Preparing ActiveCollab for 2022

Preparing ActiveCollab for 2022

Can you imagine how collaboration will look like once our bot companions take over most of our jobs? And what ActiveCollab will have to look like?

(Disclaimer: This article is not 100% serious, we just wanted to imagine how ActiveCollab could look like in 2022 when 47% of current jobs will supposedly be done by bots.

Like any other worker, bots will need to get things done. Only they won’t use pomodoros or books from productivity gurus. And they won’t procrastinate, watch viral videos or share cat GIFs with each other. But they may still need a specialized tool to manage tasks and keep information in one place.

UX design for the future

Just recently, we’ve redesigned ActiveCollab to make it easier for humans to use. But it’s possible we’ll have to redesign again, once bot assistants become mainstream.

The trick is to integrate how we as humans use software and how bots receive and send updates.

The bot user part is easy: just make calls to the API. But we need to come up with a way to notify a human user when a specific task gets done so they can proceed to assign the next task, depending on the result.

That is if you don’t automate the decision making in the first place with a series of IFs and SWITCH cases. In that case, we’ll probably need to make a new dashboard for programming decisions and make it easy to use so that even technically-challenged users can get things done.

Imagine the new workflow

Your project team will probably comprise a designer, copywriter, a few developers, a manager, and a few specialized bots.

Your team sits down and makes a project plan. The manager assigns the tasks and keeps checking that everyone’s on the right path. Once you finish the creative/business part, a bot takes over and finishes the task as specified.

A bot can then:

  • update the task label (depending on the outcome),
  • provide commentary,
  • create and assign a task for the next person,
  • notify human subscribers,
  • notify observing devices,
  • upload results and create discussions,
  • issue and send invoices.

Everything you did manually in ActiveCollab, we’ll have to rethink and make it automatic. We’ll probably need a new Bots window to list all the observing bots, make new user roles in the system and limit the information bots can access, depending if you employ in-house bots or rent-a-bots.

We’d also introduce another filter in aggregation views to filter human activity from bot to make information hunting easier.

Idea for a new, complementary product

We could make all the extra functionality blend in with the existing ActiveCollab, or release a new product — a standalone software which other programs can integrate with. We’d name it activeBot or Bot Collab.

That product would catalog IPs of every subscribing bot, along with what information they need, their purpose, serial number, owner, location, OS, CPU usage…

You’d also be able to log in with the bot’s ID and password and see its personal dashboard, history, assignments — including the customizable user profile page with a nice photo.

You’d give bots access to make a task in ActiveCollab, create a newsletter in MailChimp, take photos and integrate them on the website, activate remote devices, place an order and let self-flying drone deliver it...

You’d assign what data you expect and define what to do if certain values are present.

Another bot sees the task and gets triggered by certain words and gets activated. It siphons all the data it needs, outsources the work to a contractor (human or bot).

After the task is processed, the bot updates the task and orders a copywriter bot to send a newsletter announcing the results.

The upside is we don’t need to do extensive user onboarding — we just need to make a great API. The downside: people will have a hard time understanding what they can do with bot employees. The mission of the next era of design will be on making collaboration smooth between us and our silicone-enhanced colleagues.

The robot future is closer than we think, and we at ActiveCollab strongly believe that collaboration is everyone’s responsibility — no matter if you dream of electric sheep or not.

If you’re interested in bot-based future, here’s some food for thought: