It's the little things

The big things:

For the past few weeks, we’ve been working on YNAB Pro version 2.5. Our beta testers have been diligently hammering on it, and now we think we’re less than two weeks away from a public release.  I’m excited about this release for two reasons.  The first reason is that we’ve added some cool new features:

  • You can add notes to categories and budget cells on the budget screen.  Now when you need to remember why you had to budget an extra $50 this month in the gifts category, you can make a note that it was for your spouse’s birthday.
  • You can transfer money from one account to another really easily.
  • You can bulk-categorize transactions.  (This is especially helpful when you import transactions)
  • When you download a file to be imported from your bank’s website, YNAB Pro will automatically start and initiate the importation process.  (No more hunting around for the file)
  • And a few more…

The little things:

In addition to the features however, I’m probably more excited about the “little things” that we’ve changed.  When you think of a program or a web page that you really like to use – one that just seems to “get it,” – chances are that program acts the way you expect it to.  I don’t just mean that it has the features you expect.  I mean that when you click on something, or hit a key, or hover over a certain part of the screen, it does exactly what you expect.  In fact, it probably does so many things that you expect, you don’t even think about it.  To prove my point it might be easier to think about the last web page or software you used that you didn’t like.  Chances are it almost never did what you expected.  It doesn’t take many mouse clicks in software like this before you’re ready to give up and you might not even be sure why!  All you know is that you feel frustrated.

When we developed YNAB Pro originally, we tried to pay attention to a lot of “little” things because we know they add up!  Every time we asked the question, “What should the software do there?”, we tried to answer by saying, “Well, what would I want and expect it to do?”  I think we did a pretty good job with this, and consequently, I think YNAB Pro is pretty enjoyable to use.  That belief is reinforced by our fans, but after spending every workday with the software for the past few weeks, I started noticing some little things that we didn’t do right or that we missed:

  • “Wait, that took too many clicks.”
  • “Why is that taking so long?”
  • “Ugh – that feels sluggish!”
  • “Wait, that’s not what I expected”
  • And a few more…

Now that I’m full time, I’ve got time to really dig in and investigate when I see YNAB Pro do something I don’t expect, even if it seems like a “little thing”.  There are over 100 features, fixes, and changes in this next release, and a lot of them fall in the “little thing” category.  My guess is that you won’t even consciously notice most of them.  Hopefully you’ll just think, “Wow, I really like this new version,” even if you can’t say why.  But let me give you a hint:

  • It’s much faster and more responsive – Loading is faster, clicking around is faster, renaming categories is faster…you get the idea
  • There are fewer mouseclicks required to begin editing a cell in the register once the transaction is selected
  • You can reorder the account tabs just by dragging them around
  • Payee entry is not case-sensitive anymore (Typing “yn” and hitting tab will select “YNAB” instead of changing it to say “ynAB”)
  • All of the right-click menus just disable items that are invalid instead of hiding them.  This makes the menu much more predictable and discoverable
  • And trust me, the list does go on…

You can expect to get your hands on this release very soon, and we can’t wait to hear what your favorite “little” change is.  Many of these changes were a direct result of people telling us about them on our forums, so if we left something out, and YNAB Pro isn’t doing what you want or expect, let us know!

4 Responses to “It's the little things”

  1. ben

    Glad to hear that a new release is due soon. Will this be a free upgrade for customers that already own YNAB Pro? Sorry if this is answered in the forums or elsewhere. I’m excited about the draggable account tabs. Even though that really doesn’t matter that much it always bugged me that I couldn’t move those around some how. And if the program can start faster that would be great too.

    I just had an idea… 1 thing I am always worried about losing my YNAB file if I had my computer crash or stolen. Alot of times when I am done updating my budget I go find the latest version of the file.ynab and email it to myself that way I have it backed up “in the cloud”. And also, then if I am at work and want to take a look at my latest budget I can download the file from my email and work on it. So… would it be possible to turn this type of functionality into a button click from a menu? What I should really do is set up online file backup account. You could bundle that with the program, a 250mb account for free and then a larger account if you want to pay for it, and a button that automatically sends your YNAB file to online backup.

    I have seen this on another software I use that maybe is something you all should link to http://www.knowyourstuff.org/ That software is free and I guess provided by the insurance information institute. I suppose they get a small cut every time someone signs up for the larger online file storage account.

  2. Taylor

    Ben, it will indeed be a free upgrade! Glad to hear you’re excited about the account tabs.

    “Even though that really doesn’t matter that much it always bugged me that I couldn’t move those around some how.”

    Yep – that’s the sort of thing that really makes a difference! :)

    As for your idea to back up data in the cloud, we agree that this would be extremely useful, and in fact a fair amount of planning and engineering effort has already happened behind the scenes towards this goal! As you might have read in the forums, we’re investigating our options to add greater online capabilities to YNAB at the moment, and we think that secure online backups would be a perfect fit for our foray into the online space. I don’t want to artificially raise your hopes too much, so I should caution that this is months away, but you can feel confident that we’re moving in the direction you want…

  3. Avatara

    I’m thrilled that there are newer versions coming on the horizon. The one I’m looking for is the upgrade from YNAB to YNABPro for the MAC. I turned my mom on to the software, and she got the Pro. I Want The Pro for Me TOO! :) I am so excited to see it come out.

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