Last week we shared a behind the scenes look at how we used Basecamp to design the new export feature. This week we wanted to share the Basecamp project we used to design and develop the Basecamp calendar.

The Basecamp calendar

The Basecamp calendar was the last major feature we designed before releasing the all new Basecamp to the world. I wrote a bit about this in the April issue of my my monthly Inc. column.

Kicking off the project

We kicked off the project back in December with a series of sketches on the chalkboard. We then uploaded those sketches to Basecamp so those who weren’t in the initial kick off session could see what was discussed/sketched.

Initial concepts for adding an event

Here’s a post from Scott sharing some of his initial design ideas for the new event bubble. As you scroll down you’ll see the discussion involves feedback from a few different designers. Some feedback is purely text, some are questions, and others are design “volleys”.

Interacting with the UI

Here’s a thread that starts off with a screencast showing how the UI would work. We often share screencasts when designing UIs so people don’t have to imagine an interaction. The fewer abstractions the better. A screencast is direct and direct is better.


One of the trickier parts of the calendar UI was figuring out how to add people to an event. And did adding someone to an event mean they were notified about the event or were they responsible for the event? Here’s a discussion where we started to hash this out.

To sheet or not to sheet

Since the calendar is a “global” item (not part of any specific project), we discussed if it should live flat on the background or if it should live on a white sheet like a project. This discussion ended with punting the decision down the road – we wanted to see real content on the calendar before making the final call.

Creating a new calendar

Here’s a meaty discussion with ideas, screenshots, copywriting tweaks, and sketches relating to the UI for creating a new calendar. You’ll see how most discussions about design include a design. Design discussions always benefit from show and tell.

All the discussions in one place

One of the great things about the all new Basecamp is that it keeps all the discussions about a project on a single page. It doesn’t matter if the discussion starts as a message, or a comment on a to-do, or a new design idea, or an event on the calendar – if there’s discussion about it it shows up in the Discussions area. In this project there were 116 separate discussions in all.

All 208 images, files, and movies

Here are all 208 file attachments in the calendar project. You’ll find screenshots, prototypes, screencasts, and sketches.

One “feature”, 180 completed to-dos across 29 lists

And lastly, here’s the nitty gritty – 180 completed to-dos across 29 lists.

More soon!

We have dozens of additional projects we’ll be sharing with everyone over the next few months. Stay tuned for more inside looks at how we used the all new Basecamp to make the all new Basecamp.