Highrise, by 37signals, is easily my most used app. It’s the command center of my day. Notes from every conversation I have end up stored there along with every email. All that information is then turned into tasks which dictate the direction my day takes me.
Today, 37signals introduced a design update. Overall I think it’s a wonderful update to a design that was now several years old. It’s a good reorganization of the information along with a few nice additions.
One of the best new features addresses one of the big shortcomings of the old design. You sometimes had to back out of pages to be able to search for another contact. For someone like me who spends a good chunk of the day jumping between contacts, making notes, this was a huge hassle. Now the bar above stays on every page allowing me to quickly find other contacts or add tasks and new contacts.
Contact File Info
When you click an individual contact’s page, the bar above is at the top of the information stack. This gives a really clear way to instantly see their contact information and photo.
How’s the Weather?
One of the cleverest new features is a weather report and time (for clients in different time zones) on each person’s page based on the address you have on file for them. It makes for a nice conversation starter if you can ask about the rain or snow in their area when you have a phone call.
The new left-hand bar gives a nice overview of Highrise along with links to the different sections. At a glance I can see how many tasks I have remaining for the day along with how many cases and deals I’m working on.
A Few Gripes
So what’s not to like about the new design? Really just a few minor quibbles. The first is that the task bar to the right is just too narrow. As you can see in the first screenshot, when I have a lot of tasks it can stretch on forever. A few more pixels please.
The other oddity is that the photo of a person when I click on their file is sometime tilted slightly. It’s at different angles each time or sometimes just straight. I’m sure that design decision has to have a reason, but I don’t particularly like it. In a design that is all straight, beautiful lines, it is off-putting to suddenly see a crooked photo. My thought when I see it is “hey, that picture is crooked,” which is not really what I want to spend my time thinking while using productivity software.
My only other complaint would be the lack of ability to change the order of tasks. This has been a functionality complaint I’ve had since the day Highrise launched.
Other than those few very minor gripes, I think this is a great new design. I’ve used Highrise since day one and it remains my most valuable tool to run my business.