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Official iOS and Android Apps > Android app user experience

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message 1: by Ben (new)

Ben Babcock (tachyondecay) | 212 comments Kudos to work that has gone into the Android app so far. Bringing notifications to the app is an excellent improvement.

I’m enjoying using the app for what it can do so far. Mostly it’s a glorified Internet-enabled book scanner at the moment, and occasionally I use it to look up my reviews. I could easily rattle off a laundry list of features that I’d love to see in the app (messages, better support for groups, etc.), but I’m sure a lot of that is already planned.

Instead, though, I want to raise the subject of user experience. The Goodreads app, at least on my Samsung Galaxy Captivate, can be slow. It doesn’t matter if I’m on 3G or WiFi. I’ve spent far too much time staring at that little black box telling me the app is busy loading something. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t happen almost every other screen: searching for book, then loading the book page, then loading my review … those delays add up.

Recently I read “The 3 White Lies Behind Instagram's Lightning Speed”, which basically boils down to anticipating a user’s needs and uploading or downloading in the background, as invisibly as possible. I know Instagram is an iOS app (for now), and this might not be as easy to accomplish with Android. But it would make the Goodreads app much better.

For example, the buttons on the app’s start page. When I click “My Books”, I have to watch a black box telling me the app is “Loading Shelves”. Why doesn’t the app load a list of my bookshelves behind the scenes when I open the start page?

A similar anticipatory approach could work with searching. The app could start loading in the background the details of, say, the first three results for a search. That way, when I go to click on the top result, the book page will load almost instantly. It doesn’t even have to pre-load the entire pages—it could load essential details, like the cover and my shelves and review (if applicable), and load things that go at the bottom of the page, like other user reviews, when I actually click through to the book page.

Finally, this approach would be wonderful when I’m using the app to do something to my books. For example, when adding books to my shelf, I have to wait for the process of adding the book to complete every time I click on a shelf. If I want to add my book to 10 different shelves, that’s 10 times I have to watch that black box tell me it’s adding the book to a shelf. Why do I need to wait for the app to do this before I can go on adding the book to more shelves or even leave for a different page? The app should do it in the background—if there’s an error and it can’t add the book to a shelf, it can trigger a notification that lets me know I’ll need to try again.

In summary, please consider how you can improve the Android app experience by making the process of loading data faster and less overt.


message 2: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Ben wrote: "I’ve spent far too much time staring at that little black box telling me the app is busy loading something. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t happen almost every other screen: searching for book, then loading the book page, then loading my review … those delays add up."

I have an htc phone and the app works very quickly indeed with mine. Have you tried "lightening up" your memory cache, or transferring some of your programs/apps to the memory chip and off the phone. It might be a buffer issue.


message 3: by Laurin (new)

Laurin (LaurinLooLoo) | 50 comments I also have the same problem as Ben, on both my tablet and my phone.

I don't like the change to the app, I can't add a status update on my books!


message 4: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Laurin wrote: "I can't add a status update on my books!"

I tried to do that this morning, and failed...
I agree: Not good.


message 5: by Brandi (new)

Brandi (elainemaine) I haven't had any real problems with the Android app (Samsung Infuse 4G) but I wish it was easier to edit the shelves of many of your books at one time.


message 6: by Deana (new)

Deana (ablotial) | 43 comments Took me forever to figure out how to update my status on the new app. For those of you who mentioned this above... It is under updates now instead of my books for some reason. my biggest complaint is that it doesn't remember that I switched to "as percent" so I have to switch it every time. can you make it remember that choice like it used to?


message 7: by Bea (new)

Bea  (BeasBookNook) | 85 comments Laurin wrote: "I also have the same problem as Ben, on both my tablet and my phone.

I don't like the change to the app, I can't add a status update on my books!"


Same here! I mostly use the app for this feature and scanning books in. With the

loss of the ability to update my status, including that i've finished a book, the app has lost most of its functionality. A pity, as it
was a quick, easy, user
friendly way to access goodreads.


message 8: by Laurin (new)

Laurin (LaurinLooLoo) | 50 comments Bea wrote: "Laurin wrote: "I also have the same problem as Ben, on both my tablet and my phone.

I don't like the change to the app, I can't add a status update on my books!"

Same here! I mostly use the app f..."



I completely agree. Updating my status is why I use the app, so I don't have to get on my computer. Now that it isn't there (or hard to find), there's no real reason for me to use the app.


message 9: by Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (last edited May 29, 2012 06:20AM) (new)

Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Hayes wrote: "Laurin wrote: "I can't add a status update on my books!"

I tried to do that this morning, and failed...
I agree: Not good."


I can add a status update, but what I've specifically noticed is that I can't finish a book. I can make it 100% read, but I can't finish it.

And the only thing I use the app for besides updates is barcode scans of the current book I'm reading.


message 10: by Tzippy (new)

Tzippy (trempnvt) | 39 comments I'm confused. The status update button is in the same place where it's always been, under "Updates." Did other people have a different version of the app than I did previously or something?


message 11: by Laurin (new)

Laurin (LaurinLooLoo) | 50 comments I can click on a book. I can add a status update, but only comments. It won't allow me to add a page number.


message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert (lathanh) | 24 comments Mod
Ben wrote: "Kudos to work that has gone into the Android app so far. Bringing notifications to the app is an excellent improvement.

... I want to raise the subject of user experience..."


Hi Ben,

Thanks for your feedback. We're glad you like the addition of Notifications! And you're right, we have a long laundry list =)

Having information fetched more aggressively, like info about you and your shelves, so that it's already available (cached) when you want it would definitely make a big impact on performance. We're always squeezing in performance improvements, and your input helps us prioritize bigger ones like these.

We're also very actively working on improving server-side performance, which all of our users are benefiting from.

Thanks again!
Robert


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert (lathanh) | 24 comments Mod
Laurin wrote: "I don't like the change to the app, I can't add a status update on my books!"

Hi Laurin, Bea, Derek, and Tzippy!

We changed it so that tapping on a book from a shelf takes you to the Progress & Review page. Before this change, it could be almost impossible to get to another user's review of a book from one of their shelves. So, getting to the book itself (where you're used to updating your reading progress) is now an additional tap away: tap on the book's title or thumbnail at the top of the page.

But we want it to be easy to update progress, of course! So, we've just added a button to do so to the Review page. This is in our latest version that you can get through your app store (now or soon, depending on your device). We have more information about this release in this post.

As Tzippy pointed out, you can also update your progress using the button at the top of the "Updates" page.


message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben Babcock (tachyondecay) | 212 comments Thanks for the reply, Robert. I recently got a tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich, and the app responds fairly quickly on it. (Fragmentation: the bane of Android developers everywhere!) I'm glad to hear you have plans to improve response time even more.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Robert wrote: "As Tzippy pointed out, you can also update your progress using the button at the top of the "Updates" page. "

Yes, I knew that - but can we "finish" the book? The release notes say I can set the finish date from the Review page, but we used to be able to set it from the updates page - just like you can on the Updates web page
[I saw my phone tried to update the app yesterday, but it failed - my service's problem, nothing to do with GoodReads]


message 16: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 50 comments Can we go to the last message in a thread? My version won't do that. I had to use the browser instead.

And approving friend request as well.


message 17: by Tzippy (new)

Tzippy (trempnvt) | 39 comments On my device, I click on the menu button and one of the options is "Newest comments first"--very useful.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Derek wrote: "Robert wrote: "As Tzippy pointed out, you can also update your progress using the button at the top of the "Updates" page. "

Yes, I knew that - but can we "finish" the book?"


And now that the app has updated, the answer is...no. Disappointing.


message 19: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 50 comments Tzippy wrote: "On my device, I click on the menu button and one of the options is "Newest comments first"--very useful."

i have never seen any menu button in my galaxy tab, samsung ace and sony ericsson xperia pro. And i have been using goodreads app since it was launched. Does anyone has the same problem?


message 20: by Liz M (last edited Jun 18, 2012 04:53AM) (new)

Liz M | 164 comments Silvana wrote: "Tzippy wrote: "On my device, I click on the menu button and one of the options is "Newest comments first"--very useful."

i have never seen any menu button in my galaxy tab, samsung ace and sony er..."


The menu button referred to isn't part of the goodreads app, it is the physical "menu" button on the phone (maybe the middle bottom button on the Ace?) Once you are viewing a thread, hitting the phone's menu button brings up a couple of options, one of which is "newest comments first"


message 21: by Erika (new)

Erika | 106 comments The problem i have is in the reviews.

when i have a notification of a review it doesn't give me the option of showing newest comments first and it's horrible to go all the way down to the page to see them, that option only appears on the threads not the reviews.

Also, i can't "like" a review on the app. Oh yeah, and the barcode scanner doesn't work with me for some reason.

A good idea would be to be able to search within a group, because when i clic on a group with many threads it's difficult to look for the specific one you want.


message 22: by Robert (new)

Robert (lathanh) | 24 comments Mod
Derek wrote: "I can add a status update, but what I've specifically noticed is that I can't finish a book. I can make it 100% read, but I can't finish it."

Bea and Derek,

And now you can (or very soon)! I've added an "I'm Finished" option to the status update dialog, which is in the just-release 1.9.0 version of our app. It's available now/soon, depending on what device you're on.


message 23: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 12 comments I'm glad you added the "I'm Finished" option on the Android app (that was driving me crazy last night), but I wish there was a way to edit shelves now. I use to be able to tap on the book and have *all* the shelves available if I wanted to change it. Now it just shows me which ones it's attached to currently, but no way to change it. Unless it's hidden somewhere?


message 24: by Ben (new)

Ben Babcock (tachyondecay) | 212 comments Julia, there's no way to get to it directly from your review page (which seems to come up by default). But if you click on the book title, it takes you to the book page, and you can click on your "bookshelves" box from there.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments And now you can (or very soon)! I've added an "I'm Finished" option to the status update dialog, which is in the just-release 1.9.0 version of our app. Robert wrote: ""

Yea! Works, great, thanks


message 26: by Silvana (last edited Jul 02, 2012 09:54AM) (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 50 comments Somehow my update via app is not connected to my twitter anymore. Anyone has the same problem? It is for page update, finished and start reading.

Liz M wrote: "Silvana wrote: "Tzippy wrote: "On my device, I click on the menu button and one of the options is "Newest comments first"--very useful."

i have never seen any menu button in my galaxy tab, samsung..."


I have finally seen it! Many thanks


message 27: by Brian (last edited Jul 09, 2012 12:55PM) (new)

Brian Deegan (Deego) | 7 comments Apart from missing total (My Shelves (1,355)) in the my Books :) and no message ability I think the app is excellent.. I look forward to future updates :) :)


message 28: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Welch (SWelch) | 29 comments I love the app for android. Especially being able to scan a book I see in the bookstore and add it to my "to read" shelve. no more writing it down and losing it.


message 29: by okyrhoe (new)

okyrhoe | 14 comments Stephen wrote: "I love the app for android. Especially being able to scan a book I see in the bookstore and add it to my "to read" shelve. no more writing it down and losing it."

I only recently added the app to my phone (HTC Wildfire) and am so excited that I can scan the books at home and immediately know if it's already on my GR shelf or not.

I also tested the following and was impressed by the speed of GR in updating its database:
I scanned a Greek edition (one of the many non-English languages not supported by Amazon, WorldCat, etc. databases) and the book was not identified by the GR app. I came to the GR website, added the book manually, and then scanned again with my phone. The app identified the book :=)
Thanks GR!


message 30: by Lachgas (new)

Lachgas | 6 comments I like the app pretty much but there's one point which is more than annoying. With my tablet (odys xelio) it's not possible to add any new books because the app never scan the isbn. I assume it's because of missing autofocus on the cam (some barcode scanner don't work either - the one without autofocus work normally).

Is there any possibility to add new books e.g. by typing the isbn manually or disable the autofocus in the app so that it can scan?


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (Mzsthai) | 4 comments Overall I like the app on my Motorola Droid2. But I decide tonight I would use the barcode scanner to scan in my entire collection - or at least start. Simply put - it does NOT work.
I tried a dozen books and only one of them scanned and only after considerable effort. I thought perhaps this was a phone problem, so I switched to my barcode scanner program directly and I barely put my phone over the book before it scanned it.
My phone does support auto focus, and it focuses in and out repeatedly, scanning over and over and either it gets nothing - or it gets a "this is not an ISBN". But it IS the ISBN.
I noted several other fairly recent posts saying that the barcode scanner worked in the past but seems to no longer do so.
I am hugely let down by this.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Sarah wrote: "Overall I like the app on my Motorola Droid2. But I decide tonight I would use the barcode scanner to scan in my entire collection - or at least start. Simply put - it does NOT work"

It still works as well as ever for me. Try inputting a number that it says is not a valid ISBN at http://www.isbn-check.com/, which will at least verify that it's not a problem with the specific book.

I can't imagine disabling the autofocus would help, but I wonder if it isn't possible for the developers to make it possible for the app use another scanner app if you have one.


message 33: by CaroB (new)

CaroB (CarobSimms) Is anyone else experiencing problems with their notifications on the app? I can see the maroon circle with the numbers of notifications, but when I press it, it takes me to a screen that says "you have no new notifications, yet" and then it clears the maroon circle with numbers from the screen.


message 34: by Kara, Director, Customer Care (new)

Kara | 1580 comments Mod
CaroB wrote: "Is anyone else experiencing problems with their notifications on the app? I can see the maroon circle with the numbers of notifications, but when I press it, it takes me to a screen that says "you ..."

We heard that from another user, too, so we have a ticket to investigate it. Sorry about that!


message 35: by CaroB (new)

CaroB (CarobSimms) Ok, thanks Kara!


message 36: by Bea (new)

Bea  (BeasBookNook) | 85 comments Kara wrote: "CaroB wrote: "Is anyone else experiencing problems with their notifications on the app? I can see the maroon circle with the numbers of notifications, but when I press it, it takes me to a screen t..."

It's being investigated? Good. I'm using a new phone so I wasn't sure if it was the app or my phone.


message 37: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (Mzsthai) | 4 comments Derek wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Overall I like the app on my Motorola Droid2. But I decide tonight I would use the barcode scanner to scan in my entire collection - or at least start. Simply put - it does NOT work"
..."

I've tried it on so many books at this point I find it hard to imagine it's a problem with the book. I discussed it with a friend who is a former buyer for a university bookstore and he stated there are different kinds of barcodes on books depending on where they're sold - and perhaps the app can't scan certain barcodes.
However, my general barcode app scans everything with no problem and identifies them accurately.


message 38: by Nicole (new)

Nicole  | 47 comments I love everything about the app, however, I have one final thing that I think needs to be improved.

I'm in a book swapping group, and so a lot of the posts have the book covers on them, but on the app, it just displays little boxes, and not covers. All it means is if I want to go to that group, I have to use my browser instead which is no problem.

Just something to see eventually.


message 39: by CaroB (new)

CaroB (CarobSimms) Bea wrote: "It's being investigated? Good. I'm using a new phone so I wasn't sure if it was the app or my phone. ..."

Me too, I'm also on a new phone. I didn't think that may have been it. I've got the Galaxy Note which runs Gingerbread, if that helps...


message 40: by Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (last edited Jul 28, 2012 04:35PM) (new)

Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Sarah wrote: "I've tried it on so many books at this point I find it hard to imagine it's a problem with the book. I discussed it with a friend who is a former buyer for a university bookstore and he stated there are different kinds of barcodes on books depending on where they're sold - and perhaps the app can't scan certain barcodes. "

I doubt it's a problem with the book either, but please, it's not that hard to enter the code into the website, and that will absolutely rule that out as the problem.

I'm sorry, but your friend has no idea what he's talking about. There are indeed many kinds of barcode, but only UPC codes work on a store checkout and that's what the app scans. In any case, if you had books with odd bar codes, it would be the same situation you've already discounted - it would be a problem with the book not the scanner.


message 41: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (Mzsthai) | 4 comments Derek wrote:I doubt it's a problem with the book either, but please, it's not that hard to enter the code into the website, and that will absolutely rule that out as the problem.

That sort of defeats the purpose of the "scan multiple books" feature of the app though doesn't it? Why offer something if it isn't going to work? I have HUNDREDS of books - so yes, it is much harder to manually enter ISBN/UPC codes for a collection that size.

Secondly, it's never going to be a problem with the book - because the app is designed to read barcodes on books. Thus, the barcode reader on the app ought to be able to recognize all barcodes (just like my generic barcode scanner) that might be on a book. This is not a tall order seeing as a generic barcode reader can already do this.

Ultimately, it's not a huge deal. I thought it would be nice/fun to use this clever app to quickly scan in my collection. And was disappointed it doesn't work as I assumed it was intended.

I thought perhaps someone would have some helpful advice or if nothing else perhaps the people who created the app would consider the suggestion for a better barcode reader (if it weren't just a problem on my end), apparently not.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Sarah wrote: "Derek wrote:I doubt it's a problem with the book either, but please, it's not that hard to enter the code into the website, and that will absolutely rule that out as the problem.

That sort of defeats the purpose of the "scan multiple books" feature of the app though doesn't it? Why offer something if it isn't going to work? ..."


Of course it does, but you're missing the point. Until you do that, we can't actually be certain there is a problem with the app, and I would be surprised if the developers would even look at it. You don't know it's not a problem with the book until you actually take that code and verify that it really IS a valid ISBN. What do you mean when you say your "generic barcode scanner" recognizes it? Can it tell you what book it is (there are other apps that can - but I'd be surprised if a generic barcode scanner could)? If it can't, it doesn't mean a thing, because the GR app may be reading the code just fine - but it doesn't matter if it turns out not to be an ISBN. Meanwhile, the GR app doesn't need to "recognize all barcodes" - it only needs to recognize UPCs, because that's all you'll find on a book cover.


message 43: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (Mzsthai) | 4 comments Derek wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Derek wrote:I doubt it's a problem with the book either, but please, it's not that hard to enter the code into the website, and that will absolutely rule that out as the problem.

Th..."


Derek - I came here looking for help from someone familiar with the development of the app. Not an argument or a debate. It doesn't seem like you are/were involved with the app development - so thanks for the effort anyway.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments I'm not trying to argue with you - I'm trying to convince you of the need to put in some minimal effort to rule out issues that will make it easier for the developers to debug. I'm sorry you're not interested in helping, because one day I may have a problem device myself.


message 45: by Porter (new)

Porter (porteiro) | 2 comments I recently installed the GR app onto my nexus 7 tablet. I'm pretty unfamiliar with android, so it's quite possible that I'm misunderstanding or misusing something, but nevertheless, here are some of my reactions after using it for a bit:

1. I am unable to "like" anything, which seems bizarre and kinda frustrating. On a mobile device, I'd think that people would be more likely to want to simply "like" something instead of taking the time and effort to write out a full reply.

2. I am often given a "show spoilers" button when reading reviews that don't appear to have any spoilers. When I click the button, nothing changes except for the button disappearing.

3. Despite the fact that my tablet has a camera, I am not seeing any option for scanning barcodes.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Porter wrote: "I recently installed the GR app onto my nexus 7 tablet. I'm pretty unfamiliar with android, so it's quite possible that I'm misunderstanding or misusing something, but nevertheless, here are some ..."

1) I don't much use the Android app for anything but updating my reading progress and scanning codes, so I'm not terribly familiar with where you may or may not be able to "like" something, but I see that with respect to reviews, at least, you're absolutely right. I can like a review on the web, but not via the app.

2) Again, you're right that the "Show spoilers" button shows on reviews, even if there aren't any spoilers.

3) On the first page of the GR app, you should see 6 buttons - first is "Updates", last is "Barcode Scan". If you click on the "menu" hardware button and "about", what version does it say you're running?


message 47: by Porter (new)

Porter (porteiro) | 2 comments On the front page, I see only 5 buttons; Updates, My Books, My Profile, My Groups, and My Friends.

About says Goodreads for Android, Version 1.10.1. It's the version that I downloaded from the Google Play store.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (derek_broughton) | 585 comments Porter wrote: "On the front page, I see only 5 buttons; Updates, My Books, My Profile, My Groups, and My Friends.

About says Goodreads for Android, Version 1.10.1. It's the version that I downloaded from the Go..."


Unfortunately, that's the same version I'm using. I was hoping it would just turn out to be an old version...


Brenda ╰☆╮    (Brnda) | 90 comments I have a similar problem to Porter's issue.
I also can not "click" on spoilers to view them on the app.
Also...any link in the threads are not "clickable".
I can view if I go to the .com, but that becomes old real quick.
I've never noticed that anyone else had this same issue.

Thanks...ahead.
:)


message 50: by Sabine (new)

Sabine (Sabine_VDA) | 3 comments I would like to be able, after adding a book, to switch to another edition in the goodreads android app. I can't seem to find this option.


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