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Timemaster goes mobile

Today I am going to give you an insight into how we set about developing Timemaster’s new mobile app.  We’re really pleased with how it’s turned out – not least because we are supporting both iPhones and Android devices from the outset.

Making “dead time” productive

The feedback we’ve had so far is that if you’re someone whose job takes you out and about on project work, then our new phone app is a great help.  It helps you use “dead time” effectively when you’ve got a few minutes between things or you’re travelling.  That saves you time later back in the office or back home.

The way the app encourages you to complete your timesheet on your phone immediately, while the work’s fresh in your mind, aids accuracy and helps your company issue invoices earlier to improve cash flow.  That should please your boss.  The way the app helps you get your expenses filed quickly and easily will encourage your boss to reimburse you faster.  And that should please you!

Simplicity in a complex world

So, how did we choose the right features to implement first on phones and tablets?  After all, Timemaster is a product that is very rich in functionality as it supports all the phases of life of a project, whether that’s in a professional services company or for a local authority.  There is much complexity in planning projects, resourcing them, forecasting income, expenses and therefore profitability, and then tracking actual costs, invoicing and reporting.  But phone apps need to be simple and intuitive – whatever the complexity of the professional environment they sit within.  That’s just how it is.

Therefore our development team has concentrated on getting the new app to help with the familiar, everyday tasks for project work that we have to do.  That’s time recording and reclaiming disbursements.  No training needed: the brief was to make it quick and easy.

PC, browser, cloud, mobile

Timemaster is now a product for all platforms.  I’m sure we’ll expand the capabilities of the mobile app over time, but Timemaster’s web user interface means that other, less common tasks can already be performed from a smartphone when you’re connected to the internet.  So you can have all the benefits of using Timemaster when you are out and about, with the key tasks of filing timesheets and expenses now being easier than ever.

Making something simple and intuitive to use seems to need a lot of complexity behind the scenes.  In my next installment I’ll explain why we felt the need to make the app synchronize its data with the Timemaster server automatically in the same way that email works on a phone, and I will give an example of why we had to design for the small screen for optimum usability.

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