Trello balances simplicity with features for complex projects. In a busy productivity tool market, the product plans to distinguish itself with accessibility and constant revision.

Whiteboard tool Trello makes team collaboration easy

Productivity tool effectiveness depends greatly on user experience - if the learning curve is steep, or the format is confusing, it greatly cannibalizes on the time it strives to save. To address this, there are two directions that Web apps, or any digital interface can take - format reinvention or deriving from analog predecessors, and collaboration tool Trellodefinitely utilizes the latter. Trello builds off the whiteboard/sticky note skeuomorph so it’s immediately legible to a new user. Users create organizations, invite new members and assign tasks to specific people. Each board has lists that hold cards - and the boards (projects), lists (status), and cards (tasks) can be labeled, color-coded and moved around as needed.

Easy to use but flexible enough to hold lots of relevant information

The simplicity of Trello’s approach makes it scalable and flexible, from small businesses to teams or departments in larger organizations. Created by FogCreek Software, Trello was originally meant for developers, and was built after noticing the need for transparency among their own team. On a Trello board, users can attach people to cards to show who is working on what, and they can see their progress by where they are placed on the board. On the back of each is card, or the “sticky part,” is space to attach files, descriptions, links, checklists - nearly anything that could be useful or relevant

Accessible from most screens and applicable to most business teams

Productivity software also needs to be extremely accessible for mobile employees to check pretty much anywhere. Trello addresses this with cross-screen compatibility - the interface reformats for very small screens or really big ones, is optimized for mobile and has an iPhone app. For this reason, mobilized workers can collaborate as they are working. FogCreek set out to create a product that was useful and unobtrusive so that it can be used easily and often by many parts of a business - as co-founder Spolsky said, sales teams can track leads, software teams can track features, VC firms can track startups.

By Ivory King