Today, we are releasing a major update to Clipboard that significantly changes how boards work. It's a fantastic improvement to boards but it also requires some minor tweaks to your work flow.
Everyone's preexisting boards have been migrated into the new form, so you may not even perceive the difference at first. But as you start to use the new version of boards, you'll undoubtedly encounter the differences.
While we strive to only make improvements that are backwards compatible, sometimes you have to tear something down before you can rebuild it and make it better. What follows is a summary of what's new with this update and why we decided that it was important enough to make a breaking change.
What's New in a Nutshell
The main differences that you'll notice first are:
- Boards and tags are now distinct from one another and, therefore, adding a #tag to a clip no longer places it into a board.
- Board creation (and deletion) is more user friendly.
- Shared boards no longer use the @user/tag syntax; instead, you place clips into boards with a menu.
- Boards can be named anything you like.
- Boards now have richer permissions options.
More importantly, we think that the new form of boards are going to be much better suited for real and meaningful collaborations between users. And better still, we've built them in a way that its going to be much easier to add new features in the future.
You will now notice a board picker in the Clipper UI which you can use to add a clip to one or more boards:
Adding clips to a board is more straightforward
What was Wrong with the Old Boards?
To fully explain where we are today, we'll need to take a step backwards and reflect on where we've been. Back in May, when we first introduced boards, our users were very proficient at using tags. Most active users used tags and nearly 50% of clips today have at least one tag, despite it being an optional action. We were thrilled with this level of tag engagement.
On a philosophical note, we've also felt that having "mixed metaphors" -- i.e., having a user experience with multiple and conflicting ways of doing one thing -- typically yields bad results. Mixed metaphors divide a user's attention which is not a good thing.
So basically, we didn't want to break what didn't seem broken. We introduced boards as a sort of inversion of tags in that clips had tags, and boards contained clips that shared the same tag.
But as we used boards of this form and talked with users, we found several issues.
First, creating a board was not obvious. Rather than clicking a "Create Board" button, you had to create a new clip adding the tag of the new board you wanted to create. This inverted the workflow for a number of scenarios, especially around collaboration. For example, if you wanted to setup a shared board, you had to create a clip with the new tag (board) and then browse to your boards, find that board at the bottom of your list of boards, and then edit the board settings to add members.
You can now create boards right from Clipboard.com
Second, as a result of how easy it was to create tags (and therefore boards), many users ended up with an absurd number of boards. This made it difficult to find what was most important in a user's collections of clips.
Finally, the @user/tag syntax was really too geeky and not discoverable for most users. We thought that it would work because of the success of @mentions and #tags, but this method for assigning clips to boards was too confusing for many.
Why are New Boards Better?
Being distinct, boards can now be used as a complement to tags.
For example, most people use tags as a way of specifying how they want to search for clips later on, or as a way to label public clips that should belong together but are more narrowly themed than a category.
But now you can use boards as a way of organizing your clips at a higher level. For example, you'll probably want to tag all clips related to travel arrangement with the tag "#travel" but place all of the arrangements for a specific trip in a single board, such as "Hawaiian Vacation 2012".
This way, the tags will allow you to search through the "weeds" -- e.g., "#travel flight" to find an old reservation -- while boards will give you a summary of what you are currently working on.
For more information about boards, please be sure to check out our new help documentation, specifically the Boards section which describes everything that's new.
Mobile & iOS
We have updates coming for our mobile web site and iOS client that will bring them inline with the new boards features available on the desktop. The key differences are that you can't create new boards in the mobile clients yet. Stay tuned for more updates on mobile!