Romulus (see post below) has renamed itself Index via the name (QNetwork) on completion of a season at Y Combinator in San Francisco. My most recent work for them involved thinking about how to show the details of a single contact. This includes obvious markers such as; name, profile pic, and email address but also indications of how the individual is connected to the account holder and when the last contact was made. Dividing the screen into proportional thirds allowed us to maintain the grid screen of contacts and establish a temporary central column for individual’s details. This content area will show further detail for whoever is selected in the main panel. The left hand column is then reserved for the group and organisation hashtags. The hashtag system is used through the application and scales from individual metadata to group or organisation level. As ever, the interface design principle here is to make sure the various content areas belong syntactically to the same product, giving users the room to understand what is happening, and avoid cluttering the screen with unnecessary detail.
Along with handling how individual appear this latest iteration also suggests a way of dealing with creating, selecting and editing groups. These might be different groups on one organisation such as Marketing, or Finance or they may be groups containing collaborators in diverse organisations, like the example shown here. Groups are denoted by a diamond shape as opposed to the circles for individuals – my feeling is that we may move away from these geometric markers completely in the near future – much as I like how they communicate. Groups are used to communicate between members, to keep track of shared interests and to maintain a network. One observation here is that the ability to edit a group creates the need for a readable editing history.
Editing groups means making enabling a series of discrete actions possible so as to allow those with editing rights to add and remove people. We also implemented the possibility to download any groups member’s names as a CSV file. The interface is starting to get into the fine-grained detail of how managing contacts and groups should be done. Having established the use of orange for actions, the colour treatments are beginning to make sense. I discovered here that a rule with no adherents is superfluous. Only when there are applications for the rule is its logic apparent. This was inspired by the way Technogym machinery is designed with yellow indicating physical controls that can be adjusted by the user.