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Harvest Mobile Timesheet, Beta

Since the beginning of this year, we have been working on an ambitious project to re-think and re-imagine the most critical part of Harvest: the timesheet. We’re close to having something to show you. The first piece that will be ready is the new mobile view, which you can now sign up for beta testing.

Overhauling Six Years of Technology

The Harvest timesheet you use today went through a redesign over two years ago. The code is about six years old (as old as our business), improved and patched up over the years. This time we are building a completely new timesheet from scratch.

There aren’t any major problems with the timesheet today. In fact, the most common feedback we hear from our customers is that they love Harvest’s simple and beautiful design. But we’re not satisfied with it. We, as designers and developers, have evolved over the years, so has the web as a platform, and its technology. We are not improving the timesheet just to make it new. We believe we can create an even simpler and faster experience.

Why Mobile?

For the new timesheet, we decided to start mobile. To us, it’s also the most interesting platform to design against: with its small screen and natural restrictions, we are forced to be more disciplined with what we can show and do on screen. We also believe that timesheet should be mobile; it’s an activity that should not be chained to your desktop, and the information should be simple, succinct and clear, at a glance, on a tiny screen.

Mobile is the least intrusive way to experiment with a new technology without affecting our customers. We’re using a radically different way of building the new mobile timesheet (based on Backbone.js) – Dee, our main developer for the new timesheet, will write a more in-depth article about how the new timesheet is built. There is a lot going on behind the timesheet’s deceptively simple user interface. The goal here is to make it super fast and responsive (by that, I don’t mean being responsive with the layout, but responsive in terms of feedback to the users).

Looking Ahead

The plan is to launch the new mobile beta, to test out the new design and technology. Our hope is that once you start using it, you won’t really notice the difference. It should be smooth and mostly familiar. The changes are subtle: lighter, simpler, clearer, with a couple of tweaks to make time entry even faster. The big changes are all happening behind the scenes. We will be writing a few blog posts to share with you what we did and learned.

We are excited about this project and cannot wait to share it with you.

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This was posted in Behind-the-Scenes, New Features, Product News, Time Tracking.
  • Michael Moore on April 25, 2012

    Nice! Love Harvest and use it everyday.

    One request – when you get to doing the desktop version, could you add a way to see a timer’s history? Like each time it started and stopped? That would make dealing with a running timer so much easier to correct! Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  • Harvest for Mac with the menu bar feature is wonderful! Since I run Windows in a VM, all I need is that one for my laptop and the iPhone app when I’m at a client site.
    On the first of the month, I import the previous month’s activities to QuickBooks and do my invoicing in under an hour.

    I think the only feature I could ask is a “Memorized” list, kind of like QB’s memorized transactions, That would save me about 20-30 keystrokes a week!

  • “There aren’t any major problems with the timesheet today. In fact, the most common feedback we hear from our customers is that they love Harvest’s simple and beautiful design.”

    Exactly, no to grumble, but wouldn’t your combined energy be better served concentrating on the (I’m sure very long) list of requested features rather than improving something that already works really well?

    A few suggestions such as:-
    Late fees & calculations (something I’ve seen requested and would make life much easier)
    “Send all” for reminders (sending 100+ late reminders as a small business isn’t fun)
    Search for invoices (I’ve used you for years and I still can’t search on an invoice number when someone phones up!)
    Non-US payment gateways (only being able to use Paypal is not fun)
    Client logins (nice idea)
    Adding notes to invoices (adding a payment of 0.00 to be able to add a note is a bit of a hack)

  • I have to agree with @Dan White. Why fix whats not broken when there are so many holes in the product that need to be filled? I am wasting so much time adding late fees manually and setting up reminders for each invoice manually. Rather than spending resources on existing features that work (and no one seems to be complaining about), direct the resources towards adding the stuff that everyone is begging for and will add value to the product.

  • I find the current mobile interface lacking for what I do . So much so I stopped using it alogether. I’d welcome a “real” time sheet interface on a mobile plaform where I can edit multiple days/hours from one view. I think for those of us that have fewer clients with larger hour blocks per client spread across multiple days, the current mobile interface needs a revamp. I do timesheets by week, and not by hour block per day, so to me the only usable interface is the timesheet view via the website, none of the widget/mobile apps are useful to me.

    I’m not debating the need for the other feature requests, but I am saying that the lacking mobile interface re-tool is one of my most pressing feature needs, and I will welcome it.

  • Jeremy S. on April 29, 2012

    “Send all” for reminders (sending 100+ late reminders as a small business isn’t fun)” -Dan White

    For the love of God, this and/or just automated issuing of reminders for late invoices, I don’t want to be bothered by it at all.

    “Search for invoices (I’ve used you for years and I still can’t search on an invoice number when someone phones up!)” -Dan White

    Yes! Please. It seems so odd that I can’t do something this basic, either.

    “Adding notes to invoices (adding a payment of 0.00 to be able to add a note is a bit of a hack)” -Dan White

    This seems easy to implement in the drop down option where we have ‘service’, ‘expense’ etc. to add a ‘line item’ or ‘comment’ option. If not then just an open text field at the bottom of the invoice that custom comments for the applicable invoice can be added without doing a 0.00 item charge.

  • Funny, I started poking around on the Harvest blog today because I discovered a new competitor to Harvest today, and it looks like their timesheet is more user-friendly and faster to use than Harvest’s.

    In particular, I switch between clients very frequently, and it slows me down to have to select them from the drop-down list each time. It’s not a dealbreaker, but that particular competitor offers one-click time-tracking, which would be really nice.

    I hope something like this is in the works in the new interface!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Andrew,
    I switch a lot, too. One of the best things about the new Mac app is that you can just start typing, like most modern apps. If that isn’t the Harvest standard, it should be!

  • And unlike Mike, I’m using the tool to manage small snippets of time across many projects/day so I do a lot of scrolling to find the current project I’m working on. I just started using this for time/project tracking and so far it is the best I’ve seen over years of looking.

  • Jason Masters on May 7, 2012

    Hi, I generally agree that for me the time entry is working ok, and I would rather see some long outstanding requests completed. For me these would be:
    1) Payment Report incorporating tax information
    2) Being able to have multiple brands on invoices rather that just multiple from e-mail addresses
    3) Being able to add comments to invoices (as mentioned above)
    4) Agree with the need for non US payment gateway – low priority for me, but could see it in the future (as mentioned above)

  • Hey guys, thanks a lot for the comments, feedback and your support.

    We believe improving the core of Harvest is important – it the main interface that all customers use everyday, and we want to make it even better.

    The other improvements mentioned for invoicing – we agree and we want to work on them later in the year.

  • The mobile version seems to be the only one that lists the available projects in order of project number under each client rather than alphabetically – which I personally love about the mobile version and wish the desktop/web versions did the same (I tend to think of projects as being recent or older rather than by name). I hope that will be kept in the revamp. Other than this I love Harvest.

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