A users guide to the Trajectory redesign

Chad Mazzola

We released a redesign to the Trajectory UI today. I want to explain the thinking that went into the redesign, what the benefits to users are, and what’s in store for Trajectory as we move forward.


View of the main stories index.

First, let’s do a quick history lesson. A year and a half ago, we decided to build Trajectory to scratch our own itch. We wanted a lightweight agile project management tool that had a strong focus on discussions, both for the stories being worked on, as well as for longer term planning. The original design for the Trajectory UI emerged out of an iterative process, and evolved as we learned more about the product over the course of its development.

This redesign was a chance to take stock of what’ve we learned through that process, and lay the groundwork for the future. The most obvious change is the lighter color scheme. We’d heard continual feedback that people found it difficult to quickly scan through stories because of the dark color scheme. The new UI fixes this problem and provides a more pleasant experience for extended, daily use.

Next, we designed the UI to respond better to differing screen sizes. If you have a large monitor, the site will expand to use the space available to it. Shrink your window down, and the site remains just as usable. There’s more work to be done, but the long term goal is to serve a single web-based interface to all devices, whether it’s a 27" display or your mobile device.

There are a number of other UI improvements. We’ve improved the searching and filtering of stories. (Pro tip: hit the f key to enter search mode.)


The new search interface.

It’s now easier to estimate and re-estimate stories.


The new story estimation UI.

You can also quickly see the progress on stories created from an Idea.


Progress of stories attached to an idea.

We also performed a heavy refactoring/rewriting of the front-end markup and style. We were able to eliminate and simplify substantial portions of the front-end code, which should hopefully translate to snappier performance within the browser.

Trajectory is going to be a very important part of what thoughtbot does in 2012. If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for a free trial and see what we’re so excited about.