Hey there Workflowy folks, in this post we go a little more in-depth with the upcoming collaboration features. As with all features we add – we’ve tried hard to make sure they feel like they’ve always been a part of Workflowy. That means not cluttering up the interface and keeping things simple and logical.
No notifications? No notification buttons
One way we’ve kept the interface as clean as possible is to not have ever-present buttons or icons if there are no notifications. That means that once you’ve marked the last mention or update as read – the buttons and icons for those features will disappear.
There are two main reasons for this.
First, it keeps the interface clean for users that aren’t using the features. No sense in having buttons in the main parts of the interface if you’re not using them.
Second, it’s one less button to distract you. As anyone that has the habit of constantly checking their email tab even if there are no alerts can tell you, sometimes just the presence of the option to check something is enough to get you to check it. If you’ve marked all the updates and mentions as read, then there’s no reason for those buttons or icons to be present – the only purpose they serve at that point would be as a potential distraction.
“Subscribing” without a subscribe button
Another way we’ve kept the interface clean is by combining features in a natural and effortless way. Take for example how you “subscribe” to an item in Workflowy to then check its notifications. We could have added another button or icon somewhere to let the user “subscribe” to an item and then be notified when it has updates. Instead, we chose to combine it with the starring feature.
That means that any item you star will also display a notification dot when that item contains updates. This way you can quickly see if the updates are from an item you’re interested in or not before you dive in.
Relevant notification alerts
Notifications work a little bit like searches, in that they will be either local or global depending on where you are. If you are zoomed out all the way to the root or home level, any update or mention will cause a notification to be displayed. If you are zoomed in, and there are no unread mentions or updates within that level, the notification icons will not be displayed in the menu bar. This way you are not distracted by notifications from changes happening in other parts of your Workflowy.
If you do want to monitor these, you can simply keep the sidebar open as the main “All updates” and “Mentions” buttons will be displayed when there are any unread updates or mentions, regardless of their location.
We hope these small but thought-out UI details will make the features feel more natural and Workflowy-like. The idea is to have things work as you would expect, without having to fiddle with settings or ever really have to think about them.
Bonus: Jesse chats with Tom Solid from the Paperless movement
Now for something a bit different. Here’s a video of our founder Jesse chatting with Tom Solid from the Paperless movement. They discuss Workflowy’s history and how it came into existence among other things.
Let us know in the comments what you think and we’ll see you in the next update 🇺🇦