of snapping to align tasks under the pointer would make them more readable ?

I'm not sure what you mean. An example might be helpful.

>I would prefer if all the stuff in the UI on the left was invisible until needed. Then you would have a bit more space for larger text on the tasks.

if you drag the splitter far enough to the left the whole pane disappears.

>In fact, your GUI looks like a Windows editor for a data file but with some nice animations. I would much prefer it if it was more oriented around juggling/organising/visualising the tasks.

It is a work in progress. Is intended to be reminiscent of post it notes stuck to a board.

>No screenshots for OSX ?

The majority of users are likely to be on Windows. I suppose I could detect their OS and show the appropriate Windows or Mac screenshot. Anyone else doing that? Anyone A/B tested whether it makes an difference?

>Some aspects of your site seem to take a long time to load. e.g. Avangate logo on the buy page, the index page.

The Avangate image is only 7kb. But I am on a cheap godaddy commondity host. Response time seems a bit variable.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, January 15, 2015
 
 
>Put the video on YouTube. They have more bandwidth than your site (I couldn't view it because it pause loading several times)

The video is hosted on screencast.com. I think they have pretty good bandwidth (usually anyway).

Embedding youtube videos on a site is a mistake IMHO. They'll probably just end up watching cat videos and forget all about the product.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, January 15, 2015
 
 
The corporate firewall here blocked me from viewing your website Andy. It didn't give a reason at all. Generally if there's the keyword blog in the domain name it would block me from getting through. It's a small squid proxy serving only hundreds of users so don't worry about it. It's probably something inconsequential.

If I HAD gone through I would be able to test with Windows 7 - Internet Explorer 9.

Cheers!
Li-fan Chen Send private email
Thursday, January 15, 2015
 
 
>The corporate firewall here blocked me from viewing your website

http://www.hyperplan.com
or
http://www.successfulsoftware.net ?

I've had one person tell me that none of the links work on this page (including navigation links) using IE10:
http://www.perfecttableplan.com/html/purchase.html
But every other page is fine. Which seems weird. I can't reproduce it with IE.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
> You could default cards to have status=unassigned (or blank) > and made the unassigned row/column anywhere you want.

My point is that, personally, I spend more time looking at unassigned tasks than assigned tasks. For me, the main thing is deciding what goes into the queue next.

>>I'm not that keen on the magnify tool
>I'm not sure what you mean. An example might be helpful.

When the pointer moves over a task, the whole workspace could exhibit a "magnetism" to scroll it into position to centre the text in the magnify window thus making it easier to read.

>It is a work in progress. Is intended to be reminiscent of post it >notes stuck to a board.

I understand that. I would rather see more of the board than the editing widgets. In most of the views, the text is too small to read unless you are fiddling with magnify or zoom.

>The majority of users are likely to be on Windows.

As a Mac user, I'm just not going to consider buying any software that doesn't show a screenshot for Mac. So why waste your time maintaining the version ? Or, stick up some screenshots...

>Response time seems a bit variable.

For me, deadly slow.
koan Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
Hi Andy,

Congratulations! I hope you are going out to celebrate the launch with your wife and best friends this weekend!!

I dont have a great deal to contribute to the thread, I think the product and the web site are a master class in launching a minimum viable product which as you say needs to have plenty of warts or you didnt launch early enough. As for the polishing and improvements, they will be fine subjects for your blog over the coming months.

My only problems with the video is that all those sticky notes jumping around seems very complex to me. I have a mental model in my mind of those notes stuck on the wall, then you change the axis and they all move about and my mental model is lost - that doesnt happen with real sticky notes. So this is just my first impression as I am watching the video which you asked for.

One of the things I remember about the host of this site, is that he worked on the Excel team and he found that most users simply used Excel to make lists of things. So I think one of the main use cases of your product is to make lists of things and you should demonstrate that prominantly on the web site.

For the future, I think you should make your app a "hybrid" app so that the project files are optionally hosted on your central server and so users can collaborate on projects. You can charge extra for hosting the project files - an additional and recurring revenue stream. Also this way you can possibly sell *hundreds* of licences for a single large corporation, for example if a project manager uses your product and all of the employees working on the project need to view the status, they need a copy too - a weak kind of viral growth. Using a central server also means that users cannot pirate your product! I do think you should make a web interface for it too as the product is naturally a group product.

Billy
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
>My point is that, personally, I spend more time looking at unassigned tasks than assigned tasks. For me, the main thing is deciding what goes into the queue next.

You can set a filter to only show the 'unassigned' cards (and store that filter as a 'view').

>When the pointer moves over a task, the whole workspace could exhibit a "magnetism" to scroll it into position to centre the text in the magnify window thus making it easier to read.

I'm still finding that hard to visualize. If you have a video of similar behaviour, that would be helpful.

>I understand that. I would rather see more of the board than the editing widgets. In most of the views, the text is too small to read unless you are fiddling with magnify or zoom.

You can hide all the control and make the card space full screen. There is obviously a limit to how much you can interact like this, but I am, trying to avoid having lots of floating windows or modal dialogs.

The UI design is an iterative process. I may come up with something better later. Currently I am hust trying to work out if there is a market for this.

>As a Mac user, I'm just not going to consider buying any software that doesn't show a screenshot for Mac. So why waste your time maintaining the version ? Or, stick up some screenshots...

The PerfectTablePlan website screenshots are heavily biased to Windows, but I still make a healthy number of sales on Mac OS X.

I might replace (or supplement) the video with some screenshots (PNG or animated GIF).

>For me, deadly slow.

The whole website, or just the video?

Is anyone else experiencing that?

Thanks for the feedback.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
>My only problems with the video is that all those sticky notes jumping around seems very complex to me. I have a mental model in my mind of those notes stuck on the wall, then you change the axis and they all move about and my mental model is lost - that doesnt happen with real sticky notes. So this is just my first impression as I am watching the video which you asked for.

Fair comment. But I am also trying to do things that are hard to do with Post-It notes. If I just stuck to the capabilities of Post-it notes, you might just as well go out and buy Post-It notes!

I agree the video isn't great though. I like the way the animated gifs are used on this site:
http://pinegrow.com
I might copy that idea.

>One of the things I remember about the host of this site, is that he worked on the Excel team and he found that most users simply used Excel to make lists of things. So I think one of the main use cases of your product is to make lists of things and you should demonstrate that prominantly on the web site.

Any number of software products can do that (including Notepad). Where Hyper Plan excels (I think) is grouping and visualisation.

>For the future, I think you should make your app a "hybrid" app so that the project files are optionally hosted on your central server and so users can collaborate on projects.

That is a possibility if there is enough demand. Either as a client-server app (using something like https://qtcloudservices.com/) or as a saas app.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
> >For me, deadly slow.
>
> The whole website, or just the video?
>
> Is anyone else experiencing that?

The web site is lightning fast from Mexico, the installer download took 6 seconds.
Billy Thorpe Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
Andy,

as a Mac user: Maybe you should do an agent string check and display OS X screenshots to Mac users. It's almost a reflex to close the tab whenever I see a Windows screenshot (I just assume there's no OS X version).

Yes, I know you've mentioned OS X in the headline but who reads text anyway? ;)
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
PS: I made my comment before I read koan's post. So I guess there's something to the OS X users prefer OS X screenshot theory.
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
Congrats on your sales of your new product, Andy!  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, January 16, 2015
 
 
> I'm still finding that hard to visualize. If you have a video of similar behaviour, that would be helpful.

The more I think about it, the more I think it would be better to remove magnify and make sure that the zoom features are perfect.

> The whole website, or just the video?

It seems fine now. I guess it was just that time I was looking at it.

Another few comments:

When Hyper Plan is loaded without a plan there is a tiny diamond in the middle of the "viewer", that you can zoom.

I elected to try the sample plans but I didn't realise you were going to install them in my Documents directory. I must start reading dialogs more carefully! I moved the samples to the trash but when I ran again an empty Hyper Plan directory was recreated in ~/Documents and definitely no dialog this time.

I like to try software by mounting the DMG and run from there if possible. I has a nose around the app bundle before my first run and saw the samples in resources so my expectation was that they would be loaded from the DMG instead of a local copy being made.
koan Send private email
Saturday, January 17, 2015
 
 
>The more I think about it, the more I think it would be better to remove magnify and make sure that the zoom features are perfect.

If you don't like the magnify, you don't have to use it. I like it. ;0)

>It seems fine now. I guess it was just that time I was looking at it.

It does seem a bit variable. I'm not sure if that is GoDaddy flakiness. Maybe I will upgrade to a dedicated server. I have managed on shared servers so far.

>When Hyper Plan is loaded without a plan there is a tiny diamond in the middle of the "viewer", that you can zoom.

That is on the bug fix list. I didn't fix it for v1 as it is very much an MVP and the issue is only cosmetic.

>I elected to try the sample plans but I didn't realise you were going to install them in my Documents directory. I must start reading dialogs more carefully! I moved the samples to the trash but when I ran again an empty Hyper Plan directory was recreated in ~/Documents and definitely no dialog this time.

There is no installer on Mac (only a dmg) so I look to see if the samples are installed when it is run. If they aren't I copy them from the resources dir of the app. I guess I should ask before I do that. I can see it would be annoying if they keep reappearing!

>I like to try software by mounting the DMG and run from there if possible. I has a nose around the app bundle before my first run and saw the samples in resources so my expectation was that they would be loaded from the DMG instead of a local copy being made.

Won't that invalidate the signing of the bundle if you modify a file in the resource dir?
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, January 18, 2015
 
 
> Won't that invalidate the signing of the bundle if you modify a file in the resource dir?

Yes if you modify a file within the bundle it would break the signature. I don't think you would need to modify the sample files;  if you did you could offer an alternative location to save.
koan Send private email
Sunday, January 18, 2015
 
 
Probably better just to give them option to opt out of having the samples installed to their Documents folder.

Or perhaps install it the first time and then set a flag in the info.plist file to not do it again.

Appreciated the feedback BTW.
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, January 18, 2015
 
 
The video was pretty slow to come up for me as well (even just the thumb nail...?)  I'd guess 7+ seconds.

IMHO the black icons on blue background in the benefits area could be improved.  Maybe off white?  Color?

Otherwise I think it looks quite good.
Doug Send private email
Monday, January 19, 2015
 
 
>The video was pretty slow to come up for me as well (even just the thumb nail...?)  I'd guess 7+ seconds.

I think it might be resized on the fly each time, rather than being served at the 'native' size. Will investigate.

>IMHO the black icons on blue background in the benefits area could be improved.  Maybe off white?  Color?

I tried off-white. They looked worse IMO.

>Otherwise I think it looks quite good.

Thanks!
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, January 19, 2015
 
 
I tried scaling the first frame image to the right size and re-uploaded it. But screencast.com seem to have resized it again. Not sure what is going on.
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, January 19, 2015
 
 

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