Designing the simplest time-tracker
Ivan Skoro September 25, 2017.
Being a small, focused studio, we deliver high-quality design backed with research and testing. While the tools we use to design are great, the ones we used to track time were not up to the task.
We began tracking our time with Dropbox paper. After a honeymoon phase, we began to run into troubles. Although a pleasure to use, Paper was never envisioned to work as a time tracker. After a few weeks, it got overloaded with multiple time entries, and browsing through them was slow and tedious.
We needed a better solution. So, we decided to embark on an exploration of existing time-tracking software.
Starting the research
Exploring different solutions out there, we realised most of them were pretty complicated. We wanted a simple tool that only had time-tracking and couple of other basic, must-have features. While most of the products tested were great, they were obviously meant for bigger companies with different needs.
We decided to interview designers, starting with online forms.
Some didn’t use any software to track time, and those who did were mostly unhappy with current solutions. We also collected opinions on a possible Sketch plugin that automatically tracks your time. We received great feedback from our testers regarding that idea . With data in our hands, we began to explore solutions to this problem.
Sketching and Iterating
After fully reviewing main competitors, we identified the biggest problems:
1. Feature overload
2. Slow and boring input process
Most of the products we tested had very advanced features ranging from setting up custom pricing for every project and tracking expenses and budget for each one. Our target groups didn’t need these features, they just wanted a simple way to track time.
And that’s another place where the existing products fell short. The input process was simple and consisted of manually choosing projects, time worked and so on. It didn’t use any advances in technology of the last couple of years. Time-tracking therefore felt like a chore, something that you just have to do at the end of the day.
We decided to address these problems.
Prototyping and Conceptualizing
We started with information architecture. By prioritizing features designers and small agencies are actually going to use, we cut down on the noise. Research and testing showed that users mostly wanted to just track time (surprise surprise).
After that, we tackled the input problem. While evaluating existing solutions we realized that they haven’t changed in years. We decided to make the process as easy as telling someone what you did that day. To make that idea reality, a custom natural language input script was developed so you can track your time as easy as talking with someone. With this we hoped to turn time-tracking from an obligation into a fun thing.
After ideating and prototyping we tested our concepts with fellow designers to confirm we are still on the right track.
We realized that some features we envisioned aren’t going to be used, so we cut them off. Also, modifications were made to the input script to make it really natural and easy to track your time. We haven’t predicted multiple ways different people express dates and times. Our developers worked really hard so the script can automatically recognize different formats and properly separate them from the description.
Still using elaborate time trackers?
Simple interface for small design teams and freelancers
Drizzzle’s no fuss interface will set you free from all those features you don’t even use. It really is the simplest time tracker, different from anything you’ve used before. It’ll save you precious time you can spend on something you really enjoy doing. Like hanging out with someone rather than with your old time tracker app.
Are you leading a small team? Then you know the pains of overseeing all of your team’s hours and reporting them to the client. Drizzzle makes creating reports a one-click thing.
Innovative input script saves time
A lot of thought and effort have been invested in creating a unique script that severely cuts down on time needed to write down your working hours. You will no longer be switching through projects and writing hours and tasks individually. We have created an experience where time tracking doesn’t feel like a task anymore.
With our input script you talk to your time-tracker and it will automatically create a time entry for you.
Designed for all platforms
We also made sure that the whole product is responsive, so you can track time, manage projects and switch teams on the go.
This is just the start. We already have awesome features planned for the future. Don’t worry, we won’t bloat the app :)
One of those features is Sketch integration. After all, Drizzzle is made by designers for designers. So, while you work in Sketch it will automatically track time spent working on a project. How cool is that? This feature is the most awaited among our testers and we can’t wait for it to go public.
Check it out at www.drizzzle.com and let us know your thoughts! The product is still in its early phase and we are working towards making it better every day.
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