DotSpace - color-coded spatial grid checklist

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Adams Immersive, May 21, 2015.

  1. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    #1 Adams Immersive, May 21, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
    My first iOS game, Scree, isn’t (quite) done yet. But there’s a simple non-game app I really wanted to own... so I had to make it myself. A list/task organizer in the form a of a grid, with custom color-coding. (Each dot has an On/Off toggle too.)

    This is my first app release. (I always imagined it would be a game!) Free without ads. I'll raise the price if it happens to catch on.

    I'd love any feedback on how you use Mind Magnets (formerly DotSpace) and what features you'd like. People seem to be using it in a lot of interesting ways!

    App info is currently processing and/or the app is not yet fully available for sale on the US App Store.
     
  2. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2008
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    Version 1.5

    Sneak peak at v1.5, just submitted to Apple: you can now pick from 3 shapes for each dot (once it's approved).

    So it's now a five-dimensional "list"...

    Vertical (the only dimension a traditional "list" has)
    Horizontal (now you can group stuff)
    Color
    Shape (for categories, priorities, or just to customize the look)
    On/Off toggle (bright/dark dots: for task completion or whatever you want to use this for)

    The app can be more than a "list," though—you can make it be almost anything. Gaming-related examples: it can be used as an RPG Character Sheet app or a custom scoreboard app for real-world gaming.
     

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  3. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    #3 Adams Immersive, Jul 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
    Version 1.5 is up! (6-day app review turnaround--not bad.) There are short demo videos in the App Store (don't show up in AppShopper.)

    Price is free again for a time.

    Reviews are appreciated! People seem to love it, but it's admittedly a niche app, lost among more conventional "list apps." Still, it thinks they way I think, and that seems to work well for people who give it a try!
     
  4. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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  5. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    #5 Adams Immersive, Oct 4, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
    Non-latin characters have a problem in iOS 9. I'm working on a fix. The info is still there (you can view it when editing it) it just doesn't show up right until I get the patch out.

    English, French, Spanish etc. are fine.

    EDIT: Patch submitted. (Also improves the way centering works with word-wrapping.)

    After that, I'm working ideas that should be welcomed by anyone who's running out of space on the grid...
     
  6. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    I've had requests for more space to fit more dots/items/mini-notes. I'm exploring possible scrolling or paging solutions.

    Meanwhile, there's one way to get 300 list items on one screen today... get an iPad Pro! My update to support the iPad Pro is now out.
     
  7. Arbo

    Arbo New Member

    Dec 5, 2015
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    Very handy but need more lists

    Love it but I can only create one list with this. Can you make it so I can have more than one list?

    So I would create multiple tabs that would each be a screen of blocks - or something like that. I see below you have some plans. Scrolling would be fine but pages would be better. For separating lists.

    It would be good to have some way to attach notes to the boxes as an option to turn on or off. Also a way to save or export lists. Maybe as even just a text file.

    Keeping it simple is good though. Just want to make more lists.

    Thanks for a cool visual app.
     
  8. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    #8 Adams Immersive, Dec 6, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    Thanks, Arbo! That's very helpful feedback.

    (If you want import/export, there's a hidden function that does that—it's VERY unpolished and awkward, and not suitable for everyday use; but if you want an occasional way to backup for import/export to Notes, message me privately and I will give you the steps to access the hidden functionality.)

    Depending on the device (iPads fit more than iPhones) you can fit multiple "lists"/"clusters" on the screen already, but I know it's not the same as having multiple (and/or larger) workspaces beyond just the area of the screen alone.

    There are four intertwined goals I've been concerned with when it comes to changing how the workspace might be handled in future:

    - Simplicity (it's nice that there are no "toolbars" or "menus" or "settings" or "special modes" or "multiple levels" now).

    - How to distinguish dragging items around from scrolling/paging/swiping (probably 2 fingers, but that's hard to discover; so more complex instructions would be needed).

    - Accommodating larger "lists" if the number of items outgrows your device's screen.

    - Allowing multiple "lists" or "topics" to each be isolated on its own screen or page (for the sake of more room AND for the sake of not having to look at anything but the "list" you want to focus on right now).

    - Allowing both portrait and landscape modes (especially for keyboard users). I thought of just rotating each dot, but then your order/organization is all sideways; better to rotate the whole page... but then it no longer fits the same screen shape!

    - Allowing potential future synching between different sized devices. This may well never happen, but I don't want to make design decisions that make it impossible or harder to use. What happens when synching a small iPhone workspace with a big iPad workspace?

    The best solution I've come up with (and I hope to build it this winter—no promises :) ) is as follows:

    - Still only one workspace: no need to add any toolbars or hierarchy or UI complexity.

    - But make it BIG (maybe 20x20 or 30x30 dots, depending on my performance testing). And have this same size workspace—larger than the screen—no matter what the device size or orientation.

    - Exactly the same size dots as now, but scroll with 2 fingers as needed. (And if beginners don't discover that despite the tutorial I'd make, no harm done: they could use the app the same way they do now.)

    - The space would repeat infinitely in all directions, like a video game: scroll off one side and you come back on the other; that way, there are no frustrating boundaries to run into. And if you want more space above or to the left of the current "list," it's just as easy as finding space below or to the right. You can have a cluster of notes that grows in all directions, not just "down" like a traditional list.

    That meets all of the above goals:

    - If you need just a bit more space for your current "list," you can just scroll a little farther and there's more space waiting for you—in evert direction.

    - Or, if you need a whole fresh screen to work in, just scroll a little farther.
     
  9. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    By the way, it's $4 right now, but if anyone wants to download it for free, message me—I've got promo codes. (As long as you were a member here at TouchArcade before I made the offer :) )
     
  10. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
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    Garlic Toothpaste?

    PM Sent. :cool:
     
  11. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! If you find uses for it, I'd always be interested to hear what they are. "Cat tracker" is the most unusual I've heard so far...

    (Re garlic toothpaste, I now have a dot just to remind myself NEVER to try that again.)
     
  12. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    Top secret heads up re DotSpace 2 (the next update). I'm working to add:

    - More shapes (including arrows and a "small dot" for less-important things)

    - Landscape support (split-screen too, I'm hoping)

    - More space for more stuff! I've reached the limit of what a single screen can hold, and I know I'm not alone.

    (I have To Do and groceries on my iPhone, Vainglory item builds on my old iPad, and a character/location chart for an upcoming game on my iPad Pro. But you shouldn't have to have multiple devices to use DotSpace for multiple things!)
     
  13. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    #13 Adams Immersive, Mar 26, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
    Version 2 is out—now called Mind Magnets (better name).

    Still no landscape mode—that's tied to other trickier features I'm experimenting with. But I've made a bunch of other improvements, including:

    - Lots more shapes and colors.

    - "Three-state logic": you can still tap-toggle things On and Off, but now there's a third, indeterminate state ("maybe") with a question-mark icon. DOUBLE-tap for that.

     
  14. LittleHouse

    LittleHouse New Member

    Mar 26, 2017
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    Computer sorting

    I just downloaded this app and it looks really interesting. When I first got it, I was hoping that I could plug in a bunch of stuff and then have the computer pull out all the red stuff, or all the circles. After reading this thread, I see that such a feature would not meet all your requirements (not very simple), but it would be really cool...

    Also, have you thought about putting a tutorial button on the opening page. Once you are in the app it would be gone, but at least the user would have a way to figure things out.
     
  15. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks for trying the app, and for the ideas! The app will probably eventually end up a little less simple for the sake of power, but I do plan to keep simplicity a priority. Some type of searching or filters is not something I have planned, but I can see it might be useful and I will definitely save that request. You never know! I have also considered simple "spreadsheet"-like functions for those who track scores and totals/counts. Maybe type the word "sum" in a magnet, and it will add up the numbers above or below it. I'd use that myself—but I'm not rushing to add it since it may be complexity that would benefit too few users.

    I'd be interested in examples of how you would use that kind of color/shape filtering, in case it leads me to address those needs in some way.

    Yes, eventually some kind of Help system will be needed, if any more features are added. The edit screen is one possible place for it. Right now, there's only a simple tutorial animation ("Long press to edit") that plays at first launch. After that the app keeps a hidden "score" of whether the user is acting confused (like maybe they haven't used the app in a while and can't figure out what to do). If that score reaches a certain level, the tutorial automatically appears again. For instance, if you single-tap a few times on empty space (which does nothing), the app knows you're probably trying to do something, and displays the tutorial animation to get you back on track.

    The one feature that is a little too "hidden" is the new double-tapping on magnets. A full help system just for that wasn't worth delaying this release, but I do see a need to make that feature more clear. I'm hoping people stumble across it in the meantime!
     
  16. LittleHouse

    LittleHouse New Member

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    I really just had a vauge idea when I saw the app. It was free, so I downloaded it to see what it would do.

    I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom who wears way too many hats. I was thinking that maybe I could make all of the school things one shape, everything that applies to one kid red and everything that applies to another blue and the third kid could be purple. House work and chores could be a second shape, and maybe cooking or laundry would be more shapes. Each child (and even me too), would have an assigned color that would stay the same for each kind of work. Then I could say, line up all the blue things here and it would show me all the things that child needed to do. Or I could say, line up all the circles and it would show me all the school work that needed to be done that day (by anyone). I could sort out the different parts of my life.

    I am a spreadsheet nerd. I love organizing my life on "paper." It can be hard to sort this way because there are just too many variables. I think that this app will be helpful to me, even if it is not my "dream" app. I can see now how I can use this to help show all the different things that need to be done.
     
  17. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    Thanks—that's helpful to have another example of how people use the app. I use shape and color categories in a similar way. I then group them manually, but I can see how automated searching or sorting could help some people.

    I have considered adding a Search functionality that would "dim" all magnets that don't match, allowing the matches to stand out. I don't think it's useful enough that I will actually do it, but you never know! If I did, a filter for shape/and or color could work the same way to make a certain category stand out.

    (You mention spreadsheets—I've also thought about simple spreadsheet functionality: allowing a Sum magnet. I'd use that myself, but I suspect too few people would to make it worth it!)

    For now, more space is a priority. I'm almost out of room...
     
  18. Rmg2768

    Rmg2768 New Member

    Mar 30, 2017
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    Kudos and ideas

    First of all - love this app! It scratches an itch that I've had for a long time. I'm a visual thinker and have toyed with many mindmapping , list, and todo apps that got stuck on a bad UI or too much feature bloat, but this app is elegant in its simplicity

    One thing - the new version seems to eat up batteries. Hopefully just a simple Buffon on screen redraws or reducing background activity

    And an idea - since many will use color coding, maybe one alternative to a search or filter dialogue would be to simply gray out all icons of another color, when tap-and-hold to move an icon. The user would have the choice NOT to move the icon, and just look at the subset of icons of his chosen color. Not sure how useful this is, but certainly keeps things simple and quick
     
  19. Adams Immersive

    Adams Immersive Well-Known Member

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    Glad you like the app. I really have to restrain myself not to add bloat! I will investigate battery usage—thanks for posting your experience. Hopefully it isn't using any power while in the background. (And hasn't used much for me in the foreground either. But then, I "get in and get out" most of the time, because my magnets are all set up already. I'll look into whether longer sessions have an issue I can improve.) Another possible factor: there have been several iOS updates in recent weeks, and battery often suffers in the first day or so after an update.

    I like the simplicity of the idea! Filters may not ever happen, but if they ever did, the simpler the better. (Touch-and-hold is used to enter editing mode, though.) Off the top of my head, another option might be to touch-and-hold on a color OR shape in the palette, while in the editor. The editor would then go away and show your filtered result.
     
  20. Pagetoid

    Pagetoid New Member

    Feb 1, 2018
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    Expansion ideas

    This is genius! So by adding things in the outside margins you expand the canvas. I love the idea of scrolling off one side bringing you back to the other - very spherical.

    Another idea that came to me was that a new dot could have an option to be a link to a new canvas, so you could end up with a hierarchy of canvasses or even cross linked. You'd need an up or back or home button though (but only on sub canvasses). It would open up even more flexibility. Maybe the background colour of the sub could be the same (reserved) colour as the button to it...

    By the way, this us a great app! Thanks for writing it
     

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