When it comes to issues, looks do matter.

This is the second in a five-part series of articles introducing DoneDone, our simple, straightforward issue tracking tool to finish projects strong. Sign up to get a launch alert and view a quick features list at http://www.www.getdonedone.com. We’ll be launching DoneDone within the next few days…

Most issue trackers don’t get the human-side to issue tracking. But, resolving issues is a very human thing. In fact, it’s usually something we’re not all that good at doing. We’re stressed, tired, and on edge toward the end of any project. Seeing pages and pages of this doesn’t help:

Nothing about a normal issue tracking page tells you clearly what’s going on. Sure, you can look at a status box, and read through comments. But, a good issue tracker makes these things obvious. A poor issue tracking UI is just one more piece of low-grade stress your team doesn’t need in the homestretch.

Here’s what a typical DoneDone issue page looks like in full (click on the image for the life-size version):

It’s clear what has to happen next
In this issue, Michelle, the person who assigned an issue, sees that it is ready for retest. It’s bright, obvious, and clear. She simply has to verify the fix and then either click “Not fixed” or “Fixed” in the bright yellow box to the right.

It’s easy to see what happened before
Michelle scrolls to the bottom of this issue page and sees 7 items in the history. The four highlighted items are new to her since she last visited the issue. This way, she gets a quick understanding of what’s happened since she last paid attention to the issue. Most issue trackers don’t tell you what’s new or updated. When you’re working on dozens of issues at a time, it’s hard to remember. DoneDone helps you out.

Knowing context means you waste less time thinking
Issues aren’t static. They change over time. Context makes a huge difference. Here’s a quick example:

Michelle asks John for more information about an issue he wants her to fix.

When John logs in, he sees her question in context. He knows exactly what to do next.

In this case, John assigned an issue to Michelle regarding some font issues on the homepage. In the first image, Michelle poses a question to John. In the second image, John is looking at the newly updated issue. The question isn’t just buried in the history, it’s brought right to his attention for him to answer.

Confronting an issue page littered with dropdowns and textboxes, or looking at a history that doesn’t tell you what’s new, makes the not-so-fun practice of issue fixing even less fun. DoneDone wants to take all the extra bits of thinking out of the equation. You focus on assigning, resolving, and testing issues, and nothing more.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at how DoneDone handles issue searching. Simple to use, but robust enough to suit any level of searching.

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