For months now, we’ve been pretty quiet on new features for PLOW. It pains us to work on initiatives that our users can’t see for extended periods of time, but, alas, sometimes this is necessary. We want to get to the best, most performant version of PLOW that we can, as fast as possible.
Today, we’re launching a completely new version of PLOW.
The front end of the application has been rebuilt from the ground up. Internally, the rebuild has been called ‘Project Earhart.’ We took the opportunity to build on new technologies (Vue.js over Angular), to optimize our code and re-think important assumptions about our previous UX. The result is a re-born application that we hope will make content curation and consumption easier and more enjoyable for the community.
Our objectives for the rebuild:
- Performance. Performance. Performance. Also, be fast.
- Mobile first UX.
- De-emphasize the original ‘content grid’ UX in favor of a content feed concept, where each feed is more focussed and horizontal movement allows you to take action with content, rather than moving you laterally across feeds.
- Give the user complete control over their own feeds, including the ability to prune feeds and to understand how their feeds are populated.
- Double down on sharing functionality across your social networks, making sharing more personal and using a two-step process where you can add value, rather than simply sharing headlines.
- Make the core homepage browsing experience awesome, and then leverage this experience across anchor pages, rather then making anchor pages a distinct (and less awesome) experience.
- Take advantage of emerging best practices to make the app easier to use and to highlight relevant activity for the user. This ended up taking multiple forms, including passwordless log in, multi-level and live refreshing notifications, unread new comment indicators, and more.
Over the next few months, we’ll post drill downs into some of the new features and UX concepts that you’ll find in the new app. In the meantime, please explore and let us know what you think! Ping us on Twitter. We also have an early adopter Slack channel that has been a vital conduit and a steady stream of essential feedback. If you haven’t joined us there already, why don’t you drop in and introduce yourself?
This also marks a significant milestone for the product team, as the old application is now phased out and we’re able to turn our full attention to maintenance and growth of the new application.
In addition to the front-end rebuild, the back-end of PLOW has been moved over to AWS. Our previous hosting situation did not provide for an acceptable level of reliability. We hope the new environment will provide for faster response times and a significant boost in up-time.
Thank you for your time and attention as early stage PLOW beta users. We have an incredible community that is developing around the product, and we’re fully committed to evolving PLOW into the absolute best experience that we can imagine together.
All the best,