31
#PMChallenge Time to SOHO FAST-[UPDATE] Super Fast App Switching.....

  1. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    SOHO_FAST_Banner.jpg
    SOHO FAST - MINIMAL LAYOUT.jpg
    SOHO FAST - ADVANCED LAYOUT.jpg

    Dear community members,

    App switching has become one of the most time wasting routine of my day and I hope I am not the only one who feels burdened by it. OxygenOS makes great job at loading apps ultra-fast but the process of switching from app to app is still very "stiff" compared to the rest of the UX. OxygenOS does another great job by adding a gesture to go directly to the previously used app but what happens when there are eight apps running and we wish to go back to the seventh running app? At the moment we have to manually scroll through the app previews and then stop at the app we want to load. I always have issues with the animation speed when moving back and forth through the app previews, to me it just feels unbalanced, sometimes it is fast while other times it feels a bit slower and due to my small fingers I have to swipe multiple times and I feel :-(

    I believe it can be done a lot faster. Up to 66% faster.

    Check out the attached gifs or the giphy links on the proposed feature UI and the settings page options.

    Giphy Link - App Design Prototype
    https://gph.is/2RMGciA
    Giphy Link - Settings Page Prototype
    https://gph.is/g/Evd835Z

    I have redesigned the Recent Items page without changing the overall look and feel of the current version by adding a small but dynamic menu bar between the active app preview and the close all apps button. Whenever the recent items page is loaded, the menu displays the last four apps in the form of icons, thus a user can access the last four apps instantly. When there are more than four apps running, the menu displays a swipe to open arrow icon on the top-middle part that visually informs the user that there are more apps available to choose from. The user can then make swipe up gesture starting from the menu that will expand the menu size upwards while pushing the app previews a little bit higher. In this "extended" view our menu presents another four app icons thus making the last eight apps available. From here on the menu can be used as a scrolling menu and users can scroll to the app they want to select. In the case of even more apps being open, let's say for example twelve apps, the menu shows icons on the top-middle and bottom-middle part so users can navigate comfortably without getting lost.

    The menu can have two layouts. Minimal and Advanced. In Minimal layout the menu provides access only to the last four running apps; whereas in Advanced Layout the menu can provide access to all running apps. In Advanced layout there are two states or views; a Minimized view where the menu displays four app icons and an Extended view where the menu displays eight app icons. All of these details are explained a bit further down so keep on reading and all will be explained.
    Because a picture is worth a thousand words here is an animated preview of how the proposed feature works.
    SOHO-FAST-PROTOTYPE-1.gif

    [UPDATE:
    Because there have been some comments about the menu bar displaying recently opened apps here is an explanation: The menu bar displays only currently running apps, NOT recently opened apps. So if we have 10 apps open it will show 10 icons in the menu only for the 10 running apps. When an app is closed manually by the user the app is no longer present in the menu. While users keep opening apps the menu bar sorts the icons starting from the currently active app on to the rest open apps.]

    [UPDATE:
    Speed Comparison Use Cases
    By using the proposed feature users can switch between apps up to 66% faster. Let me elaborate. Currently when a user reaches the recent items page they have to do(at least*) the following actions:
    1. Swipe Left or Right to scroll through the stacked app previews.
    2. Touch to select app or swipe up preview to close app.
    *if a large number of apps are open then there is another intermediate action where the user must point to stop the scrolling to reach the desired app. So potentially the number of user actions can be three or even more if a user can't navigate accurately to the desired app preview.

    The proposed featured reduces the needed actions down to the following:
    Minimal Layout
    For 1st-4th last used app
    .
    1. Touch to select app, or touch/hold to close app. That is at least one less action needed. So at least 50% faster.
    For 5th or greater last used app.
    N/A. Same as current app switching method.

    Advanced Layout
    Minimized View
    For 1st-4th last used app.

    1. Touch to select app, or touch/hold to close app. That is at least one less action needed. So at least 50% faster.
    For 5th or greater last used app.
    1. Swipe up to expand menu.
    2. Touch to select or touch/hold to close up to the 8th running app. So up to 25% faster.*

    Extended View
    For 1st-8th last used app.

    1. Touch to select app, or touch/hold to close app. That is at least one or two less actions needed. So at least 50-66% faster.
    For 9th or greater last used app.
    1. Swipe up to expand menu.
    2. Scroll Menu
    3. Touch to select app or touch/hold to close up to the 16th running app. So 0%-25% faster.*

    *Percentages when navigating between a large number of apps are estimates based on number of less actions needed to switch between apps compared to the current available method of navigating.
    ]

    [UPDATE:
    Application Pins - for improved productivity.
    Application pinning is a unique and easy way of navigating between apps even faster.

    The feature is built around the functionality of the currently available gesture of swiping up from the bottom and then swiping to the right to go to the last used app. Currently the "go to the last used app" gesture switches between two apps:
    You can only go from the currently active App to the previous App and vice versa.

    How does it work? (begin by having a look at the animation below)
    Users only have to touch hold on the app preview that they wish to pin! The app icon is marked as pinned. From then on the "go to the last used app" gesture switches between the currently active App to the previous App then on to Pinned Apps(more than one apps may be selected) and vice versa.

    app-pinning-animation_new.gif

    In the animation the app icon in the menu bar is highlighted with a border to indicate than an App is pinned. We can also use an icon in the app preview(similar to the Locked App icon) so users can see which apps are pinned when scrolling through them.
    Preview of pinned app icon:

    soho_fast_app_pined_icon.png

    This feature greatly increases productivity for users who wish to switch with a single action between more than two apps and it does so with minimal changes to the current UX.
    An example is the following:
    A user is replying to an email and has to search for various info through a pdf file while consulting their calendar several times. By pinning their email, calendar and pdf app they can switch very fast between the apps using the "go to the last used app" gesture.

    Application pinning can be used even if the mini menu bar is not activated, it is a feature that can work independently from the rest of the proposal.
    ]

    An optional design feature of this proposal is below the bottom left corner of the menu where we have the possibility to display some useful info to the user. We can select to show the number of apps not currently visible to the user and/or we can select to show the total number of running apps (I find that sometimes I just forget to close apps and end up having 20+ apps open that starve my battery* and forcing me to scroll through all the app previews if I wish to switch from one app to another). This way users are notified if they have too many apps open(I bet hardcore OxygenOS users would love this feature), then one takes a look at the number and decide whether to press the close all button and move on with their work.

    [UPDATE: *It was suggested that running apps do not affect battery. I will not argue against this statement because I know very little about it. From my own personal experience having many open apps heavily affects app switching since I have to scroll through the app previews stack to reach the desired app, so this feature of displaying total running app counter still is of benefit to the users since it provides info for them to take action if they wish to.
    ]

    The menu can also implement a "touch/hold to close" feature where holding on an icon closes the app.

    What to do if there is only one app running.
    Hide the menu. There is no need for it!!!

    What to do if there are only three apps running.
    Align the icons so that they are placed in the middle of the menu bar. do not resize the menu itself because it will not be aligned with the currently running app preview.

    Below you can see the presentation of the menu based on the number of apps running under Minimized or Expanded view.

    MENU INDICATORS.png

    Expanded View Scrolling Behavior
    When running apps are 8 or less

    No scrolling required.
    When running apps are 12 or less
    Swiping scrolls a single row of icons(4 apps) at a time.
    When running apps are 13 or more
    Swiping scrolls two rows of icons(8 apps) at a time.

    The proposed feature as a whole can be optional. I have redesigned the gesture settings page(see animated gif below) where users can choose if they want the mini menu or not. If not OxygenOS works the same as it does right now, so no problem! I added an option to activate the mini menu. If activated we enable the option "Configure Settings" where users can customise the UX of the mini menu with the following options:

    A. Option to choose between Minimal or Advanced layout.
    1. Minimal Layout
    Menu can be used to access only the last four apps.
    Best suited to users who wish to use their phones in a less interactive but still productive way.

    2. Advanced Layout
    Menu can be used in minimized or expanded view and all running apps can be accessed.
    Best suited to users who prioritize speed and productivity.

    B. Option for app icons to be sorted left to right, or right to left. An extremely useful setting for left or right handed people because it makes it easier to access the apps that suits their thumbs.

    C. Options to display the following running counters below the bottom left corner of the menu:
    a). Show total running app counter.
    b). Show remaining running apps "apps that are not visible on the menu" counter. Option only available in Advanced Layout.

    [UPDATE:
    D. Added Auto Resize Option . Option only available in Advanced Layout.
    Intended for users that don't want to swipe up to expand the menu but instead having it automatically adjust it's style based on the number of running apps. - CHECK UPDATED GIF BELOW]

    SOHO_FAST_SETTINGS_PAGE.gif

    [UPDATE:
    Animation and Fluidity
    A very important aspect of a gesture based navigation system is animations. In order for user actions to feel natural the UX must respond accordingly. OxygenOS already uses such techniques to make the UX fluid and natural. In the case of the Recent Items Page there are two* distinct animations used when switching between apps.

    soho_fast_animation_switch.png

    When touching the active app preview(purple box) the animation starts from the center and expands the preview all the way across all four corners. When touching the last running app(green box) the animation starts from the middle-left part of the screen and expands the preview likewise.

    *There is also a third animation that starts from the middle-right(orange box) part of the screen and it is only used for touch on an app preview that is placed there wheb the user has scrolled through the stacked app previews, this animation follows the same principles as the green box animation but is inverted.

    When a user chooses to navigate via the menu bar the following two rules must apply:
    1. If the application icon selected is the app previewed in the center of the screen then the animation of the purple box must be used.
    2. If the application icon selected is not the app previewed in the center of the screen then the green box animation must be used.

    As previously stated the proposal does not change the way the UX currently works, it fully complies with its guidelines and it is only there to increase the productivity for the end user.
    ]

    Now lets try and answer those difficult but lovely questions.

    Who are the users?
    Potentially everyone! I know that this sounds cliche but the feature provides a faster way to switch between apps and who doesn't want a faster experience? For users that use up to four apps at a time it makes switching between apps, 50% faster. For users that use even more apps it provides multiple states of faster navigation by accommodating a familiar grouping method in the form of an app drawer and the great part about it is that it is in a natural to the thumb position without forcing users to perform finger gymnastics. The proposed feature also implements application pins to help switch between selected apps even faster via the "go to last used up" gesture.

    Switching between apps is a fundamental part of how we use our phones so this feature can bring benefits to potentially all users.

    What is the proposed function?
    To minimize the time it takes between switching running apps. (process described above and preview in gif + giphy link) and increase the productivity whilst multitasking.

    What is the user value?
    With gesture based navigation become more widely accepted comes the need to provide users a robust experience that feels natural to them while providing advanced functionality to tackle daily tasks.
    I believe OxygenOS is perfectly placed for this feature. Users are already accustomed to the recent items page and by adding this feature we can speed up substantially switching between apps. The combination of OxygenOS amazing gesture navigation with the productivity value of this feature can offer users a unique and productive experience that helps them deal with their daily multitasking demands in a more efficient manner while helping OxygenOS further increase the gap against other competitor UXs.

    If there are existing comparable functions in the smartphone industry, how is your proposed feature superior?
    As far as I am aware I do not know of another OS that implements this feature the way I have proposed it.
    The feature is superior because it is simple in all of its aspects.
    The design is very minimal, it builds upon the existing UX while maintaining its fluidity and improving its productivity.
    It offers two layouts to satisfy all types of users.
    It is very easy to understand because it uses the same principle(icons!) that we use to locate our apps.


    A word for the developers
    1. This feature can be implemented both in Gesture or Button Navigation layouts. It really changes very little. If screen space is an issue the menu can be run in minimized view only while using the Button Navigation layout and the extended view can be available only for the Gesture Navigation Layout.
    My opinion is that it is better to allow users to choose what they feel is best for them. As long as there are options, users will be happy.
    2. It does not require any major redesign of the current UX.
    3. It is a feature that is built around assets already used by OxygenOS(app icons and animations) so implementing it should be fairly straightforward without having an impact on performance.

    A few final words about this proposal.

    OxygenOS has such a great community, But the one characteristic that makes us unique above all other phone related communities is our good sense of humour.

    Steve Jobs said back in 2007 that they would reinvent the phone. They certainly did.
    Never before did people go to the toilets with their phones!
    (Humour aside, RESPECT is due to these guys!)

    I believe now is the time to reinvent the way users switch through their apps, and we will name this awesome feature: SOHO FAST
    (Simple One Hand Only Fast App Switching Technology).

    Now how about some marketing lines.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Not just fast! SOHO FAST.

    SOHO FAST is strong with you!

    Have u been SOHO FASTed?
    ----------------------------------------------


    Thank you to all those who managed to read this amazing proposal.
    If you have not read all of the above, go back and read it! It is worth it!
    I had a great time thinking about it, designing it, and explaining it in plain simple words.
    Thank you OnePlus for the challenge.

    I would love to hear the comments of the community and in the unlikely outcome that another idea beats SOHO FAST to the first place, please don't be fast to dismiss it, be SOHO FAST to implement it.

    P.S
    If this idea is already done by another company don't rip on me because I am 100% unaware that such a feature is available at the moment by another UX.
    In the animation I have made it so on the bottom left corner the text shows how many apps are available for the user to choose from in order to demonstrate the different available app count between minimized and extended menu view.
    This can be changed accordingly if users wish to see the total running app count from the settings page.

    Thank you all.
    May the force be with you and remember to NEVER SETTLE.

    "The most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth."
    Richard P. Feynman

     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019

    #1
  2. G_Suraj_Parui_tlzZ Eclair Feb 9, 2019

    G_Suraj_Parui_tlzZ, Feb 9, 2019 :
    This is quite good being honest. Idk what else to say really XD. Heya if you can leave a review for my suggestions. (no pressure)
     

    #2
    grouperb likes this.
  3. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    I will check your proposals and comment on them likewise.

    Thanks for the interest.
     

    #3
  4. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Hi,

    I added screenshots on a possible layout of the settings page.

    Tell me if you like it.
     

    #4
  5. toastytoast1234 Lollipop Feb 9, 2019


    #5
    xnutzii, Sharinnn and grouperb like this.
  6. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    You think??
     

    #6
  7. Venky61 Jelly Bean Feb 9, 2019

    Venky61, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Hey I have gone through your suggestion. I really liked how you made a gif for the representation.
    Now Oneplus launcher already has a recent apps drawer. You can check here.
    Screenshot_20190209-220512__01__01.jpg

    Why waste resources to create another layer in recent apps menu. Rather give an option to either take to regular recent apps menu or the drawer. If the concern is not to scroll through and not visual apperance, this is a better option.
     

    #7
    laiosg likes this.
  8. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Hi,

    Recept apps drawer is not running apps.

    I think you are looking at it from a wrong prespective.

    Even if we are interested on a recent app that is closed we have to swipe to home, then swipe right to access the recent apps drawer and then select the app. Even that for me is as I said a bit "stiff".

    Thanks for your opinion. It is valued.

    Please check the thread as I have updated it with an animation for the Settings page.

    Looking forward to your opinion on that.
     

    #8
    Venky61 and alessiodales like this.
  9. Peybro Gingerbread Feb 9, 2019


    #9
    grouperb likes this.
  10. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Thank you @Peybro . Let's make it a reality...
     

    #10
    Peybro likes this.
  11. Venky61 Jelly Bean Feb 9, 2019

    Venky61, Feb 9, 2019 :
    No, i meant instead of recent apps, it can be running apps in the drawer and user can choose in settings whether with recent apps gesture they reach the default one or this drawer of the launcher which has much more info for access.
    I wouldn't say to manually go to home and swipe. :p
     

    #11
  12. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan Lollipop Feb 9, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan, Feb 9, 2019 :
    I like the option of app icons at the bottom in the Recents preview screen.

    However, the more apps in the background does not necessarily mean more battery drain. Android knows when to close the apps, and you really shouldn't bother yourself with it. Apps are often held in a suspended state to save battery. Constantly closing them and opening them would drain more battery.
     

    #12
    laiosg and alessiodales like this.
  13. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Venky61

    No, i meant instead of recent apps, it can be running apps in the drawer and user can choose in settings whether with recent apps gesture they reach the default one or this drawer of the launcher which has much more info for access.
    I wouldn't say to manually go to home and swipe.

    Reply:

    Not a bad idea, needs to be well thought.

    Still I find my proposal to be an easier feature for users to pick up and use because it changes very little to the view they already use daily.

    Why switch from the standard layout to a completely different layout just for the simple task of app switching.

    What do you think about seamless UX? I find it fascinating that minor tweaks can massively improve productivity.

    For me the task of switching/closing apps feels like a burden.
    Until the time comes when phones are able to read our thoughts app switching will remain a very manual every day aspect of how we interact with these devices.

    I have updated my thread to include a "touch & hold to close" feature where one can also close apps from the menu bar directly without navigating through stacks of previews.

    You have no idea how many times I have taken a screenshot, opened the screenshot on my gallery only to later close the running app instead of the gallery app preview that looked identical. Using icons to navigate apps is as familiar as it gets.

    Let me know what you think...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019

    #13
    Venky61 likes this.
  14. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    For some reason I always end up having tons of apps open, and I always find my battery running towards the 0 line like Usain Bolt. Thank god I have the OP6T McLaren Edition, this warp charging is awesome.

    Only the DEV team can really tell us about the overhead running apps have on battery.

    What about volatile memory?

    Aren't open apps stored on such memory that requires current and therefore has an effect on battery performance?

    I may be wrong thought.

    Tell me your thoughts on that subject.

    Perhaps the DEV team can shed some light in this topic.
     

    #14
  15. Moin2200 KitKat Feb 9, 2019

    Moin2200, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Yeah not my cup of tea.

    But well presented.
     

    #15
  16. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan Lollipop Feb 9, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan, Feb 9, 2019 :
    just don't bother about closing apps. you DON'T have to do it. Android will take care of that.

    more apps open and less free memory is actually good for your device performance and battery life. let Android manage it.
     

    #16
  17. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Thanks for liking the presentation...
     

    #17
  18. Moin2200 KitKat Feb 9, 2019

    Moin2200, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Always remember that a idea is only as good as how it's presented. Even if you had a brilliant idea, it could be rejected if it's presented in a bad way.

    You should take the compliment even if I don't necessarily agree with the idea.
     

    #18
    grouperb likes this.
  19. grouperb Froyo Feb 9, 2019

    grouperb, Feb 9, 2019 :
    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan

    just don't bother about closing apps. you DON'T have to do it. Android will take care of that.

    more apps open and less free memory is actually good for your device performance and battery life. let Android manage it.

    Reply:


    The running app counter is an optional feature. If one doesn't care about having too menu apps running one can just deactivate it from the settings menu.

    Believe it or not I find my self closing all apps because I hate switching through a ton of stacked previews in order to navigate to the desired app.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019

    #19
  20. Cornhulio Donut Feb 9, 2019

    Cornhulio, Feb 9, 2019 :
    I only want to say: Shut Up and take my Money [e]1f602[/e]

    I really really like your idea. It would increase the productivity
     

    #20
    grouperb likes this.