- 03-11-2012, 01:07 PM #1
You'll find a teaser-video for this BETA here:
My mum got herself an Nokia Lumia 800, which is her first smartphone. I was a bit afraid it would be a too big step from her old "dumb phone". Especially since she is in her 60's and have arthritis, so I thought a small touchscreen would not work to well.
But she loved almost everything about it...except making phone calls. That was the only thing that she felt she could do easier with her "old phone", with big physical buttons, and not many taps before she had found any contact.
The whole people hub experience confused her, and it was just to many steps, and too much "tiny text".
So that was ONE incentive to make a easier "dialing-app".
The OTHER was several friends who have WP7, and love it, but they too complained about the same. "Why is calling with this thing so damn cumbersome, when everything else is so easy?". We all missed the great "smart dialing"-functionality from Windows Mobile. Beats me why Microsoft just did not add that to the dialer in WP7?
There are several "smart dialer"-apps out there...but they often don't find everything (does not search the fields I want them to search), or they have complex interface, or are not fast enough, or they do not give me the options I want when I have found the contact.
MY GOALS WITH THE APP:
- Easy to use (mum is new to this "smartphone thing")
- Option for large text (mum's eyesight)
- Option for enormous keyboard (mum's arthritis)
- Maximize layout for two things, keyboard and search results
- Find anyone (search any field)
- Intelligent ordering of the search results...so what I look for typically are shown at top
- FIRST: hits in beginning of names
- SECOND: hits in beginning of other fields on the contact
- THIRD: hits INSIDE of name/fields
- (and order that third one alpabetically, can be many)
- Support international characters (in Norway we have æøå for example)
- Show all info on a contact (notes++)
- Let me call
- Let me text
- Let me mail
- Let me open a persons web page
- Show addresses on a map with "navigate to"-button
- Let me forward contact information
- And let me customize a lot of stuff...without forcing me to customize a lot of stuff
- Must be fast and responsive (hopefully also with thousands of contacts)
- Look "nice"
- Look Metro'ish
THE NEXT STEP
So far the app has been tested by myself, my mum, and approx 10 friends and collegues of mine.
Now I feel the need for some wider testing, maybe someone who have a huge amount of contacts...to see how that affects everything.
And maybe someone from countries with "special characters" (France, Spain, Germant, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, so forth), so I can make sure I map the "right characters" to each "dial-key".
Or just "some random guy or gal", to get a different perspective on how the app is working.
The app have english and Norwegian language, and in theory it supports all characters, but I am not sure if I have mapped all to the "natural dial key" though.
BETA-testers do not have to report back to me, but the goal is of course to get some feedback. So I can improve and add to the app.
I want to keep the app itself easy to use, so that is a main focus...but I am open to any suggestion you might have ;)
NAME OF THE APP:
I currently plan to call the app "People search" outside of Norway, and call it "Finn folk" in Norway.
But I am open to good suggestions also in that area...actually...I am open to good suggestions in any area :)
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 05-13-2012 at 04:32 AM.
- 03-12-2012, 07:37 PM #3
Each of the digit-keys on the dialpad will search as several characters, so pressing the 2-button once, will actually search with A, B, C, Å, and several more characters.
You can see the characters mapped to each key under "ADVANCED" in the settings page in the app, but here it is summarized so it is easy to give me feedback on this.
I have just added keys I thought is the ones used in other countries, and guessed what digit they should be mapped against. I am sure I have made some stupid assumptions here :)
REPLY TO THIS IF YOU FEEL THAT I SHOULD HAVE ADDED MORE CHARACTERS TO SOME KEYS, OR THAT SOME KEYS HAVE THE WRONG CHARACTERS.
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 03-14-2012 at 01:48 AM.
- 03-12-2012, 08:02 PM #5
The program has a fairly complex "sorting logic", this is due to the fact that if you chose to search in all fields (I do myself), you tend to get a lot of hits (until you have tapped 4-5 times), since there is so much text on each contact to find matches in.
So I try to show the most logical hits at the top of the search results. I also limit each contact to one occurrence in the search results.
Here is the ordering-logic (if it does not have bug it should work like this:)
FIRST: hits in start of the name
First you get all contacts that your search text hit in the START of the name of the contact. If more than one such hit, they are ordered alphabetically
SECOND: hits in the start of some other field
Below these, you get all hits that are in some other field than the name, but still hits in the start of these fields. If more than one such hit, they are ordered alphabetically
THIRD: hits somewhere inside the name or a field
And lastly (if there is room in the search result) we show the contacts that was not in the two above categories, but that your search text matched something inside the name or other fields.
IF YOU FEEL THE SORT SHOULD BE DIFFERENT, OR THERE ARE BUGS IN THIS, LET ME KNOW.
Maybe I should for example have an option for different ordering methods. I prefer to "keep it simple", but as long as something is "hidden in the options page" it should be no problem....my mum never goes to that screen anyway :D
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 03-14-2012 at 01:38 AM.
- 03-12-2012, 08:12 PM #6
One thing is what characters the buttons search with, another is the label on each key. I have logic that shows "ABCÅ" on the 1-button, and so forth if your phone is setup with Norwegian region.
The app allows you to set you OWN labels with the ADVANCED-keyboard settings.
But the app should really adjust automatically for your region, and at least show what is "normal" to have on the dial pad" in your country.
So feel free to tell me how it should be for your country/region.
- 03-12-2012, 08:18 PM #7
In the current version there are two ways to group the contact details when you view a contact
One is by activity:
A "CALL"-segment, with all phonenumbers you can call
A "MESSAGING"-segment, with mobilenumbers (texting) and emails.
An "OPEN"-segment, with web pages
A "ROUTE PLANNING"-segment, with the street addresses
The other is "home/work":
First "MOBILE"-segment, with both "text" and "call"
Then "HOME"-segment, with phonenumbers, emails and street addresses
Then "WORK"-segment, with phonenumbers, emails and street addresses
Then "WEB"-segment (since web sites have no home/work category)
Any opinions on this is appreciated. What do people prefer? Maybe some other grouping? Now I have set "by activity" as the default. Important to have the default settings of the app to what "most people prefer"...since a lot of people never go into the settings screen anyway.
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 03-14-2012 at 01:38 AM.
- 03-14-2012, 01:44 AM #8
If you have not turned of the "Show quick button on each person in search result", you will see a action-button on each hit in the search results.
What button you get depends on two things;
1. What type of info on the person you got a hit on.
If you hit an address, you get a NavigatoTo-button
if you hit an email-address, you get an Mail-button,
if you hit a phonenumber, you get Call-buttons
2. If you hit something that has no action, like name/jobtitle/.. then you get the default action on that person. If the person has a mobile phone, that is default, if not the home number, if no home number, the work number, and so on.
Is this OK, or should there be an option to define for example; "I want quick button to always be work-phone".
- 03-14-2012, 05:10 AM #9
WHY IS THE TILE NOT SHOWING MISSED CALLS?
It is not possible for 3. party apps to do this. Main reason is that apps do not have access to missed calls or call history.
Therefore, you should still have the regular dialer-tile on start screen on your phone, and typically "high up" so it is shown when you turn on your phone.
And then you put People search "further down" on the start page for easy access.
This is also the reason I have not made my tile look like the dialer-tile, since then it would be a bit confusing which tile was People search and which one was the dialer...since you will need to have the dialer-tile on start anyway.
CAN YOU REMOVE THE QUICK-TIPS SHOWING ABOVE THE KEYBOARD?
As soon as you have something in "last used", that will be shown instead on startup.
When you blank the search text, the "quick tips" will be shown again, but if you check the "Shown on empty search text" (under LAST USED) you will get call history also when you blank.
NEXT VERSION; I will adjust that so this is easier/better.
Probably some "OK, I have read this now"-checkbox at bottom of the text maybe, and when the user checks this off, I can ask a question like "do you want last used to be shown when you blank the search text? Or do you want an empty page then?"...something like that. Since many users never go into MENY anyway :)
I HAVE "HACKED" THE ACCENT-COLOR ON MY PHONE, BUT APP USES ORGINAL ACCENT-COLOR?
I use the recommended way of handling accent colors (using static resources in the OS), and this will use correct accent color...but not if you have used one of those "accent-hack-apps" that physically change the RGB-color-values of an accent.
But I can change this to use the actual color codes of the accent color. At least I think that can be done, since I believe I did that in my first apps...before I learned about the "static resource"-thing. I will look into this and see if it is possible.
I will look into it, and see if I can handle this so it both support the "official accent colors", and will show "hacked accent colors" when someone has used that.
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 03-14-2012 at 08:42 AM.
03-14-2012, 09:59 AM #11
- 3 Posts
So far I am really enjoying what I see! This will easily replace my people hub! I've really missed this style searching from my old windows mobile device! Its too bad Microsoft wouldn't include/integrate your app in an update. I'm from Illinois in the US and have no issues throwing all sorts of search entries to find who I need. Very fast and no lag or issue. I will continue to keep you updated.
- 03-14-2012, 10:22 AM #12
Thanks for the invite, it's coming along great. Hopefully this alleviates my mums issue with dialing people as well ;)
Two things I did notice off the bat:
Mapping/Addresses. Right now if you click it its only for directions. It would be nice just to be able to have it show the address on map only. Maybe it could be if you click the icon it just shows it on the map only, and if you click the address itself it gives directions? Or maybe the other way around? Or perhaps even have a different icon for directions and mapping. Map could simply be the "flag" icon from bing maps.
Also maybe an option check box to have ability to dial automatically when click a phone icon instead of being prompted? Kind of like in native call history. One tap to call
Nice work so far, its just the kind of thing we need.
Last edited by dtboos; 03-14-2012 at 10:30 AM.
- 03-14-2012, 05:13 PM #13
I will add the map-thing for sure :)
The "prompt before dial" is not me...that is Microsoft I am afraid. Microsoft have added that into the API, so that "evil developers" can make your phone start dialing without you confirming. Which is can see a good point for...but still...why can't Microsoft just trust ME...I am one of the "good guys", don't they get that? :D
Thanks for the feedback
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 03-14-2012 at 05:20 PM.
- 03-14-2012, 05:17 PM #14
One of the guys from the Windows Phone team are in the beta. I do of course not know what they will do in future releases...but that does give one hope that some of this will be built into a future release. I am hoping at least :)
I think it is really cool that Microsoft is that attentive, and wants to participate in a BETA for a tiny app from a tiny developer in the tiny city Oslo in the minuscule country Norway.
I have gotten the same impression from the Microsoft Norway employees I have had contact with about WP7...they are listening to the users and developers out there for sure.
03-14-2012, 06:33 PM #15
- 1 Posts
I really enjoy this app - it has a lot of good ideas!
But I guess you're most interested in things that can get better, so here it is:
1. The icon reminds me of a sad face (like this: :-( )
2. The "action icons" are to the very right. This is not good for two reasons:
a. inconsistent with the standard "Phone" and "People" apps (and most others)
b. hard to hit that icon when holding the phone in my right hand (which is probably why the default is left side :-) )
3. The formatting of the "details/detaljer" page is not very polished. In Norwegian the read bars with "RING", "SEND MELDING", etc. has very small text, while "mobil", "jobb" etc. is almost as big as the "detaljer" heading, but bold, as opposed to the heading which is not bold. Also the phone numbers, emails, etc. are in bright red, which is not looking too good, either. You get the idea :-)
4. Perhaps change the titles of the pages for a contact. Now they are in "details" and "extra", which is not very representative nor informative. How about "interact" and "share"?
5. If people have multiple phone numbers, you only list one (e.g. mobile), and require going into the contact to see the other (e.g. work). I think I prefer they way e.g. Rap Dialer does it, showing all phone numbers in the initial list.
6. On my oldish LG phone, the typing is not always responsive because the app seems more busy updating the hit list. I think the app should not try to update the list so aggressively when I am typing quickly anyway...
Anyway, it's already starting to be my preferred call-people-interface ;)
- 03-15-2012, 08:04 AM #16
I am just beginning using the app in a Windows Phone with Portuguese language and I am really love it.
In Portugal, we use a lot pre-paid mobile plans and usually use codes to question operator about some information. Example: *#100# to know the balance of our account.
For this reason, I suggest to include the "#" char in Menu key. The Menu could continue be accessed using a tap-and-hold action.
This application could completely replace the native phone application if it presents the number of missed calls in live tail and it wil be possible to access to history of calls.
I will continue to use it as my main phone application.
I am not a WP programmer but I can help with a future Portuguese version. :)
Surely we can find a way to do that.
- 03-15-2012, 11:17 AM #17
So I will probably add an option for making the "MENU"-button be "#" with "MENU" as its "hold-action". And then maybe add a wizard-question on first startup like "do you use the #-sign often when calling?" if YES, the "Portugal-way" of doing it is chosen, else the way it is now. Something like that.
I wish I had access to history, missed calls so forth. So for now I guess we all have to have the dialer on start for that purpose, and People search for "doing the actual calling stuff" :)
I will add you to my "people to contact for translations when the app is ready for launch", so you only have to do it once :)
Thanks for both feedback and translation offer :)
- 03-15-2012, 11:55 AM #18
As always, lots of great feedback from you Thomas, will look into them.
I have forgotten touch-area around those images...I think it is JUST the image that will react to touch...big mistake, will fix. I also think they are a bit to far to the right...might have forgotten the golden 12 or 24 pixel rule here :)
The buttons are actually put to the right to keep with one of the Metro-principles, to prioritize perfect aligment on the left side of the screen at all times.
There can be times when there are no "action-image/button" on some hits/contacts (pure Facebook-contacts), and then the list looked horribly messy when I had the image on the left, due to "holes" in the left vertical alignment.
So I put them over to the right for that reason. But horrible "touch friendliness" on the action buttons...will fix :)
In the details-page, the buttons are much easier to hit...since hit area/button is all from left to right and almost too easy to hit :)
This is one of those where you see something, and THEN you think "damn, why didn't I think about that!" :)
In People search the main idea is find with search screen (search+find), then you tap the contact and act. The search list only show each contact once...so that the search list gets a little shorter as an result.
Is a bit complex to explain all the things that are behind this with text.
I myself actually have in options turned OFF the action-button in the search list all together, since I search, and look in a less messy list (no action buttons) and focus here on finding the person. Then I tap the person, and get more space available and focus on what to do against the person.
But the action buttons in the search list are actually "intelligent", in the way that it tries to guess what is the correction "single action" you want for the contact based on your search. If you get a hit on address, it will show the navigate to button in the search-list, if you hit the contact on a mail-address it will show an mail-button for that mail-address. But if you typically just search with the name on the person, you will get the "default action on the person" and then it looks like it always show phone.
I have gotten some suggestions earlier to have more activites on each person in the search list...but it gets (in my personal view) more messy and confusing...and I believe you don't save time either, since you must look "longer" in the search list to see what you look for in a list with both many contacts and many actions".
The XAML-code for the details page is actually made on the fly with C#, and not XAML-designcode, to make it just a tad faster to open up.
Loooong excuse here :)
...and I have not even gone into all the reasoning behind that part.
Even feedback as this last one that I seem to "put down", sometimes end up changing what I do at a later stage, sometimes it just needs to "simmer in the back of my head".
That is one of the great thing of feedback...it gets new ideas into your head.
And yes no 6, about how short I wait before searching, that is a delicate balance (wait longer and less blinking from searches as you type...but then longer pause after you stop for it to actually start search). Will see if I can't tweak it more, or do something else about it.
Last edited by Ronny Gydar; 03-15-2012 at 12:03 PM.
- 03-16-2012, 06:25 AM #20
It is not exactly logical that the "sub-label" on the keys 0 to 9 tells what the digit "search as", while the sub-label on "*" (and in a way "0" button), states "what you get if you press-and-hold".
I should think a bit more about that...since right now...it is faaar from obvious to the users :)
03-17-2012, 08:27 AM #21
- 2 Posts
Hello, I love the app so far! One option I would love to have is to either have the option to turn on/off the Dial "name" question when I select a number I want to dial from the search results. If I hit the name in the results and I get the contact info the app should not ask me if I want to dial or not that contact if I press the phone icon to the right. To me the less steps to achieve a task the better.
- 03-17-2012, 09:09 AM #22
- 03-20-2012, 04:08 PM #23
The program show me the following error message (translated from Portuguese):
Input service codes directley from phone virtual keyboard.
May be it is a Windows Phone imposition because the same occurs with others dialers (ex. 7Dialer).
Despite this People Search has its place in may Start screen.
If you name of the application 1People Search, it is easy to use it from Start screen with only a swipe left ;)
- 03-23-2012, 06:05 AM #24
A bit sad that so much stuff that an app like this should be able to do, is not possible.
And the user will have to use both an app like mine, and the regular dialer from Microsoft.
Unfortunate, but I guess (as you say) it is at least better to have People Search than not :)
...I start to look more and more forward to begin on making my next game. Making a game has zero limitations, then you can be creative and just make it "right". All these limitations has made the People search work a bit frustrating. I want to do so much more than I can/are allowed to do.
Thanks for the feedback!