As I mentioned in the JIRA 4.1 announcement yesterday, we plan to do a deep dive on many of the new features and improvements in JIRA 4.1. This is the first of many posts doing just that and I’ll start off with probably the most noticeable improvement: the view issue page.
Our focus on user experience started long ago, back in JIRA 4. We laid the foundation with improvements to the dashboard and browsing projects in that release. And with this release we continued those efforts by focusing on working with issues.
You may wonder, why change a good thing? The fact is, it really wasn’t that good! One customer in particular mentioned he kept getting support calls from his users asking how to edit an issue. In reality, the view issue screen had not changed much at all since JIRA was created, and despite being simple and nostalgic, it was poorly organised, cluttered and ineffective to work with. So, we re-did it. And, we did it right!
I’ll admit it took me a day or two to get used to the new look, but once I got in the flow I found it’s packed with tons of goodness making issues easier to work with. Let me show you my favourite new things using JRA-3609 as an example:
- Issue details – The issue details are still in the top left corner of the issue with the standard fields well organised and easy to read. Custom fields are also displayed and you’ll notice that long descriptions are collapsible to reduce once you know what the issue is about.
- People – They say it’s more about the people than the process. That’s why all of the people fields are now are grouped together at the top right of every issue. This includes the reporter, assignee, voters, watchers and custom fields like the participants in this case Notice this field is expandable (…) with an indication of the number of users listed.
- Voters and watchers – Click on the icons to vote for or watch the issue. Click on either of the links or numbers to manage voters or watchers, respectively.
- Dates – Just like people fields, all standard and custom date fields are grouped on the right side.
- Image Gallery – The new image gallery opens any image attachment in a lightbox, allowing you to browse through all attached images one by one. Check out JRA-20734, for example:
- Attachments – You can download all attachments at once as a zip file.
- Operations Bar – All issue operations and available transitions have moved from the pseudo-alphabetical lists on the left to the new Operations Bar. There’s tons of good stuff in the Ops Bar (which I’ll save for another post) the coolest of which is that it follows you when you scroll down the page, so you never have to scroll back up to take action on this issue.
- Commenting – It may sound strange, but you can now read comments while commenting. Previously, the add comment entry box was at the bottom of a page which made it a pain to reference other comments or issue details while writing your own comment. Now that the comment box is part of the Ops Bar, so you can scroll the issue behind it.
Wait, there’s more..
There are many other little things you’ll discover as you start working with issues in JIRA 4.1. We also improved many of the edit and management pages for things like dashboards (see below) and filters. The user profile page was refreshed providing personal details and an activity stream for each user. Viewing your own profile also displays your personal roadmap for issues assign to you across all projects.
So, what’s next?
JIRA 4.1 has not only provided a ton of great usability improvements to working with issues, it also organised information into modular blocks providing us with a foundation to build upon in several areas of the product. We’ll continue to further refine the view & edit issue screens, as well as the way you interact with issue navigator and more. Stay tune, because JIRA is only going to keep getting easier, faster and better to use.
Got some ideas?
Let us know exactly what you would do, and why, here.