Orchestra 1.11

Enrico Bottani
Enrico Bottani
CTO of Orchestra
June 29, 2020

Good morning dear generation Orchestra,

We hope to find you all smiling today, and if you are not, then we hope this newsletter will make you smile, even briefly!

It’s been a few weeks since we last released an update, but for very good reasons. If you follow us you know we are working hard on the next version of the Black Box. It was a very long process, during which we also did a U-turn. We have built, we have destroyed, we have rebuilt and finally, we are happy with what we can show you. The first version of this new Black Box is a giant leap forward for Orchestra, for our product and our development team, but above all, for you.

BIG VISUAL UPDATE

User experience continues to be a priority for our team. The more we see you experiencing our solution, the more we understand where and how we can make it better. We have many ideas and are working hard with you to prioritize them and understand where the values rely on.

These latest weeks have been seeing designers and developers working closely together to improve cohesion across our app, ensuring that our users always feel aware of the content they can expect on the screen they are using. Sometimes the changes are very small, but when you look at the overall picture, it feels as it is all part of the same story, as it has all been written by the same author, it feels like reading some well-written prose. You can check the task page or the internal communication page and you’ll notice very quickly how much better they feel.

BLACKBOX

We know many of you have been looking for this for a long time, and we can’t be more excited to share this first outstanding piece of technology with you today. This isn’t just software, this is pure art, with a great functional purpose.

This isn’t the end, in fact, these are mostly the foundation of this new version of our Blackbox. Our initial goal was to completely revisit how the system works behind the curtain, and ensure that moving forward we could rely on some solid pillars on which to build what was coming next.

We want to applaud our development team, that has been working through the nights and the weekends to make this happen. Not because we forced anyone, but because they wanted to make something special, for you. This is why we like working for this company because we share something very important because at the end of the day, we are all here to make whatever we can to make your life a little bit simpler, one little bit at a time.

From a feature point of view, there isn’t much to say, anything that is happening on the application is recorded, and we mean EVERYTHING, compared to before we generate almost twice the amount of data. We also implemented a new mechanism that allows new content that will be added to Orchestra to be directly tracked and visualized, without any additional need from the development team. This is a huge step forward for us and will ensure any relevant data will be recorded from day one, no exceptions.

You are also going to see that the blackbox now presents two visualizations. The first one is a linear representation of events that happen. This visualization is heavily dependent on time; it shows content as it was recorded. A second visualization group content that relates together. Let’s say one needs to analyze the story over a specific Objective and Objective Tasks. One can now easily see how the Objective and all the related tasks evolved in time. It’s a simple grouping mechanic, but one that will dramatically improve the blackbox readability, and provide a much easier way to consume the blackbox content, in a meaningful way.

We are also really happy to announce that finally, one can create custom Blackbox events, it has been requested for a long time and we finally have been able to make it happen.

We are working also on a third lighter representation of the content, very similar to what we had initially. And we are most importantly now working on search and print that should most probably land with the next release.

It was a huge amount of work, but we are proud of the result, and can’t wait to hear what you think about it.

TASK NOTIFICATIONS

Another area of focus for this last release was related to the Task Board notifications. We have dramatically improved our system in this area and ensured notifications are sent for any relevant task event. Creating tasks, updating tasks, deleting tasks, assigning users to a task and many more are events that get automatically fired to any relevant user.

Related to this change we realized that we sent no reminder when a task was about to start or to expire. This is why we added two notifications to start: one 6 hours prior to the date, and one on the date. This is a starting point, we are going to provide ways to make it customizable moving forward.

We believe these add-ons will improve awareness of what needs to be done for your users. We are eager to hear from you if and how you think we can further improve our notification system. As usual, we can’t wait to receive some feedback from you.

USER FILTERING

The user filtering mechanism has been dramatically improved and now includes most of the user data. You can search by address, service, job, phone…anything you can think of, you can most probably search for.

SITUATION

We know situations represent the core of our application, they define what problems our institutions are dealing with and for this reason, they hold the most critical data. For this reason, it is extremely important to provide the greatest flexibility to our authors so that they could describe and define these situations in their greatest detail.

For this reason, we increased the data set of a situation. In particular, we added the attachments. It’s a simple change but one that enables our users to include relevant key information on each situation.

COMING NEXT

Some more work is waiting for the Blackbox, in particular, we are now going to customize each single row User Interface to improve the data representation. We will also be working on a new filtering and search system that will see the first version being implemented on the Blackbox. This is going to be extremely important as it will serve as a framework to then be ported to the rest of the application.

Mentions and associations are also going to be something big, that will probably land on the following update. Get ready, the new release is going to be increasingly exciting!

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