A better way to Flow?
I've been thinking about the concept of flow in BB10. Thorsten has gone on the record a number of times to say that BB10 brings about the end of the in-out user paradigm. Whilst I'm loving BB10 thus far I've been wondering if this is actually true, and if so to what degree.
Users of other platforms have said gestures such as the up-swipe to minimize an app and view your notifications are tantamount to pressing the back button - and as such, no more flow-like than any other OS. Personally, I disagree with that sentiment. Having said that I do think more could be done within the current UX - especially with the in-out paradigm.
At the moment apps can flow within one another other using the invocation framework - but the traditional app grid still remains. I'm not suggesting anything as radical as removing the grid but what I would like to see is the ability to launch an app from anywhere in the OS. I think the up-swipe gesture could provide the perfect tool to do this.
Currently, if you up-swipe and hold you are presented with a minimized view of your screen with your notifications in a column to the left. If you release your finger/thumb then the app snaps into an active frame. If you keep your finger pressed you're then able to swipe right to open the hub.
What I'd like to see are the notifications moved to the right hand side of the screen. This would allow for quick launch apps to be placed where the notifications used to be (Figure A). These icons/actions could be user determined - meaning you could pin your four most used apps on the left hand side of every minimized screen. Allowing you to quick launch any app from anywhere in the OS, all with a simple up-swipe. A real power user feature.
Those of you familiar with the OS will know that any screen in the OS can be up-swiped - so the opportunity to quick launch from anywhere in the OS already exists.
I think this would be more flow-like (and efficient) than the current setup where you'd have to navigate back to the grid and find your app (swipe up and release to minimize, left swipe to bring in the app grid, find your app then tap to launch). The method I'm suggesting would consist of a simple up-swipe then slide and hold to the left to launch the desired app (Figure B).
I've attached some basic mocks to illustrate what I mean.
BB10 - QUICK LAUNCH APPS FROM SWIPE UP 2.JPG
BB10 - QUICK LAUNCH APPS FROM SWIPE UP 3.JPG
Any thoughts, feedback or comments on whether you think this would increase your flow and efficiency through the OS?
Re: A better way to Flow?
Occupying that middle ground between the 'change anything you like' approach seen on Android and the 'change nothing' approach seen on iOS could really pay dividends (in my opinion).
- CrackBerry Abuser
02-11-2013, 01:31 PM #4
- 147 Posts
Yup flow is alive and well. Well in the BlackBerry Hub. Over the weekend for a few hours, I was in several conversations over text, email, BBM and Facebook with a few friends (at the same time). Flowing in and out of each message to respond to them in the BlackBerry Hub was incredible! I was as they say "Hyper connected "
This is not easily done on other platforms (sat on my iPhone) IMHO. I would have definately had to go in and out of each app multiple times.
So yes flow is alive and well and I'm hoping it will only get better.
Posted using CrackBerry App on BB10
- 02-11-2013, 01:40 PM #6
I don't have a Z10, so I can't comment on how this would actually change the user experience, but it looks interesting.
As things stand, up-swipe brings up the active frames and there's a bottom band that shows phone, search, and camera buttons. Is this bottom band customizable? I'm just going by this video. I can see the point of having some way to get at quick launch icons, but I don't know BB10 well enough to say whether this is the best way to situate them.
As an alternative, it might be nice if there were a gesture that would bring up customizable quick launch items from any screen. I don't know if that's feasible, but it seems like something worth doing, the gesture equivalent of a hot key.
That is how BB10 currently presents things (notifications on the left hand side). I'm proposing moving the notifications to the right hand side and putting quick launch apps in their place (Figure A of the original post) - so you'd swipe up then slide your finger over to the app you want to launch (Figure B of the original post).
If the proposed changes were adopted it would mean you could quick launch an app from any screen - alleviating the need to visit the app grid. Increasing the overall 'flow' of the OS (as well as being a USP for BB10, if I am not mistaken).
- 02-11-2013, 03:31 PM #8
Well, that sounds good, but when you swipe up, the active frames are shown. The ones you see first are the active frames of your most recently used apps. I would think (and I don't have the device yet, so I'm speculating) that for most users, your "most used" apps would likely be the most recent ones you used, since you use them the most. If they aren't battery killers, you could just leave them open, and any time you want to bounce to one, swipe up, and there they are. They also have the benefit of having a minimized mode, which may even give you the info you need from the app without having to exit the other and open it, i.e. the current weather or something.
...If that's what you meant.
...And as a side note - I'd still benefit from the quick launch apps If I used my device in the way you described. If I left my most frequently used apps constantly open (which I don't), I'd simply use the quick launch positions to house my second tier apps - ones that I'd use less frequently. Having quick launch apps simply means I have easy access to 12 apps instead of 8 (assuming all 8 active frames are open). Regardless of that though - having the ability to launch an app without rummaging through the app grid (or using the universal search) is something that would surely benefit (as opposed to hindering) us all - no? If no, you could simply choose not to use them.
- 02-11-2013, 05:47 PM #10
I don't see a problem with it by any means, I'm just saying that it seems to me that your most frequently used apps are never really that far away, provided that they're left on the active frames page. Again, I get what you're saying, and it does sound good. It's also not much of a stretch, as even the PlayBook has a dock for your most-used apps that keeps them on top as you scroll through the grid. So obviously even BlackBerry recognizes the plus side of having a dock, and having it appear as a result of a gesture would certainly go with the "flow" style of interface that they're touting.
Heh. "Go with the flow".
- CrackBerry User
02-12-2013, 03:02 AM #12
- 64 Posts
- CrackBerry Abuser
02-12-2013, 03:20 AM #13
- 255 Posts
It's not really just your most recently used apps but the apps that are currently running, in order of which ones were most recently used. If the system starts from run los on memory, it has the right to close any occasion these, startling with the least recently used one.
So, it's not a way to file your favourite apps. Just one page to the right of the Active Frames page is the first page of your apps grid and that is really where you should put your frequently used apps.
Putting full coloured icons on the swipe screen would add to a cluttered appearance and this would violate a fundamental design philosophy of the OS.
Posted using CrackBerry App on BB10
- 02-12-2013, 09:16 AM #14
The quick launch method I'm suggesting requires just one action - 1) swipe up (hold) then slide to the left to launch the app (Figure B of the OP).
I'd imagine that any time saving mechanism (such as this one) would be greatly appreciated - especially in an OS aimed at 'people who do'. It would add more weight the the argument of BB10 bringing about an end to the in-out paradigm. It also has the advantage of being a quick feature that can be demoed in store (as opposed to any sort of dialogue explaining what the invocation framework is). Many have said that one of the 'problems' with BB10 (and even more so with BBOS) is that any advantage of use is not immediately evident - and only become apparent after an extended period of use (i.e. not in a store demo). Quick launch apps would excel in the store demo setting and communicate one (of many) clear advantages in using BB10.
It's also worth mentioning that both Android and iOS require fewer steps than BB10 when it comes to launching new (unopened) apps (2 actions as opposed to 3 on BB10). A simple press of the home button on iOS / Android returns you directly to the app grid where you're able to tap and launch a new app (depending on how your Android device is set up). Just to make it clear BB10 handles multitasking much better but I do find it interesting that both Android and iOS can launch a new app in fewer steps - especially with all that has been made of 'flow' in BB10. Using quick launch apps would only require 1 action, compared to 2 actions on iOS / Android and 3 actions on BB10. A clear advantage in my eyes.
- CrackBerry Abuser
02-12-2013, 12:10 PM #16
- 255 Posts
Your quick launch idea is interesting although I doubt it would be adopted any time very soon. I'd have to think about it more.
- 02-12-2013, 01:02 PM #18
Again, without using the device in the day-to-day, I can't say for sure how it would work. But knowing how the Active Frames page works, how the apps get placed there by the OS and the order that it places them, logically speaking, your most recently used app would be the top left frame, unless you yourself closed it, which would suggest that it more than likely isn't a "frequently used app" (barring it being a battery, data, or memory hog, of course).
For the type of apps that this would include - please see my comment below...
- 02-12-2013, 05:05 PM #20
- 02-12-2013, 05:43 PM #22
I use Quicklaunch now, yeah. And I do understand what your getting at. I'm fine with it. It sounds like a good addition to the "Flow" experience. All I'm saying is that there seems to be a pretty reasonable workaround for the time being in leaving your most frequently used apps open in the Active Frames while you do other things. In that case, a released-swipe up from the bottom minimizes your current app to the top left and allows you to quickly choose from 3 other apps that are running right underneath it.
I also agree that if the held-swipe up to the partially to the right lets you "Peek" at your notifications, a farther swipe to the right lets you "Peek" further and preview the messages, and a swipe to the complete right allows you to enter the hub immediately, it would be cool if they allowed the held-swipe up and to the left to be a shortcut for a 3rd party menu like Quicklaunch (which seems like it would cover your exact idea). It would be especially cool to have a customizable Quicklaunch menu there, allowing you to open a flashlight or see your battery percentage from anywhere in the OS.
Believe me, I'm with you on the idea of this. I like it. All I'm saying is that, with the way the Active Frame panel works right now, it already seems pretty intuitive. I'm sure adding to it could only improve the experience. I'll know more once I get a chance to experience the aforementioned experience....
I hope you don't see this as me being pedantic but whilst I can see the merit in the 'workaround' that you mention - the problem is that 'all apps are not created equal'. I'm sure you'll find out for yourself soon enough but as good as the browser is (and it is amazing) it is a bit of a resource hog. I checked the system resources in early usage and I have seen it commanding upwards of 200mb of RAM (with multiple tabs open). Running high powered games will equally tax system resources (upwards of 200mb of RAM). Running a few of these demanding apps will soon cause you to hit the memory cap (especially when you factor in the amount of RAM that the OS is using). So with that in mind I tend to use them, then close them straight afterwards (so multiple launches through the day). I'm not saying that to bash the system or anything, but instead to highlight that you may not be able to run your device in the way you had hoped (in terms of leaving everything open, all the time). A lot of it will come down to type of apps you use, so it may well work for you.
I like your idea of using the gesture to activate the QuickLaunch (app) menu. That may actually be more versatile than what I have suggested as you'd be able to action any task or app (rather than just launch an app as I have suggested). The problem with it though is that with a device that only has four sides to the screen - the number of simple gestures that could be used are somewhat limited. Also, I'm not sure how wise it would be to allocate core gestures to third party apps (could be a can of worms) - even more so if you consider that BB10 is a v1.0 OS built for use over the next 10 years. Allocating too many gestures at this early stage would likely hamper future functionality (unless they were to start reclaiming gestures down the line - which could be confusing to an end user). I think that's why we have seen gestures such as the bottom left hand corner (PlayBook) gesture to open / close the keyboard removed. Removing it now allows them to allocate it to functionality that may come in a few years time.
The 'beauty' in the method that I'm suggesting is that it piggy-backs onto an existing system gesture - as opposed to proposing a completely new one. Maybe making the up-swipe to the left customizable in terms of which exact third party app it opened / launched would be the answer?
- 02-12-2013, 10:20 PM #25
This sounds somewhat like the WebOS wave launcher. A quick swipe up would put you in the card view (similar to active frames), but if you swiped up and held it a bar would appear with icons that you could select by sliding your thumb side to side. It was pretty nifty and you could use it from anywhere.
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