Timesheets get a great new look!

Jeff Denton

Feb 8, 2011 by Jeff

Features, Help, Timesheets, News

CreativePro Office has been around, in one form or another, since 2003.  Back then the state-of-the-art for timesheet data entry was the typical week grid that looks something like this...

Old timesheet data entry

"Hey, that looks just like the timesheet I use on CPO version 2!" Yup, you're right.  The point is, as CPO has gone through numerous upgrades and revisions, the timesheet has remained pretty old school and it's time for a change.  Here's why.

The old timesheet user interface (UI) has 1 advantage ... it allows for quick data entry for 1 week IF it is the only place in the system to enter timesheet data AND hours are the only data you're entering.  Anthing more complex and the UI begins to fall apart.  For example, there's no place to view comments without clicking on a comment bubble and the design just looks cramped.

You also run into trouble when introducing other means of entering timesheet data such as the job timer or the up-and-coming mobile app and desktop app (more on these in another post - later).  It quickly becomes unclear how to render the timesheet rows with multiple entry points. If I enter hours and comments through the timesheet UI for a given project/task/day and then enter more hours/comments through the job timer for the same project/task/day, how should that be shown?  Two lines in the UI or combine the 2 entries into 1 line?  It gets confusing fast.

Lastly, as many of our users have noticed, the code is just buggy. Comment popups don't close when you think they should, timesheet rows don't always delete, etc.  This is due to a cludgy and ugly codebase that has not changed a whole lot in about 7 years. 

It's Time for a Change

This coming Friday we'll be rolling out the new-and-improved timesheet UI.  It may take a bit of getting used to, but ultimately I think it will be more intuitive, relatively bug free, and simpler to maintain.  Let's take a look...

The new timesheet UI

Hopefully, the first thing you notice is a cleaner look and more 'breathing room' in the design.  Other than that, the most fundamental change is the shift from project/task focused entry to day focused entry.  In other words, instead of selecting a Project/Task and entering all your weekly hours for that combination, you select a Day and enter whatever project/task/hours you worked for that day. 

I don't know about you but for me, this shift just fits better with my daily routine. The clutter reduction and increase in visible data helps me see what I've done day-to-day with a lot more clarity.

Data Entry

Data entry for this new UI look like this...

Entering timesheet hours

Weekly Summary Views

We understand that a whole-week view is essential as well so we have kept the weekly grid view - it's available when you click the Grid view button.

Weekly grid view

Also, along the right-hand column you will see a bar chart of hours worked, giving a kind of at-a-glance understanding of the week.  Down the road we will include charts to show hours worked per project/task/client as well.

Weekly charts

We believe the new timesheet user interface will be a lot more friendly, informative, and stable.  Look for this to be rolled out by Friday, Feb. 11th and we hope you like it!

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