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Sneak Peek: FreshBooks Redesign

by Mike McDerment | July 31/2007 |

Over the past few months we’ve been hard at work on a redesign of FreshBooks. Don’t panic—the app will work the same way, we just wanted to achieve a higher standard with our aesthetics… to some degree, FreshBooks the app has always had a year 2003 feel to it, and it’s high time we brought FreshBooks up to date.

The following are a series of screenshots highlighting some of the changes—they’ll be rolled out soon:

Navigation Simplification

tabs.gif As these “before and after” pictures indicate, we’re making a move to a more traditional tabbed navigation. This will simplify the FreshBooks experience and make it easier to navigate the app, and it allows us to ensure the navigation is more contextualized. For those of you who are power users, we’ve worked hard to keep frequently used links ever-present, so FreshBooks is still fast fast fast and you can get where you need in the fewest number of clicks. ### Better Notification Messaging messages.gif For a long time now I’ve wanted to tidy up our error messaging. With our upcoming release our messages will be better—much better. You might think this is a small thing, but we’re guessing you will find it’s a pretty big deal. ### Colour Picker Redesign colour-picker2.jpg The picture pretty much says it all. This colour picker is way easier to use and it’s dynamic so you get instant feedback. We’ve included more samples too. In a word: magic. ### Tidy Page Numbering paging.gif Since they are not primary navigation items, we’ve toned down the page numbering to make the links pop out less (i.e. classic blue links really pop out on white) . We also used CSS to make the clickable area larger for the page numbers, which in turns make it easier to click on a number (design note: a one letter text link is never ideal and that is what we were using before). ### What Else is New? Under the hood this signifies our move to CSS/XHTML with the application—standard stuff these days, but a big move for an application designed in 2003 when this was not especially common. So our pages are leaner and tighter, and we’re also taking better advantage of compression technologies which have reduced our average page size to about 1/3 of what they are today, so you can expect faster page loading. As you can see the app has a new, fresher feel thanks to this redesign. We’ve affectionately titled this release “Sexy Beast” and it’s going to be easier to use for first-time visitors and less cluttered for regular users. This release will include more changes than I have outlined here, and as usual you can expect a steady stream of continuous improvement thereafter—it’s the FreshBooks way! We’ll send an email just before the release like we always do. We hope you enjoy it.

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