With the help of the very talented James Beer of Logo Logo, we set about on a project that wasn’t just about making ActiveInbox look pretty, it was about making the interface absolutely coherent and so a joy to use.

I won’t bore you with every little detail, suffice it to say we did obsess over the little details.

Instead I’ll focus on the most important changes you need to be aware of…

Colour Has Meaning

Generally speaking, blue means ‘do something at your leisure’, red & white is ‘today’ and red & black is ‘overdue’.

We Defined “Task” and “To Do”

We used to prevaricate on what to call a conversation that has a status or due date, mostly calling them “to do”s or “active”. We’re now, rightly, calling them what they are: Tasks.

And by freeing up a term, we were able to get rid of the ugly phrase ‘Next Steps’, instead being able to meaningfully say every conversation can have a checklist of To Dos.

Speaking of which, we also changed the colour of the “To Do & Note” box in conversations, to be more consistent with other colours in ActiveInbox (and perhaps more importantly, less gallingly-yellow).

The ‘Group By’ and ‘Sort By’ are hidden until needed

We’ve been hearing that the Group By and Sort By dropdowns were confusing for new users, and were also just visually distracting for everybody else 🙂

So we did the kind thing, and tucked them into a menu icon where they can be expanded only when needed.

When closed it looks like this:

And when it opens:

We moved the arrows to the right of the Action Bar (like Gmail)

This is because we wanted to make the Move Nexter (archive, spam, delete, etc.) and Status/Due-Date buttons the most important things, as they’re key to getting things done.

(Whereas the are for skipping rather than doing, and you even have the special ‘-‘ Move Nexter if you just want to skip a single email as you flow through).

One thing we could do is put the buttons in a fixed position on the right hand side, like Gmail does, so they don’t flicker around when you add a long Project label.

This is possibly a controversial thing, so let me know what you think.

Lots of bug fixes in the Beta

I’ve also fixed almost every bug you reported over the last week about the FAST Beta, which I now believe is about ready for the stable release (but not quite – a few more days to be sure!).

I owe a particular thanks to mz, and Denis Cantu, who were kind enough to take phone calls and trust me with a screen share to fix a lot of the bugs. I can honestly say I would not have been able to fix several things without them.

Trying it out

Just go to our Beta Install page.


This was written by Andy Mitchell