Trello is a product that has grown like wildfire. And no wonder, Trello’s rise has closely mirrored the rise of a new way of working where collaboration, design-thinking, and agile approaches have been the flavor of the day. Trello, a platform that seeks to reinvent the way project planning an execution happens, is one of the tools helping to enable this new way of thinking.

But the two billion “cards” created in Trello give some hint as to the complexities that such success creates – if Trello is the place to get organized and ensure that stuff gets done, that massive number of things going in within Trello makes that proposition even more challenging.

So it seems an opportune time for Trello to reinvent the way its tool work. And so it is this the announcement of a huge Trello user interface refresh – a refresh designed to make it easier to find the information of relevance to teams an individual, and a way to more effectively be notified of changes and messages.

The new Trello Home

Having used Trello for a number of projects across distributed and diverse teams, I’ve gained a personal perspective on how complex it gets to search through the large number of different boards, tasks, and comments that live in Trello. Regular users of Slack will know this pain also, collaboration systems are great, but can result in more unfiltered noise.

The new Trello aims to resolve this by personalizing an individual’s perspective across their Trello account. Borrowing from Facebook’s newsfeed (perhaps an unfortunate analogy right now) Trello Home surfaces the most relevant and timely information for an individual – across the different boards they work within.

Notifications on steroids

We’re all constantly bombarded by notifications. Most of us in the digital world have simply learned to put up with this but we are, I fear, reaching a breaking point beyond which notification bankruptcy will have to be declared. As Trello put it in their own briefing materials:

When you are constantly bombarded by notifications, it can take all your willpower to not just throw your phone or computer at the wall and walk away. But what if you miss something important? The FOMO is real, and so you stay glued (or handcuffed) to your screen, answering every ping instead of accomplishing important projects. It’s time to start taking control of your notifications—your Trello ones at least!

To this end, Trello has rolled out a new notification approach that allows users more granularity around what they do – they can change due dates, ignore entire cards entirely and mark individual alerts as “read” or “unread.” Small steps, true, but the start of a new approach towards the constant noise that digital workers suffer.


There is a battle royal going on here to gain the edge when it comes to new style productivity tools. There are many different players trying to resolve these issues – those who come from a communication angle (Slack, etc.), those who come from a project angle (Trello) and still those who try and resolve these issues from a platform perspective (Office 365). Time will tell which approach gains the most momentum, and who will come out on top of this brave new world.

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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