There were two key focus areas for our October release. First, now that we have a solid baseline within Bella, we are working on making it a whole lot more fun to use.
Second, we are very excited to finally be able to talk about some major new functionality we have released for Bella. We have spent the last four months building out new functionality to help you treat meetings as a process, with key pre-meeting, during meeting, and post-meeting activities!
Last but not least, we continue fixing bugs as they emerge.
Can We Pretty Please Have Some Fun?
We have known for some time that using Bella is la little like taking your vitamins- you know it’s good for you but it can be hard to see day to day. If your vitamins are like mine, that means some days I take them, some days I don’t. We want to make sure that Bella not only helps you, but is pleasant along the way.
Making a product engaging is challenging. You want it to be fun and pleasant to use without making it irritating or obnoxious. And we need to stay true to Bella’s personality as your helpful friend. We are lot like a little kid jumping in the swimming pool for the first time. We still have on our life jacket and some water wings as we roll out our first features. We hope we didn’t splash too much!
We have rolled out the following changes:
We have added our first animations. There is a lot of satisfaction we derive when we have hand-written lists and then can cross something off. It just feels good. Instead of a to-do being crossed off and disappearing, we added a pencil animation to cross off the item. Now when you cross an item off your to-do list, it will feel more tactile, like a handwritten list. So check that item off your last and say “aaahhh”.
Added a deep breath feature. This feature was added to help with those moment where it all feels really overwhelming and we don’t know where to start getting it out of our head. This feature helps you take a breath, and then quickly dump items our of your head so you can start to calm your mind and focus on being proactive.
We have added a weekly rewind email that is sent out so that you can feel good about what you accomplished last week. It also serves as a gentle nudge in case you have one of those survival weeks where all heck breaks loose and you don’t really plan, you just survive! We know it happens, and we want to continue to encourage you to come back to it as you are ready. We’ve attached a sneak peek of part of the weekly rewind. Just one more reason to love Bella.
Meeting Management Features
One of the core ideas in Bella is changing how we work. Based on our research, we know that the way meetings are being conducted is just plain broken. We’re all struggling for different reasons. Painful meetings was one of the first big productivity drains we identified when we started the whole Bella journey almost 2 1/2 years ago.
So how are we changing the process? This is such a huge piece of functionality for us that we will be devoting entire videos and blog posts to explaining how this works in the Bella world in the coming weeks. A few sneak peeks for you to whet your appetite:
Meetings have three distinct phases in the Bella world. The planning, the meeting itself, and the follow-up activities. Our product treats meetings as a process, not an event on your calendar.
All meetings require a meeting goal- so that the participants know why they are all there. Meeting goals are added in addition to the meeting title and are required. We tried to be a little playful with our goal descriptions to give you a reason to smile.
To provide incentive to create a meeting agenda, we have a visual timeline. This makes it easy to start to think about what should be discussed in a meeting instead of just scheduling a time on the calendar. You are NOT required to create an agenda, but we hope that by making it easy to see visually what you want to have happen, you’ll be interested in creating that agenda. Think of it like eating your veggies- with enough butter and salt those veggies taste great!
During the meeting itself, we have live meeting tracking to help you keep your meetings on track, and to have shared meeting notes. That’s right- no more having several different versions of what happened in your meeting! And we can stop the painful game of “Who had that follow-up?” that so many of us are living with today.
Amber is the founder of Wonderly Software Solutions and creator of Bella Scena.