Finger swipe control

Great app:
as for weather very versatile
and interesting.
The feature. “finger swipe control” is practical however somewhat primitive.
I do miss an automatic animation feature.
Is it possible integrate this in the app?
It would make the app more up to date and more easy and interesting to use as well.
Anyway it would be a great update.

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Hi @Gerbrand,

This question is asked now and then and I’ve replied to it a few times. This is a matter of preference and opinion because I think the opposite. I think swiping has far more control. It allows you to control the speed of animation and swing within a range of time very easily. I honest think play buttons are inferior and old-school (primitive). Play buttons came first because the drag gesture either didn’t exist on early websites or was difficult to implement.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. how long have you been using Flowx?
  2. do you know about swiping up/down for finer control of time?

I’d appreciate if you can answer honestly.

Cheers, Duane.

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Hi Duane,

Thank’s for the reply.
As far as the play button concerned I don’t agree with you.
A play button makes the app much more userfriendly hence the other requests.
While using a playbutton I can concentrate more on the course of the weather developments viewing the weatherchart.
Even such a button with different speeds can be implemented to make it more refined.
Constantly swiping becomes very annoying in the long run.

An animationbutton combined with the swipe feature that would be the perfect deal.

Flowx is a great app as for weather adding a play button would make it an even greater one.

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Hello all,

I believe I’ve been using Flowx since late 2018. I personally prefer the swiping over the use of a button, and I believe swiping is the best option for Flowx. Swiping allows me to pretty much totally control the sequence. I can move as fast or slow as I want, as well as stop it. I and can configure the time step for the sequence (currently set for 5 minutes increments). My experience with some weather apps that utilize a button is that at times, when I press the button, there is a delay in a response, or no response at all. The sequence doesn’t stop/begin when I want it to. I know there can be various reasons for this (e.g. internet speed, my fingers, etc.). But, with using the swiping feature on Flowx, any problems I have, are a great majority of the time, due to operator error.

Thank you,
pedum

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Hi @Gerbrand,

I know you disagree with my perspective and I respect that. I know this wasn’t the answer you wanted to hear, but that is fine. I strive to keep Flowx simple but powerful. It is through deliberate design that it is. Flowx would be a mess if I didn’t stop saying “yes”.

I can easily add a play button - there is one in the “Share Movie” feature. I haven’t added it because there hasn’t been strong reasoning to add it.

When I started Flowx I pretty much added everything users asked for. Flowx code got hard to maintain, hard to add new features, the code was unruly - it was a mess. It was a straw-house held together with duct tape. When I added a window the door fell off. You get the picture.

Now I think carefully about features and I try to understand they requester position and why they want a feature. The reason I asked those two questions is that I wanted to know how much you’ve used swiping and if you knew about fine swipe control. If you hadn’t used swiping very much I was going to suggest doing so for a few weeks and then see how you find it.

The users who have asked for play buttons are used to play buttons and they don’t like change, so they want the other thing to change irrespective of whether it’s better or not. It’s a common issue with Flowx, it is so different from other ways of viewing weather new users get overwhelmed.

I have used swiping for nearly 10 year and when ever I go to an app with no swiping, I automatically swipe, then I realise “oh yeah, these apps don’t have swipe”, so I click the play button and I get very frustrated.

You may find swiping difficult because you aren’t used to it. Just like when you first drive a car. After using swiping for a while, it becomes automatic and you don’t even notice it. The weather automatically moves exactly how you want it without thinking. Just like after you’ve been driving a car, it become automatic.

In summary, I don’t add features unless it makes absolute sense. I make sense of a new feature by understanding why the user wants it.

Cheers, Duane.

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Hi Duane,

Thanks for the detailed reply.
I have been using Flowx for over a year.
Yes I have noticed using the slide feature vertically is slower and more detailed.

Anyway in a nutshell:

Implementing an automatic button will be appreciated by many users of the app which definately will make it more userfriendly.
And then more importantly there is a choice:
using finger swipe controll or the animation button.
One does not exclude the other.

Hopefully you will take it into consideration.

Thank’s

Gerbrand.

1 Like

Thanks for replying to the questions. Then my assumption that users can get used to swiping is not true. I am still not convinced it’ll make Flowx more user-friendly for the majority.

So now we have to consider the next questions:

  1. how many people will really want it? I’ve heard “users will want this” many times before, only to add the feature and only a handful of users actually use it. I once added a feature on a users request, I think it was “swiping on the graph”, a few years later after a rewrite, I removed it and no one complained.

So we need to check how many users would really want this feature. If it’s for a handful of users, it’s not worth the time. There is a long term cost in maintaining features and code.

  1. How do you design it? How do you set the speed? How do you set the start and end time? How do you go backwards a little bit? What happens when you swipe while it’s playing? How do you present these options to the user - dialogs or buttons? Feel free to make some suggestions.

Choice is not always a good thing. There is a design philosophy that there should be only one way to do something. Think Apple - you do things our way walled garden.

I once tried to satisfy as many users as possible. I’ve since learnt this is a fools game and that I cannot satisfy everyone all the time. So today I’m happy saying “no” to feature requests until I’m convinced.

Please check out my post how I prioritise features.

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Hi Duane,

Unfortunately there seems no way convincing you implementing an animation button while it’s being regarded as a very useful feature.

Hereby I consider the topic as closed.

Gerbrand

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I’m of the same opinion as Brian. The swiping feature is great, as it is.

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Hi @Gerbrand,

This is completely wrong. I have literally opened the door for you to convince me when I asked two question: how many users and what is the design. Most other companies you contact would’ve said something like “Dear valued user, Thanks for your feedback. We will pass it on to our development team.”. I have also added feature requests that didn’t particularly excite me but many many users kept requesting.

I get many many request to add features to Flowx. I am on my 4th todo list which holds hundreds of ideas and feature requests. The Play Button has been on this list for years.

I have outlined how I prioritize features to add. I have given you the opportunity to design the play feature - button or dialog.

I have dozens of features currently on high priority. One being that Meteo-France has changed their download service and porting to Apple. There is a lot to do for Flowx. I don’t have time to dedicate to running polls and design low priority features. If I can’t do it and no one else will take charge, then it’ll just sit on the todo list for another year.

Another user requested the Play Button a few years back. I asked why he wants it to which he said “I have Flowx on a screen on the wall and I want it to play continuously.” This to me was a concrete reason. I didn’t say earlier but I have considered adding a Play Button for this reason but I haven’t found a good design for it.

To say “Unfortunately there seems no way convincing you” is not because I can’t be convinced. I did not close the door.

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Thanks for doing this @Brian, Maybe this should be on a new post labeled “Poll: Animation Play Button” so it is more obvious and the poll is at the top. You can reference this post if needed.

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Hi Duane,

Thank you for your symphathetic answer.
As for designing an automatic button.
I would say keep it simple.
For instance for 10 day’s and 2 speeds.
I am using both the weather app’s Windy and Ventusky.
A playbutton like these app’s have and
in particular Windy would be preferrable.
I do understand it’s lot of work however being a mature update as well.

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Hi @Gerbrand,

I like to keep it super simple too - this is my mantra for Flowx.

A play button is relatively simple. Implementing it is not the problem.

Here is my thought process:

  • It adds an extra feature to the app so it adds cognitive load to a new user. This could lead to new users getting confused and uninstalling the app or bad reviews or more support emails. So I would most likely hide it the data menu so a user will have to turn it on. This eliminates the this concern.

  • will users likely ask for feature extensions (feature creep), what are these and will this be a long term problem??

  • this replicates the functionality of the swipe, i.e., this does not add much extra functionality to the app. Is it worth it? How many users will really use this feature??

  • will feature add complexity to the code or add major on-going code maintenance and support.

This is why I have to make damn sure there are enough users to justify adding this feature. I do this for every feature request and feature I come up with.

Once I developed an “Solar Eclipse” feature. It showed the path of the solar eclipse across the USA a few years back. Someone could turn on cloud and see how cloudy it would be. “What a great idea”, I thought, “This will certainly be unique and a hit and grow Flowx”. I spent a month developing the feature. I released it and posted to Astronomy and Solar Eclipse forums. I posted generated videos of the eclipse with each new forecast on YouTube. Most of this audience used iPhones. I got a few Android users using this feature. I got more viewers on YouTube. It was a complete flop. I maintained the code for a few years and finally removed it last year. Although, this was my most painful lesson in justifying features, there were many other painful lessons.

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Yes.

If a play button is added, I would prefer it as an option. So that userscan turn it off, (like I) who (at least mostly) think that it would be “in the way” of the map, and something that one might tap by mistake while swiping.

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Sometimes I actually use the share feature play button when wanting to se something being looped.

In my opinion, the thing missing in the share feature is the option to save the file directly on the phone.

If I want to use the file myself I currently must email it to myself or save it on Dropbox/drive or something similar. (Same goes for exporting the settings.)

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Hi Duane,

Indeed using the share option
makes an animation possible.
I do record the animation using AZ screen recorder this way the animation is directly saved on my smartphone.
It looks like some kind of hidden animation button.
An interesting option would be
viewing highs and lows with isobars.
For me Flowx, Ventusky and Windy are the best weatherapps.

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Totally agree and one of the reasons why I love this app!

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Late to the party here but here’s a vote for the play button. Just do as you mentioned up thread and put it under settings. I wouldn’t worry about people deleting the app. People using this app are weather geeks. With most good weather apps there is a learning curve because of the amount of customization and data available. That’s the fun part, setting it up. If someone deletes this app because of a hidden play button or other issues they were never meant to use it. In my opinion.

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Thanks for your vote. This is exactly what I’m looking for.

Adding this feature as a setting is not the issue. The main issue if that adding this feature will take time to implement, maintain and support. This takes time away from other features. So it has to be justified. One justification is the number of users that will use the feature. And we simply don’t know this.

It is important to realise the reason Flowx is like it is today because of the justification process. It’s the reason there aren’t many settings. Not only do I justify feature, I also ask questions like, “what is the user really wanting to do?”, “is there a better way to do the same thing?”, “is there are way to do this without settings?”

I know I harp on about this but it is just as important to know when to say “no” as it is to know when to say “yes”. I know this because I was there when I said “yes” to most user requests and Flowx (in the early days) turned into a buggy nightmare to maintain with many settings and many rarely used features.

I was there. It was not fun. I’m not going back there.

Cheers, Duane.

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