Simple In/Out Gains Roles for Fine Grain User Permissions

It’s been a while since our last blog post about new Simple In/Out features, but rest assured we’ve been busy. Since last December we’ve been hard at work on a particular new feature that we’ve just shipped. We’re proud to announce a major change to the way Simple In/Out understands user permissions: Roles.

Roles in Simple In/Out offer more fine-grained control over which users can view/edit various things, all the while making it easier than ever to understand why a user can or cannot perform an action. Before today, users has three switches: admin, managing the status of other users, managing your own status. The company also had various options to determine which of the user types could do which things.

Now with roles, we’ve moved almost all of those choices to user roles. Each user in your company belongs to one role. This gives administrators one place to determine which users can do which things. Have a need to allow a user to manage your billing? Create a Billing role and assign your accounting users to it. Need to allow managers to run reports on others but not allow them to add and delete users? Create a department head role with reporting options and assign your managers to it. The possibilities are many.

With this change, we’re also announcing a new permission in roles that has been a big request from our customers: the ability to hide the board entirely from some users. The use case is having users that should have accounts and should update their status, but for security reasons they shouldn’t be able to view other users and their statuses. Perhaps you have a contractor and you want to hide the list of actual employees. Perhaps your users are students within an after-school program and viewing other student statuses isn’t desired. Simple In/Out will now allow you to have users in a role that cannot see other users, but can still do things like update their status, run reports on themselves on the website, etc.

Roles and hiding the board from users have been several months in the making but they lay the groundwork for big new features we plan to build in the future. We’re also very excited for everyone to see what we’re working on next.

Privacy Changes Coming to Simple In/Out on May 25th

We at Simply Made Apps take the privacy rights of our users very seriously. This starts from the very foundations of Simple In/Out. For example, Geofences in Simple In/Out monitor an area and update a user’s status if a user enables this feature. This location information is used only to check whether you have crossed a physical boundary. No location information is saved or transmitted. This means we can’t possibly store it, share it, or display it. Period.

Given our strong commitments to privacy, it will come as no surprise that we embrace the changes being spearheaded by the European Union to honor user privacy rights. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the most comprehensive data privacy laws ever passed. It goes into effect on May 25, 2018.

We are committed to GDPR compliance for ourselves and our customers. Learn more about our GDPR support.

We are also in the final stages of joining both the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information transferred from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States.

Towards these efforts, we have a new version of our privacy policy that further enumerates the rights of our users. It goes into effect on May 25th.

We know that trust in this industry is hard to come by, and we will do our very best to earn and keep your trust.

New Year, New Status Indicators for Simple In/Out

2018 is going to be a big year for Simple In/Out. We have a slate of amazing upgrades in store and we can’t wait to share them with everyone. We’re starting this year with a change you’ll notice immediately: brand new status indicators!

When we launched Simple In/Out back in 2011, the first version had green and red indicators for IN and OUT respectively. A couple years ago, we moved to what we internally called “the Pill”, which was a slim blue indicator for IN and no indicator at all for OUT. This allowed us to make things more compact, but it was far less obvious than green and red.

We’ve heard your feedback and we proudly present our new indicators:

Green and red are back, better than ever before. We’ve integrated the indicators into the avatars, allowing us to remain compact while also having color that immediately catches the eye. The checkmark and hollow circle also work well for our colorblind users that need to distinguish between the two quickly.

We have new versions of all our apps (except TimeClock) available for download. Our website is already displaying the new indicators, simply reload any page you may be on. We hope this added color pleases everyone, but as always reach out and let us know what you think.

Simple In/Out Year in Review 2017

2018 is now upon us and we couldn’t be more excited.

2017 was another record-shattering year for Simple In/Out. We shipped a number of new features that had a broad impact on the way our customers use Simple In/Out, living up to our continued commitment to make Simple In/Out the best in/out board. These new features not only make Simple In/Out even better, but they lay the ground work for some exciting new things we have in store for 2018.

A huge thanks to our great customers! Every day we get to travel to Simply Made Apps HQ and work on the product we love with the best bunch of people ever. In many ways, we’re living out our dreams and we can’t thank our customers enough for the opportunity to serve them each and every day.

Here are just a few of the many features we delivered in 2017.

Office Hours: Simple In/Out works when you do

We began 2017 with a ground-breaking feature called Office Hours, which allows users to control the windows of time that they wish Simple In/Out to perform its automatic tasks. This feature not only helped those using Geofences avoid unnecessary updates on nights and weekends, but it also would be critical for new Notification features we shipped later (more on those below).

Notifications come to the native Mac app

We retired our Safari push notifications that required users go to their web browser and replaced them with notifications right in our native Mac app just like Windows. This may seem trivial, but combined with Office Hours this provided a lot more power to our Mac users.

Reminders sent right to your device

For the first time, Simple In/Out could send a reminder right to your phone if you had forgotten to check in/out. This was a popular request, and it couldn’t have been done without the additional power of Office Hours and Mac Notifications.

Safety notifications sent to you as well

Also taking advantage of Office Hours was Safety Notifications. Like reminders, this notifications come right to your device. Unlike reminders, they are for managers to be alerted when someone hasn’t checked in/out when they were expected to do so. This feature has had countless applications among our customers.

Invite your users to your Simple In/Out organization

Getting Simple In/Out setup the first time became easier with user invites. Send everyone in your company a link, they sign themselves up, and you’re all set.

New reports and new ways to create them

We shipped major enhancements to our reports to make it easier to target the users in the reports while also making reports faster to load. We also shipped two new reports, the Print/PDF report and the Export report, which both allow for up to 6 months of reporting data at a time.

Archive users to make them disappear while maintaining their data

Changing our report interfaces laid the foundation for allowing companies to archive users. Archiving a user takes them off the board while allowing admins to run reports on their data for historical purposes. No more exporting data for a rainy day.

More public links

Public Links saw an upgrade too. Companies can have more than one and can restrict them to specific groups of users if they wish.

 

It is also worth noting a few non-feature things that happened in 2017.

Our first contribution to the open source community

We publicly released our first open source library, Simple Scheduler, which we use internally to make our development lives’ easier. We’re flattered that fellow programmers love it as much as we do. We suspect this won’t be the last time we donate some of our code to the community.

We stood up for Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is incredibly important to small businesses like ours located in North Dakota. The reason we can continue to build compelling products is because we can reach customers everywhere. We’re very disappointed in the actions of the FCC here in the United States, and we’ll continue to advocate on behalf of a free and open internet. We believe in an internet with no throttling, no blocking, and no paid prioritization. You can read our original blog posts here and here.

We hit full Spanish support for our entire website

We added support for the Spanish language in Simple In/Out in 2016, but in 2017 we launched our Spanish public site. Now Spanish users can see our Spanish language support everywhere.

 

It was quite the year and 2018 is positioned to be another big year for Simply Made Apps and Simple In/Out. We are very excited about our plans and we can’t wait to share them with you all.

Simple In/Out Public Links by Group

As we near the end of the year, we’re really excited about the new features we have in store for 2018. Before New Years, we’ve shipped an upgrade to Public Links we want to share.

Public Links are an amazing way to share your Simple In/Out data with everyone, including people who don’t have Simple In/Out accounts within your company. Not everyone needs an account and a place on your board themselves. Maybe you have some outside contractors, sister companies, or temporary employees. Maybe you have a digital signage product and need a link that doesn’t require signing in with your password. Maybe you have a company wiki or intranet that is already authenticated and you’d like to include your board for easy viewing. For any of these purposes, Public Links have worked great in Simple In/Out for years.

We’ve now made Public Links even more powerful. Previously, you could only have one Public Link. Now, you can have many Public Links. You can choose whether your Public Link displays your entire organization or is restricted to only a particular group. You can also now choose whether the time the updates were made is visible or hidden. This allows you to craft several Public Links that works perfectly across all your use cases.

Archiving Users Arrives for Simple In/Out

Hot on the heals of our revamped reports within Simple In/Out, today we’re taking the wraps off of another big feature: Archiving Users.

Archiving users allows administrators to both remove users from their board and prevent those users from accessing Simple In/Out, all while preserving their history. Admins can continue to run reports on these users forever. Archived users count towards the plan’s user limit.

Coupled with our new reports and exports, archiving users allows Simple In/Out to act as your one-true-source of user in/out activity for the long term regardless of user turnover. Gone are the days when admins would be forced to print off multiple reports in order to delete a user permanently while maintaining some kind of record of their activity.

If the user comes back, we allow archived users to be unarchived. The returning user chooses a new password and instantly resumes their place on the Simple In/Out board.

This was a big feature request across many of our oldest customers and we’re happy to deliver. We have a few more big features in store before the end of the year and we can’t wait to share them with all our customers.

New and Enhanced Reports for Simple In/Out

Throughout the summer we haven’t had many blog posts, but we’ve been busy working on some exciting changes to Simple In/Out. We think everyone will love the new features we have coming before the end of 2017.

Today we’re reinventing reports for Simple In/Out. Based on customer feedback, we’ve retooled most of our existing reports to be faster and easier to use for organizations with lots of users. We’ve also consolidated some reports and created two new reports to better address printing and exporting.

Running Reports for Lots of Users

If you have a large organization, running reports in Simple In/Out before today could take quite a while. For example, running a Daily Timeline report for 150 users would make 150 report requests to Simple In/Out. Maybe you were after only a few users and many of those were unnecessary. Maybe your goal was to print and you just had to wait.

To solve this problem, we’ve added a new user selector. This control allows admins to select specific users as well as groups. You can also select more than one user or group, giving precise control over exactly who the report will display when it’s run.

For more speed, many of our reports are now paginated. In the Daily Timeline example, running a report for 150 users now only runs 10 at a time with buttons below to change to the next page. You can page through quickly to see results you’re interested in, or you can use the new user selector to reduce the size of the list.

Paging results also allows us to merge the Daily Activity and Weekly Activity into simply the Activity report.

Printing and Sharing

Printing has always been a feature we’ve left to the web browser. All browsers have support for printing, but that support is limited at best. Not every web browser prints the same way.

We’ve decided to support printing as a first-class citizen via our new Print/PDF report. This report creates a PDF that you can download, print, share with those that need it, etc. Because we generate this report as a download, we don’t have to worry about holding your web browser hostage while we do this. We can then allow the report to be much larger than our web-based reports, with support for up to 6 months of data on many users all at once.

We’ve also designed calendar representations, totals per week, grand totals, and individual status updates all available via this report’s settings. Using these levers, any admin can create a single PDF that tells the story of how their users interacted with Simple In/Out throughout a period of time.

Powerful Exporting

Like printing, Simple In/Out has had CSV exports in the past on each individual report. Because of this, they were each restricted by the same time period barriers as the reports they were associated with. To export data over a month, or many users, admins would have to run many exports and stitch the data together behind-the-scenes. It was a lot of clicks.

The new Export report solves this problem. Similar to the Print/PDF report, we provide a number of settings that allow for a report to be created that can be downloaded when it has finished generating. We allow up to 6 months of data to be exported at any one time, and support both summaries (total time) as well as individual status updates. It’s never been easier to take your Simple In/Out data to your favorite spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel.

 

We know our new reports are a big addition to Simple In/Out, and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store next for Simple In/Out.

Simply Made Apps Joins Massive Internet-Wide Day of Action for Net Neutrality

For our Simple In/Out users, you may notice a banner on the top of our product today.

Simply Made Apps is participating in the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality to oppose the FCC’s plan to slash Title II, the legal foundation for net neutrality rules that protect online free speech and innovation. Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Amazon, Kickstarter, Etsy, Vimeo, Mozilla, OK Cupid, Imgur, Medium, and dozens of other major sites are also participating.

Simply Made Apps and other participants are displaying a prominent message to our users and encourage them to take action by contacting Congress and the FCC.

We’ve also submitted our comments to the FCC for ourselves and organized a letter on behalf of several North Dakota technology companies. For us, this is personal.  Simply Made Apps wouldn’t exist without open access to the internet, unfettered by companies charging fees as gatekeepers or extorting money from us to match the speed of our competitors.

See the announcement for the day of action and take action yourself here: https://battleforthenet.com

Simply Made Apps Will Join the Day of Action for Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is making headlines again, as the current administration and specifically FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai intend to roll back protections. We’re announcing that Simply Made Apps will join Amazon, Netflix, Kickstarter, Reddit, Github, and others on July 12 for the internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality at its core is the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally.  This means that traffic from Netflix should be treated the same as traffic from an upstart competitor, crazy cat pictures, and social media.  ”Title II” of the Communications Act provides the legal foundation for net neutrality and prevents Internet Service Providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from slowing down and blocking websites, or charging apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.

This is critical to how the internet works.  If competing companies can simply spend untold amounts of money to speed the delivery of their services over their competitors, what could ensue is a world whereby only those with money can be heard.  That’s the opposite of what has made the internet the greatest tool for the exchange of ideas and free speech in the history of civilization.

This is a personal matter to Simply Made Apps.  We’re a small company, currently with four employees and a Yorkshire terrier marketing intern.  We couldn’t exist as a company if our competition could outspend us to deliver their product faster or slow our product down.

What Are We Doing?

On July 12, 2017, websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Our product Simple In/Out will join the others on the web to highlight this issue and raise awareness.

Learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12

Introducing Invites for Simple In/Out

Adding users to your Simple In/Out organization is often the first task you must undertake as an administrator. Some time back, we added the ability to add multiple users at once to speed this process along. That feature works great today, but it still means as an administrator that you need to gather a list of all the email addresses of your users. This is easier than adding all the information yourself, but we can do better.

Simple In/Out now has Invites, an easy way to allow your users to sign themselves up to your Simple In/Out board. Using Invites, an administrator can create a URL that others can use to join their organization. Admins can choose how long this URL is valid (an hour, day, or week) and distribute the URL however they like. Email, Slack, internal wiki… however one communicates with their team.

Once users click on the Invite link sent to them, they are taken to a page to type their name, details, and choose their own password. Afterwards they will be signed in, they appear on the company board, and they can use their account to access any and all apps in the Simple In/Out ecosystem.

We think Invites will make lives easier for a lot of our customers when they are getting started.