Thursday, 21 November 2013

It's the little things - pre-emptive alarm dismissal

Sometimes the little interactions are important. I recently ran a test build of Android 4.4 on my phone and discovered a new feature. This feature is the ability to pre-emptively "dismiss" a scheduled alarm. Prior to this feature I would need to turn the alarm off, wait for the alarm time to pass and then turn the alarm back on.

Now this is an infrequent case, when for example I wake up a few minutes before my alarm is set to go and I don't want it to just go off for 5 minutes while I am in the shower. I have to switch it off and then remember to turn it back on. If I forget then the cost is reasonably high, I could miss my alarm the next day.

Now repeating alarms have been on phones for many years and I have relied on my phone alarms since 2006, but it has taken 7 years for someone to come up with such a simple and useful interaction.

I love it when something that has been "done to death" can suddenly have a new improvement that makes the feature just a little bit better and surprise and delight the end user. When I spot these simple and intuitive changes in my own application they are often the "feature" that receives the greatest adulation. The one that took half a day to code, test & deploy.  The big feature that took a whole month to do can often make you picture tumble-weed given the response it receives by comparison.