Fog Creek

From FogBugz to Manuscript: Design Evolution for Better User Experience

Manuscript screenshots

An important part of our work in creating Manuscript on the engine of FogBugz was to modernize the user experience. As we’ve spoken to customers about using FogBugz it became clear that some of the unique and valuable tools we provide for managing the software development process weren’t being used because they weren’t easily discoverable.

But we didn’t want to just improve feature discoverability, we wanted to simplify the user experience so that it guided you to understand what’s available while bringing the most important features to the fore.

Laying the Groundwork

So in recent months we’ve been working on the design, shipping the new Sidebar menu for example. This brought about improvements like moving the ‘recent’ menu from under the ‘star menu’, and put it directly into the sidebar itself so you have quick access to what you’ve been using. As well as the new search bar, which provided more space to use custom searches, an integral part of the product for power users.

Sidebar: Original, with no sidebar on the left, with sidebar on the right.

And we’re building on these changes today with a new design system and some Case page changes that clean the app up, and organize fields more clearly. You’ll see the new styles across the product, but most importantly these changes lay the groundwork for future updates.

Case page updates: Old on the left, new on the right.

List page updates: Old on the left, new on the right.

Plans for the Future

We have big plans to improve user experience still further. We’re already re-designing the case page, enabling you to make individual field edits without having to save the whole case, which will make it quicker and easier to apply changes. And we’ll be adding a new split-view, giving you the ability to see a case list on one side while speedily viewing and editing cases on the other. We’ll be making the design responsive across the app so you can use Manuscript on different devices, wherever you are.


Mockup of proposed ‘split-view’ case list page

These works will continue into 2018 and beyond, with the goal of more closely matching the simplicity and accessibility of the other tools you use, without compromising the customizability and power that makes Manuscript so useful.

Along the way, we’ll continue to use your feedback to inform our improvements and making sure it fits your workflows. You can view and provide feedback on our public roadmap.