Planning App - switching between plan & work

29 Feb 2012 - 5:32am
4 years ago
3 replies
1561 reads

I'm working on an app that has two main usage occasions.

1.) Planning for the upcoming monthly and weekly events

2.) Doing the daily work that was planned

The idea is that each month the new priorities for the upcoming month are delivered, and the people will plan out their month based on these priorities. Each week, they will update their plans for the upcoming week.

Monday thru Friday is all about actually doing the planned work - visiting customers, executing against the priorities, etc. 

As I started to sketch this out, I began to imagine a main calendar navigation control, making it very easy to move between weeks, and then between days in the week… something like this: 

 <- | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Next Week ->

My questions:

1.) Given that a computer can know that it is outside work hours (e.g. 9AM - 5PM), would it be strange to have the interface be in "planning mode" during non-work hours and then automatically switch to "work mode" during work hours? Of course there would be some mechanism for them to switch to planning mode at any time. Would that be odd? 

2.) During the day, I was thinking of minimizing the this control, something like this:

Monday, February 27th (Show Calendar)

So that the focus could be on the work. Does that make sense?

Thoughts?? Comments?? Suggestions?? Questions??

Thank you in advance!!




3 Mar 2012 - 2:36pm
Jochen Wolters


1. Imagine a user of your software to be working overtime. At exactly 5pm, the view would switch from "doing" to "planning". Depending on the software's UI, that behavior could be very intrusive.

Much more so, since these different views likely correspond with different mindsets that your users are in when working with the software. Without having seen your design, it's risky to make suggestions, but I'd generally leave such "context switches" to the user and avoid automating them. 

2. I like the idea of minimizing data displays that can potentially get in the (visual) way of a user's task.

Similarly to point 1, however, I would not automatically show/hide the details view based on any time settings. Instead, I'd link them to the mode, if that makes sense in your overall design approach: Show the full calendar view in "planning" mode, and shrink it down to the current day in "doing" mode.

Nevertheless, you may want to consider allowing the user to see the full calendar even in "doing" mode. In that case, the option that the user chooses (e.g., via a disclosure triangle, etc.) should stick between mode switches.



11 Apr 2012 - 5:28am
AJ Kock

Note to modertors: Rich-text mode seems to have a problem with mobile browsers. My original response (IE9) disappeared after clicking "post". In "Opera 12 Mobile" on the tablet, it refused to select the comment box unless I chose "disable rich-text".

@Jochen I would suggest you test the option of using reminders instead of automatically changing. "It is 5pm. Would you like to switch to planning mode? Yes, No, Remind me in 5/10/30 min"

An option to select you working hours is also recommended (we don't all work 9-5).

Do we really switch between planning and working at specific times or do we do this continuously? Maybe, The app sounds more like "Project Management" overview and an "Editing" view, with the default being an overview.

3 Mar 2012 - 3:02pm


Thank you so much for the reply! Yeah, totally get what you are saying on both points, and they are great observaftions. 

Thank you again!


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