[Basecamp 3 Redesign] Phase 1: New Nav and a unified Hey! Inbox.

Over the next few months we’ll be rolling out a visual refresh to make Basecamp 3 even easier to use — and more approachable for new users. Today we launch the first set of updates.

Most products get more complicated as they go. More stuff, more screens, more options, more ways to do things. It’s natural — evolution tends to create more complex creatures over time. Software development is no different.

That’s why it’s on us to push back on complexity and clutter as we go. If we’re smart about it, we can add power and clarity over time, while making everything feel simpler than before. With that in mind, we’re ready to share what we’ve been working on for you.

Phase 1 goes lives today

First things first. This initial refresh is centered around simplifying the global navigation at the top of the screen.

We’re going from this:

(that’s a lot of stuff which can be especially intimidating for new users)

To this:

(simpler and more approachable, ain’t it?)

Simple on the surface, but there are a variety of deep changes behind the scenes. Let’s look at them…

NEW: A single, unified inbox called Hey!

Previously, Basecamp 3 had three separate inboxes: Pings for direct messages, Hey! for posts, comments, to-do assignments, automatic check-ins, @mentions, and Campfires for group chat rooms. It made technical sense as these are all different things that run at different speeds, but we don’t think the mental overhead of three inboxes was worth the trouble. Don’t we have enough inboxes in our lives already?

So we’re switching to a single unified inbox. Everything goes in the Hey! menu. Now if there’s something for you to see, there’s only one place to look. And it’s been totally redesigned.

It’s all right here!

At the top you’ll see a row of faces and a plus button. Want to send someone a private, direct message? Just click their picture, or hit the plus button and type their name if you don’t see them listed. We used to call these Pings, but we’ve renamed them Direct Messages. Same feature, more familiar name.

Below Direct Messages, you’ll see a NEW FOR YOU block. All your notifications flow into here. Direct Messages, new comments, new posts, threads, Campfire chats, @mentions, new to-do assignments, etc. If you need to know about it, it’ll line up right here. Direct Messages now have previews as well, so it’s easier to see what someone wants to tell you without having to click into it. And Campfires now show who posted the last chat.

Last, you’ll see all PREVIOUS NOTIFICATIONS. Once you read something in NEW FOR YOU, it drops down to PREVIOUS NOTIFICATIONS for safe keeping and easy access. Plus there’s a link at the bottom to see all previous notifications — a screen we warmly call the Heystack.

Note: Does this design look familiar? The single Hey! inbox, derives its form and function from the single unified Hey! inbox in our iOS native apps. It works incredibly well there, and has been very well received, so it’s time to bring this approach to the desktop. Now we have a single inbox design shared across desktop and iOS. The Android version is quite similar as well.

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