User Experience Engineering

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Google Project ("to-do") Wish List

Google Notebook needs integration with other Google offerings to make an effective way to get things done. Why? I want project management tools in lightweight, browse-anywhere form. Google seems well-positioned to provide a comprehensive TODO system. Tasks and Projects may arrive in the form of emails, phone calls, random thoughts, or ideas while reading a Web Page. Google Project would become a data model for loosely binding other Google item types, and tracking state.

Others Lack

  • In the years I used it, Microsoft Outlook never added the ability to make one task dependent on another. Perhaps to do so might have threatened Microsoft Project.
  • Many other services that attempt to provide project tracking are cumbersome. Web 1.0 whole-page forms that only work on an Intranet, and are cumulative (record running commentary) instead of offering a way to refine projects and tasks.
  • Similarly-focused products have barriers to adoption, such as costing money, platform-dependence, installation of software or plugin, and software updates. Corporate buy-in is required.

Google Project would offer the following features:

  1. Add GMail item access to notebooks.
  2. Give Google Notebook items organizational states, such as TODO, DELEGATED, DONE, BLOCKED.
  3. Task dependencies would be the obvious follow-on feature.
  4. Ability to bind a Google Calendar event to a project.
  5. Works for anyone, anywhere. Thrives through intellectual contagion.

User Story

I need to choose the most appropriate JavaScript framework for a new product in development. An email reminds me of this task. I search Google and Note 12 pages that compare frameworks and offer tutorials. The resulting Google combines these items to represent what needs to be done:
  • The email, with some annotation, becomes the Project
  • The bookmarks, with annotation, become tasks. E.g.: Compare jQuery and Dojo at URLs "A" and "B".
  • I schedule a meeting with another developer in Google Calendar.
  • I am reminded of the project and subtasks from multiple places: Notebook widget, GMail labels, Google Bookmarks, Google Calendar, and Google Notebook.

Google may benefit by expansion of its advertising base, and by upselling to an Enterprise version.

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