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Creative Resources: an online time tracker called creativeworx

by / Wednesday, 17 July 2013 / Published in Creativity

There’s a very interesting website and online resource called “Time Tracker” on CreativeWorx.com. A friend and former CD of mine sent me a link to the site a few months back. I spent a couple weeks looking it over and finally signed up for the service about 3 weeks ago. Essentially, you sign up, and download the application that integrates with your desktop. When you launch an Adobe application, the time-tracker plugin is active, and from within the application window, you can “tag” the file to a project. As long as you’re in the file working, time-tracker is assigning time to the project via the website. You log into the site and you can see a calendar view with some filters and settings, that show what you worked on when, and for how long. You can create reports and export them for reference when you create your invoices and timesheets. It’s elegant and simple, but that’s not the most impressive thing. In fact, it’s still in beta, so there are some holes. The developers are working on it – it’s not perfect. The most impressive thing about the site and application, was the phone call I received from the developers.

I was ready to create an invoice the other day, and I went to time-tracker to pull a report of the hours. To my frustration, there was no way to look at all the hours in a single view. In other words, I wasn’t able to click a button that said something like, “Total project hours”. I was able to view a week at a time, total hours, but I had to literally look at each week and write the number down, and add it for the final tally. That was odd enough that it prompted me to send feedback via the “Give us feedback” link on the site. I fully expected to hear back by automated reply to the tune of, “Thank you <Customer Name> for your email. We are endeavoring to blah-blah, as we try to integrate this-and-that, and really value your so-on-and-so-forth…” – but, that’s not what happened. I got an email, from Mark. Here’s what he said:

_______________________________________________________

Hi Shawn,
Thanks for writing.  We’re developing three items that will address your request, but they’re not ready yet.

-ability to set a date range on the View Timesheet page.
-a brand new Project Dashboard, which will have some other functionality that should be pretty cool.
-a “budget bar” for each project that will show how much total time you’ve accrued against the budget you’ve set.

I’d love to address on a call and get your insights/needs and priorities.  Would you be willing to speak?

-Mark
_______________________________________________________

That stopped me in my tracks. I replied by email and we spoke on the phone about 30 minutes later. He called me at his expense and we spent nearly 40 minutes talking about the product. He asked me what things were relevant to my time-tracking needs, how would I see it integrating into an enterprise environment and more. We even talked a little shop – it seems the team behind this product are former Adobe developers. With their understanding of the Adobe workflow and system, they were able to conceive and develop this product. He took diligent notes of our chat and promised ongoing enhancements based on customer feedback, like mine. Eventually they’ll expand the compatibility to other applications like Word, Excel, Pages, and any application that uses apple script. PC apps integration will follow.

Bottom line, it’s a very cool service with a ton of potential as they develop through the early phases. Check it out. Most impressive of all, is their tremendous respect for the industry and creatives. Definitely worth the modest price, and nice to support a product and team when you know they care about the quality of your experience with them and their service.

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