Basecamp Personal

The good bits

  • Basecamp Personal comes with an unlimited free trial mode, which allows someone to have up to 2 projects for an unlimited time.
  • The user is not nudged to upgrade until after they’ve set up at least one project.
  • There is a guided setup option to help someone set up their projects. This is offered any time someone creates a new project, not just limited to the first time. It’s also flexible, letting people skip steps and exit partway through.
  • Basecamp has informative, custom default states for each section of a project. 
  • Inline at the bottom of the project pages are entry points to help and customer service.
  • Inline cues reinforce users about default settings. For example, they mmight see a chip in the corner of their “Latest activity” tab showing a checkmark next to “emailing a daily summary,” which indicates that they’re going to get email reminders by default. They can tap or click that to disable it.

To be improved

  • All free trial signup links across the site for Basecamp Personal routed to a single page for all Basecamp projects, with Basecamp Business at the top. On smaller device screens, this might mean the Basecamp Personal free trial action is below “the fold,” and someone might go to the wrong option (this is what happened to me at least; I signed up for Basecamp Business by accident since it was the first thing on this page, and realised I was in the wrong version when I saw was a 30 day countdown banner appearing after I’d gone through the setup flow for it). 
  • The personal note overlay that welcomes new users to Basecamp is a nice touch. However, people tend to dismiss overlays quickly, the details contained within it about the free trial experience might be missed.
  • The guided flow doesn’t provide reassurance that information entered before someone exits will be preserved if someone wants to exit partway through.

Signup screens

The initial free trial screen combined free trial links for Basecamp Business and Basecamp Personal. In my case, the link to sign up for the free version of Basecamp Personal was below the “fold,” shown by the red line in the image below.

Empty states

When clicking on one of the top tabs, a popover message will appear informing the user about what to expect from that section when populated. However, the Activity empty state is notably different (you can’t tell it’s highlighted/in focus), so there may be an opportunity to make the empty states of each container behave consistently.

Project setup screens

When creating a project, you have the option of going through a guided flow, or setting various sections up in any order you’d like. The empty state of the project page provides piecemeal entry points to each part of a project, while also serving as an overview of what to expect the guided setup flow to guide them through.

The guided flow breaks out the 4 main steps of creating a new project: Add deadlines, uploading files, setting up to-dos, and creating a kickoff message for teammates). Many of the steps offer examples of what someone can add, like a list of supported file types on the “add files” step. These can be skipped or exited at any time.

Sometimes a step will introduce sub features, such as the introduction of a “Boost” feature when adding deadlines. Such sub feature introductions may be premature and confusing for people who haven’t yet built a mental model of the core elements of Basecamp.

If you choose to (or accidentally) exit the setup wizard, a bubble will appear on your project home page offering you the chance to jump back into the wizard and pick up where you left off. Previously-entered information is preserved.

Once you do complete project setup through the guided flow, you are returned to a filled-out state of the project home screen.

Basecamp shows information about the two project limit and a prompt to upgrade after someone has added their first project.