X4ToDo Team: design choices

Simplicity: only what you need

X4ToDo was born from an internal need. After trying a few pre-packaged solutions, we realized that were unnecessarily complex.
We made a tool, modeled on the real needs of Freelance work, preferring the simple to the complex.

No frills: productive in 5 minutes!

The choices of graphics and procedures are designed to be intuitive and immediate: there is no need to consult manuals to be able to use X4ToDo.

How to bring together public and private

One of the constraints of the project was the possibility for any user to share elements (activities, clients, notes, meetings, etc..) With members of his team.
This sharing, however, had two problems:

  • Difficulty for the user
    the choose of the level of sharing for each element is often tedious
  • Expensive to implement
    the control of the level of permission on each element could make some operations too slow

In identifying the best solution we have made ourselves two questions:

  1. How much freedom must other members of the team have on the work I had done?
  2. What happens if the team is broken?

Our solution

We divided the shared assets into two groups: primary and secondary.

The primary elements are:

  • Activities (the to do items)
  • Customers
  • Companies

The derived elements are:

  • Notes
  • Sessions
  • People
  • Contacts

What happens with the sharing

When I share a primary element it's like I send an email to the recipient's which will have a copy until he eliminates it.
Actually, all users who have some kind of permission, they share the same object. So a change in the object will be shared with all of those who have permission to view the object.
If the creator of an object (e.g. a customer) deletes it, all other users with permission to view that customer, will continue to see it.

The derived elements are visible until the creator of the object deletes it or changes its status from shared to non-shared.
For sessions, sharing is automatic.

What are the benefits of this separation?

As a freelancers we know that not all love stories end with "and they lived happily ever after."
If, for any reason, a relationship fails, all participants will retain the information and resources built over time. And, knowing the mechanisms of sharing, you can manage information in appropriate ways.