It’s been a while since we’ve made changes to Heresy’s design. After all; why mess with perfection? But over the course of that time, many lively debates about UI and UX improvements have been had at Heresy HQ.
One of the pages that we felt most needed a revisit was our Analytics page. Analytics are a hugely important part of any organisation that are serious about making improvements. But the reality is that, for smart professionals, there are only a handful of useful metrics that you need to track in order to better your game. Rather than bombard managers and reps with lots of useless information, our goal has always been to give them exactly what they need, and deliver it in a simple, clean interface.
To a certain extent, we succeeded in doing this with our Analytics page. It was visually clear, colourful and simple looking. And therein lies the problem. How do you convince someone who is serious about their profession to use a product that looks so fun?
Everything we deliver through our platform is built on a collection of principals that have proven to work in the wild; but aesthetics can sometimes undermine good practise. Many people confuse complicated and unstylish graphs with effective, scientific analysis. Similarly, a simplified, succinct and stylish graph can give the impression that the information being communicated is not valuable or trustworthy. When something behaves like a tool, but looks like a toy, it can undermine the mission to improve the performance of our industry. It’s an unfortunate dichotomy.
So we’ve given our Analytics page, as well as a few other bits and bobs, a small style tweak to keep them as beautiful as they have always been, but with a whiff of technicality. We’ve matured our pipeline colours, straightened our edges, and tuned-up our charts.
People respond to colour quickly, so using it correctly can deliver a lot of information in a very short space of time. But too many colours can muddy the language, and we felt that our pipeline colours were suffering from spectrum fatigue. For example, greens and reds were used to depict some stages of the pipeline, as well as successes and failures in personal performance. This was a contradiction. Furthermore, the use of so many different hues for the pipeline made any exhaustive pipeline charts look a little bit like a child’s play mat.
We solved this by using a clear set of harmonious colours for the pipeline. Now, as you travel through your pipeline, you go from pinks, to purples to blues. The colours adapt to the number of stages your team has, too. Where we had previously truncated our list of consecutive colours for lesser pipeline stages, we now adapt the colour palette to fit the pipeline length. Only have three stages? You’ll still see some pink, purple and blue. Have nine? You’ll see the same. This helps with consistency of experience across our whole user base.
Rounded edges are so yesterday. In the good old days, perfectly rounded edges were a sign of graphical exuberance. Now, any old body can do them. It takes chutzpah to bring back the old straight edge, so that's what we've done. Many of our components now have a 90 degree angle. Careful not to cut yourself...
We've spent many hours debating a particular graphical chart in our Analytics page: the accuracy chart. Accuracy on one axis is famously difficult to represent visually, especially when you're trying to incorporate colour.
Our original chart was a dashboard gauge. It looked the part, but it was hard to get a good understanding of success from a brief look. This was because 'hitting your target' involved showing a needle pointing exactly north, which left little room for colour feedback. The only colour you would see would be a negative red, painted east and west of your target.
Our new chart is radial, and shows red until you've reached a certain percentage close to your target. If you're right on target, you see nothing but green. In agile methodology being predictable is far more valuable than being constantly above goal - so if you're over your target we now paint a thinner red line over the green to try and encourage you towards getting your predictions bang-on.
We've also given our Pipeline Tenancy/Probability chart a make-over. Straight edges and a gridded background have brought it more in line with the rest of the application.
We hope you like the changes. If you don't, troll us below. ✌