A clear and agnostic tool
A main principle here was to keep the app as uncluttered as possible, since we were positioning ourselves as an alternative to clunky PM tools. In a similar way, we had decided not to anchor ourselves to any particular PM methodology, and so, keeping the language clear and PM agnostic was a priority.
Tidying up the room
A very data-heavy web app, the initial version that I was faced with, lacked a clear hierarchy, consistent menus or clear affordances. It was hard to extract meaning at a single glance. The first step was to perform open card sorting exercises, and from them, it emerged that the main features of the app would be Projects, Time, Scheduling and Reports, which were put in a clear top-level navigation bar and everything else would revolve around them.
In order to keep the complexity needed for expert users, without compromising the uncluttered design, progressive disclosure was used in many places.
Google Material Design
Working for a startup, one has to be pragmatic. With no time to create a design stylesheet from scratch, we decided to apply the principles of Material Design. Below you can see some examples - a card-based reporting dashboard, clear, full-screen flows and clean, unobtrusive forms.
Little moments of delight
...because, ultimately, the nice details are game changing. Like a two-click date picker.