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Personal Blog

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What I've been working on

As I've said before, I'm a casual programmer, and therefore take breaks occasionally. The past week or 2 have been one of those breaks.

Most of my time recently has been on getting my Nexus 10, replacing my N10, rooting my N10... I think you see the trend. (And the holidays just passed, so there was some extra time with family/friends in there too.)

I have done a SMALL amount of programming in that time... I played with Google Analytics a bit to see some of the things that can be done there. So far I have only built it into the free version, but will likely be copying that work into the paid version before I release the next update (and adding to it, since there are parts of the app that are not accessible in the free version.)

With analytics I am collecting the following:
  • Screen views
    • What screens the user views, how many times each screen is viewed, and how much time is spent on each screen
    • This includes basic screens as well as settings screens
  • Clicks
    • How many times each button is clicked
    • How many times list items are clicked
      • List items include your list of preset messages, do-no-respond list contacts, and in the paid versions, schedules.
      • This does not send any information about what information is IN the list item, just the fact that you clicked it, and what type of list item it was (a message, a schedule, etc.)
    • How many times list items are long-clicked
      • See above item
    • How many times list items are edited/deleted from the long-click menu
      • See above item
Things that have not been built in, but likely will be before I release an update:
  • Settings
    • What settings are being changed, and how the settings are being used
  • How often the response message is changed
    • Again, no information about what the message contains will be sent, only the fact that the message has been changed
Things that are NOT collected as part of this process:
  • Any kind of identifying information
    • Things like age, gender, name, account names, passwords, etc. will NOT be collected from analytics, or in any other manner, and never will be.
"Personal" information that IS collected:
  • Location
    • When I was doing my testing Google Analytics was able to tell me what town I was in, probably based on IP address.
    • This is NOT an exact location. I can NOT see that you are using my app in McDonald's on Main Street in New Orleans (I don't know if such a thing even exists, it was just a collection of random places) I can only see that the app is being used in New Orleans.
    • I most likely will not do anything with this information, aside from possibly seeing which countries use that app the most.
Just an FYI - this is information that probably 90% of apps out there are collecting, so I am not doing anything that other developers aren't already doing. The only thing that I'm doing different is that I'm being 100% straight up about the information that I will be collecting. No fine print, it's all right here in a public blog in an easy to read bullet list.

I have also found an easy way to exclude my own devices from this collection. I don't care how I interact with the app.... I KNOW how I interact with the app... what I want to know is how my USERS interact with the app, and what features/settings they use the most.

I will use this information to improve the features that are used most often.

Also on the list of changes I have made:
  • changed some more "Cancel" buttons into "OK" buttons
    • I kept some as "Cancel" when it made sense
  • Added a "Share App" option to the menu
    • This will open a share dialog, where you can share a link to the app in the Play Store via any installed app that receives a share intent (Facebook, Twitter, Messaging, email, etc.)
I have not really been working on any new features, just small improvements. The next new feature that I will work on (when I decide to start working on new stuff again) is the ability to send personalized responses to specific individuals. I talked about this in one of my previous posts. It's the ONLY feature request that I've received from users, and I've had multiple people ask for it.

Personally, I'd like to get a widget working first. But nobody seems too worried about that right now except me, so I'll put that on the back burner. (Plus I've tried a couple times already, and been unsuccessful with it.)

As usual: Any requests, comments, concerns, etc.... you know where to find me. I'd especially like to get some feedback on what you think of the analytic information I'm going to collect. So if you have anything to say about it, feel free to leave a comment.