What’s New in Basecamp 3.9.3 for iOS

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.

Introducing the brand new Me tab, a place to find all your stuff and 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.

Tap the switcher at the top to choose a different activity view.

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.

Pick something recent (left) or search everywhere (right).

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.

Tap the account name to switch to another account (left). Pull-down slightly to reveal the project filter and view toggle.

Opening links

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.

External links now open inside Basecamp with a SafariViewController.

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.

❤️📱 The iOS Team at Basecamp, 
Tara Mann, Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and me.

What’s New in Basecamp 3.9 for iOS

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.

😎 Team iOS, 
Jason Zimdars, Zach Waugh, Dylan Ginsburg, and myself.

What’s new in Basecamp for iOS

One last release of Basecamp for 2017 is here. Get it for iPhone and iPad in the App Store today. Here’s a look at some of the most recent improvements.

Brand new design for Activity

Feeds are everywhere on mobile, so we took the best modern design patterns and applied them to Basecamp’s own feed. This is the first step in a string of improvements we’ve got planned for this screen—especially algorithmic feed ordering based on your Applause (We kid, we kid!). Here’s how it looks:

Activity shows everything happening in all your projects and teams at a glance.

All-new Find tab

Search got a lot better in Basecamp for web this fall, so we’re excited to bring those improvements to the app—with an iOS flavor. Searches are now live as-you-type and can be quickly filtered to narrow down to exactly what you’re looking for. One of my favorites is to exclude Campfire chats from search results—it can be a life saver with some keywords.

The new Find tab in Basecamp 3.8 makes it super easy to find what you need in your projects and teams.

Add multiple files to Basecamp at once

This has been a popular request from customers and it was trickier to build than you might think, so we’re excited to finally deliver. We’ve designed a brand new screen for choosing photos and videos from your device that allows for multiple attachments all at once. It works with Basecamp’s Share extension when saving files from other apps, too!

Quick-pick recent photos and videos (left) · Choose multiple images from your library (center) · Share multiple files to Basecamp from other apps (right)

New Calendar picker for choosing due dates

Previously Basecamp used iOS’s native “spinners” for choosing due dates, but we heard from many customers this just wasn’t good enough. In particular, the spinners didn’t display the day of the week, which could make planning harder than it needed to be. We’re happy to offer a new calendar picker that shows the whole month at-a-glance including weekends!

Pick due dates in context

It’s been a great year—see you in 2018!

We’re especially grateful to all the wonderful customers who’ve taken the time to leave reviews for Basecamp in the App Store. Here are just some of our favorites:




Of course, we couldn’t make everyone happy…

We hope 2018 treats you better, Cruzwhore.

As always, please keep suggestions, feedback, and bug reports coming our way. 2018 will be here before you know it and we’ve got some great stuff in the works. If you’re interesting in seeing it before everyone else, we have a few openings left in our private beta. Send us an email and we’ll get you invited.

❤️ The iOS Team at Basecamp, 
Tara Mann, Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and me.

What’s new in Basecamp 3.6 on iOS

This feature-packed release of Basecamp for iPhone and iPad is available in the App Store today. Here’s a look at what’s new.

Improved attachments and sketching

It all starts with a redesigned file picker. Tap the paperclip button anywhere in Basecamp to see clear buttons for each kind of thing you can attach. They’re all first-class — especially Sketch which got a big boost in this release. Now, before you upload an image to Basecamp you’ll have the option to draw on it first. It’s great for highlighting and making notes — or just having fun.

Pick an image (left), tap ‘Sketch on image’, then add your drawings before uploading to Basecamp.

In addition to sketching on images, we’ve also beefed-up the drawing tools. You can now choose the from 3 line weights and 5 colors to add variety and interest to your sketches. Also new: save your Basecamp sketches or share them to other apps.

Works great with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro, too.

Drag and Drop Files on iPad

One of the coolest new features on iOS 11 is drag and drop and it’s now supported in Basecamp. You can now select one (or more) images from the Photos app, for example, and simply drop them into Basecamp! Here’s how it looks:

Drag one or multiple files into Basecamp.

Easier invites

Awhile back, inviting people to your projects got easier with the introduction of special links you could send to people that would automatically invite them to the project — no need to enter their name and email. On iOS we took that a step further. With one tap you can now share the URL with others via Messages, Email, Airdrop — or any other apps you use on iOS. It’s the easiest way to get people into your projects yet!


iOS 11 updates

Finally this release includes several fixes and improvements for iOS 11. The most notable one is for people who were unable to upload images to Basecamp because they were using iOS 11’s new space-saving HEIC format. Now when you upload an HEIC image, Basecamp will automatically convert it to a compatible format (jpg). It all happens automatically and behind-the-scenes so you won’t have to do a thing—it just works!

That’s all for now. We’re cooking up more for the next release. Stay tuned!

As always, please keep your suggestions, feedback, and bug reports coming our way. We’ve got some neat stuff coming in the next version so if you’re interesting in seeing it before everyone else, we have a few openings in our private beta. Send us an email and we’ll invite you.

❤️ The iOS Team at Basecamp, 
Tara Mann, Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and me.

What’s new in Basecamp 3.5.4 for iOS

🍂 Fall is here, there’s a new version of iOS, and with it comes a new release to Basecamp for iPhone and iPad. It’s available in the App Store today. Here’s a brief look at what’s new:

Quick jump

Quick jump is one of our favorite new things in Basecamp this year and we’re excited to bring it to iOS. It works exactly like the desktop version, especially on iPads with a keyboard attached (either 3rd party keyboards or iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard). Command + J to start. Arrow up/down. Enter to select. Type to filter. It’s just the same.

Quick jump to projects, people, or recently visited items.

It’s also available on as an experimental feature on iPhone. That’s an atypical approach for us so let me explain. As of today you can quick jump by swiping from the top edge of your iOS device with two fingers. It works pretty well but the gesture makes this feature hard to find on your own, it can be difficult to execute reliably, it gets overridden by a system gesture used by iOS’s Voice Over, and until we hold one in our hands, we’re unsure how well this gesture will hold up on the iPhone X.

Quick-jump on iPhone. Swipe-down with two fingers to access recent items. Type to filter.

That said we’ve been using it internally for weeks so we know it’s useful. Rather than hold it back until we have a better idea, until we get it perfect, we made the decision to ship it and see how it fares in the wild. To be successful this feature needs to be quickly and easily available anywhere you are in the app and today the best means to accomplish that is with a gesture which can be triggered anytime. We hope with daily use and your feedback, new solutions will present themselves. We’ll continue to evaluate and evolve in upcoming releases.

Rich text editing

In our previous release we added support for the new rich Color tool. This time we’ve kept pace by adding support for the new Horizontal Rule tool. We also reversed our decision to match the Basecamp desktop and remove the indent/outdent tools. While normally it makes sense to offer the same tools on all platforms, it’s the tab key that made indent/outdent expendable on desktop. Without a tab key on iOS (unless you have an external keyboard) we left users with no way to indent. This update brings them back.

Horizontal Rule, Outdent/Indent.

Keyboard Shortcuts

In addition to command + J to quick jump we’ve added shortcuts for quickly opening the Home, Hey!, Activity and Find tabs on iPad.

Hold the command key to see available shortcuts on iPad.

Finally we included a few fixes for issues with iOS 11.

As always, please keep your suggestions, feedback, and found bugs coming our way. We’ve got some neat stuff coming in the next version so if you’re interesting in seeing them before everyone else, we have a few openings in our private beta. Send us an email for details.

❤️ The iOS Team at Basecamp, 
Tara Mann, Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and me.

Basecamp 3 for iOS: Hybrid Architecture

We’ve written quite a bit in the past about our approach to building hybrid mobile apps. Basecamp 3 represents the latest generation of this architecture, taking everything we’ve learned from previous versions.

The first app for Basecamp 2 app was iPhone only, written in RubyMotion as a thin wrapper around UIWebView. Next, we did a new universal app for Basecamp 2, written in Xcode + Objective-C, still a using UIWebView, but with a bit more native code thrown in. For Basecamp 3, we’ve replaced Objective-C with Swift, UIWebView with WKWebView and added Turbolinks, with even more native code, and a deeper integration between native and web.

Defining Hybrid

First, it helps to be clear about what we mean by “hybrid”. That term is used in so many different contexts, that it’s almost meaningless. In our use, we’re referring to standard native apps where a significant portion of the content is rendered using web technology. I explicitly say content there because it is an important distinction. We’re not using a framework that attempts to mimic native controls using HTML/CSS. We’re not using a framework that tries to compile another language to native code, or make a cross-platform app from a single codebase.

For us, it means using Xcode + Swift, and conforming to all the platforms conventions regarding navigation/presentation. The building blocks of our app are composed of UINavigationController, UITabViewController, UISplitViewController, UIViewController, etc. Within those containers, we have many screens where the content is built using UITableView or UICollectionView, we have even more where that role is filled by a WKWebView.

Under the hood

Basecamp 3 for iOS is written 100% in Swift 3.1 (soon to be 4), using the latest version of Xcode. We only have a few dependencies, but the ones we do have we manage with Carthage. The core library for enabling this hybrid architecture is Turbolinks. We use Turbolinks on the web, and our companion frameworks for iOS and Android let us use it in our native apps as well. The framework handles communicating with Turbolinks.js and allowing the use of a single WKWebView, shared across multiple different screens.

Router/Navigator
In addition to Turbolinks, we have a number of other components to support it. Most of our navigation in the iOS app is URL-driven. A url can come from a number of sources (web link, push notification, universal link from another app, native action, etc), and they all go through the Router. This router is responsible for figuring out exactly what action to take for a given url. The router may open the url in Safari if it’s for another domain, display a media viewer if it’s an image/video, or in the common case, create a new view controller to display. The router hands off a view controller off to the Navigator which handles the presentation. Most view controllers are pushed on the current navigation stack, but we also support presenting certain screens (like new/edit views) modally, or replacing the current screen when appropriate.

Bridge
The last component that makes up the hybrid architecture (though we have a number of other components not related to the hybrid part) is what we call the “Bridge”. This is a umbrella term for all the various parts of the app involved in native→web (or web→native) communication. The primary code here is a local JavaScript file (written in TypeScript) embedded in the app and injected into the web view using WKUserScript. This provides native code an API for communicating with the web view without needing to directly query the DOM or do complex JS. Using a WKScriptMessageHandler, we can respond to messages sent from the web view through the bridge.

Bridge in action. The mobile web is on the left, the app is on the right. The bridge hides the top nav, breadcrumbs, and other elements we want render differently in the app

Above is one example of the bridge in action. We use it to hide many elements that are normally displayed on the mobile web that don’t make sense in the app. Since we provide a tab bar for top-level navigation, we don’t need that displayed here. Since we have a navigation controller, we don’t need the breadcrumbs for navigation. Finally, we hide the web edit/bookmark/actions menu and instead provide a native version.

Examples

This is easier to visualize what this looks like in practice with a few examples. In the images below, I’ll use a purple overlay to indicate web view, and a green overlay to indicate native UI.

Main Tabs
Basecamp 3 for iOS has 4 main tabs (Home, Hey!, Activity, and Find). Each one of these tabs are 100% native. These are the primary points of interaction in the app, and we wanted them to be as fast as possible. We also wanted to provide a different experience from the desktop that we thought made more sense on mobile, such as a unified Hey! for all notifications that also included recent Pings.

Basecamp 3 for iOS — Main tabs

Message
When you tap a notification in Hey!, say for a new message, then we push a new TurbolinksViewController on the navigation stack:

From left to right: Hey! screen, viewing a message, actions menu, tools menu

This is a typical screen where all the content is a web view. Through our bridge, we pulled data out of the page to display in the navigation bar. Similarly, we used data from the DOM to populate a native actions menu popover displayed when you tap the “…” button. Since this dynamic and provided by the page, we can change it server-side at any time. Finally, if you tap the nav bar title, we show a native “tools menu” that provides quick access for navigating around a project.

Campfire
We also have screens where the content is a mix of both native and web. This is the case for Campfires:

From left to right: Hey! screen, viewing a campfire, completing a mention, attaching a file

The main chat content here is web, but we decided to use a native view for the input. This fixes a number of issues with the web input like maintaining the correct position when scrolling, and we can also have better control over things like interactive keyboard dismissal. When typing someone’s name, we use a native mention auto-completer. Tapping the paperclip button shows the attachment picker, which is a native element that we use throughout the app with some nice touches, like quickly picking recently taken photos. All these components can work seamlessly together on the same screen.

Summary

Those are just a few examples, but demonstrates the flexibility of this approach. The key to this architecture is that we’re not locked into one method or framework. Native or web isn’t a binary choice, but instead a spectrum:

Web → Native spectrum

For each screen of the app, we can adjust where we sit on that spectrum. We can decide a native screen gets little use and isn’t worth the maintenance, so we change it to web. We can decide a web screen isn’t providing the best experience, and convert it to native. We could decide to try React Native and mix that in as well. Whenever Apple releases a new API, we can immediately support it since we’re not depending on a 3rd-party framework to be updated.

One thing we deeply value at Basecamp is independence of teams. If we had to coordinate the development and release of every feature with the web, iOS, and Android teams all working in lockstep, we’d never ship anything. This architecture allows our web team to build a new feature and ship it simultaneously across all platforms. By default, we have a view controller that can display any url in Basecamp 3, so any new urls will just work in the app. We can iterate and experiment on the web, ship immediately on all platforms, and later make it native if feel we can improve the experience.

This also lets us the mobile teams focus on how to best serve the platform. One of our goals is 100% coverage in the mobile apps, you should never have to go to the desktop because the apps don’t support something. With our solid foundation provided by the web, we can deliver on that goal, and then focus our efforts on platform-specific improvements. These include features like rich content push notifications, universal links, hand-off support, iCloud Keychain support, share extension, today widget, and more. Some of those things would be impossible or non-trivial if we didn’t have full native support at our disposal.

Basecamp 3 just got a whole lot… simpler

In the year since we launched Basecamp 3 for iOS we’ve shipped 16 releases full of features, improvements and fixes. After all that you might be surprised that the app has gotten simpler, not the other way around.

The most recent release is the biggest yet but it doesn’t include a bunch of new features. Instead, it’s a huge step forward in clarity and simplicity. While it’s nearly a complete redesign, it wasn’t planned that way. We never decided to do a “Major Redesign”, we simply started with a hunch that Basecamp could be much simpler. And then we ended up somewhere great.

Here’s how we set off with a hunch and arrived somewhere entirely unexpected.

It’s full of buttons

The old Home screen on Basecamp for iOS was the core of the app, the jumping-off point for everything in your projects. It had tabs for Basecamps, Campfires, Pings, and “Hey!”. But that’s not all. It had buttons for Activity, “Find…”, Reports, Me, and HQ. In fact there were 9 buttons in all and that’s if you don’t count the contents of each tab. Four of those buttons could be badged when something new arrived! All that UI chrome could overwhelm the contents of your account, especially if you only had one or two projects. We were especially concerned about this situation because that’s the experience for nearly everyone when they first start using Basecamp.

There are 4 badges, 12 buttons, but only one project (left). The Campfires tab (right) lists all chats and calls out ones with new activity, too.

We thought, “This screen is trying to do too much.” Nowhere was this more evident than on the Campfires tab which listed every chat on your Basecamp account and also called out the ones with new activity. Just this one part of the Home screen was trying to do the jobs of both a directory and an inbox. That was a big red flag.

We also a more radical thought, “Does Basecamp need separate tabs for “Hey!”, Pings and Campfires? Early on we’d decided that having dedicated inboxes for each kind of notification was a helpful way to triage when you have a lot going on. For example, when you’ve got your head down managing a to-do list or writing a Text Doc what kind of notification just arrived matters. A Ping might require immediate attention, but a Check-in Answer could wait. Knowing what type could help you decide if you should break your focus and respond or keep working. The question was did this pattern fit on mobile?

With these two thoughts in mind we set out to explore some new ideas. But first we need to address a bigger insight that would become a driving force throughout the process.


The “us” and “them” problem

Basecamp is the software we use to run our company and literally to build Basecamp, itself. It’s long been a core principle at the company that we’re building software for us and that remains true to this day. After all, we’ll never know our customers better than we know ourselves.

This guiding philosophy serves us well but recently we’ve noticed that we don’t look as much like our customers as we used to. We still use Basecamp much like them but we use it a lot more than they do. Compared to our average customer we have more employees, more projects, and larger teams; we chat more, comment more and have longer to-do lists.

We had a sense that Basecamp’s design overly favored our own usage levels. It elegantly handled dozens and dozens of projects, hundreds of lines of daily chat, constant activity and frequent notifications. But if your account wasn’t like ours, when you only had a couple of projects, or when you were just starting out, Basecamp could be confusing and feel empty.

That our design was optimized for our own use levels was understandable but it made the experience worse for the majority of our customers who didn’t have the same problems we did and that felt awful. Throughout the project as we evaluated designs or responded to feedback from our internal testers we returned to this question, Is this an “us” problem? and that was key to unlocking this design.


The Unified Inbox

Next, we set off to explore a design that we came to call the Unified Inbox. We reasoned that if you weren’t getting dozens of notifications at a time then separating them into different buckets wasn’t all that useful. You don’t need a file cabinet if you’ve only got 3 folders. And it didn’t seem like managing focus was as important on your phone as it is on your laptop.

Having all these places to see what’s new for you seemed like overkill and it actually resulted in more work (jumping back-and-forth), more UI, and more cognitive load. Having all your notifications in one place just makes sense. It’s easier to pick-up when you’re new and easier to explain in a help document or customer support email.

Various early mock-ups of the Unified Inbox

Combining these separate tabs into one screen called “Hey!” was a huge simplification but that was just the start.

Getting around in Basecamp

The old Basecamp Home screen was comprehensive but in providing a way to get to everything in Basecamp from one screen, it failed to help users understand what Basecamp was about and offered no hints about what matters most. This led to another radical idea, “What if there was no Home screen?” If your account wasn’t busy, starting each session on a screen that’s all about what’s new isn’t very useful. If Basecamp was all about your projects, why not have the project screen be the root of the app?

We imagined you’d open Basecamp to the last project you visited, it might even be your only project—even better. You’d still need a place to read your notifications when they arrived so a badged inbox button in the Navigation Bar would slide the inbox screen in from the left. If you did have multiple projects another button on the right side would slide a project switcher in from the right. As a bonus these overlaid the screen you were on so you’d never lose your place.


Early protoypes of the inbox and project switcher overlays (left) and a cards-based UI for switching between projects

We jumped into Framer and started building prototypes to try out these ideas. Everything was feeling great and the project switcher was particularly promising. It wasn’t long, however, before we got stuck in the details. If we move x, how will people get to y? Doesn’t z require more taps than the old flow? Progress ground to a halt because a protoype isn’t real and it couldn’t answer certain questions. The way forward was to try our designs in the wild with real data.

Getting Real

We’d been using the project switcher in our prototypes for weeks but it only took a few hours of real world use to see the problems.

When you popped open the switcher you’d see a card for the project you were already viewing. Swiping right-to-left would reveal additional cards from off-screen, one for each of your most recently active projects. But you couldn’t see which card was next until you swiped which meant it was always a surprise which one you’d see. That was hardly intuitive. If the goal was to make it fast and easy to jump in and out of a few projects, this missed the mark. After a day or two we killed the idea completely.

But all was not lost! In a separate build we were also making the Unified Inbox idea real.

Writing real code is an expensive and time-consuming way to explore ideas that aren’t yet fully-formed. That’s the whole reason we started with prototypes in the first place! So we knew we needed to get real in order to move forward but we wanted to write as little code as possible. One way to do that was to plug the Unified Inbox into the existing Home screen. We didn’t need to figure out how to display it in an overlay in order to prove the concept.

Basecamps (left) and Hey! were a great 1–2 punch. The new cards-based project list was a huge improvement for most users.

We would never have tried this in a prototype but it worked great. Even better, one of our web product teams was working on a new design for the Projects (formerly Basecamps) screen that fit nicely. The one-two punch of Projects and Hey! was a great simplification. The constraints of writing real code took us down a path we didn’t expect and we never went back to the overlay design.

Putting it all together

We knew we were getting close and that’s when an old idea resurfaced. Earlier, Zach Waugh and Dylan Ginsburg had each proposed we try a standard iOS Tab Bar. The reasoning was sound: it’s a stock UI component on iOS that’s very flexible, widely used, and well understood by users.

I was concerned it would make Basecamp look generic and convinced it was a poor fit for Basecamp’s deep, hierarchical navigation which could leave users in a confusing state where multiple tabs were several screens away from the root view.

Dylan persistently pushed an internal build to prove the point. He was right, it was great. Conceptually, Basecamp was now four memorable and understandable places: Home (your projects), Hey! (your notifications), Activity (what’s going on), and Find…(search for something).

An early design for each tab. Note the odd order of the tabs. We’d reasoned that the most-used tabs should be close to the center which is easier to tap than the far left and far right of the Tab Bar.

Finishing touches

We pushed the new tabbed design out to our internal testers with great excitement. Feedback was very positive and everyone seemed to agree this was a big step forward but one issue kept coming up: the Unified Inbox could feel overwhelming at times. With a lot of notifications—all using the same template—it could be hard to pick out the important stuff. At first, my instinct was to pushback on this as an “us” problem but I began to see that in some ways it was a step back.

Being able to visually spot a new Ping or @mention was important but we couldn’t agree that one type was more important than another in every situation or for every person. It was a highly personal thing. We considered grouping them by type, pushing kinds to the top of the list, even going back to separate tabs inside Hey!, but in the end all it took was a little graphic design to right the ship.

Messages, @mentions, and reminders (left) share the same visual design while Pings and Campfires have a unique look that makes them easy to pick out of the crowd.

No destination in sight

Basecamp 3.3 is a nearly complete redesign of the app but we didn’t set out with that end in mind. We started with just a couple of observations and began exploring.

We made thousands of decisions, reacting to and building on the iteration before, all based on using it as we worked. New ideas came from people across the company, not just designers. It was only through that process that the ideas developed, through building and using it day-to-day that they matured, and only then could we see how they converged into something completely new.

We’re excited that Basecamp hasn’t just gotten better and more feature rich over the past year (it truly has) but I’m most proud that it also got simpler. We hope you agree and Basecamp is making you feel more in control of your company and your work.


Basecamp 3 is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows — and anywhere you’ve got a web browser and an internet connection. Still haven’t tried Basecamp? Here’s what a 1,000 of our customers said when we asked, “What’s changed for the better since you started using Basecamp?”

“I’m not sure if I like what I did here or not”

Hearing something special from a designer I recently interviewed

Before we make the final call on hiring a designer, we always give them a sample one-week project to do for us (we pay them $1500 for the one-week exercise).

These quick one-week projects are the best way we’ve found to get inside their head — to know what they’re really capable of independently. The brief is broad and based on a real pain point that we haven’t solved yet.

A recent example was “Let’s say a Basecamp customer started out with a single project and put everything they were working on in that one project. But a few months in they realized that they should have created multiple, focused projects instead of one mega project. Design a UI that would help them tease apart their one mega project and break it into logical smaller projects.”

They then have a week to make something. It’s just the design side so it doesn’t have to work, but the closer it is to simulating how it would actually work the better.

We’re not looking for perfect — we know it’s only a week, and most people have day jobs so that week is typically only a few extra hours a night. What we’re looking for is clear thinking, solid design skills, and a mature, convincing presentation of their work. And, when we review their project with them, a calm, open-to-feedback demeanor that says “we’d love working with this person.”

Fast forward to last week.

I’ve been talking with a designer about joining our team. She’d be the first designer we’ve ever hired who was entirely focused on mobile design. Up until now, all our designers were web designers first, and sometimes mobile designers second. She’d be joining our nascent iOS team as designer number two.

She did a project for us. It wasn’t the one I described above, but something else related to capturing meetings with Basecamp. As we reviewed her work together, she said something that really impressed me.

She said “I’m not sure if I like what I did here or not”. I loved it. Not what she did, but that she said that.

It takes real confidence and self-awareness to talk to someone who’s considering hiring you and telling them that you aren’t sure you like what you did. We dug into it. It wasn’t the idea at large — she was very happy with that — it was a specific flow, a specific part of the design. She did it, but she wasn’t thrilled with it.

That’s how I feel about a lot of my work too. Especially in the early phases. I designed something, or I wrote something, but I’m not sure I really like it yet. While it’s easy to tell yourself that, it’s hard to tell someone else that — especially if they’re evaluating your work.

I’ve interviewed many designers. This level of self-awareness — especially in someone relatively junior — is rare. Most people are concerned with making themselves look the best they possibly can. They’ll defend a position with BS even when you can tell they don’t believe it.

In this case I love that she was just being honest. It made me think “I could work with her”. And in the end, isn’t that what applying for a job is all about? Making someone want to work with you?

Well done. This morning I sent her an offer. She accepted. We’re thrilled.

What’s new in Basecamp 3.2 for iOS

The latest version of Basecamp 3 is available today in the App Store! If you Basecamp on iPad we think you’re going to be particularly pleased. Here’s a quick look at what’s new…



When I’m not drawing, I’m making Basecamp 3 for iOS with Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh and the rest of the team at Basecamp. It’s also available on Android, Mac, and Windows — anywhere you’ve got a web browser and an internet connection. Your first Basecamp is completely free so try it today, it takes just a minute to sign-up.

What’s new in Basecamp 3.1 for iOS

The latest version of Basecamp for your iPhone and iPad is here and it’s the most significant update so far in 2016. Here’s our latest GIF-injected look at what’s new…

Don’t take our word for it—launch the app and the Happy Camper will show you what’s new. He also likes reviews. Seems a little needy to me, but throw the guy a bone, would you?

Today
Add the Basecamp 3 widget to your Today screen to see upcoming events from your Basecamp schedules and to-dos that are due soon. It also has a row of shortcuts to a few of your most relevent Ping and Campfire chats. I use it all the time to jump right into chats and to-dos from my phone’s lock screen.

Add Basecamp 3 to your Today screen to see what’s coming up and get quick access to chats you frequent.

Commenting
We’ve also introduced a new and improved full-screen experience for writing and editing comments. It’s far less cramped and distracting. Need to peek back at the previous discussion while writing? Just tap on the preview at the top!

Write and edit comments in the new full-screen composer. Just tap the preview at the top to peek back at the thread for reference.

1Password
Smart people who use 1Password to make their lives easier and more secure can now use the 1Password extension to log in to Basecamp on iOS devices. I mean, don’t let me stop you from typing out 3PmL&nopav23)E#ohqa/ if that’s your thing (not my real password, don’t be creepy).

Basecamp loves easy and secure log ins. You should, too.

Google Docs
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in Basecamp now open with their apps (instead of Safari) if you have them installed.

Smoothly move between Basecamp and your Google Docs.

My new friend Rajiv (real name, don’t be creepy) is super happy about it:

Thanks for v3.1! 
A well deserved app store review is coming right up…

– Rajiv Sinclair

Attachments
Now you can select an image that was copied to the clipboard after tapping the attachments (paperclip) button. The clipboard image is called-out specifically in the recent photos row with a special style.

The first image in the recent images list is from the clipboard. Copy and paste in Basecamp has never been so easy!

And more!
As always there were tons of small improvements, polishes and bug fixes. Every app update ever mentions these non-specific improvements so they might be easy to overlook but they are super-important for keeping the app fast and crash-free. It’s not exciting or sexy work that garners tons of applause but please tell the very much sexy Zach Waugh and Dylan Ginsburg know how much you appreciate their continuing to make this work a priority.

♥️ Team iOS,
Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and Jason Zimdars


Basecamp 3 works where you do on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows — anywhere you’ve got a web browser and an internet connection. Your first Basecamp is completely free so try it today, it takes just a minute to sign-up.