Monday, 7 March 2011

Silent mode timer UI changes - review & lessons learnt

I have posted about the silent mode timer before - it's a small app to disable silent mode using a timer. It's useful for situations like meetings and going to the cinema when you just want to have silent mode on for a short period of time and not mess around with schedules or flipping upside down, etc.

After releasing a UI update recently I discovered how difficult it can be to convince users of the benefits of a new (better) UI. When your users know your product there is generally going to be some resistance when it gets changed. Eventually I have realised that if there is going to be change, then you have to make sure that all the features your existing users like should be the highest priority.

The goals of the UI re-write were to reduce the amount of buttons on screen while still enabling the fastest way to set a timer and just get out (that's all the app should do).

The features that were lost in this case were:
1. Some convenience buttons on the side of the time setting widget to increment/decrement the time by 15min. In the first version
2. 12 hour time.

These features have now been restored by popular demand ...

There were many features people had requested to be added in the first version (automatic prompting, calendar integration, set a timer by end time). Some of these were easy to integrate in the new interface (all except the calendar integration).

But with all the (new and old) features, does it still live up to the basic goal of simplicity? Well the users will be the judge. Some have left but more new ones have also come.

The moral of the story? Well i guess it's that no matter how well you try to make things better, the main thing you need to create is a sense of attachment to an application, and familiarity is key. Changes probably need to be made in transitional style, or if there is a complete overhaul, the option to revert to the old style while people get comfortable is highly important.

The new app can be found on the market here:


It would be great to know what YOU think too ;)

Friday, 4 March 2011

ADB with Acrhos 10i internet tablet on Ubuntu

I recently bought Archos 10i Internet tablet for testing the upcoming drawing software release (more soon on that) and there is an extra trick to getting it working with ADB:

1. Get the Vendor id by typing:
The line we are looking for is:
Bus 002 Device 007: ID 0e79:1411 Archos, Inc.

2. Add the vendor id (0e79) to /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules as per normal
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0e79", MODE="0666"

3. And the extra trick is as per this link: archoss-solution-to-adb-connection-bug.html
You also need to add the vendor id to ~/.android/adb_usb.ini (you need to check the file doesn't exist first).
echo "0x0e79" >>~/.android/adb_usb.ini

4. Then we restart the ADB server and the device should be shown:
adb kill-server
adb start-server
adb devices
The last line shows:
List of devices attached
A10-4BE4XXXX-9FF8XXXX-015FXXXX-0D01XXXX device