Android 5.2 Material Design and Enhanced Speed

Nov 4, 2015 TigerText
Major updates:

How to access these features:

Users will find these new features in the app automatically after they update

Material Design

The little green robot has been busy. Google recently debuted its new design language called Material Design, and TigerText is happy to embrace it. This change will make TigerText’s user experience simpler, more intuitive, and more delightful across every screen. It will also be a more familiar experience for Android users accustomed to Material Design from other Google apps.

What is Material Design? It’s a design language for organizing Android app elements including content, buttons, shapes, colors, animations, etc. according to a comprehensive system based on real world material and a 3-dimensional axis. Some of the major benefits of Material Design will include a reduction in how much tapping it takes to use the app, new and improved animations for interactions like button presses and swipes, and clarified relationships between elements and transitions from one screen or action to the next.

Card-based dropdown selector demonstrates Google's Material Design.

One of the building blocks for Material Design is called “cards” which are thin rectangles inspired by real paper and ink. With this release, TigerText will use cards for many key elements throughout the app, for example the Do-not-Disturb mode notification at the top of the app. You’ll also find many new animations and aesthetic upgrades specified by Material Design that will make it clearer when you’ve pressed a button, scrolled to the end of a message, or swiped left or right to a new screen. If you’re interested, you can learn more about Material Design from Google’s overview.

Floating Action Button

Meet the new Floating Action Button–another major element for Google’s Material Design that is so important we thought we’d give it its own section. Like a good friend, this button will follow you on your travels between screens, providing dynamic support that’s fit for each situation.

The Floating Action Button offers the right support for each screen
For now the button offers two main functions: in the Inbox Tab it begins a new message. And in the Groups Tab it walks you through the process of creating a new group. As you might imagine, there are many uses for a persistent, dynamic, floating button, so stay tuned for more improvements here!
Faster, Leaner, More Connected

In addition to the Material Design upgrade we’re making at the UI level, we’re also upgrading the deeper parts as well. And because we are always “eating our own dog food” at TigerText, we used our Software Developers Kit (SDK) for Android to rebuild our back-end architecture.

Moreover, we designed the SDK to take advantage of many of the latest Android best practices. This approach means TigerText for Android is about to get a lot faster, even while it will use less data and less battery, and it will fare better in areas with low connectivity.

The main update here is a switch to REST API for our communications protocol. Our previous protocol, XMPP, as secure and sturdy as it may be, ultimately wasn’t as efficient as we wanted it to be – particularly on mobile. This new SDK also comes with a completely streamlined system to process and store your messages.

Paired with the low-latency abilities of REST our Android app now screams with speed. During our benchmark tests, we’ve seen as much as a 10x increase in data transfer speed, and 30x decrease in overall data consumption.

Group Message Status

You can track a package you’ve sent through the mail. We believe it should be just as easy to track a message on the network, which is why TigerText pioneered the ability to track Message Status across mobile and desktop platforms. We’ve gotten so much positive feedback from users who like tracking when a message is “Sent,” “Delivered,” and “Read” during urgent discussions that we extended this functionality to Group conversations.

With this upgrade, you can see the status of your message for each recipient in a Group. By tapping on the green “Read” text within each message you send, you’ll know for certain (and in real-time) when you have successfully sent the message to each person, when their device has received it, and when each recipient has read it.

No other messaging app provides this level of status tracking for group conversations.

Settings and Directory

Two other major changes coming your way with Android 5.2 are a new Settings Page and an enhanced Directory Search.

Clicking on the gear icon in the upper right opens the new settings screen. To edit your basic info, tap on your name at the top of the page to open the Profile Page. We have also re-organized all your settings in a more logical, compact way.

A new Settings Page

One thing our customers have asked for is the ability to search by more than just a name. In version 5.2, Android users will now be able to search by role within the Directory.

When you need to send your colleague a message but you can’t remember their name, now you can search by Title or by Department to track them down. Remember the new Coordinator’s name in Human Resources? Was it Jim? Or Tim? Or… Mary-Anne? Well definitely the Coordinator from Human Resources, anyway.

Search for colleagues in the Directory by the Title and Department

When this search capability arrives, we think it would be a good opportunity for your employees to check out the new Profile screen in Settings and add their official Department and Title.