Central Desktop (more on them here)  is today unveiling version 2.0 of its offering that is delivering an entire new user interface for it’s customers. A quick update on the past year for Central Desktop:

  • 44% year-over-year growth in revenue (gross bookings)
  • Employee growth from 20 to 30 employees
  • Hundreds of new Enterprise Edition customers
  • Q4 2009 Enterprise Edition sales compared to Q4 2008 increased by more than 600%
  • Released Microsoft Outlook plug-in
  • Micro-blogging feature (Status updates syndicated to Twitter and Facebook)
  • Extended global performance via Akamai’s content delivery network

With this new version, Central Desktop delivers a redesigned, intuitive user interface, and introduces several new features including an online file viewing enhancement. Online file viewing is a high profile area after box.net coined the term “cloud content management” a month or so ago.

The new features of Central Desktop 2.0 include:

  • New User Interface – Central Desktop’s user interface has been completely redesigned to provide a more user-friendly experience. The new layout includes a workspace creation wizard, workspace templating, new drop down menus, customizable tabs and configurable settings.

central-desktop-workspace-dropdown

  • Online File Viewer – The expanded file preview feature supports 189 different file types including Microsoft Office files, PDFs, JPEGs, TIFs, CAD files and Adobe Photoshop files. All files are also accompanied by a thumbnail image for an at-a-glance immediate preview and the ability to comment on files without having to download them to the desktop.

 central-desktop-file-preview

  • Improved Wiki Navigation – One-click wiki page creation and page navigation enhancements – Wiki pages can be rearranged by simply dragging and dropping pages within a wiki tree, giving a hierarchical structure to ordinarily flat wiki pages.
  • PDF Creator – Convert, download and share any file type – including images – as a PDF with a single click directly from Central Desktop.
  • Internal Blogs and Forums – A corporate blog, project blog or discussion forum can be created quickly and used to share thoughts, make announcements or capture the evolution of ideas and projects.

central-desktop-forums

  • Page Favorites – Frequently visited pages or files can be marked as favorites for quicker access.

central-desktop-page-favorites

  • Avatars – Central Desktop 2.0 uses avatars throughout the platform to identify users and accompany their recent activity.

I’ve used a bunch of online collaboration platforms and while they all vary on the continuum  from lightweight to rich, one consistent factor has been their lack of usability for shop-floor workers. With the brief play I had of Central Desktop, I’m impressed at the user experience factors that they’ve obviously considered when designing this new UI. This new focus should see them able to branch out into different, and more mainstream, markets. As CEO Isaac Garcia said when I spoke with him:

Our top priority is creating a collaboration solution that balances utility with usability to increase user adoption for our customers… Going forward, we will continue to build on our 2.0 platform to create turn-key, customizable solutions that target specific industries and customer segments.”

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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