Now and again, you have to look at where you’re at and ask the question:
“Is this the best we can do?”.
I don’t mean if this is good enough, but with all the talent, experience, and knowledge that we have, could we do a better job? We asked ourselves that question seven months ago. Was ‘this’ the editor that we would want to use every day in Better Proposals? Was it as fast as it could be, what were its drawbacks, what was it bad at? There were plenty of other questions on the list and it wasn’t long before we all came to the same conclusion – it’s time to rebuild the editor. After the better part of seven months, we’re finally able to show the world what we’ve been working on.
What wasn’t negotiable
There are always some nice-to-have things you can add later, but when you’re rebuilding something as big as this from scratch, it’s vital you know which things you won’t be moving the goalposts for.
So we created a short, but essential list.
The first thing was speed. It had to feel lightning fast. No loading. No endless spinners and page reloads. It needed to feel instant.
The second thing was giving the people what they wanted when it came to pricing tables. Back when we started building Better Proposals, we had only just transitioned from running an agency to a software company, so we knew very well the kinds of features we needed the pricing tables to have. Over time, as we’ve grown and more industries started to use web-based proposal tools, the demands increased and so did our pricing tables’ capability.
Lastly, there was flexibility. If we wanted to add new features to the editor, would that be a long, tedious process or something quick and simple? It needed to be as easy as possible to continue to cater to our customers’ demand.
Lessons from Amazon to Basecamp to us
Jeff Bezos once told Jason and David at Basecamp to focus on the things that will always be true. At Amazon, that was simple: people wanted the biggest selection, lowest prices, and the fastest delivery. So that’s what they focused on and still do. No one will wake up one day and want less selection, higher costs, and slower delivery times.
We realized that our non-negotiable list was precisely that – people would wish for a new proposal editor to be fast, not clunky. They want to put their pricing in the way they do in their industry and have a platform that will grow with them over time.
We didn’t just build a faster version of what we had
If you’re going to rebuild a massive part of your product as we have, there will always be some new features you want to put in. So safe to say, there’s no shortage of new additions.
Want your entire proposal or document fully scrollable instead of clicking through each section? You got it.
Want to insert images from Unsplash or Pexels right from the editor? You got that, too.
Always liked the idea of having a video background? You’re in luck.
There is an absolute ton of new things added to the Editor. Some are covered in the launch video below, but if you scroll to the bottom of this post, you will see a great big list of everything we’ve changed or added.
The most mental product release video of all time
We don’t do things by halves, so we decided to create the most insane product release video we could. Think of it this way: if music festival stage designers decided to create software. 😉
The definitive list of what’s actually changed
Removed Text Blocks
We have completely removed the text blocks. When you open the new editor for the first time, you will notice all your text blocks are converted to Feature Blocks. The background is changed to white and the default text color is already selected. It won’t look any different but you’ll gain all the editing functionality of a Feature Block.
We’ve renamed a few things
- Feature Blocks will now be referred to as Content Blocks.
- Everything you can add to a proposal is called a block. A content block, a pricing block, etc.
- Pages became sections. So now, we have sections on the left and each section has blocks.
- Pricing blocks now offer the possibility of adding multiple pricing tables.
- You can now add background videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia. It’s as simple as pasting the link.
- You can add images from Unsplash or Pexels. Just search from within your content block settings and click on the image to add it. You no longer have to waste time downloading from a site and uploading images to the editor.
- Background patterns – we’ve brought in the old and added the new! So if you liked the pattern you used in the old editor, you have it in this editor, too, along with about 30 new ones.
- You can now apply various trims to the bottom of any content block. It will easily mesh with whatever is below it.
- You can also animate the content. No content flying in or anything trashy like that – just a subtle fade-in. It’s a nice touch.
- There are now four layout options. Normal mode, wide mode, normal mode with two columns, and wide mode with two columns. With the two-column mode, you get two editors side by side in the same content block. If you switch it back, it will merge your content into a single block. If you switch to two-column again, it will show all the content in the left column and a blank column on the right.
Covers have now been given the same treatment as a content block. You can add background videos, Unsplash and Pexels integration, and patterns into them.
- The section-by-section mode used to be the only way to read your documents. Now, we’ve added a fully scrollable mode where everything stacks on top of each other, in PDF document style. If you open it on mobile, it will automatically switch to fully scrollable, simply because tabbing through isn’t fun.
- When you start creating a template, you’ll go straight in. The page where you named it and assigned the brand isn’t there anymore; you’re launched straight into the editor. There’s a settings icon in the top right with the name, tags, brand, and the option to make a proposal fully scrollable.
- You won’t add things from the green tab on the right anymore. In the new editor, there is a + icon located between each section. The same goes for pricing tables.
- We have added a feature that allows you to hide a section. Basically, you can see it and edit it, but it’s not visible to your customers. You can change this at any time. This feature is perfect if you want to, for example, keep your terms and signature block pages hidden until they’ve given a better indication that they’re ready to roll.
Digital Signature Blocks
- We have added the ability to change the background color of your digital signature blocks to tie in with the rest of your content.
- Now you can also choose which methods you would like your client to sign with. So if you only want them to draw their signature, for example, you can untick the typing option, and it won’t be visible to your client.
- You can save all the same things as before to the content library, including pricing tables.
- When you add something from the content library, 90% will be content blocks or full-width images. That’s why we’ve added a small preview, in the sense that it brings in the background color and text color. It won’t show background images and videos, but it should help figure out what’s what far easier than before.
- Full-width images are always displayed in full in the content library, so you can see what you’re adding.
Full width images
- You can add them by uploading them as before or adding them directly from Unsplash or Pexels.
- You can then edit their height by dragging the cropping tool.
- Video blocks are now editable. So unlike before, you can edit the video source, instead of deleting it and starting over. Sorry, that was awful!
- We’ve added three different widths. Normal, wide mode, and full (edge-to-edge on whatever device you’re using).
- You can add multiple pricing tables using the + icon at the bottom of the previously added pricing table.
- Any pricing table can contain a line item, a section title, or a discount.
- It’s easy to change the background color of the pricing block.
- You can also change the header color of each of the pricing tables.
- Adding line items is still the same as before.
- The section title is also the same as before.
- Adding a discount to a pricing table adds it to the whole table, not the pricing block.
- We’ve added the option of applying a discount to a specific line item.
- Discounts are applied by a percentage of a set amount on a line item or the whole pricing table.
- Changing the title of a line item can be done on the fly.
- Changing the payment type into monthly, one-off, etc., has never been easier.
- If you allow it, your customers can choose quantities and you can specify what they can select from. Take, for example, catering. You want your customers to select the number of people but the venue can only hold up to 100 visitors. In that case, you can easily set a min and max.
- If you’re using the choice items, you can force your client to select at least something. It will not let them sign until they have done it.
- You can hide pricing tables, so they are hidden from view but still editable.
- There is a subtotal for each pricing table and a total block under the last pricing table including all the taxes, etc.
- You can drag and drop pricing tables and the items within them.
It’s been a lot of work so you’d better like it. 😉
As always, thank you for all your support. The coolest thing about this update is delivering the things you’ve been bugging us about for so long. Thank you for holding us to a higher standard – it’s what you deserve and it’s where we should be.
Can’t wait to read your feedback.