Earlier this month, 37 Signals launched a brand new version of the very popular Basecamp. This new version represents a re-imagining of their product, and they brought us all along for the ride.
For months now, 37 signals has been blogging about their behind the scenes work on the new product, here are just a few posts:
- Behind the scenes: Reinventing our Default Profile Pictures
- Basecamp Next: The goodbye list and the hello list
- Basecamp Next: UI preview
- A peek at the all new Basecamp calendar
- 37 pieces from the new Basecamp cutting room floor
- The new Basecamp: Interface details and power user goodness
For starters, let’s think about what a shift in corporate thinking that is. Instead of privately testing and working on their product, resulting in some grand unveiling, they are very openly sharing information about their steps, processes, and mistakes. As a medium, the web is far more open than anything that has come before it, and as a web company, 37 Signals has embraced that idea to an extreme.
Another interesting thing to note is how much 37 Signals decided to remove from the new Basecamp. In several of their posts, they outline a strategy that attempts to focus their product on what they view as the core functionality. That means very early on, they had to decide what was going to stay, and what was going to go.
At the start of any project, there is always that question of, what do we need to keep? In design terms, there may be colors or an identity that are standard and cannot be changed. In terms of content, there may be some specific sections or photography that have to be imported, and then made to fit within the new site.
Sometimes, however, the biggest challenge isn’t knowing what to keep, it’s recognizing what can go. What can be combined or streamlined or dropped all together? Sometimes by leaving things out, we can help focus on what’s really important.