Summer is winding down, kids are back in school and the Basecamp team has a fresh batch of updates to share. Here’s a quick look at some recent improvements that are available right now in all of your projects.
Getting over the hill
Hill Charts are a completely new way to track progress and a Basecamp 3 exclusive. People everywhere are loving this unique way to see where their projects really stand and answer the hard questions that get them un-stuck. Now it’s much faster to choose which lists to track on the Hill Chart. Take a look…
Clicking someone’s avatar in Basecamp is often the best way to get a little more information about people you’re collaborating with—especially when you work with clients, people you’ve never met, or on a team spread across time zones. Now profiles show you which company someone is a part of, their role in Basecamp (Administrator, Owner, or Client), and what time it is where they live. These details can help you track down an admin, figure out who the new person on the project is, or avoid bugging someone in the middle of the night.
Now you can color folders just like you could other items in Docs & Files. Add a little personality, make something important stand out, or come up with your own color-coding system.
Basecamp features seven distinct tools to handle every situtation in your projects from communicating to organizing to tracking work. With the latest update it’s easier than ever to choose which combination of tools to use on each project.
One of the best things about Basecamp is it keeps everyone on the same page so that nothing falls through the cracks. That only works, however, if the right people are involved in the project. So we’ve removed some steps, cut some complexity and streamlined the process so that getting people into your projects is easier than ever.
Managing My Drafts
You write a lot in Basecamp, we get it. Drafts let you work on that post, announcement, article, or note in private until you’re ready to share it. But not everything gets published and before this update it could be a lot of work to figure out what was what or simply get rid of the ones you no longer needed. With this update, you can see all of your draft Messages and Documents, when they were last edited, and in which project they live. Not only that, but you can trash them right from the list without having to click into each one first. More info, faster edits, less pain = win!
Jump to projects
For Basecamp pros, the Jump Menu is a speedy way to get around in Basecamp. Just hit ⌘+ J to return to something you saw recently or type a few characters to quickly filter Projects, Teams, and People. With our latest update we made it easier to jump to another project by making them pop up to the top of the list. This makes the Jump Menu hands-down the fastest way to get to a project in Basecamp.
Thank you ❤️
We’re so grateful for all our customers and we hope these improvements make your time working more calm, effective, and enjoyable. If you’re not yet a Basecamp customer and feeling overwhelmed because your business is growing, you’re buried in email, stuff is slipping through the cracks, and communication is a struggle maybe it’s time to give us a try. You can try Basecamp completely free and unlimited for 30 days. No credit card needed to sign-up!
Now you can add [daily, weekly, monthly, yearly] repeating events to the Basecamp schedule. Here’s how it works:
When you add an event in Basecamp 3…
…you’ll see a new option to repeat the event…
…the options include every day, every week day, once a week, once a month, and once a year…
…you can choose to repeat the event forever, or until a certain date…
…the repeat frequency is shown on the event page as well…
This feature has been a long time coming. Thanks to everyone who sent in a request, to Merissa on the support team for championing the push to make this happen, and to Jeff, Conor, Pratik, and everyone else who pitched in to help make it all work. The new feature is live for all Basecamp 3 customers on all platforms (Web, Mac Desktop, Windows Desktop, iOS iPhone + iPad, and Android). We hope you find it useful.
At Basecamp, we write a lot—from announcements to pitches, and everything in between.
Quite often, we’re presenting something that has a Before and After, like a mockup or interface design that’s been revised. Until now, this was always kind of frustrating. Basecamp only supported full-width images, so it could be difficult to quickly compare two images at once.
Today we’ve added support for side-by-side image galleries inside written posts!
This is a subtle but substantial change: galleries support and enhance your writing by making it more fluid, expressive, and precise. They’re great for sharing screenshots, comparisons, mockups, sketches, photos, and so on.
Here’s how it works.
Creating a Gallery
In any rich text field in Basecamp 3, you can make a gallery of images by uploading multiple images at the same time. You can do that in the file-browser dialog, or by dragging and dropping files into Basecamp directly.
When you do that, Basecamp will automatically group the images together in a nice arrangement. There are a few different layouts based on the number of images you’ve posted together.
If you upload two images at once, they’ll be oriented side by side.
If you upload three images at once, they’ll be shown 3-up in a row.
If you upload four images at once, you get a 2×2 grid.
And then finally, if you upload 5 or more images, they’ll be arranged in 3-up-sized rows.
You can also make a gallery by uploading images one by one. Just upload one image, then immediately upload another. Basecamp will notice that the images are directly adjacent and bundle them for you.
Adjusting a Gallery
If you don’t want the gallery layout, you can split it up by putting your cursor between images and hitting return. That will break up the gallery at that spot and resize things accordingly.
If you prefer a different arrangement (for example, maybe the second image should be first) you can drag and drop them to reorder.
You can also drag and drop images outside of galleries into galleries, and vice-versa.
It all works like you’d expect images in a text editor to work!
New toolbar for images
Clicking on attachments in Basecamp’s text editor has changed a bit. You’ll now see a balloon at the top that shows the file name, size, and the trash button. (Formerly this was just a trash button.)
A more prominent caption field
Did you know you can write custom captions for any image you upload in Basecamp? If you didn’t, you’re not alone! This feature used to be rather hidden, but we coaxed it out of its hiding place.
Now just click on any image in the editor and you’ll see the Add a caption… field at the bottom. Click on that to type any caption you like.
Popup menus on gallery images
Every image in a gallery has a small ••• menu adjacent to the caption. Click that and you’ll see a popup with the original file name and file size, plus links to download the image, or view it at full size.
Galleries work everywhere right now, in our mobile apps and on the desktop. We hope this update helps you create richer posts, and makes writing in Basecamp a little more enjoyable. Let us know how you like it!
New to Basecamp? Head on over to basecamp.com and see what it’s all about.
The newest release introduces a brand new tab along with improvements to searching, navigation, and for people who have multiple accounts. Get it for iPhone and iPad in the App Store today. Read-on for details about what’s new…
New Me tab!
We know that My Assignments is one of the most popular screens in Basecamp on all platforms but it can be hard to find. Now My Assignments and the rest of My Stuff are easier to reach on the new Me tab. It also includes your Bookmarks and app Settings.
New Activity view switcher
Gone is the old Activity | Reports toggle. Basecamp now has a nice switcher to change between activity views more akin to web and mobile web. It’s easier to see what you’re currently looking at and you now stay on the same screen rather than navigating forward.
Before you search…
Looking for something in Basecamp? Pop on over to Find to see your Recently Visited places and Recent Searches, too. We hope that with this change, Basecamp helps surface what you might be looking for before you search.
Better support for multiple accounts
If you have multiple Basecamp accounts, this one is for you. Now the name of the current account is prominently displayed at the top of Home and Hey. Tap it to switch to a different account.
This is a small change but now when you tap an external link in Basecamp it’ll open with a Safari view right inside Basecamp rather than opening the Safari app. You may have seen this in Twitter and other popular apps already. Now it’s so much easier to get back to where you were in Basecamp when you’re done reading.
Thanks for using Basecamp!
As always, please keep suggestions, feedback, and bug reports coming our way. If you’re interesting in seeing new features before everyone else, we have a few openings left in our private beta. Send us an email and we’ll get you invited.
For years we’ve used Basecamp To-Dos to track all of our design and programming work here at Basecamp. They help us make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
However, for some projects, tracking to-dos isn’t enough. When you have dozens or hundreds of tasks, you need a way to see the bigger picture. Is the project going to be done on time? Are we making progress on the right tasks? Which things need to be solved now and what can be deferred until later?
To solve this problem, we built an entirely new idea into Basecamp To-Dos. It’s a 10,000-foot view of our projects that answers the hard questions about where things really stand.
Introducing the Hill Chart.
Progress is not a number
“42% of the tasks are complete.” What does that tell you? Very little.
For creative work and software projects, you can’t describe progress with a number. Why not? Because tasks on a project aren’t all the same. If the team gets stuck or starts to run out of time, it matters which tasks are in that 42%. The strategy for getting unstuck depends on where you’re stuck.
More than that, we don’t actually know every task in advance. As we roll up our sleeves on a project, we discover more detailed tasks to track than we had in the beginning. A raw percentage count would show our progress going backward instead of forwards when that happens!
What we really want to know is where the work stands. Has the team figured out how to do it? Are there unknowns that will block us ahead? What’s solved and what’s still full of uncertainty?
Work is like a hill
We found a metaphor for talking about this at Basecamp. Every piece of work has two phases. First there’s an uphill phase where you figure out your approach. You have a basic idea about the task, but you haven’t figured out what the solution is going to look like or how to solve all the unknowns.
Then after you’ve explored what works and what doesn’t, you reach a point where there aren’t any unsolved problems anymore. That’s like standing at the topof the hill. You can see clearly all the way down the other side. Then the downhill phase is just about execution.
Work on the two sides of the hill is very different.
Uphill work is hard to estimate. You might go in circles searching for the right approach. And as long as unknowns remain, there’s risk. The programmer thinks it’ll be a quick change but the API is different than expected. Or the interaction design seemed like a quick fix but there’s no room for the button on the mobile version.
On the downhill side, the world is certain. You’ve solved the problems, figured out your approach, eliminated the unknowns. All that remains are steps of execution to finish the project.
A human data point
No calculation will tell you how many unknowns are on a to-do list. Or how hard the remaining problems are. That’s why we built a way for teams to communicate, in a human way, exactly how they feel about where the work stands from unknown to known using the metaphor of the hill.
Here’s a demo to show you how it works.
A Hill Chart from a real project
Each of our development projects in Basecamp is made of a set of To-Do Lists. We create a To-Do List for each piece of work that we can make progress on independently.
Now to track progress, we turn on Hill Chart tracking for each list. This will reveal a Hill Chart on the top of the To-Dos screen with a dot for the list we’re tracking.
We did this for three lists. Next we click Update on the Hill Chart and drag the dots for those lists into position.
Now anybody who checks on the project can see the status of these three lists. Two of them are over the hill — full of certainty, with just execution left. One is still on the uphill slope, which means there are unsolved problems or open questions.
Note how that the status is human generated, not computer generated. This reflects a real person’s feeling of the work at this moment. And because the status is attached to lists, not individual to-do items, we gain a higher-order perspective on all the work at once.
Hills make history
Every time someone updates the positions on the hill, a new snapshot is saved to the project’s history. This enables managers to immediately acquire a ton of context about what is moving on the project and what isn’t without peppering the team with questions. People on the team can optionally annotate each of their updates with commentary. You can even comment on or Boost someone else’s Hill Chart update. This enables a new level of fast, asynchronous communication about high-level progress on projects.
More well-defined work
Sometimes trying to position a list on the Hill Chart helps you to better structure the work. On a recent project we were building a feature to notify people when an Event in Basecamp was rescheduled.
That dot sat there for a few days without moving. Something was wrong. Why weren’t we making progress? After a short talk with the team, we realized that it was unclear where to place the dot because part of the work was fully figured out and part wasn’t. The back-end code to deliver the notification was fully solved. But there was some more design work relating to the emails and Hey! menu that we hadn’t figured out. So where should the dot go?
In a case like this, the hill is telling us to break up the list. We renamed the original list to “Notification: Delivery” and moved it over the hill to show where it really stood. Then we created two separate lists to track the front-end work that was still uphill.
Redefining the To-Do Lists like this made it easier to see what was actually going on in the project and what needed to be done next.
Flexible, per-list setting
For each project, you can choose which To-Do Lists appear as dots on the Hill Chart. It’s a per-list setting, so you can still have regular To-Do Lists mixed in with your tracked lists. We usually keep a list called “Chowder” at the end a project for loose ends that don’t fit anywhere else, and we don’t plot that one on the hill.
From unknown to known, and known to done
Instead of counting tasks, the Hill Chart shows where the work really stands. From unknown on the far left, to known at the top, to done on the far right.
Since we adopted the Hill Chart internally at Basecamp, our teams have been communicating about progress at a level never before possible. Our intuitions are the same, but now we have a visual way to immediately show each other where the work stands. And because of the Hill Chart history, we don’t need to call meetings to catch up on a project’s status. It’s no longer a challenge to see what’s in motion and what’s stuck. We can have quick, substantial conversations asynchronously about where to focus next or how to break up a problem.
That’s the kind of thing Basecamp is supposed to do: make you more organized, give you more time, and put everybody on the same page.
We hope you can experience the same benefits we have by trying the Hill Chart on your next Basecamp 3 project. You can use the Hill Chart on any project today by navigating to a particular To-Do List and choosing “Track this on the Hill Chart” from the Options menu (•••) in the top-right corner.
New to Basecamp? Learn what it’s all about and start a 30-day free trial over at Basecamp.com.
Using SMS as a second security factor for signing into web applications is no longer recommended by security experts. Therefore we will be ending our homegrown SMS verification program on July 2nd, 2018, and switching to Google’s state-of-the-art Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) system.
Moving forward, if you want to secure your Basecamp account with 2FA, you’ll need to log into Basecamp using a Google Sign-In. You can use Google Sign-In with 2FA through their own authentication app, 1Password (we love those guys!), or the gold standard of a physical Yubikey.
How to switch to Google Sign-in with 2FA for Basecamp:
It’s never been more important to take serious precautions to guard your security online. Hacks are common, and failing to protect your online accounts with a second factor makes it so much easier to become a victim. We highly recommend switching to a Google Sign-In so you can take advantage of the protections 2FA provides.
Besides Basecamp, please take the time to get acquainted with two-factor authentication in general, and ensure that you have it turned on for as many services as you can. These days, almost everyone offers some way of adding a second factor. Read about doing it for iCloud, Dropbox, GitHub, Facebook, and Twitter.
Good security is like good backups. It’s a bit of a hassle to setup, but the regret you’ll feel if you don’t have it when you need it dwarfs that inconvenience. Don’t procrastinate.
Ping and Message excerpts, image previews, and grouped Campfires make catching up with Basecamp a breeze.
There’s a new Hey! screen design in Basecamp 3 for Android. Hey! is already pretty good on Desktop and Web. Currently you get a chronological list of unread Campfires you’re following and discussions you’re part of.
On Mobile, however, you’re probably peeking in for a quick summary of What’s New. Hey! should help you prioritize what’s important at that moment. A better design can save time.
Here’s how the current Android Hey! and this new design compare:
✨ What We Improved
Show me my Pings. Excerpts from unread Ping conversations are now shown at the top of the Hey! screen. If you have more than one unread Ping conversation they’ll be grouped together. You’ll see all your new Pings in one place. Note: All Pings are still accessible everywhere in the app via the top navigation. Just tap the “conversation bubbles” icon next to Search.
Group unread Campfires together. New chats from Campfires you follow are now easily scanned since they’re grouped together. The Campfire notification will also display who spoke last (which matches Basecamp 3 on the Desktop and Web).
Give context to Messages, Comments, and more. It’s a mystery what’s behind that unread notification. It might be 1 sentence, or 1 emoji, or a long paragraph. Now there’s an excerpt of text and image thumbnails so you can see what was posted without having to tap through.
💅 The Result: Better Insight into What’s New
Messages and Comments are no longer a mystery. Excerpts and image previews hint whether you should dive deeper or move along. Unread Campfires aren’t scattered across other notifications. You can prioritize chats you want to read.
The new design gives Hey! notifications more context. It helps you stay looped into Basecamp without having to tap each notification. Stay updated at your own pace.
🖼 Bonus: Swipe Through Multiple Images
We also updated our image viewer to know if a Message or Comment has multiple images. Now you can swipe back and forth between images! If there’s a caption we show that too.
We hope you like these improvements to the Basecamp 3 Android app (Version 3.9.1, updated May 1, 2018). We have a lot more planned and thanks for being a Basecamp customer—especially if you have an Android device!
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about Basecamp 3 for Android please let us know.
— Brought to you by the Android Team at Basecamp: Jamie, Dan, and Jay
We gave up on Likes and invented a totally new form of tiny communication.
If there’s one thing you can’t avoid on the Internet, it’s Likes. They’re in nearly every software platform where people post photos or write text messages.
Sometimes Likes are called Faves, Hearts, Reactions, Claps, or something else, but the basic idea is the same: they’re a small, quick way to express your feelings about something, usually accompanied by a count of other people who had that same feeling.
Until today, we had exactly this sort of feature in Basecamp 3. We called it Applause. If you liked a post, you’d clap for it. Everyone who clapped was shown in a row.
This was fine, of course—it worked just like all the other Likes.
But a couple months ago, we started thinking more deeply about this pattern, and we noticed it has a lot of insidious problems.
Likes are vague, especially in a professional setting. Let’s say your boss liked someone else’s post, and not yours. You might start questioning what happened. Was she just busy and not paying full attention to everything? Or did she do that intentionally? What does it all mean!? There’s no way to know, because there’s not enough information — just a bunch of digital grunting.
Likes are obligatory. How many times have you felt obligated to SMASH THE LIKE BUTTON because you didn’t want to seem like a jerk, or because everyone else was liking something? There’s a subtle peer pressure and herd mentality hiding behind those thumbs up.
Likes are vanity metrics. Whenever you post something to a social network, do you obsessively check to see how it was received? That’s because those little Like counts are a drug for your brain: you get a dopamine rush by observing your own mini-popularity contest. It’s a psychological trick to keep you coming back for more.
Likes are thoughtless. Has there ever been a more mindless form of communication than merely tapping a button? Liking something requires almost no effort or consideration whatsoever. Here’s what you’re really saying: “Thank you for spending your precious time posting this. In return, I have clicked a button. It took me less than one second. Bye.”
Likes are canned. In most apps you have to pick from a predefined set of acceptable symbols (or in Basecamp’s case, just clapping.) That’s not great for addressing the infinite range of nuanced human emotions, and it’s also totally impersonal. Why should some software company decide which 3 emotions you’re allowed to have?
Now, it’s not all bad. There are some good things about Likes too:
Sharing support for others is wonderful. We want to encourage that, of course!
It’s nice to respond to something without making a fuss. You might not have much to say, but you still want to let someone know you appreciated their ideas. Notifying a bunch of other people on a thread merely to say “good job!” is overkill.
It’s helpful to know that people saw your posts. When you see that 10 people liked your post, you’ll know they received it and thought about it (at least a little.)
With all of these ideas in mind, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a fresh new approach that’s never been done before. We’re calling it Boosts, and it’s way better than all of those crummy digital grunts.
Here’s how you boost something in Basecamp.
In various places in Basecamp, you’ll see a new rocket icon:
Click that, and it’ll morph into a small text field.
You’ll notice there are no predetermined options or smiley face buttons to choose from. That’s on purpose. You have to make it up yourself!
Add some emoji or write a tiny text note, up to 16 charactersmax. Then click the green check mark to save your boost (or the red X to cancel.)
You can add more than one boost if you want, and they’ll collect into a little bundle like so:
Your boosts won’t notify anyone other than the original poster. So if you’re on a comment thread with 10 other people and you boost Dave, only Dave will get a notification about it. This is in contrast to comments, which send a notification to everyone on the thread. So if you just want to say “Great job!” or “I agree” or “👍”, but you don’t want to bug everyone with a notification, boosts are best!
If you messed up making a boost, click on it and a trash icon will appear. Click the trash to delete it. (If you’re an admin, you can delete anyone’s boosts in the same way.)
After a lot of people have boosted someone, you’ll see a sweet block of small supportive comments, where everyone’s message is totally unique! There are no vanity counts or anything like that.
Here’s how it looked when I announced that we’d be launching Boosts:
Other times, boosts work like a silly mini-conversation.
When you’ve received some boosts, you’ll get notified about them every 3 hours as long as there’s something new to report—otherwise Basecamp won’t notify you.
Why every 3 hours? We think it’s the perfect amount of time: infrequent enough that you won’t be bombarded about little responses, but frequent enough that you won’t miss anything for too long.
When you click on that notification, you’ll see all your boosts, ordered by date:
You can also unsubscribe from the boosts notifications, if you prefer. Just hit the button in the top-right corner of the page above.
What happened to applause?
Applause is no more (it’s been replaced by Boosts.) But old posts that had applause will still show it—those claps have simply been turned into boosts instead.
So that’s Boosts — we hope you like them! (Pun intended)
We’ve been using boosts for over a month, and we’ve found them to be a much richer form of communication than our primitive old applause system. They’re far more contextual, freeform, and creative: perfect for posting short, thoughtful responses.
After a few days, you’ll notice you won’t feel obligated to boost something unless you genuinely have something to say. Boosts are far less susceptible to vague interpretations, since every little boost is unique to the conversation at hand. And with no buttons to smash, there’s no more mindless button smashing!
Give boosts a try and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you on Twitter or in the comments on this post.
New to Basecamp and want to see what it’s all about? Sign up for a 30 day free trial over yonder.
In 2014, Highrise was spun off as a separate (but wholly-owned) company from Basecamp. Last year it celebrated its tenth anniversary in business. And this year it’s moving back in with Basecamp.
In some ways, it’s like it never left. While Highrise operated as an independent company under Nathan Kontny as CEO, Basecamp’s technical operations team continued to run servers and systems. Our support team still has a lot of people who used to answer customers when Highrise was a direct part of our suite of products. And almost all the members of the original product team for Highrise are still with Basecamp.
In other ways, this is indeed a change. Nathan Kontny had built a team of seven to lead new development, and they made a lot of improvements over the years. We want to thank the team for all their work and wish them all the very best.
Spinning Highrise off into a separate company with a separate team and CEO was always a bit of an experiment. While that experiment had a bunch of highlights, we ultimate decided it was time to try something different on both the product and business side after a thorough review was conducted some time ago.
For customers of Highrise, we at Basecamp are committed to supporting the product until the end of the internet! Highrise is home to over 10,000 customers who’ve trusted their data and their business to us. We are grateful for the trust and will continue to operate Highrise to the same high standards as Basecamp.
In short, this transition back to the Basecamp team is going to be nearly invisible to Highrise customers. Highrise is returning to the team that originally built the software, and it’s being operated on the technical side by the same team that always did so.
We’ve also begun exploring a range of new directions for the product’s future. We’re not yet ready to share where this is going, but will do so as soon as there’s a final path set.
Thank you to all our Highrise customers whether you’ve been with us for 10 days or 10 years! ❤️
This release is all about usability improvements. Download it for iPhone and iPad from the App Store now.
Find tab improvements 🔍
The Find tab now lets you quickly jump to anything you recently viewed without having to type a word! When you open Find, you’ll see your most recently visited pages, making it super easy to quickly get back to something you were viewing. Or start typing to instantly search in place for anything in your Basecamp account. You can also use advanced filters to define even more specific search terms. Go forth and find!
New project and team pages ⚡️
The old project and team pages were… slow. We decided to speed them up, as well as feature your team’s latest activity more prominently with this new design. Instead of nearly identical cards for each tool, you’ll see a unique icon in a bright color, making them easier to recognize. Each icon also has a bit of data underneath, hinting at what’s in each tool so far. We’ve been testing these internally for quite a while and the increased speed has been such a relief. We hope you love it too.
Improved image viewing in Activity 📷
Image previews in the activity feed are now much larger and easier to interact with. If there are multiple images in an attachment, we’ll group them together in a nice grid, too! You can tap on any photo to view it in the media viewer right from the activity feed, or tap into the thread if you want more details and context.
Simplified navigation and tool indexes 🗺
The nav bar now just displays the project or team name, as well as a button to launch the menu to jump to another tool. The screen’s title is displayed larger, and there’s a big “add something” button on every screen so you can’t miss it! We experimented with a lot of complicated designs for this and ended up going with the simplest option. Sometimes you need to overthink to realize you’re overthinking, I think. Now I’m overthinking this.
New UI for uploading attachments 📎
You’ll now have more room to access additional options when uploading individual attachments to Docs & Files, like sketching, adding notes to your upload, or changing the file name. Cool!
Support for clients in projects 💼
All new clients in projects features will work on iOS right out of the gate! Read more about this entirely new way to work with clients in Basecamp over here.
And you know, “bug fixes and performance improvements….” 🐛
Scrolling within a field while you’re writing is much smoother now. “Less janky,” you might say.
Updated theme choices, so you can pick from a lighter or darker version of each theme color.
Fixed some drag and drop issues!
Fixed missing file-type icons for non-media attachments in Activity.
And various other bug fixes that are boring to explain.
Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out with any comments, suggestions, concerns, feedback, bugs, doughnut recommendations, etc.