Updated app – Soscribe

Soscribe is startup which provides a service for monitoring and filtering your social networking streams.  Soscribe aims to provide you with relevant posts, based on your location, activities and interests.  I’ve now worked together with Soscribe for a number of years and it’s been an absolute pleasure to see how they iterate on and improve their product.  Most recently, I’ve worked closely with Soscribes designers, server team and founders to launch a visual refresh of the Android product.  This involved adding support for rich content, large full bleed imagery, inline maps, image galleries and compelling visual effects.  The app also re-focused on delivering relevant local content.

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Soscribe had this to say about their updated app:

It has been a long time coming and there are still a lot of improvements to do but we can finally say we have nailed it this time with over 25% WEEKLY user retention without any intervention.

The Soscribe app can be downloaded from the play store at:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.soscribe.soscribe&hl=en

New App – ZettaBeam

ZettaBeam is a media player, based off X-Box media center.  The ZettaBeam device is produced by a startup, aimed at the Chinese market.  Code Monastery in Sydney were contracted to build an app for controlling the ZettaBeam device via android smart phones.  I worked closely with Code Monasteries junior Android developer to produce the ZettaBeam app.  The app was based off the open source ‘Kore’ application.  I was responsible for the overall software architecture, along with helping to manage Code Monasteries android developer on a day to day basis.  I also developed a significant portion of the ZettaBeam application, modifying the existing Kore codebase and implementing a new UI.  The UI needed to be built in a way that would allow the app to be translated into chinese.

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The ZettaBeam hardware is currently undergoing testing and will be available for purchase in China shortly.

New App – AWM Visitor Audio Experience

With the 100th year anniversary of World War 1 the Australian War Memorial in Canberra needed to provide a unique way for visitors to experience their displays. They wanted to allow people to both contemplate and experience spine chilling moments, to relate to individual stories, to create a personal connection between visitors and the exhibits. Their solution was to commission a system which allows visitors to experience customised audio, through a mobile device, triggered by indoor positioning technology.  Art processors, along with a consortium of other companies were contracted to implement the system.  I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work with Art Processors to implement the Android app portion of the system.

At the entrance to the gallery visitors select one of 5 tours from a wall length touch screen, and then with a Nexus 5 device and headphones, enter the world of World War 1. As they explore the galleries their movements trigger audio files which are combined, based on the user’s’ movements. This creates an experience which is personal and moving.

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I developed the Android application running on the nexus 5 devices.  This involved integrating with the enso CMS system for downloading data and talking to the AWILOC indoor location system to determine the device’s position.  The app then had to mix real time audio, based of the devices location and movements.  A simple audio engine which made use of location based ‘triggers’ was designed, developed and tested.  The app had to communicate with a wall and table of touch screens, to allow the user to select their tour.  I developed a method of communicating by flashing colours at the device’s camera which allowed communication without using wifi.  Finally the app also had to carefully manage device power and report analytics to the enso backend.

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The slides of a presentation I gave at YOW Connected 2015 on the AWMVAE project, are available here: AWMVAE Presentation – 4 and a version with speaker notes is here:  AWMVAE Presentation – 4 widsccreen.key

Mental Media also have some great information about the project at:
http://www.mentalmedia.com.au/portfolio/australia-in-the-great-war-australian-war-memorial/

There is some information on the Australian War Memorial Visitor Audio Experience at:  http://www.snepo.com/articles/36-interactive-visitor-tour

Finally the war memorial has some information on the world war 1 galleries:
http://www.awm.gov.au/1914-1918/first-world-war-galleries/

New Apps – Enso Locate SDK and Enso Mobile App

Art processors provide mobile apps for museums and tourists sites.  I have worked with art processors to help develop the Android SDK for their enso locate product.  Enso locate is a software library and cloud hosting service which provides indoor device location using bluetooth beacons.  This involved developing a stable API and documentation which would allow other developers to add the enso locate library to their apps.

You can sign up to beta test the enso locate API at: http://ensolocate.com/

At the same time I also worked with Art Processors to help refresh the android app for their enso platform.  Art Processors describe the enso platform as:

… an integrated technology suite designed for creating world-class mobile experiences at museums, cultural institutions and tourist sites.

The Android enso app connects to the enso CMS system and presents users with an interactive guide.  Users are shown object listings and information based on their location.  The Enso app makes use of the Enso Locate api, to determine the device’s position using bluetooth beacons.

New App – NSW Water Live

The NSW water live application reads data from a network of realtime water sensors deployed across the state of New South Wales.  I worked with Spatial Vision to develop an Android application that allows users to view current sensor values, and historical graphs.  Users can also define favourite sites, create ‘watches’ on values they are interested in and browse water sites via a map.  The application downloads sensor data from a json webservice and caches it in a local SQL Lite DB.

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The NSW Water live application is avaliable in the play store at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.gov.nsw.water.waterlive

New App – Soscribe

Soscribe is an intelligent mobile app that helps you monitor and filter incoming tweets and Facebook updates based on the interests it learns from you. Instead of you sifting through hundreds of social posts every day, Soscribe will scan through them like your very own personal assistant and notifies you when it finds something that matters to you.

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Soscribe is available in the google play store:


Get it on Google Play

My involvement with the Soscribe project actually started with writing a document – The Soscribe team engaged me to produce an analysis of their existing application, and document a series of proposed UI changes to:

  • Improve the usability of the application
  • Enhance the apps consistency and polish
  • Bring the application in line with the Android design guidelines

The initial engagement went well, and concluded with me documenting over 31 pages of improvements to be made, each one listed with a rationale, pros, cons and implementation tips.

The Soscribe team then hired me to make the suggested modifications to their application.  This involved diving into their existing codebase and quickly becoming productive.  As part of the work I also analysed the overall code quality and made suggestions for future improvements and evolution of the application.  In addition to the UI work, the Soscribe app also involved integration with the Twitter and Facebook API’s along with GPS tracking.

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The end result is a polished and simplified UI experience suitable for rolling out to users in Soscribes beta program.

Consulting work – Papercloud

In my portfolio I typically feature Android applications I have written.  However in addition to writing apps, I also do Android related consulting and training.  Recently I have been doing a lot of work with a talented digital agency: Papercloud.  Papercloud describe themselves as

… A nimble and entrepreneurial digital product development studio that specialises in mobile app development, backend development, UI/UX design and digital product strategy. We place a strong emphasis on usability and design, while keeping a focus on the commercial benefits of every project.

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Over the past few months Papercloud have been developing on some great Android applications.  Some of the work I have been doing with them has been coding, such as fixing issues, adding features, etc.  However thats just the tip of the iceberg, during my engagement with Papercloud I have:

  • Helped kick off development on several exciting new projects.  This included providing advice on architecture, libraries, tools, code style, etc.
  • Provided advice on the design of Android apps, including the holo design language and adapting iOS apps to Android.
  • Advised both Papercloud’s digital producers and developers on the technical aspects of taking photoshop designs and transforming them into a responsive application, that can run across the many screen sizes and densities supported by Android.
  • Mentored developers in Android app development and provided code reviews.
  • Advised Papercloud on the Android eco system and strategy.

And finally:

  • Stared in awe at the shiny new 3D printer they have in the office!

All up, its been a busy few months.

Tomas Spacek, the technical director at Papercloud had the following to say:

Luke is excellent. He’s a great communicator, understands projects easily, and to top it off really knows his stuff.

You should head over to Paperclounds portfolio have have a look at some of the excellent work they have been doing, not just on Android, but also on iOS and the web.

New Apps – Enhancebooth and Leanbooth

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Get it on Google Play

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Get it on Google Play

Enhancebooth and Leanbooth are a family of apps that allow you to make anything bigger or smaller.  To use:

– Simply take a photo or choose from gallery
– Select desired shape/shapes
– Scale over the area you would like to enhance in the image
– Enhance as big as you like
– Click the “show original” & “show enhanced” to see the difference
– Click the “photo filters” to add different shades to your image
– And then save or share via social media.

Ammasso Apps engaged me early on in Enhance Booths development after their previous developer departed.  I was responsible for taking the existing codebase, cleaning it up and fixing many bugs and issues.  This meant I had to rapidly understand the existing codebase and be productive right away.  I also had to implement many significant missing features to bring the app up to parity with the iOS version.  Enhance Booth makes extensive use of OpenGL and an important part of my work on the project consisted of making sure the graphics processing ran across the broad range of devices which make up the Android ecosystem

Sam Naim, founder of Ammasso apps had the following to say:

We found Luke as we were struggling to get Enhance Booth developed for Android.  We wanted to move into Android to increase our revenue and and support some of the most popular phones available on the market.  Android is a very different platform to iOS and making the leap over can be difficult.   Luke has been a great, reliable partner to work with and his extensive Android experience made it easy.  After release our android apps went straight into the ‘top new paid’ and ‘top new free’ charts and stayed there!  We are really happy with everything he has done for us including customer service and price:)

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After its release Amasso apps promoted Enhance Booth heavily.  The android version of Enhance Booth managed to pick up over 100,000 users in its first month and both the paid and free version spent a long time in their respective top 10 charts, in the play store.  During this time I was responsible for monitoring submitted crash reports, reproducing customer issues and releasing updated versions of the software to the play store.

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Lean Booth is a re-branded version of the Enhance Booth codebase.  Instead of making things larger Lean Booth makes things thinner.  Lean Booth also adds a number of new filters and effects that can be applied to an image.

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Updated App – Accor directory

An updated version of the Accor directory application has been released which supports phone UIs:

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Get it on Google Play

Since the original version of Accor Directory was built using fragments, it was a straight forward process to produce a version of the UI that work on phone sized devices.  The updated Accor directory app in the google play store is a universal application that uses responsive design to size its self appropriately for whatever device it is running on – be that a 3 inch phone or a 10 inch tablet.

 

New App – Accor Directory

A new app that I built with together with the digital agency involved has just been released into the play store:

Get it on Google Play

 

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The Accor Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific Directory provides up-to-date information and imagery of over 570 Accor properties across the Asia Pacific region. It is the perfect tool for travel and tourism conferences, for hotel presentations, or for simply exploring the unique network of Accor properties in the region, for business and leisure, from luxury to economy.

– Discover over 570 properties listed by destination or brand
– View property descriptions, contact details, amenities and business events information
– Browse a gallery of multiple full-screen images for every property
– Explore Accor’s Asia Pacific Brands and Loyalty programs
– Add regularly viewed content to your favourites for easy access
– View properties on an interactive map
– Enjoy automatic content updates as properties join the network
– Download image galleries for offline viewing

Accor directory is an Android conversion of an existing iOS app created by involved. Involved have been great to work with and everybody is very pleased with the final result. Paul Prickett the Director of Involved says:

Involved engaged Luke Sleeman to port our existing iOS app for Accor Hotels Group to the Android platform. This was our first collaboration with Luke, and from the very outset it was evident that he was the perfect choice. Some great discussions and workshops upfront to plan the approach were critical; as opposed to quickly smashing together a copycat App that would suffice, Luke took every opportunity to question the user experience on this specific platform, and used his extensive experience to craft an Android variant of the App that we are all proud of. Every decision was inclusive, thoughtful and carefully considered to build the best result possible for the end user.

We’re very happy with the result, our client is over the moon, and Luke made it all so easy. And he’s a super great bloke too! I can’t recommend Luke highly enough, and we’re planning to engage his services and experience again very soon.

 

I have produced a blog post and delivered a presentation to the Melbourne Android Users Group, detailing the design process that we followed adapting the iOS version of Accor Directory to Android.