Archive for July, 2011

Yuuguu now more user-friendly than ever

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Here at “Yuuguu HQ” – the collection of home offices that we work from – we’ve just finished probably our biggest product usability upgrade ever. We’ve redesigned the user experience for Yuuguu from the ground up, based on what we’ve learned about what real people want.

I thought I’d show off some of the touches we’ve added – and explain some of the thinking behind them.

All in one main window

If you’ve never used Yuuguu before, this is probably not a big deal. Most applications involving people these days do ‘People on the Left, Stuff on the Right’.  It’s the familiar feel of Facebook, Google+, new Twitter and many, many other apps.

If you are an earlier Yuuguu user (thanks, by the way! We hope you like these changes) you will see that the multiple windows are gone, the tabs are gone, in fact pretty much everything has been replaced.

We moved to this approach precisely because it is so familiar if you are joining us for the first time. Also, we now have a much larger space in the right hand pane in which we can do ‘stuff’ with ‘people’ And we have a lot of ‘stuff’ planned for the next couple of releases which will need (1) more action buttons, and (2) more screen real estate.

Pictures of People

The biggest change by far for me personally – we added picture support for your contacts. Not only does everyone get a chance to upload their mug shot, but we added in gravatar support as well. If you choose not to upload a picture, we provide a nicely pastel-coloured image based on your name.

To set your picture, click the (new) settings icon on the top right (the little cog thing) to open settings:

Then click ‘Change Picture’ to get to our Picture wizard

More Choices on the Start button

The Start button dropdown is where most people head at first, so we added all the useful tasks under there. Just clicking the button will start a Web Conference, which is our most popular usage. By clicking the little dropdown arrow, the options you see above are presented.

We put find contacts here as it seemed quite logical – and out of the way at the same time.

New Starter Wizard

We have totally revamped the wizard that you get when you log in as a new user. Our old one consisted of large buttons that looked like they would do something – but then took you to help pages. Not brilliant, really.

The new wizard is pretty much what you would expect. We have taken the three most common tasks that new users do, and made clickable blocks that get you started doing them.

Search Contacts

After a while, you can build up a pretty large network of contacts. You can now find them much faster with our search box. Type in any part of the contact name you remember, and the contact list shrinks to show only the possible matches. It’s a lot less wear and tear on your mouse scroll wheel for sure!

Favourite Contacts

I like this feature a lot. By hovering your mouse cursor over a contact in the contact list, you get some extra options appearing:

You can see above that ‘Unfavorite / Edit’ has appeared. The small blue star in the top left of the photo indicates that the contact is one of your ‘favourites’. Favourites get placed at the top of your contact list for ease of use.

Simpler Timestamps

We have moved from our old system of saying a message was sent at – for example – ’11:02′, making absolutely everyone check their watch just to see if it is an old or a new message. We’ve gone over to the more popular system of giving an indication of how long ago the message was sent:

Right Pane Actions

This seems really obvious to us know. Select a contact from your contact list, on the left of the screen. The right hand screen animates in things you have done, and things you can now do to that contact. Under the ‘Screen Share’ button, we include (on windows) the share-a-single-application button. We also have the ‘Ask to See’ option. This is really useful for remote support, as it turns our screen sharing ‘backwards’ – ie you ask the remote user to see their screen, and they hit ‘Accept’ on a popup that they will get.

Simplified Groups

We’ve thrown out our old system of control clicking in the contacts list. It was hard to explain. We’ve added a simple ‘Add more people’ link in the right hand pane now. If you need to add up to 30 more people into your session, click ‘Add more people’. There. I found that *much* easier to explain!

Behind the scenes

We’ve also increased our support for Internet Proxies. If you are unsure what one of these is, then a good description would be ‘something that actively blocks you from using Yuuguu, sometimes’. That’s not what they are there for, of course, but they are a piece of useful IT hardware that can get in the way. We already auto-detect some kinds, and ‘do the right thing’ to make Yuuguu work with them. Now, we can also do certain kinds which rely on the IT department setting them up with ‘pac’ files.

The upshot is, Yuuguu now works in a few places right out of the box where it didn’t before.

What do you think?

So, over to you! What do you think? Let us know on twitter @Yuuguu

I think it is a lot more modern, simpler and just – well, ‘slicker’ – if that’s a real word. Our goal is to make it easier for new users to do the job they downloaded Yuuguu for. Do let us know if you think we’ve got it right.

All the Best -

Al from the Dev Team.