Great idea, major changes needed

  • Idea
  • Updated 4 years ago
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Trapster is a great idea with poor execution: There is too much data, not enough audio volume, touch buttons are too small, thumbs-up and down options disappear too quickly. For effective use by fast drivers, major simplification needs to take place -- perhaps via an option-selectable "basics" screen display: 1) Ditch the moving map display, or at least make it disappear in the pressence of an alert; instead, give a LARGE graphic of the specific threat with a LOUD & DISTINCTIVE tone that increases in frequency as you approach the threat so that the driver knows what is ahead and how close it is without taking his eyes off the road. 2) Fix the bluetooth; right now I can get iPhone calls through my car stereo but NOT Trapster. 3) Report, confirmation and deny touch-buttons need to be MUCH larger and not require multiple inputs! Confirm and Deny buttons for speedtraps need to remain present longer so that the driver has time to respond without compromising control of the vehicle. 4) Keeping "live police" reports active for an hour is ridiculous! Most reports will be obsolete within 10-15 minutes; provide a setting to shorten the time alerts remain active. 5) You need a way to mark MOVING police vehicles and NOTE the direction in which they are traveling. More refinement is needed all around but the basic need is to SIMPLIFY and not try to do everything for everybody with Trapster; otherwise, this will be only a "copilot" tool and not a "driver" tool.

Spike

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  • sad

Posted 4 years ago

Dave Finlay, QA

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a39887-

Thanks for the ideas, we always appreciate feedback.

Dave

perilous21

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I agree and disagree with some aspects of this.
I agree buttons should be bigger and last longer. I like the map. Adjustable audible prompts are good.
I guess bottom line is that this program can be challenging to use when you are driving. The report and confirm buttons are big which is good. Other buttons too small and difficult to use when driving. Keep it simple. When someone is driving 55, 65 miles per hour (or faster) what buttons can they use quickly? Maybe having a 1-click option when driving?
Keep up the good work guys.

ysageev

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I wholeheartedly agree. Great app - Major problems.

1) Handsfree alerts are inaudible, especially with window open or loud road noise.

2) Volume rocker zooms the map. This is a huge departure from BlackBerry UI standards. Zoom in should be other keys per Garmin and Google Maps.

3. Reporting is a major pain -- it is awkward and dangerous to do while driving and by the time you get through the interface you are way past the GPS coordinate where you saw the trap.
==> You should never need to access the menu while driving. Here is the interface which the app needs: To report a trap, press the space bar (on an android phone, press and hold where you want the trap (this skips the "pan map phase"). A button panel should then pop-up showing all the trap choices on one screen *with no scrolling*. Trackball or space-bar to cycle and select the buttons, and click the trackball or hit enter. These should exist in addition to the hot keys.

4. There should be an option to flash the entire screen when a trap is hot in a color of your choosing. Alternatively, a semi-transparent red overlay could flash while you are in the zone of a trap.

5. The mapping system suffers from the same irritation that I have with Garmin on the blackberry -- it doesn't pre-cache maps based on driving direction. So what happens is that the car reaches the edge of the screen and then the next tile downloads, resulting in white space. It should always be downloading surrounding tiles, with the option of pre-caching up to 3 tiles away in the event of network hiccups, as a best attempt. It should also give you the option to cache maps on an SD card for a selectable number days.

6. There should be a speed trap cycle mode which allows you to tab through the traps in order of distance from current GPS location. Right now, in order to "agree" with a trap, I need to pan the map so that the "+" is over a trap and then click the trackball. This takes forever and is a pain to do while driving. A hotkey should drop you into trap cycle mode and then the track ball sequentially selects traps, highlighting them. When you select your trap and vote, it drops you back into tracking mode. Also, there should be a hotkey called "agree with nearest trap" which does exactly that.

7. The BB "back" key quits the entire application. This is another departure from UI standards. At most it should minimize the app and drop you home.

8. The trap icons are ugly and confusing. In fact, all the icons stink.

9. The "+" icon is almost invisible and requires excessive scanning to find while driving.

10. Ditto for the current location dot.

11. The app takes too long to load on my BB 8800.

ysageev

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More:

12. When you are near a trap, a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" icon should appear in the upper right corner. clicking these will agree or disagree with the nearest trap. There should also be hotkeys "agree with nearest trap" and "disagree with nearest trap". **Another option: Whenever a trap is approached that you haven't voted on, the app should pop up a vote dialog with "don't know" added. It should be huge. Once you vote it is never popped up for that trap again. This ensures that traps are voted on consistently by all users in the area.

13. Configurable hotkeys for everything.

14. Remove the Trapster lcon and Text from the top of the map -- it interferes with viewing. We all know we are using trapster -- no need to constantly remind.

15. A hotkey which displays all of your hotkeys assignments.

Dave Finlay, QA

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ysageev-

Thank you for the suggestions. We do have hot keys for reporting traps:

http://trapster.com/blackberry.php

Dave

Spike

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I'd like to update my original post on this topic: 1) The lack of a detailed, down-loadable operators manual for Trapster for each applicable smartphone remains a shortcoming. After months of use, I'm still learning the details; I FINALLY figured our that by unchecking all of the various levels for all of the "threats" that don't interest me, I can make them disappear entirely from the display which for me is a HUGE improvement. 2) While recent updates have made Trapster more user-friendly to some degree (larger touch-buttons for important functions) much more needs to be done: Specifically, the matter of tones vs. voices for specific traps needs to be addressed. If my iPhone can ring loud enough to get my attention and I can tell by the tone who might be calling, Trapster certainly ought to be able to do the same -- with the pitch or frequency increasing as you approach the trap. A flashing display with a digital readout of distance to the trap would be of great help as well. 3) I've commented before on how difficult it is to report and confirm traps at speed. Reporting on the iPhone has gotten a little easier via larger buttons, but confirming prior reports is still difficult at speed; the icons are too small, require multiple inputs and disappear far too rapidly after you pass the trap! I can't be passing a police car looking for all the world like I'm texting just to confirm the trap before the opportunity is gone! At least for the important stuff, like "Live Police," Trapster MUST give us more time and easier options to deny or confirm the trap! 4) If we're gonna have the nav display, how about an option to angle it like you get on every Garmin or Tom-Tom that I've ever seen? This vertical-only display doesn't do a lot for me -- especially when the scale has to be too small to see the threat at the proper distance and a larger, more readable scale shows me nothing before it's too late. 5) Finally, power use is an issue. Even plugged-in, Trapster uses more power on my iPhone 3G that it can get from my lighter outlet and eventually runs out. This may be an iPhone issue, but it sucks nonetheless.

Finally, I'm glad to see that SOME improvements have been made since my original post and that the Trapster community is growing! I've experimented with different iPhone holders and found that those mounted to the dash that hold the phone closest work the best for me. Trapster is getting better but there's still a long way to go -- and get SOMEBODY to WRITE THAT MANUAL!!

Regards, Spike

ysageev

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Blackberry 8800 here -- this is clearly not the ideal device for Trapster (a large touchscreen phone like iPhone or Android would be better). I will upgrade sometime this year probably to Android.

So, using Trapster this morning some more thoughts:

16. After you confirm a trap, the map doesn't exit pan mode. It stops tracking you until you press 0. The default should be that after you confirm it dumps you back into tracking mode.

17. I agree with Spike about the manual. I still don't know what the route colors mean -- blue, green, red, yellow. They are not discussed on the help page in the application.

Dave Finlay, QA

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Blue = Patrol Data
Red, Green, Yellow are traffic data. You can turn this off if you wish.

ysageev

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Thanks Dave.

Here's another issue:

18. The blue highlight that surrounds buttons is too thin, so you it is hard to tell which button is selected when you press e.g. "confirm".