Basecamp Redesign for Better Communication

web application design client facing

Project Overview

Basecamp is a well-known simple web-based project management tool. However, our client, Think Brownstone, experienced a lot of disconnections between what they need and what Basecamp is offering. Thus they challenged us to design a new Basecamp which is tailored to their specific organization, a design agency's needs.

Our design transformed Basecamp into a discussion-centric project management tool, which can make the designers focus more on the communication on design but not on performing project management tasks.

Problem Finding

Step 1 - User Interview:

We first interviewed a previous Basecamp user who used to use Basecamp to collaborate with an off-campus team, from which we gathered three key points on when, why, how people may use Basecamp.

Step 2 - Stakeholder Interview:

The interview with Think Brownstone's designers revealed that "Discussions" is the most important model their design team interact with. They use Basecamp to purpose all iterations of design and gather feedback from clients throughout the design process.

Step 3 - Basecamp Analysis:

Anything can be discussed on Basecamp, including "to do", "text-document", and "files". Based on the current design, user has to constantly shift among different workspaces. For common tasks like switching to a different discussion, creating a to-do from a discussion, it takes too many steps thus wastes too much time.

Let's spend time on what's most important - discussions.
Brainstorming + Sketching + Iteration

After we discovered the core, we brainstormed on different interfaces and/or interaction models to bridge the gap. Due to time constraint, we couldn't explore too many concepts.

Final Concept

1. Discussion at the Center

The new layout moved discussion to the center, with other sections supporting the main activity.

2. Clear Notification

Clearly inform the user what is new.

3. Generate to-do with Ease

Create to-do on the fly, no need to go back and forth from Discussions and To-do.

4. Comment with Context

Placing file and comments side by side, always know what you want to comment on.

5. Organize Different Versions of Design

New structure suggests posting different versions of files in a same discussion thread.

Design Outcome

Let's see how Jona (PM), Sophie (Front-end engineer), Lulu (Designer), and Jiaqi (Designer) use Basecamp to communicate with clients. Click HERE to see the scenario.

More Team Photos

Think Brownstone

IUB, Bloomington, IN

One Week, November, 2014

Sophie Huang
Lulu Wang

Copyright © 2015 Jiaqi Li