SNEAK PEEK: New Covenant Eyes User Interface for Android (feedback welcome)

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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Hey Folks,

My name is John and I am the User Experience Designer for the Mobile arm of Covenant Eyes. Many of you have probably seen me lurking around these forums, responding to posts and doing my best to insert my nose in places it does not belong =P

Today I want to do something that is brand new for us here at Covenant Eyes. Traditionally we do closed user testing for our user interface work here, but since you all as a community have been so helpful in previous posts I figured we could give this a try.

This thread contains mock ups for our upcoming update to the user interface on Android, and I am looking for your feedback. Please check out the images & descriptions below and let us know what you think.

Thanks in advance for keeping the discussion civil. =)

Prototype 1: Sign In page.

This page is a simple redesign of the sign in page, with the added benefit of scrolling through some of the various features that Covenant Eyes offers on Android. My hope is that in addition to improving the visual fidelity of the page, that it will help new & veteran users alike get exposed to the features of CE as a whole.

Prototype 2: Sign In Interface

After tapping the Sign In button on the previous page, this is the new 2 stage sign in process. The goal of this interaction is to remove the awkward jumble of having to tap on the screen to select either the username field or the password field. Also, since we simplified the design, we have more room to allow the complete design to fit on a wider range of screen sizes.

Prototype 3: Blog & Home Page

This is the big one. Instead of immediately showing Covenant Eyes settings when you tap on the app, I have included a new home screen which will pull down content from the Covenant Eyes blog. All of the settings options have been moved to the upper left menu (more on that in the next screenshot) and instead this page serves as a connection to the Covenant Eyes educational/support side of things. Furthermore we truly believe that our app is only 1 part of the accountability process, and putting positive reminders about why people are using the app, when they open it, felt like a good choice.

Prototype 4: New Side Drawer Nav

All of your original settings items have been relocated to an easy to use side nav. (With the exception of the "Hide App Notification Icon", Google tells us we can't actually offer that option...) Notice the top where it shows but the username & name of the Covenant Eyes user, with an icon that changes color based on username status. (if you use the Panic! Button it turns orange, for example). 

Feedback is Welcome

I have been in the process of designing this for months, and as the work begins to get closer to release, I was really hoping for some feedback. Let us know what you think about the direction, design & choices we made.

We are looking forward to hearing from you, and thanks again for being such an engaged & awesome community.
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John, Official Rep

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Posted 5 years ago

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First, thanks for letting us give input to the UI. IMHO, too many companies make sweeping changes they think are "better", but aren't good for the community. Now for the meat & potatoes...

1. Sign in page: Please tell me that's not a forced tutorial. Looks (from the Sign In button) that it isn't, but just making sure.
2. Sign in interface: Good de-clutter; may I humbly suggest instead of "Next" the term is something more descriptive, like "Password"? (As a suspicious user, I see a form that simply has my email and a "Next" button and wonder what they're going to ask for next, like my phone number. Of course, CE is not a malicious app, so it's probably okay, but the flags will go off in my brain.)
3. Home page: I, personally, do not care for blogs or other news pages (especially forced) that a company uses as PR. Congrats on the good PR, but make it available, rather than force me to read it, please. An option to "Go straight to settings" (vs. "Use news as landing page") in the settings screen could take care of this, giving your users the default of news (still not what I'd consider ideal, but good for PR) with the option to default to settings.
4. Side Nav: Not a fan, although that's simply an opinion. To me, that UI indicates the user has "departed" the main gist of the app, and the "backgrounding" of the blog/homepage reinforces the notion. For my usage, CE is accountability (monitoring). I want to enter the app, check that I'm still logged in, and leave. The current app (when fully functioning) does exactly what I want and need it to.

(Parting thoughts)
Continuing the thought that I started in part 4: This is how I view Covenant Eyes: it's an accountability application. I have no need or desire to get my news or reading through an accountability app. I have a web browser that can go to news sites, blogs, and other sources. The idea of "everyone must have an app that essentially replicates their website but is branded so it's a `one-touch from the homescreen`" is quite silly. A good mobile site is useful without an app. [Then your not-yet-customers also have a good mobile visiting experience!] A good mobile site can also easily be linked-to from within the app itself [and your customers likewise get a good experience]. A parting consideration and use-case: what happens when my wifi-only table tries to load the CE app, which defaults to a web-connection-associated home screen, while not on wifi? Data isn't unlimited or free - I prefer apps who do what they do and do it well.

5? Did you say that you can't do the "hide icon" any longer? That'd be a bummer...

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John, Official Rep

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Thanks for the feedback Steel

1: Not forced, that would be awful

2: Hmmm... something to think about 

3: Yep. I fully expect there to be individuals who aren't a huge fan of the blog content on the home screen. That being said, my hope is that the 1 touch access to all of your primary settings will mitigate some of those feelings. However as Covenant Eyes moves forward, the home screen is going to become more integral to use. My vision for the home screen includes not just blog content, but notifications, partner to user communication, personalized reminders & more. The stance here at Covenant Eyes is that accountability requires a relationship, and we are hoping to bring that to our clients as well. For now though, the blog as an step towards the eventual future. I do appreciate your thoughts, and my hope is that if you need to check if you are logged in, the persistent notification will be able to tell you that at a glance, and you will not be required to tap on the app at all.

Edit. I forgot to add that the blog content uses minimal data, and there is going to be a placeholder page for when internet is not available. Most of the heavy lifting is done on the App side of the equation

4: We have outgrown the ability to have a single page for user settings. As we add in additional features, we no longer have an easy to use space for them. Shifting to a side nav (apart from being Android standard) is also a good way to allow the app to grow and expand with our ambition for it.

5. Yeah, unfortunately. Google has been rapidly updating their policy for what apps can/cannot do on the Play Store. (You may have noticed that we have been removed from the play store a few times). Part of being in compliance with them is that IF we are a monitoring type app (which we are) we MUST show that we are monitoring at all times. Google is afraid that you could install something like Covenant Eyes & and then hide it, on somebody else's machine. Towards that end, we have had to phase out that as a user option. We know some of our members really like it, but its out of our hands at this point.
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Chris D.

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RE: #5, THAT is truly annoying. We get little enough real estate in our notification area without having to see icons which give us no meaningful information. I see their point, but since that kind of paranoia doesn't fit my use case of the app, it's just an annoyance.

#3, agree with the original feedback.  I already have personal relationships with all my accountability partners. This app just allows them to see that I am honest in my conversations with them. Doesn't truly matter to me, as I only ever opened the CE app to hide the icon, and as that has been taken from me by the Almighty Google, it looks like I won't need to open the app at all going forward.

To expand upon my thoughts: I, like Steel above, don't want to spend time in the CE app. The CE app is not a content portal to me, nor should it ever be. My goal, actually, is to spend less time on my phone, and more time with my family.  To that end, do whatever you like with the home screen of the app. I aim to never use it. This is not a dis on your interface or app. Covenant Eyes does its best work when it is transparent and nearly invisible. Gathering data and sending them to people I love and respect, and who will start a conversation with me if they see something that concerns them.  Yes, accountability ONLY works if there is a relationship, but that's ALWAYS been integral to the way CE works, right? I pay $10/month so that my loved ones are able to see what I'm doing. Relationship makes the app go 'round. Consequently, I don't need the app to foster relationships for me, or tell me why using the app is a good thing. You're preaching to the choir at this point. My wife and 4 of my closest friends and brothers in Christ are my accountability partners.  I talk to each and every one of these brothers at least once a week, and I talk to my wife daily.  CE is just an extension of those relationships rather than the other way around. And that is how it should be.

The design, itself, looks fine, FWIW. Just not something I ever want to bother using, because I have no need for it.
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Chris Saxey

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I like the new design except for the sign in portion. For me, I would prefer to have the username and password portion on the same screen without having to press next.