UI thoughts for snooker scorer

April 26, 2009 on 1:04 pm | In Coding | 4 Comments

Going for a walk yesterday was obvious a good move; not only was it a warm and sunny day but I also had a bit of a brainwave for the UI design of the Snooker Scorer. The problem I had was that I wanted to add some extra buttons in what was already a complex UI. I’m going to add some stat tracking so that users can see the pot and safety success rate – but right now there is only one button to swap players at the end of a break. I need to let users choose between three options; a safety (no pot attempted), a missed short pot and a missed long pot.

My previous prototype had some extra button squeezed in. This wasn’t great, because it made the space for all the other ‘pot ball’ buttons smaller, and also I just couldn’t work out how to make an icon for ‘safety’ or ‘missed long pot’.

My brainwave was to not put new buttons in. Instead I’ll make an overlay appear when the ‘swap players’ button is pressed and held down. The user can then drag up the screen to choose a short/long pot miss. If the user just presses down and releases their finger they will get a ‘safety’ which is roughly the same behavior as before. I think this will feel quite good in practice and also can be done without looking at the screen too much.

Here’s an idea of what the overlay will look like:

As well as being able to specify what kind of ‘not pot’ happened, there are times when you need to just swap which player is the ‘striker’. This happens at the start of a match or in a respotted black – the referee will flip a coin and allow the winner to choose, so there’s no way the App can know. This is rare enough that I’ve put it right up the top of the screen.

I think this will hopefully be the best solution; it doesn’t change the layout of the app for existing users who don’t care about stats, but allows advanced users to track different types of ‘missed shot’ easily.

Whilst I’m talking about the snooker scorer app I just want to thank one of its critics – SaiChinLi left a one star review of v1.1 in the UK AppStore and pointed out a number of scenarios where the app didn’t allow score to be kept.

One can deal with criticism in two ways and I always try to take it constructively – in this case, SaiChinLi pointed out some things I’d frankly forgotten to cope with and happily they weren’t too tricky to add. So version 1.4 of the Snooker Scorer app should hopefully fix all of the issues they raised and I’d hope they re-review the app at that point. So if you’re reading, thanks for the feedback! Please let me know if there’s anything else. I’ve also set up a new email address of snooker@technobubble.info for any snooker scorer feedback.

I’m always happy to add new features to the App because I use it as well – one of the rules I set for myself in app development on the iPhone was to only do things that I would use. I think it’s important to use your own applications generally as a developer, otherwise its easy to miss things and do a bad job.

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