We published our last update 6 months ago. Instead of sending a newsletter each month just to follow a pattern, we focused on 1:1 communication. We communicated through our Service Desk – Concierge – with over 20% of our users and had Zoom feedback calls with almost 5%.
This concentrated effort helped us understand even more about our users and their writing needs. The key insights are:
- The platform project level navigation needs improvement.
- Manuscript needs more interaction on page and an easier way to access the related research or components.
- The project management approach we have towards writing a book is too heavy and creates an overall perception of a complicated platform.
Starting with this January 2022, we all roll into production the changes that we’re making based on our research. The first one is a new release for the Manuscript module – 2.0. New navigation and a new delivery approach for writing books will follow as well as more UI (User Interface) improvements.
1. Manuscript 2.0
We have changed the underlying functionality for the Manuscript page and added the following features.
Interactive Info Panel
- The left block correspondent to every scene is now active and not just a read-only component. It activates a right-side SPLIT SCREEN.
- You can quick-assign a Character as POV or a Location to a Scene
- You can view the Character file or Location Description without leaving the page.
- You can view the summary of a Scene including your Notes and Setting description.
Quick add new Scene
Add a scene on the same page was on our backlog for quite some time. Now you can use the Quick add new scene button to add a scene at the end of every chapter.
We kept the feature of changing the order of scenes inside a chapter separate in the Manuscript Structure page. We think that changing the scenes’ order or moving a scene to a different chapter is a planning activity better done in a separate view, in your digital corkboard.
2. FREE tool – Writing Reminder
The question we needed an answer to was: Which is the most simple and less invasive way of reminding a writer that he should write in a day?
We started with the concept of a motivational app for writers and we discovered that what actually worked was a simple email reminder.
Our proposed solution was simple to implement for us and accessible by any writer (not only the members of the Asengana Community). Preferences were for daily, weekly, or monthly. Personally, I prefer daily. I know it feels like spam, but for me it works because I feel guilty. It creates pressure, is making me anxious and I actually open my manuscript page or at least add details to a character or location.
If you’re interested, we made it easy. You have 3 options for daily, weekly, and monthly. The email is just a few words and it will change based on your feedback. Based on our user testing, the message was not that important. The subject line and the fact that seeing it in the list of emails made you think about writing was.
You can find out more about how we got to this solution from here: How to build a free tool for writers – the KISS way.