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[Ring] Ring 1.0 and some usability problems

From: Matej Kovacic
Subject: [Ring] Ring 1.0 and some usability problems
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:50:52 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.2.1


great news for 1.0 release. I wrote a news about that (for biggest
slovenian IT portal: https://slo-tech.com/novice/t704300#crta), so you
should see a small hit of new installations... :-)

Anyway, I have found some usability problems...

First of all, sometimes it takes really long to send a message or
establish a connection. For instance, I tried to send a message from
Linux client to Android client, and it took about a minute. However,
while waiting, I tried to send a message from Android to Linux client,
and it came in a few seconds. So from one side took much more time and
in that time the message went the other way around relatively fast.

BTW, I sent a contact request from Andriod to Linux, but nothing was
displayed on Linux client. On Linux I also added contact, but it does
not appear on contact list.

I also noticed that sometimes (well, usually) Android app does not ring
when you call it. Also, Linux client never rang when called.

When placing a call, I first experienced terrible echo effect and after
that, there was no sound. Camera was working though. In a lot of cases
the was no sound at all. In one case I noticed, that screen rotation on
Android is not working. At first it worked, but after some seconds I was
unable to rotate it back...

Also, when I send a message from Android, app is displaying "Sending
message...", and this stays even after message on Linux client is
received. It dissapears only when you receive other message or exit the
conversation screen and go back.
My proposal is, that you use the unified notification on all platforms.
One tick when message is sent and two ticks when it is received. After
some timeout message should be resent automatically or a small red cross
displayed. There is no need for a special tab "history".

When video call is placed, there should be displayed the other party's name.

There is also very non-intiutive way for adding contacts. And you also
cannot delete contact from your contact list, just delete conversation
or block contact (on Android)... Linux client also does not display
contact name, only Ring ID.

Anyway, my proposal is to look up to Signal's user interface. I think
they thought about it thoroughly and I also thing there is nothing bad
with some "recycling", after all Signal is opensource anyway.

So my proposal is to have one main screen with contact list. There would
be all active contacts, and there you can add or delete contacts. Here -
at the top - should also bee all contact requests.

When you click to a contact, you can see message and call history (this
is already implemented).

There should be three icons - for video call, for audio call and for
settings. At the bottom you should have the input field for sending
messages, send button and video/audio call icons should have lock
displayed. Under settings there should be option for verifying identity
(to prevent MITM attack).

However, for calls, you should display when it started and how long it
lasted (the latter is not implemented yet, as I see). I also do no
understand why there is a big message on Linux that call failed, and why
you should click to a red phone icon to disappear this message? If call
failed, this should be only displayed in "history", ho need for user action.

When call is placed, you should have several statuses:
- looking for a peer (displayed message: "Contacting...", and some
sound, Signal for instance is using sonar sound)
- peer contacted and ringing (displayed message: "Ringing...", and sound
of ringing)
- conversation started (after key exchange; displayed message: "Caller
name\nCall established.", at the beginning there should be a "ding" sound)
- conversation stopped (displayed message: "Call ended", at the end
there should be a different "ding" sound)
- call not successfull (displayed message: "Call failed", some error sound)
- if there is a drop of quality of a call, there should also be some
info about that. My proposal is, that when call is active, there should
be some metrics about call quality displayed (something similar Linphone
is using). When call quality drops, call quality indicator should
reflect this, and maybe there should be some sound (very soft beep in
background) - similar solution has an application Biocoded (for
Android). You can also see their call quality indicator.

This is for a start, there are also some other ideas (for instance
export/backup) of all data, etc., but maybe we can talk about it latrer
if you are interested.

P. S.: I have Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS and Cyanogenmod 13 (Android 6.0.1) on
Nexus 5 device.

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