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My new product : Hyper Plan


#1

I put out a beta of a new product today:

http://www.hyperplan.com

It is a lightweight planning tool. It is a bit different from anything else I have seen. I hope it will appeal to the event planners that use PerfectTablePlan (amongst others).I won’t say too much more. See if you can work it out from the website?

It is a proof and concept and isn’t polished to commercial software standards. For example, there is no printing, no exporting and not much documentation. And there is plenty that could be improved in the UI. But I am trying to follow my own advice ( http://successfulsoftware.net/2007/08/07/if-you-arent-embarrassed-by-v10-you-didnt-release-it-early-enough/ ). No point in spending ages trying to polish something if turns out that nobody wants it. It seems to be pretty robust though.

It is currently not for sale. You can use it free and unrestricted until 17-Jan-15. I hope to release a commercial version before then, if there is enough demand.

Any feedback is welcome. Particularly from people trying to use it for real planning tasks.

If you aren’t interested yourself, perhaps you know someone who plans by sticking post-it notes to wall?

Inevitable question:
Q. Why is it not a SaaS app?
A. Because:
-I can build a desktop prototype much quicker
-differentiation (some people prefer desktop apps)
I might add SaaS and/or mobile versions later, if there is enough demand.


Hyper Plan v1 launched
#2

Congrats!! Will try and think of some people I can mention it to.


#3

Yes, the Saas religion has become too strong, so much so that people are forcing Saas everywhere, even if downloadable software could be better.


#4

Great product - still I think you lose a good amount of potential customers as your product only runs on Windows…


#5

It runs on Mac as well.


#6

I see it (being a desktop app) as a benefit for small projects (where it is targeted at, it seems).

Still, some sharing is required even in a small office. I like how Scribbleton does it – you may share the work files via the local network or Dropbox, and there is no risk (or so it is advertised) of file corruption. May be you should consider to do it, too.


#7

I need to add file locking, so 2 people can’t update the same file at the same time. PerfectTablePlan already has this (on Windows), so its not a big deal to add. I don’t see it as necessary at this ‘proof of concept’ stage though.


#8

Also, the work area is too small. My preference is when most of the screen is taken by the cards, and the tools are only shown when they are needed (toolbars, menus, context menues).


#9

I agree, especially when I am on my 15" laptop. You can use the left/right pane sliders to collapse them completely. Also you can click a button to show the ‘cards’ view full screen, without the left and right pane. But I am still trying to think of a good way to reduce the amount of real estate the left and right pane use. I don’t want to use modal dialogs and I’m not a big fan of floating tool windows. I am open to suggestions. There must be other apps that have better solutions to the same problem. I can’t think of one off-hand though.


#10

The other option is to squeeze all the controls into the left pane. Might be a bit squashed though!


#11

I’ve been curious why Perfect Table Plan wasn’t also SaaS, and I think you’ve answered it. You’re a numbers guy, so I’m curious how much business you’d guess you’re losing on the other side (people who don’t like installed software and generally won’t buy non-SaaS tools)…?

(Thanks for the mathy sales probability post, in that other thread by the way. I really enjoyed that.)


#12

I have a number of SaaS direct competitors (one VC funded with 30+ staff). But I have no idea what their revenue is.

I do know that if I was planning a 1000 seat event, I wouldn’t want to risk losing everything if a third party server or my Internet connection went down a few hours before the event.


#13

Fair points - just curious. Best of luck with Hyper Plan… kanban-style task management tools like this are the best, IMHO.


#14

Congrats for the launch!


#15

@Andy,

I’d make it possible for people to buy already. Nothing like getting a couple of sales while in early beta to motivate you to keep working on the product!


#16

Moti[quote=“SteveMcLeod, post:15, topic:2158”]
I’d make it possible for people to buy already. Nothing like getting a couple of sales while in early beta to motivate you to keep working on the product!
[/quote]

Motivation is not something I lack. ;0)

I just don’t want to spend the time sorting out payment processing, licensing etc until I am fairly sure there is some demand.


#17

Congrats on the launch! Looks like a great idea. Reminds me a bit of Trello (which we use a lot) but with a different spin.

Personally I like the MRR of SaaS over the single-payment model of desktop software. But you could certainly add a cloud synching/collaboration component though and charge monthly for that. Kind of like Adobe CC.

I do know that if I was planning a 1000 seat event, I wouldn’t want to risk losing everything if a third party server or my Internet connection went down a few hours before the event.

I don’t think most people think this way. If they did, Basecamp would never have worked.


#18

Thanks. Practically every techie I have spoken to has mentioned Trello. But it is quite different and not just in terms of platform.

In a market this size there are plenty of people who prefer SaaS and (hopefully) plenty who prefer desktop.

If you want to distribute/sync plans across multiple machines, you can just use DropBox. Not quite as good as a cloud server with proper concurrency and locking, but might be good enough for some people.


#19

I agree. Forget Trello.

Now, let me tell you why I couldn’t make myself use HyperPlan.

I tried using it for my actual tasks. I feel the mental model of sticky notes fits my work mode better (than Trello).

But the HP UI, despite the stated “sticky notes” model, doesn’t look and behave like sticky notes.

  1. (Minor) Immediately after start the sticky notes field is empty. A small example project would be helpful for quick start.
  2. First note I created was not a note, but a poster. It took the large part of the screen with letters of enormous size. This is not a sticky note I’m used to.
  3. Font size on the notes is dynamic, small if the text is longer. This is not how I write stuff on notes. All my notes have the same font size, because they are filled by the same hand. And it is not just aesthetic thing - when font is the same everywhere, I can scan them notes quick. Now I have to stop at every single one to adjust to the font size.
  4. Working with properties is a pain and doesn’t fit the “sticky notes” model, too. What do I do when I need to add a “property” to a real note? I write it in the corner of the same note! In HP I have to click through a different dialogs on left and right of the work area.
  5. It is easy to trash the whole UI to the point of un-usability. I copied a long paragraph from another to-do list, and it suddenly changed the 3-window work area into 1 (rightmost), and all my attempts to fix it were futile. After some efforts I removed the offending card, and restarted the app - then it normalized.

I have a few suggestions on how I see an ideal UI:

  1. No side windows. Only notes are on the screen.
  2. Same font for each note. If the text is too long, when I hover a mouse over the note, the text is shown in overlay.
  3. To add a property I only need to click on a note, and add a line like “status: to be reviewed”. That adds a “status” property to the note. If the “status” property is a new global property, the app may ask me what is the default for this property, and update all other notes. Properties are case-insensitive.
  4. Ideally, some notes can be bigger (e.g. 2x1 or 2x2 or 3x1 to the standard), but this is nice-to-have, especially for v1.
  5. Long texts are auto-wrapped, but the user newlines are respected, too.

#20

@rfctr

Thanks for taking the time to send feedbakc.

It loosely based on that idea. But I haven’t followed it slavishly.

There are a few examples shipped with the latest version.

It was just zoomed in.

if you had a lot to write, you would have to write smaller to fit it on the note.

I can either scale the font small, make the card bigger or truncate the text. I prefer the former. You can always zoom in or magnify.

It is very much a proof of concept at present and the UI needs a lot more work to reach commercial levels of polish.

You should see a tool tip when you hover over a card (unless you uncheck the tooltip button at the top of the pane). Do you?