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How We Make Flow Better Every Day

Mark NicholsLast Updated: April 8, 2015

We try to improve Flow a little bit every day. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always obvious to customers. After all, ‘better’ usually means small performance improvements that only the most scrutinizing users notice. And if we’re not busy ensuring Flow-as-you-know-it is perfect, we’re working on a huge new feature that the general public won’t lay eyes on for months.

With all that day-to-day work going on, we’re lucky to get in a few days per year where we get the pleasure of seeing our customers discover something brand new in Flow. Something that makes them smile. Happy customers make us happy, so we wanted to find a way to give people that nice feeling all year round.

And thus, Delight Day was born. Think of it as a Treat Yo Self day at Flow, but instead of getting massages, we’re giving them: we’re thinking solely of what we can do to make Flow even more enjoyable to use, and give our customers that warm, fuzzy feeling that only comes with the new, joyful, and unexpected.

It’s sort of like a hack day, but with a critical difference: Delight Day is about taking what we’ve got with Flow, and really making it shine. That’s right: on this day of days, you can’t work on anything that doesn’t already exist in Flow. This is the day where pet projects, small annoyances, and silly ideas finally get their moment in the sun.

We held our inaugural Delight Day a couple of Fridays ago. So, how does it work, exactly? Glad you asked. Well, first, we needed to decide what we were all going to focus on. Our product director, Jake, set some context on Delight Day Eve:

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From there, everyone at the company then put forward a couple of ideas for what they could work on that would really delight our users. It became clear that very few parts of Flow would go untouched. Almost everyone seemed to have something on their long-standing wish list. Here are just some of them:

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While some people went to work on things that they could do on their own, certain ideas required a few sets of hands. One idea that had been put up for scrutiny earlier suddenly picked up steam:

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The idea was a powerful one, since completing a task is the single most rewarding thing you can do in Flow—and a ripe opportunity for some added delight. It soon become clear that the potential for delight here knew no bounds.

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With a small team of designers, developers, and marketers attaching themselves to the idea, everyone went to work. One of our developers, Rose, set some rules for when these ‘rewards’ might show up for customers:

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Mark (from marketing) came up with 5 alternate ‘rewards’ for each accomplishment…

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…and in just a few short hours (and some quick illustrations from our designer, Emma), we had a skunkworks version of the task completion reward notifications:

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It was that simple. In the course of one day, we’d conjured an idea for a big improvement, spec’d it out, and designed & built it. It’s amazing how quickly something can get done when it’s not only on a short timeline, but something that’s pure fun for everyone (including our customers).

That was just the start. Here’s everything that we improved in Flow over the course of one single Delight Day:

  • Task completion rewards, which you just read all about.
  • Easy task pane resizing. Maybe you want to focus just on one task’s conversation, or maybe you just want to keep an unflinching eye on your task list. Resizing the task pane gives you loads of freedom over what you’re seeing in Flow.
  • Super-simplified time zone switching. Flow now detects when you’ve changed time zones, and asks you if you want to update your settings with a single click.
  • Brand new, extra-delicious copy everywhere. A few people did a sweep, and found several areas where copy could be improved to make it sound more… well, more like us. Nothing is more delightful than unexpectedly great copy.
  • Updated tutorial videos: Now with nice, contextual, and on-brand thumbnails.
  • Webinars, now with 10,000% more Seinfeld jokes: These were feeling a little dry, so we did a complete refresh of our boilerplate webinar content. They’re gold now. Gold!

And best of all, there were plenty of other ideas that we’ll be saving for a future delight day. This wasn’t a one-off.

However, Delight Day isn’t just about boxing all our delight-driven ideas into a single day. It’s about creating a constant reminder of who’s going to be actually using our product, and ensuring that customers are always the #1 consideration.

It’s a simple point that’s easy to forget: after all, with incredibly long development cycles, endless design revisions, and long nights sweating over copy, you can become quickly detached from your users. You can forget entirely whose happiness and joy you’re really striving for.

So while we aim to make Flow better every day, Delight Day makes certain that ‘better’ doesn’t just mean better to us.