Designing & developing a webapp for freelance project tracking
I was in need of a simple CRM to help me keep track of project inquiries and follow ups. I needed to know what projects were on the burners, who I might want to reach back out to & what chats had happened when.
- Brotform.app †
I needed to create a project from nothing. I had no stakeholders, clients or users other than myself to rely on. I generally am focused on the user experience and product design. With this project I was responsible for everything. From branding & copy to typescript & authentication.
Over the course of a month in early 2020, I found myself with several projects in various states of contract, but nothing imminently hitting. I was struggling keeping track of who I talked to when & decided it was time to build the experience that I had been wanting.
I relied on various pieces of the design that lived in sketches, Sketch files & HTML snippets.
I learned about the specifics of the modern JS development ecosystem & settled on Angular. From there, I began building features in parallel with the functionality, design and presentation being built piece-by-piece.
The heart of the application is keeping track of projects. The solution I designed is based around a super simple, but flexible data model, comprised of two parts:
Overview – This answers the who/what/where. Each project has a client, title, status & detail view. Projects are given a color (green, yellow, red) that feeds the page’s theme to help convey the general status of the project.
Updates – This answer the question of what’s the latest. As the project moves from initial contact onward, I have found it necessary to keep up with communications, action items & todos. The updates section, by being intentionally generic, allows the user to determine how they want to continue to track their project.
Kaizen is the Japanese term for continual improvement. With so many projects that I have worked on there is a date where the contract ends & the product ships. With Brotform there is no end date & I am allowed to continually optimize, refine and improve the experience.
Every time I open Brotform, or share it with someone new, I learn something. Those learnings are then able to be fed in along a road-map of my choosing. With each and every tweak improving the experience bit-by-bit.
Brotform, like most user-generated experiences, is most alive when there is active content displayed. However, this is not the experience users would find when they log in.
I relied on several best practices to create a design that communicates the depth and breadth of the Brotform before a user uploads a single piece of content.
Registration & Sign-in
With a focus on security and simplicity, I integrated Google Firebase authentication’s password-less login.
The one field, one click registration form allows both new and existing users to get up and running as fast as possible.
Modern Development Stack
This project was truly one where the journey is just as much the destination.
Designed by Sean Curran
(takes a deep breath) Project management, product management. UX design, UI design. Front-end development, back-end development. Systems integration, site architect. Copywriting, art direction, branding. Marketing. & barista.