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Welcome to the new Blinksale!

It is with a tummy-turning mix of excitement and anxiety that I experience the public launch of the new Blinksale. I’ve been a fan and a customer of Blinksale for many years, so when I found myself working for Doublewide Labs, the company that purchased the web app last year from the esteemed Firewheel Design, I was pretty excited. Nay, stoked.

I was also nervous to begin changing what has been a beloved app with a loyal customer base. As a customer, I knew I wouldn’t want some jerk designer coming in and changing things for inconsiderate reasons. So, nerves. And the conscious effort to not be a jerk.

Anyhow, you’re probably here to read all about what’s new. I shall oblige. Hold on to your wigs & keys!

Realigning (not Reinventing) the Wheel

My primary goal in the redesign effort was to change as little as possible, weird as that may seem. That design decision was made easier by the sane choices of the original designers (shout-out). As a result, the layout and location of buttons & links is largely unchanged. The majority of the changes come in the form of stylistic enhancements, but there are a of couple structural improvements worth noting.

The most dramatic change, I think, is the removal of the Blinksale logo from the traditional spot in the top left corner of the screen; this freed up the layout for a better navigation bar and a larger workspace. I think it’s very cool that Blinksale’s owners were okay with moving the logo to the bottom of the pages; to me, that kind of says all that needs to be said about where the company priorities lie. Hint: it’s all about you.


Another subtle design change is the visual separation of an invoice’s History & Comments from the invoice itself. Whereas the comments used to appear embedded inside the same container as the line items & notes, comments and history are now appended below the invoice. It’s a small change, but one that more clearly separates the two groups of information. Each type of history item and comments also now have their own “tag” to make them easier to scan.

Aside from those two things, there has not been any major restructuring of the app. Lots of small things, yes, but those are too numerous to catalog here.  You’ll notice more changes when you meet them (and hopefully smile in doing so).

New Paint

Yes, Blinksale got its face did. Even web apps need to be repainted once in a while to stay relevant, appear competent and keep it sexy.

Still, in the spirit of making as few changes as possible, we’ve maintained a color palette which both matures the visual design of the app and pays homage to the colorful original. While we’ve kept close to those definitive blue/green Blinksale-y colors in the app, the workspace is primarily grayscale. That’s a noticeable change, since the original Blinksale sat inside a container which floated on a minty background. The new workspace removes colorful distractions. ;)

I’d consider the primary distinguishing visual element of the app to be the use of guilloché. Guilloché patterns are (often intricate) interlaced lines which are commonly used on paper money, certificates and a myriad of other documents; the patterns serve as both beautiful decoration and a guard against counterfeiting. The guilloché pattern is used liberally for various elements, sets the tone for the rest of the design and intends to make Blinksale feel more like a refined & valuable financial tool.

The rest of the changes can really be summed up with: typography, whitespace, details. Those are not trivial things, just not necessarily things to talk about at length here. Still, this is where most of the attention was directed and the app feels more cohesive as a result.

Estimates! (Almost, we swear!)

“Add estimating” was — hands-down — the top feature request Blinksale has had over the years. Other invoicing apps have it, and we were way behind in adding it. Our bad. You will soon be able to create estimates, send them out just like invoices and give your soon-to-be clients an online copy where they can comment on and approve them. We are currently beta testing the feature, but here is a sneak peek:

We also took some time to think through how estimates might fit into your workflow, and our “Convert to Invoice” screen allows you to take an estimate and — you guessed it — change it from an estimate to an invoice. The estimate gets archived, and all the relevant data moves into a new invoice. We think it’s pretty slick.

In Summation

So that’s the requisite summary of what you can expect to find in the new Blinksale. All in all, I’m pleased with how we’ve been able to move Blinksale forward. Most importantly, I hope that all of our customers continue to enjoy using it. I look forward to working with the rest of our team to continue rolling out new features.

Speaking of the team, I’d be remiss to not shine a big spotlight o’ credit on Blinksale’s fearless leader, Brandon Cotter, and our super-amazing developer, Istvan Hoka, whose contributions to this effort have been foundational. Too often, the designer gets too much credit. None of my design-y work would be worth a hill of beans without the insight, vision, deep technical knowledge and code execution that came from my Blinksale compadres. No one can send invoices from a Photoshop file. ;)

With that, we wish you happy Blinksaling! If you’d like to have Estimates added to your account while we beta test the feature, please send an email to support@blinksale.com with the subject line “Estimates beta testing.” If you’re not a Blinksale customer you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to check out the app.

I was also nervous to begin changing what has been a beloved app with a loyal customer base. As a customer, I knew I wouldn’t want some jerk designer coming in and changing things for inconsiderate reasons. So, nerves. And the conscious effort to not be a design jerk.
Anyhow, you’re probably here to read all about what’s new. I shall oblige. Hold on to your wigs & keys!

32 Comments

  • On July 1, 2010, Jim Shank said:

    Very nicely done guys. The new colors and layout give it a great look and feel while maintaining its ease of use and navigation.

  • On July 1, 2010, Yitz Woolf said:

    Love it! Love the red and blue striped invoice page. Love the “currency security texture” throughout the site – nice touch!

    When do you think you will have the timer – I’m super excited about that!

  • On July 1, 2010, Nick Dominguez said:

    I left Blinksale a long time ago, but I really like these updates. Alot of smart decisions made in the UI, nice work.

  • On July 1, 2010, Aaron Martin said:

    What a fantastic write-up and relaunch. Jared and the DOUBLEWIDE crew absolutely killed it.

  • On July 1, 2010, Patrick Rhone said:

    Fantastic update that is well worth the very long wait. I appreciate your focus on the details without changing for change sake. Great work.

  • On July 1, 2010, Steph said:

    Love it! It is a terrrific improvement and much easier on the eyes. Great company, great design.

  • On July 1, 2010, Jared Christensen said:

    @Yitz – All I can really say is that time tracking is on the short list of features that have been most requested, so we know it’s got to get done. :)

  • On July 1, 2010, Dave C. said:

    Lots of neat things in the new version. Great work.

    Is the ability to add attachments to invoices (you know, like for expense reports) still on the roadmap somewhere?

  • On July 1, 2010, Daniel Gibbons said:

    I left Blinksale a few weeks ago for Xero (which also provides full-featured double-entry bookkeeping / accounting. I do like Blinksale but I’m amazed that the updates don’t include the ability to search for invoices. I guess I could have tagged my invoices with the client reference code that I put in the invoice details, but how hard would it be to add basic search capabilities? Am I really the only one who wants this?

  • On July 1, 2010, Jared Christensen said:

    @Dave C. – Attachments are on the short list, for sure.

  • On July 1, 2010, Jared Christensen said:

    Daniel – You’re not alone. Search is another frequent feature request which is on the short list of things to implement sooner rather than later.

  • On July 1, 2010, Michael Wilson said:

    So, I think the graphics look good, the fact that estimates are coming is great. I hate to be the turd in the punchbowl but why can’t we have aged receivables? It’s a fundamental accounting report, the most basic of basic and the one most anyone in finance would ask to see. These updates are night, but I’m thinking it’s too little too late. Maybe you should consider inventing the wheel.

  • On July 1, 2010, Jesse said:

    Bravo! Appreciate the Blinksale facelift. Looks much more professional and as you said, competent. Not crazy over the “airpost” graphic treatment for invoices–too far a leap from how we really communicate today. But overall a great change!

  • On July 1, 2010, Paul said:

    Good to see the facelift..However, month ago I had to leave Blinksale for CurdBee, which was very usable and fitting my budget at that time.

    If you guys can match them, I would definitely reconsider to switch back.

  • On July 1, 2010, Marli said:

    I’m also a freshbooks customer and just discovered Blinksale. I’m pleased with the new changes and especially the design (this coming from a graphic designer as well). Also really loved the article here, great job!

  • On July 1, 2010, Peter Holcomb said:

    Great job guys. Have been a Blinksale customer for several years now and can’t say that I’m going to miss the weird light green gradient. The look and feel is much improved and I dig the air mail style on the top of the invoices. Excellent work all around.

  • On July 1, 2010, Peter Holcomb said:

    One request that I mentioned to Blinksale staff about a year or two ago. Any chance we can set up automatic reminders to our deadbeat clients who continually pay invoices late? It’d be nice to be able to set up some sort of schedule such as “Send a reminder X days after invoice is late and then send a reminder every Y day until it is paid”. This would be pretty useful for me as it would save me having to babysit my unpaid invoices.

  • On July 2, 2010, Rich said:

    I really really like the new design but I do feel a bit disapointed the bugs still exist and have done for many months.

    For example, when I filter my invoices (say I want everything from July 09 to June 10 that is past due form one client) and view one of the resulting invoices, if I click the main ‘invoices’ button on the top menu, it returns me to the invoice list but forgets _all_ my search params.

    Curiously, the search parameters are in the URL still, they just aren’t formatted correctly. For example:

    https://mycompany.blinksale.com/invoices/past_due/client/Name%2BOf%2BClient%2BLtd/date/2009-07-01/2010-06-31

    Turns into:

    https://mycompany.blinksale.com/invoices/past_dueclientName%2BOf%2BClient%2BLtddate2009-07-012010-06-31

    Basically it’s missing the forward slashes.

    Other features that would be nice:
    – Silver users can send PDF invoices
    – Revamp the ‘purchases’ section to keep track of company expenses rather than invoices from other Blinksale users…
    – Be able to set another status for invoices so you can hide them if they are bad debts etc

    I am really looking forward to the estimates functionality though, great work.

  • On July 2, 2010, Mike said:

    We’ve been using Blinksale for over a year and are fairly happy with it. Very interested in the enhanced features that are on the “short list” above as well as estimates. You’ve mentioned they’re in beta testing… is that something that people can sign up to participate in?

  • On July 2, 2010, Jared Christensen said:

    @Mike – Only estimates are in beta testing right now. We’ll put out the call for testing new features as they come along, so stay tuned.

  • On July 2, 2010, Jared Christensen said:

    @ Peter Holcomb – That is a great idea! I’ve added it to our official features list. Thanks for the feedback!

  • On July 2, 2010, Jared Christensen said:

    @Rich – Wow, the filter’s effect on the URL certainly is cause for confusion. I suspect that the intention is to clear the filter settings when re-entering the Invoices tab, but the parameters remaining in the URL make that a point of confusion. I’ve filed a bug for it.

    You’ve got me thinking about saved filters. :) Just added that to the feature list.

    I hear you on the Purchases section. There is SO much more that could be done there, and –yes — being able to add any expense would be great.

  • On July 2, 2010, Paul Oyler said:

    Definitely like the new look, very professional!

    I second the request for automatic reminders.

    Because mine is a photography business, most of my invoices go to individuals rather than companies. Is there any possibility of being able to sort clients by last name if they are individuals rather than companies? I realize this may not be applicable to enough people to matter, but I’d like to at least throw the idea out there.

  • On July 3, 2010, Eamonn Hughes said:

    Guys I’ve been a Blinksale customer for a few years now but moved to Freshbooks because of lack of Statements. Great to see you’re moving the software forward with this welcome update, look forward to see more frequent changes in the coming months.

    Keep up the good work.

  • On July 4, 2010, Joe Hastings said:

    I like the new look and enhancements very much. It is all very well done.

    For me, a useful enhancement would be an ability to deal with client credit balances. I have an international client base, some send me a lump sum in advance to reduce the cost of currency transfer.

  • On July 5, 2010, Dan Griffiths said:

    Really unsure about this facelift – reading clarity is pretty poor and the People page is terribly laid out :(

    For the first time I am considering migrating to something else…

  • On July 5, 2010, Jared Hawkins said:

    Great work. Guilloché patterns are wonderfully implemented.

    I’m always on the lookout for good icons. Are the ones used in the main nav available to purchase somewhere, or did you craft those yourself?

  • On July 6, 2010, Tony Oravet said:

    What an excellent job on the new design folks!

    Glad to be a Blinksale customer and can’t wait to be able to check out the all new Estimates feature!

  • On July 7, 2010, Justin Reese said:

    First: Looks great. To be honest, I switched away from Blinksale about a year ago after continuously missed promises and a specious future. But these improvements, if they are accompanied by continuous improvement and bug-fixing, are very welcome.

    Second: I certainly hope the math engine within Blinksale is better than what’s shown in the screenshots! Check the math on all three detail screens (Estimate, Convert to Invoice, Invoices). I assume these were either Photoshopped or just dummy wireframes. I’d recommend making that math correct.

    Well done though! A tasteful redesign.

  • On July 7, 2010, Ray Gulick said:

    Nice job. I do, however have one request. The “People” section is actually harder to read than before; really cluttered and disorganized in appearance, particularly when some long emails alter the column widths. Not built for rapid scanning.

    My request is this: could you put a show/hide on each company so we can quickly scroll through companies, then “open” the one we want to find the person we’re looking for?

  • On July 7, 2010, Sean said:

    Seems like you still have to have a gold account to send pdfs. I was told that was to change. :-/

  • On August 12, 2015, Michael De Havilland said:

    Why is it not possible to send a reminder to all overdue accounts. My book-keeping is very poor and I now find I have outstanding invoices totalling well over £100,000!!

    I just do not have the time to load each invoice before individually sending a reminder with the result that I am loosing tens of thousands of pounds or more.

    I understand if my book keeping were kept upto date the issue would not arise, but never the less. Why isn’t such a simple procedure possible.

    I have complained that the speed of the online invoicing program is dreadfully slow and maybe an offline invoicing facility should be built in allowing the invoicing to be carried out offline and synched when online.

    As soon as I can summit the courage to migrate to another invoicing application I shall be doing so. Its a pity as I’ve been with Blinksale for many years.

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