On April 22nd we are releasing Carta 4, our new platform design. Carta 4 improves navigation and information clarity.
Why we redesign
The software industry has a term called technical debt. It is the result of programmers writing “quick and dirty” code to ship features faster, instead of thoughtful code built for the long-term. Technical debt, like financial debt, can accelerate short-term progress. But eventually, it must be paid back.
Product debt exists too. It is created with good intentions, but drags down the product experience over time.
“My customer’s use case is different from anything we’ve seen before. I think we can jury-rig a solution.” The Carta interface was originally designed for a user to manage one C-corp. Since then, we have brought on LLCs, investment funds, holding companies, and other entities.
“Our navigation wasn’t designed to show this many links, but I can’t ship my feature without adding another one.” Our feature set has grown tenfold since we launched Carta 3. Navigating through the product is harder than it used to be.
“I think our customers need feature X. To find out, let’s create a landing page for it and see if anyone clicks.” Our product and our codebase have a fossil record of failed experiments and features.
How we deal with debt
At Carta, we redesign our product every 18 months. It lets us “pay down” our product debt.
We built Carta 1 in 2013 but never launched it.
We launched Carta 2 in January 2014.
We launched Carta 3 in July 2015.
On April 22nd, 2017 we are launching Carta 4:
A note about redesigns
Software companies redesign products all the time. They tell everyone how fantastic the new design is, yet the response from users is almost always negative.
That’s because a software redesign is like an involuntary home renovation. To an outside observer, it is better. With time, the occupants may grow to love it. But until that happens, it is strange and uncomfortable.
This redesign will feel different at first, but I hope you will grow to love it.