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Eurofurence 25 "Fractures in Time" - Estrel Hotel Berlin, August 14-18, 2019Follow eurofurence on Twitter

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Author Topic: EF24 The app  (Read 653 times)

Cifer

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EF24 The app
« on: 27.08.2018, 03:07:02 »

The mobile app worked quite well for me when it comes to notifications and event planning. It has come a long, long way from its buggy beginnings! That said, it can of course always become better:

1) I learned on the last day that the app has a Contact Security feature. It can be reached (in the iOS version) by the not exactly simple or intuitive way of tapping More -> Information -> Security -> Contacting Security -> Call Security (Phone). Notably, "Contacting Security" is literally the only sub-point in the Security menu that contains another function besides text. I assume that most people, when they have reason to contact security, would want a way that is as short and intuitive as possible - putting it as the third item right in the More menu seems reasonable and wouldn't clutter up the menu.

2) Less of a useability problem, more of a feature request: The "Dealers" submenu seems a little specific for something that can be reached via one tap. Perhaps it could be expanded to list other service providers at the convention as well, like artists taking commissions outside the den (and their contact info via telegram, email or the like) or artists hanging their stuff in the art show. Ideally, this could be combined with a search function that allows to filter people using checkboxes like "is a dealer in the den", "takes commissions", "does art trades", "is a digital artist", "is a traditional artist" and so on. And the summa cum laude version (likely rather more difficult to implement, though the app already has a login function) would allow people to update their own info in real time, possibly to indicate they have no more slots for commissions available at the moment or that they can currently be found in the artist lounge or the alley and the like.

Once again, thanks for the app! It's made my convention life a lot more relaxed.
« Last Edit: 27.08.2018, 14:13:37 by Cifer »
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Jumpy

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #1 on: 28.08.2018, 14:54:07 »

As someone not associated with the app team I'll just add my feedback here.

I loved the app!

Once I figured out that I was getting a blank events list after enabling the filter-by-faves because I hadn't selected any favourites on Tuesday and all I needed to do was to switch to another day and lo and behold, there were my faves, it was tremendously useful and I kept carrying my tablet around all con long.

There really is only one thing that I would like to see added: A way to enter my own entries for personal additions to the timetable that will only be shown to myself, assign a room to them, and allow me to add them to the faves or have them automatically faved (such as concert rehearsals, setup time slots, but also an appointment for dinner, you get the idea)
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"The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest." (Henry David Thoreau)

Sniffer

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #2 on: 30.08.2018, 00:13:22 »

Generally speaking, I love the app. Think I opened it close to a million times, to keep track of events and timetables for the charity :P

One usability thing I think could be useful, is if the event table got updated when something was delayed/cancelled. Every time you found an event in the table, you had to go to announcements to check if there was some changes to it. It would be helpful if you only had a single place for this information (of course, the announcement should still appear, this is just to on the event table).

I have attached a few design ideas. Use them as inspiration if you want, or toss them entirely :)
Using red for conveying meaning could be discussed if it is a good idea. Maybe just the same grey, but still updating the event table.

For both the delayed examples, don't show the "now" label until the updated time for an event has been reached. So if an event starts at 12:00, but delayed 15 minutes, don't switch to "now" until the time is 12:15. In addition to this, maybe the end time should also be updated to reflect the delay?

The cancelled one should speak for itself. Instead of saying an event is "done", say "cancelled" or something instead. Again, to make it clear this event have had a change, instead of having to go to the announcement section and search for changes.
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ANTIcarrot

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #3 on: 30.08.2018, 01:50:45 »

the app was a great improvement over last year, and I ended up using it a lot more than the conbook (which was relegated to mouse pad) or the fold up con-guide.

However the app was throwing out ten or more alerts a day, which felt excessive. I also frequently found that I would click on an interesting looking alert, only to be taken to a section of app that had nothing to do with the alert, and I couldn't see a way of navigating to the message I wanted to read.

The 348 days until next EF is kind of depressing though.  :'(
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Luchs

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #4 on: 30.08.2018, 08:54:52 »

Thank you to all of you for providing feedback (and to everyone who is still about to do so) - we really appreciate it.

I'll comment on two items directly, but rest assured that everything mentioned so far is valuable and will be taken into consideration.

1. The hidden "Contact Security" feature:
It's not so much a distinct 'contact security' feature - but a general one where we can add action links to the entries in the info section. If you were to head to Hotel->Estrel, you'd see a button to call; or on the Show-Your-Badge entries you'd see a button to get directions. The reason this wasn't any more prominent is that it just was another action link, of which we had many others in other sub-pages of the info section. That's not to say that we can't/shouldn't make this very specific case more prominent/accessible - but we'll need to discuss this internally first.

2. Disappearing announcements/alerts:
It's confusing, and your point is 100% valid. The reason why it behaves the way it does today is that announcements don't work like a news feed, but they all have individual durations of validity. The "Watch out, wet paint" announcement may be valid for 24 hours; followed by two "Event X is delayed by 15 minutes" and "Badge No 1234 please pick up your badge at ConOps" that are only valid for 1-2 hours; but all of those 3 will stay in the notification center until dismissed. And since we have a lot of short-lived announcements, it's normal that you'd tap on a notification about one that's already disappeared. We'll find a more clever way to handle this.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to let us know where we can improve!

~Luchs
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MOW

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #5 on: 31.08.2018, 22:34:05 »

... that are only valid for 1-2 hours; but all of those 3 will stay in the notification center until dismissed. And since we have a lot of short-lived announcements, it's normal that you'd tap on a notification about one that's already disappeared. We'll find a more clever way to handle this.

That's only part of the problem.
When the app is opened, it removes the notifications for announcements shown to the user.
But when the announcement has already expired, and thus is not shown to the user, the notification stays there.
The app should also remove notifications for announcements that have expired, so communication between app and background service should be improved.

Another thing with the announcements is that they have no timestamp.
So when there is an announcement about broken elevators and another that they're running again, and the latter one expires, this can be confusing.

Neither announcements nor personal messages seem to be cached, so internet connection is needed when starting the app even if there are notifications for those.
IMHO it would be better if both were handled by the background service only and the app would just get them from there and not need to retrieve them again.

BTW, tapping a notification when the app is already open spawns a new instance. I thought this had already been fixed?

And now to the wishlist: It would be great if there was an option to show only current/future favorites on the home screen and hide all those that are already in the past. Especially on the later days, this leads to much scrolling.
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Kulze

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #6 on: 01.09.2018, 15:05:44 »

So, this year:

The announcements were annoying from time to time, especially fiddling around to get them away again. I have a bit of OCD considering top-left messages on my phone and it just bothered me.

As for improvements:

A one-click accessible 'Personal Timetable' which is the seperated into 2 segments. The first segment is the same list as you see at the individual days, showing everything favorited for easy overview. The second is a calendar-view, making it graphical to show how much time is left for downtime or planning in other things, as well as overlaps from changes in times (Probably the most important one!). It would make planning the con a lot easier.
Also, the option to add personal things to that is important, down to the minute, with a nice title and description being able to be added. Since the Convention is that long, switching between two apps to handle the changes in timetables is a bit of a hassle, especially with seating or the actual panels being pushed back for at least 30 minutes on the main stage.
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Ziegenbock

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #7 on: 01.09.2018, 21:26:02 »

A couple of app-related thoughts:
  • Each time I played "Collect 'Em All", it opened a new tab in Chrome. So I often ended up with 5 or 6 "Collect 'Em All" tabs, which I then had to manually close. Is there a workaround to this?
  • Can the 'big list' of winning Art Show bidders be published to the app? The personal messages for regular art show winners were a nice touch, which saved people walking right across the convention centre to read the paper list. But by publishing the list to the app, everyone can see this information - including unsuccessful bidders, and people interested in items going to auction.
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Cairyn

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Re: EF24 The app
« Reply #8 on: 01.09.2018, 21:50:42 »

Can the 'big list' of winning Art Show bidders be published to the app? The personal messages for regular art show winners were a nice touch, which saved people walking right across the convention centre to read the paper list. But by publishing the list to the app, everyone can see this information - including unsuccessful bidders, and people interested in items going to auction.

We're not doing this to prevent privacy issues. While the bidders are anonymized, numbers may leak (by simply watching people bid), and people may take issue with their list of wins being available electronically.

An unsuccessful bidder knows that they are unsuccessful by virtue of not getting a winning note. There is no other information they could glean from the winner list except maybe the bidder number of the winning bidder for a piece they bid on - which is precisely the information we don't want to publicize, see previous point.

We may publish the list of auction items to lure people into the auction in the future, but this will require a discussion involving Charity whose items are on the same list at the moment. (Doing so may actually have the opposite effect...)
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