How to build great collaboration software

Productivity software has changed a lot over the past decade. With the rise of cloud computing, software to handle documents and calendars has shifted from desktop-based, single-user to cloud-based and designed for sharing. At the same time, the Internet has ushered in the rise of social media. As a result, productivity software has converged with communications software to give us the collaboration software we know today. At best, collaboration tools make it simple and delightful to communicate, plan, and build things in groups. But I still see lots of websites and apps still making basic mistakes that get in the way. So fundamentally, what makes a collaboration tool work well? Here are some rules I follow when building out the user inerface for collaboration tools, starting with the core architecture of a service and continuing with how to get the details right. Allow multiple accounts to access each workspace Many ...(Read More)

Thoughts on the Secret app

The anonymous sharing app on iOS called Secret has been making the rounds for the past few weeks. Secret has been compared to everything from PostSecret and WikiLeaks to the “burn book” from the movie Mean Girls. The app has circulated some very shady and inappropriate content, but I’ve also seen some really touching and poignant stories shared on it. I think the idea has potential to serve a niche of mobile social media if it continues in the right direction, and I’m going to stick it out. Here are the observations I’ve made about Secret that interest me the most: It will be a challenge to eliminate inappropriate content, but they have a chance at it. There are countless examples of websites that allow anonymous participation where gossip and lewd content are rampant. The early days of Secret were no exception – I saw some embarrassing posts and comments ...(Read More)