Tomáš Kafka – #gsoc 2011 notes

Human interaction rants

Summary of user reviews of WordPress Android app

with 3 comments

I went through all 160 reviews at WordPress for Android market page and extracted all remarks and actionable feedback, sorted by category.

This will provide a valuable sample of user opinions and will highlight the pain points of current app.

Summary:

  • Reading
    • Several users expected the app to be a reader app for wordpress.com blogs, this is out of my intended scope (blog owner companion). However, one user wanted to be able to read posts in his blog that were created by other users – this would require a modification of backend to fetch all posts and adding a framework for permissions (so that some of the posts can be just viewed, and others could be edited as well).
      • I suggest keeping the reader part for future improvement, and concentrate on the suggested scope (companion for admin user on the go)
  • Writing
    • text selection is uncomfortable on android, better approach would be the one used in OneNote mobile app, where, when there is no selection and cursor is inside word, hitting ‘bold’ button would bold whole word.
    • users cannot create subheadings – this would be fixed with button that would change the current paragraph to desired heading, or back to paragraph
  • Posting
    • users are confused about the distinction of local and server side drafts – a better solution would’nt require manual uploading of drafts to server, but would make it a part of sync routine
    • several users want to be able to schedule posts – currently app doesn’t offer this
    • several users wanted to be able to set the time of item
    • users want reasonable defaults – especially the status of new post should be set to published (several requests)
    • several users wanted to be able to edit the custom fields, this will be out of scope because it would require dynamic generation of GUI, API support for lists of custom fields for given content type, and implementing all widgets that are available in web version
    • user noticed that editing the title changes permalink – permalinks should have separate field (editable on demand like in the web version)
    • one user complained that geotagging only works when writing a new post. I propose, instead of trying to be smart and failing, to let user assign current location to edited post manually
  • Content types
    • one user wanted the title field to be optional, proving the hypothesis that users want to create different types of content in the mobile app than on the desktop
    • one user wanted support of custom post types – again this is out of scope because of need for dynamicly generated gui
  • Media
    • “the lack of image options requires me to open a browser to resize the uploaded images. Fail.” – this speaks for itself, especially on mobile with slow unreliable connection (consider travellers on the go), there is no need to upload unresized 8 Mpx image from the phone camera
    • three different requests for setting one of attached images as featured
    • 2 voices for pulling and attaching the image from wordpress gallery on server
      • This is complicated (would need API for gallery, lot of custom GUI, lot of network transfers), so I think the benefits are not worth the work
      • 2 users wanted to insert pictures into the body of the post. I don’t think that current editor would support it reasonably usable, and Posterous surely knows that. I would keep the text and pictures seperated, like it is now.

Review excerpts:

Reading

  • Would be heaps better if you could actually have a list of wordpress blogs that you like to watch
    • Why can’t I just read posts? I dont want to start a blog just read them. // people seem to confuse it for reading client for wordpress.com
    • it doesn’t allow you to read posts from other users. // of the same blog?
    • How do I view blogs that I subscribe instead of what I own?
    • Would be a 5 if we could read subscriptions
  • Why is the “view post” tab NOT like the “comments ” tab.. what’s the point of the app if I have to load the site ?

Writing

  • If you want to write a post with any formatting, you’re SOL with the way it is setup now. Why can’t you select text and *then* bold it? It is a major pain to have to set “bold” before you type. Even worse for subheadings. Would be nice to see that improved!
  • Formatting added without user interaction.
  • Tapping at where I want to edit in the post makes the editor jump back to the top of the post though the cursor remains at the right point
  • Basic HTML preview of unpublished posts is pretty terrible. Still waiting for a real preview of how it will actually look on my blog when published. // fixed?

Posting

  • It’s good except once you start a draft on your phone…that draft is not saved online if you use a computer. It is only saved on your phone.
  • Can’t change/edit date/time of posting entries if I want to schedule posts.
    • Can’t schedule a post, would like to see drafts on pc
  • Works well but I can’t seem to password protect my posts.
    • Need to be able to password protect entries
  • needs “upload all drafts” buton!!!
  • Needs custom field option so don’t have to edit from pc.
  • why now posts default to draft? Should default to “publish” like the previous version.
    • My only problem is that’ draft’ is selected by default. Sometimes I forget that and my posts go unpublished
  • It changes the permalink whenever you edit a post or page. This is seriously annoying.
  • Geotagging is buggy. It works for new posts, but fails on published posts, if you were to edit and update them.

Content types

  • Optional titles please!
  • What’s wrong with the blabbering about categories, pages, etc. Cmon it’s a very good thing blogging via smartphones!!!
  • Needs to support custom post types.

Media

  • the lack of image options requires me to open a browser to resize the uploaded images. Fail.
  • Needs to be able to manually set location and also assign a featured image.
    • if it could set the featured image
    • needs option for “featured images”.
  • Will get 5 stars when selection from WordPress Media Gallery is possible
    • Would be nice if it could pull from the blogs media gallery
  • Better attachment functions when posting?
  • Not bad, but you can’t place pictures where you want them, annoying.
    • Great apps, but when I upload a pic, it only shows on the top of the post. Is it just me or there’s a way to put a pic between paragraph?
  • limited media control.

Blog management

  • when deleting last comment in queue it deletes from blog but not from app
  • Own comments always go straight to moderation

Reliability, making sure the app fits users’ mental model

  • Would be great if it worked beyond the first item it posted. Takes your data then disappears without saving it when you save it
  • Cut my posts in half after save.
    • Only posts a few lines of text loses the rest.
    • Uploading a local draft to my blog deletes most of my text! Lost 2 long posts now & I don’t know why.
    • It erases everything but the first line of my post upon upload
  • Those with 405 err: go to dashboard – settings – writting and enable remote publishing XML-RPC.
  • why now posts default to draft? Should default to “publish” like the previous version.
  • Please add copy paste function
  • Why can’t I seem to post comments?

General usability and scope

  • Would like it to more functionality same as the ios version
  • Good for notifications. Bad for editing.
  • It’s telling me my password if incorrect when it’s correct
  • takes too much time to load all post, needs 10 latest.
  • Uses wrong location for sdcard data.
  • Wish it had more features – even the basics aren’t fully covered.
  • Dashboard? Plugins? Analytics? Works well enough if only posting and moderating.
  • Most probably the best blogging app on Android, though it’s still missing some minor features for a mobile blogging app.
  • The only downside is that there isn’t an option to log out. I’ve some nosey friends who tried to look into my private blog w/o me knowin!
  • Wish stats were enhanced like on reg page
  • Lacks a lot of features… Buti guess it will beupdated soon
  • Way better than the iPod version!!!
  • Wow I can blog. From my phone!
  • I only use it to moderate comments on the go.
  • Get rid of the ads!
  • Need more admin options.

What people like

  • Great on a milestone. Lost my dependency on the computer finally!
  • good for offline
  • This app has improved a lot recently. With tablets allowing different usage scenarios it has a great chance to become a serious productivity app.
  • Love being able to blog on the move.
  • Very solid, I use it heavily with multiple self-hosted blogs.
  • I love the app. You can do anything with your blog on the go.
  • I use it mostly to check the stats of my three blogs.
  • Sometimes getting stats other than default has crashed the app.
  • Love this app! Can select categories, upload pictures and designate publish time. Very easy to use.

Stats // do they work now? either make them functional or get rid of them from gui

  • Needs updated, no longer works with the WordPress.com Stats plugin or even the newer rebranded Jetpack plugin, fail…
  • Unable to view stats.
  • blog stats dont show on wifi – works on cellular data
  • FC evertime I try to look at stats

Bugs (out of scope for GSOC)

  • Force closed on my Thunderbolt, and killed HTC Sense. This was while using a standalone WP site (not hosted by WP).
  • Can’t sign into my self hosted blog because app does not support basic authentication
    • I need to access one that is behind an htaccess password and the app does not allow it. I just get an error whenever I try to log in.
  • I keep getting a http 408 error when trying to edit.
  • Crashes every now and then
  • Edit field size gets corrupted.
  • This app will be worth nothing as long as it crashes every time I refresh my comment list. Wp2go doesn’t do this which is why I’m still using it. Fix!
  • The stats page is asking me to enter credentials for the WP.com site even though I am self hosted at a WP.org site!
  • It hangs after I make a post in offline mode.
  • Ok, but fails uploading media every single time. Always has and recent updates haven’t fixed it.
  • Crashes and loses content/drafts when inserting pictures being taken from Droid camera.
  • Ok, but fails uploading media every single time. Always has and recent updates haven’t fixed it.
  • Share photo from browser causes fc through last 3 updates. Postbot is better.
  • Posting youtube videos from this app doesn’t show on the blog, just a white box.
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Written by tomaskafka

April 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Posted in gsoc

3 Responses

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  1. Hi,

    not sure what impact this will have on development, but I just wanted to underscore how important it is to be able to set an image as featured. Without that, I can’t use the Android app to post at all.

    (Also, note that I _only_ want to set the image as featured, in full original size — I do not want to insert it into the post at all.)

    Cheers,
    Rick

    Rick Falkvinge

    September 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  2. Clarification: In my ideal UI, the media insertion options would be “Above”, “Below” and “Only as Featured”, with the last option being new. Hopefully, this wouldn’t be too much extra coding.

    Rick Falkvinge

    September 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    • Thanks, Rick, but I’m not doing the client anyway – the GSOC nomination was also about politics (talking to every reviewer and lobbing for an idea), which I didn’t do.

      tomaskafka

      September 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm


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