The Web really does change everything about product development. You get the opportunity to rapidly iterate on a product vision, but you also have to listen and internalize customer feedback, or else you'll be at risk for failing fast publicly. Since officially launching on 5/31/2012, the most important critical feedback that we've heard from users is:
- People need to be able to view clips and make clips while on the go. A desktop browser is just not enough.
- Groups of people need to be able to more easily do many-to-many sharing, both publicly and privately.
- The Clipboard UI can be overwhelming at times, especially for new users.
We've experimented, you reacted, we listened, and Clipboard has evolved. Today I am delighted to announce an answer to all three of these points. First, our iOS mobile app is available today along with a significant update to the HTML5 mobile site. Second, boards now support both public and private collaborations for groups of users. Third, we've rebuilt the entire Clipboard site from scratch and we believe that the new design is both simpler AND more powerful.
Our Clipboard iOS app allows you to perform nearly any action that you can do on the Clipboard Web site, but in a form that is optimized for the smaller screen. Best of all, you can create clips in iOS from any other app that supports native copying (such as Safari, Notes, and Mail). Here's how clipping works:
Suppose you're surfing the Web with mobile Safari. If you do a "long press" on the page, you'll see a copy rectangle whose borders can be adjusted. When you have the right region selected, hit the "copy" button. Next, switch over to the Clipboard app and press the "heart clip" button that is usually on the upper-right corner. You'll be able to pick a rich text, plain text, bookmark, or image as your clip. Saving will push the clip to your Clipboard profile in the cloud, which can now be accessed from both the Web and from iOS.
Of course, the iOS app also allows you to browse popular clips, view user profile pages, explore social connections, comment on clips, view your notifications, or search over the entire universe of clips.
Our HTML5 mobile site has most of these viewing features as well, but does not support the creation of clips like the iOS app. However, the mobile site is probably the best option if you have a non-iOS device.
And yes, we are working on an Android version now.
Shared boards takes the basic idea of our existing boards, but makes them a unit of collaboration that can be used by as few as two people or as many as a large team. To convert a personal board into a shared board, click on the "Members" button from the board's page. From the Member dialogue, you can invite new members, see existing members, and modify or revoke member privileges.
There are four types of members for a board:
The Owner of the board is special in that (1) there is always exactly one owner of each board, (2) they are the "anchor" for how others will reference the board, and (3) they can never be removed as a member. Other than this, owners have the same privileges as board Admins.
A board Admin can invite others to join the board, edit clip titles, change public/private statuses for clips, and remove clips from the shared board (without actually deleting them from the contributor). Admins can also contribute clips.
A board Writer can see all clips on the board, add clips to the board, and modify any clip that they contributed.
A board Reader can only see the contents of the board (including private clips).
Contributing to a board is easy. Let's say the owner of the board is "gary" and the tag associated with the board is "physics". Then if you are "gary", you only need to tag a clip with "#physics". But if you are an Admin or a Writer, then any clip that you annotate with "@gary/physics" will become part of the shared board. This is the "anchor" that I referenced earlier. Remove the "@gary/physics" from the annotation will remove the clip from the board. It's that easy.
If the clips of a shared board are all private, then the board will be invisible to anyone that is not a member. But if the board has some public clips attached to it, then non-members will be able to see just those clips via the URL www.clipboard.com/gary/boards/physics.
With a shared board you and your spouse can jointly plan a trip in private and have all of the research in one place. You and a team can share ideas, news, or best practices in private as well. Or a large group of collaborators can publicly co-curate around a specific topic or theme. Shared boards are simple in design, but tremendously powerful in the scenarios that they support.
We are now allowing unlimited use of shared boards for personal and non-commercial use. In the future, we will have a Pro Plan that will allow corporate accounts to use shared boards. It will be priced as a function of the number of members and boards. We will announce the Pro Plan details when they are fully determined and available.
New Design and Features
The final big news is in the overall site design. The major changes fall into three categories.
First, we've revised and simplified the overall hierarchy of the site. Formerly, we had three tabs called Home, Shared, and Public that corresponded to personal, shared, and public clips. Many of our users were confused by the Shared tab, and the slicing of the universe into three segments seems overly granular even to us. Moreover, we found that Shared was vastly underused even if the scenarios that it supported where some of the richest.
Today, we now divide the universe of clips into two parts: your clips and public clips. Our top navigation bar is now refreshingly simple. You'll see your username and "Explore" as the only two options. We've also eliminated almost all of the high level filters. Now, instead, you have quick access to your clips, boards, activities, mentions, likes, follows, followers, and favorites all from your home page.
The mentions section has exactly the same content as the former Shared tab used to have, but it is now more appropriately placed within the site.
The second major change is that we've completely eliminated the filters form the left side of the page (which used to contain filters for users, sites, and tags). These filters made the site look sort of geeky and took up precious screen real estate that is better used for clips. However, none of the filtering functionality has been lost, because it's been replaced with a significant improvement to our search box.
When you hover over the search box you'll see a set of suggestions that are contextual to where you are in the site. When you are on your own profile, the suggestions will show your most frequent tags, sites, or users that you mention (or mention you). When you are viewing someone else's profile, you'll see suggestions for their public content instead. And when you are exploring the public space, the suggestions will be for Categories or the tags, sites, and people that most frequently occur in public clips.
If you click on a suggestion, it'll bring you to the right contextual view for the thing that you clicked on. But if you start typing, you'll immediately see more suggestions related to your context.
In this way, you can still access all of the filters that you had before (even more, actually), access your most frequent items with a single click, but still have the benefit of only seeing these search and filtering options when you need them.
The third major change is that we've added a new activity feed to each user's profile. Your activity feed shows all of the recent actions that you've taken as well as the actions by others on your own clips and boards. If you look on someone else's profile, the activities shown are only those items that can be derived from public clips and profiles. Thus, creating, sharing, commenting, liking, or reclipping of private clips will only be visible to the clip owner and the person who took the action. But actions on public clips will be visible to all. The act of following a user, tag, site, or category is also always public.
We think that the activity stream is a great way of quickly seeing what's new with your Clips as well as learning more about other users.
More to Come
We are incredibly excited by the changes that we've introduced today and we think that they will significantly improve how you can use Clipboard for both your personal and professional needs. In a very real way, these improvement are the product of our collaboration with you, our users. Please keep sending us feedback. We promise to continue to use your feedback to make Clipboard a better experience for everyone.