Codename Feather

Feather is the codename for ActiveCollab. We wanted to communicate clearly to everyone within the team that the primary goal of the ActiveCollab was lightness (a combination reduced complexity, faster interface and an airy visual feeling), so we called it Featherlight. Pero, short for Peter, is the nickname of the UX designer who challenged us about ActiveCollab’s purpose and future direction. Literal translation to English would read feather. The codename Feather was adopted and kept it as such. We like to think of it as a tribute the project’s main purpose and the person who directs our user experience efforts.
Bumping a version number was an easy thing to do, as we have done it before. After v1, there was v2, and then v2 came v3, and so on. The next major release will be different as things have changed since the last version bump (to version 4, in July 2013). In the past, users could use self-hosted licenses and they could always keep using the system that worked for them. Cloud is different as you can’t control which version you use. We still have many customers who are happy with v3 and v2 installations. It is always the most current and greatest version we have to offer. What happens if we launch a completely different version and you become our Cloud customer? We could just upgrade everyone and let them open ActiveCollabs when they log in, right in the middle of the most important project that they have ever worked on. While we all enjoy playing with new software, nobody (and I repeat that, NOBODY!) likes to be forced to learn new project management software while managing an ongoing project. We understand that and will continue to run version 4 on our Cloud so long as customers are happy with it. Feather is not for you? We’re fine with that. ActiveCollab 4 can be used for as long as needed. We’ll ensure it is stable and performs well. You can try Feather before you make the switch. Yes, you can. You can switch to v4 if that’s what you prefer, or you can continue using v4 if that’s not your preference.
Feather is more that ActiveCollab 5, it is the all-new ActiveCollab 5. We knew we had a great feature set, but we felt that we needed to go further than just adding more features and flattening the design. We didn’t need to paint the house or add another power tool to help us grow. The root cause of user complaints was not the lack of features or 2011 design.
Make it more accessible.
Create a new visual language.
Do some housekeeping.
Although not necessarily in that order, it is close enough. It is crucial that the application runs quickly. A slow application can cause a poor user experience, regardless of how well-designed or developed. Accessibility means that things “make sense” to people when they interact with the tool. The tool becomes more complex as the user uses it more and is more capable of understanding it. The obvious choice is a new visual language. Trends have changed, expectations have changed, and we wanted to provide a fresh interface. The final point is housekeeping. It’s the one that makes all of the above possible. Some features have been retired, while others have been merged or changed their names. Many new features have been added. We’ll be writing about the details in future posts. Personally, I believe we have achieved the goals we set when we started this project. We will be discussing the details in future posts. This will allow you to see our reasoning behind some of our decisions and help you understand the improvements.