Today we’re excited to share with you a very small part of a much bigger future for Streamtime when it comes to fast, reliable access to your information from anywhere. But first, some history.
A while back we introduced you to a web version of Streamtime for viewing your Quotes, Jobs, Contacts and entering time – optimised for your smartphone and all through the speedy medium of the web. We also released an updated version of Streamtime for FileMaker back in April which helped set the foundation for moving onto the web. For us, this was just the beginning.
Since then we’ve been out and interviewed our customers, sorted through our feature requests, feedback from customers and our support aces and conducted surveys with many of our users. What came out of all this was not just that Streamtime needs to be reliably accessible from anywhere – we know it does, we get that – it was that for many of our clients, work tends to not happen only at work, and only on the laptop or iMac anymore. To quote our contemporaries at MailChimp,
Though mobile devices are outselling PCs these days, they’re not replacing the desktop experience—they’re extending it. People start a task on one device and pick it back up on another. This new behaviour pattern requires a different kind of design thinking that’s focused on consistency, optimisation for different contexts, and clear continuation of workflows.
At Streamtime we believe you should be able to do pretty much everything you can do with the current Streamtime desktop app from your iPad, smartphone, desktop web browser or your Samsung Galactic Whatever™.
We learnt that Account Managers are starting quotes during the day, perhaps while at a client briefing, and then fleshing out the details in the evening after putting the kids to bed. Business owners are checking the progress of jobs and seeing how budgets are tracking over the weekend. Studio Managers are checking the schedule on Sunday night to see what’s coming up for the week. They’re having an impromptu meeting with an Account Manager at their desk and needing to immediately see what’s on the schedule.
All that to say, up until now, the web version of Streamtime has been designed for “smartphone-ish-sized” screens only. That will change with the imminent re-launch of the familiar Me screen which has been optimised for tablets and desktop web browsers, and given the responsive treatment. It’s the first small step towards a ubiquitous future of Streamtime and we think you’ll love it.
Get in touch if you don’t already have access to the current version of Streamtime on the web and we’ll help you get set up.
Some highlights of the new Me screen
Firstly, the ‘Me’ screen will be labelled with your name. Part of the reason for this is that ‘collaboration’ will be a significant part of Streamtime in future and we’re laying some of the groundwork here. The Me screen will eventually morph into your ‘Profile’ screen, so labelling it with your name rather than the generic ‘Me’ makes sense for the future.
There’s many ways to enter time in Streamtime and we’re acutely aware we’re adding another one, so it has to be good. The majority of people that enter time are creatives – Designers and Production staff that would rather be getting on with real work than filling out a timesheet. That said, they’re a necessary evil if a company wants to be profitable so we’ve tried to cut down on the time it takes and the pain that’s felt when you add time and materials.
If you’re adding multiple entries to a particular task over the course of a day, the entries will now nest together in the list view rather than being individual lines, and you’ll have the ability to add a new entry directly to an existing task. Also finding the right Job and Task to add time to will be much faster with a filtered search inside the dropdown chooser.
If you’re like me and many others, you note down on paper what you worked on for the day (or maybe the entire week if you’re really slack) and then have a big timesheet binge session late friday afternoon with beer in hand. This is an area that we’ll be adding much more functionality to over the coming months, but for starters we’ve added a ‘Save & Add Another’ button to the entry window so that you can get back to that cold beverage a little sooner. Like I said though, there’s much more to come in this area so watch this space.
The Tasks list and Timesheet are going to be on the same page, meaning adding time to a scheduled task is as simple as finding or searching for your assigned task in the tasks list and adding your time. If you navigate to another day and add time to a scheduled task, it’ll default to the selected date. And if you’ve worked on that task all week long, just use the ‘Save & Add Another’ button mentioned above to continue adding multiple entries.
Along with the new Profile screen we’re tweaked the main navigation. It will allow you to create a new item from anywhere you happen to be within the app. You’ll no longer have to go to a particular section to add that particular content. Also in the main navigation bar will be a single, site-wide search. Search for a Quote from your Profile screen, or a Job from the Quotes screen. That’s how Searching should be!
Where to from here?
We’re working hard to get this new Me screen into your hands asap, but it’s important to do this right, and do it well. We can’t give a timeframe sorry – it’ll be ready when it’s ready.
Following the launch of the updated Me screen, in the short term, we’ll release tablet and desktop browser optimised versions of the Quotes screens (where you can create new quotes, and edit existing ones), followed up in the long term by support for all the other major areas of the Streamtime service. We’ll also be making it easier to add users and manage your Streamtime Account and Billing info right from the web interface. All this will be done while your Streamtime database is hosted on a FileMaker server that’s typically based in your studio.
We think you’ll love what we’ve got in store for you coming soon, and what’s in the future pipeline. What’s here just a small part of where we’re headed – there’s lots more to come.
Answers to some questions you might have
Why are you moving away from FileMaker?
We’re not. We’ll continue to use, support and sell FileMaker as the main backend database for storing your information. It provides the best of both worlds (web access from anywhere and a stable, installed app) and doesn’t isolate any of our customers, which is important.
And it means that new and existing customers who want additional functionality get a growing set of web-based features, and those who want the benefits of Streamtime on FileMaker will keep using Filemaker.
It’s important to note that all of our current and upcoming efforts in terms of new functionality will be going into web access from any device. We will support Streamtime on FileMaker for any issues that need fixing, and add features to it when they need to be there to compliment what we’re doing on the web. Developing new functionality on the web side, rather than in FileMaker, means we can release new features faster and can do some things that in FileMaker we couldn’t do.
Will you ever move away from FileMaker completely?
Our ultimate strategy is to reliably and speedily bring you the functionality you currently have with Streamtime on FileMaker to your web browser, from anywhere you happen to be, on pretty much any device you happen to have with you.
Many of our current, and almost all of our potential customers are asking about ‘web’ and ‘cloud’ access. They don’t want an in-house server, and don’t want to install updates.
The last thing we want to do is force you off a platform and service that you might love to a new one that we’ve developed and give you no choice in the matter. Streamtime on FileMaker will continue to exist and we’ll continue to sell it in future. Ultimately, we will have the option of ‘turning off’ FileMaker and moving to a fully ‘cloud hosted’ version of Streamtime. We think that this cautious approach will benefit our existing customers, and give new and existing Streamtime customers that are requesting a ‘cloud’ solution a choice.
That’s the future though—it’s some time off yet—but we have a plan and we’re marching confidently towards it.