|iPhone App||Loading screens generally take longer than most alternatives|
|Incredible user interface|
|Very easy to learn and use|
|Provides an API for developers|
5pm is highly user friendly online project management and collaboration system. Unlike many alternative systems, 5pm has constructed and designed their system in such a way that project managers can teach themselves how to use the system without having to constantly refer back to the help section in order to discover how certain functions or processes work. That being said, even seasoned project managers (both with project management in general and also the system) find the system incredibly functional and agree that 5pm is straight to the point. It does not contain any unnecessary clutter that would slow project managers and users down, and has knuckled down and fine-tuned the functions it supports in such a way that they are incredibly intuitive and useful for managing.
(Above) 5pm Main Screen
5pm sports a very impressive user interface. The design is fantastic and makes it extremely intuitive to use due to the clever placing of the elements on the screen. As a result of this, each section and function of the system is clearly defined and no time is wasted searching for the right area. We have decided on 5 stars for the 5pm user interface due to the fact that there are no design flaws – the interface supports the system perfectly. Color coding and highlighting, record highlighting, and many more user interface features come together to prove that 5pm has one of the best and most functional user interfaces that exist.
(Above) Viewing files within a project
(Above) Viewing the activity log for a project
Like many online project management systems, 5pm features an activity log which displays collaboration and file sharing between users. The aesthetically pleasing user interface makes this a very positive experience. As seen in the screenshot below, it is very simple to add something to the activity log. Additionally, you can attach files, hide the message from clients, and notify (via email) both team members and external sources that the message was posted. The system also allows adding files, progress notes, files from Google Docs, and maps from SpiderScribe.
(Above) Adding a message to the activity log
The timeline is fully interactive and allows users to drag and drop in order to reschedule. Additionally, it provides filtering support to display by project, by user type, and by group. Furthermore, like all good timelines, the timeline supports the following views:
– Daily View Wide
– Daily View
– Weekly View
– Monthly View
This aids project managers to both be able to see the intricacies of day to day tasks, and also gain a solid and meaningful understanding of the current state of the project over an entire week or month. 5pm’s timeline also allows users to “unfold” projects on the timeline, displaying each task within the project.
The fact that 5pm has provided an API for developers is extremely beneficial and is considered a strong selling point due to the fact that companies using the system are able to use the API to integrate 5pm into their own systems, thus increasing the overall effectiveness of the system. Particular companies may have special requirements and processes that they must follow when managing projects and the API can assist with that. Developers can use the API to fine tune and customize how they actually manage projects. See the below screenshot for a list of web services that 5pm provides.
(Above) Functions within the 5pm API
The performance of 5pm is of slight concern. Many transitions and functions within the system have a loading bar which from our testing could take up for 4 seconds to load. While this may seem insignificant, when it is compared to other online project management and collaboration tools, the wait time is quite high (as some others have as low as less than 1 second). However, this performance issue is largely to do with the fact that the user interface is extremely robust, more so than most online project management systems and we found that all the other positive aspects of 5pm far outweigh the fact that it can be slow at times.
(Above) 5pm can take a few moments to load at times
Ease of Use
In regards to ease of use, 5pm has definitely got it right. From the first moment you log in, it is clear to see where all the functions are, and provides a meaningful overlook of each project in the system. For example, to see the activity log for a project, detailing all the latest information, simply click on the project and the activity log will be displayed in the right hand pane. Similarly, to see a complete list of files within a project, simply select the project and then click the [Files] tab. These little things promote the idea that 5pm is indeed an easy system to use.
Overall, 5pm is highly recommended. Not only does it provide a memorable user interface, the functions it presents are well written and thought out and can aid a project manager to effectively manage. The system is near flawless, but it would be beneficial for the system to work on the performance and page loads. Additionally, more options and fine tuning for reporting and people management would be constructive, as currently while the functions work, there is nothing in particular that stands out against competitors. As for the scheduling and time management of projects, 5pm definitely knows what they are doing and we found the interactive Gantt chart to be highly useful and functional.