Loomio

Create a Loomio App for Android

FS
Filipe Silva Public Seen by 188

Since most people don't walk around with a PC or a laptop all the time, I think it would be great to have a Loomio app in each phone for easy consulting and fast decisionmaking.... What do you think of this idea?

AI

Alanna Irving Wed 2 Oct 2013

Great idea @filipesilva ! We really want Loomio to work for mobile. Right now, we're focusing on making the website work better on phones. Someday we also want to make an app.

I'm going to move this to the feature ideas group.

MN

max noble Wed 2 Oct 2013

I was surprised at how well Loomio works on a smartphone now. Its usable.

MH

Matt H Fri 4 Oct 2013

A separate tablet app would good from a phone app but hey the latest high end Droids all have 5" screens?

AI

Alanna Irving Sat 5 Oct 2013

I'd be interested to hear how Loomio works on people's phones right now. It works just fine on my Galaxy SIII.

MB

Matthew Bartlett Sat 5 Oct 2013

iPhone 3GS here. Works fine but annoying constant zooming in to read the text.

CT

Chris Taklis Sat 5 Oct 2013

@matthewbartlett me too for the iPhone 4s

MN

max noble Sat 5 Oct 2013

The way the page is setup into 2 columns works well on my Samsung Note. Very readable. The header icons are tough to hit with my big fat fingers though.

AH

Abraham Heinemann Fri 1 May 2015

Any progress on this?

RG

Rob Guthrie Mon 4 May 2015

@abrahamheinemann we're working hard on a new interface built on modern web technologies... our plan is to containerise this and release it as an android and apple app.

Visit www.loomio.org/angular to turn on the new interface (and again to turn it off if you like) to see the progress.

D

Denjello Mon 4 May 2015

This is brand new, and might be one approach to getting it out there fast:

tl;dr; > setup a manifest file and push it through a node.js script. submit to the store of your choice.

BC

Balasankar C Tue 5 May 2015

I am happy with the way loomio website's mobile version works (in my Moto G). But won't hurt to have an android app (If we can spare manpower :) )

RG

Rob Guthrie Tue 5 May 2015

@denjello - yes Manifold.js looks great eh?

D

Denjello Tue 5 May 2015

yeah - almost too great.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 19 May 2015

I endorse the FirefoxOS approach to mobile: Apps are good for things that can be used offline (eg calendar), but if a service is net-dependent, like Loomio, keep it in the browser

Check out what Drupal8 is doing with support for the REST approach. My understand is that with Drupal8 people will need only one version of their website, and the REST functionality will automatically detect what kind of device the web server is serving to, and serve up a version appropriate to that form factor. This saves a lot of work building and maintaining separate versions for different form factors.

KB

Kelly Bell Tue 29 Sep 2015

PLEASE PLEASE build an iOS app?!?!?!!!!
If you build on Drupal as the main data repo and just use the apps for UX it's fast, scalable snd your ysers will love you. My Dev co, Gotham City Drupal, does this all the time and it's wonderful.

But speaking strictly as a user, I'm BEGGING: PLEASE build a dedicated mobile app FOR IOS?

MB

Matthew Bartlett Wed 30 Sep 2015

Hey Kelly — can you tell me a bit about what you'd get from an IOS app that you can't get from using Loomio in your mobile's web browser?

KB

Kelly Bell Wed 30 Sep 2015

Not having to click every link 2-3 times for them to work (one to "set focus", again to "select"), for one thing! :)

It gets annoying pretty dang fast, when you have to click a lot.

Many UX advantages, mostly in flexibility and independence from the underlying CMS (or whatever you've built the web site on): UX is decoupled from the site code through an API and you have much better choices, and more standardized ones, so it's more predictable and a lot easier to use. Buttons bigger, easier to see, fonts under control of iOS settings not css, defaults and menus are more consistent. Etc. hopefully you get the idea.

Plus the app will work much faster (better performance) and have a more fluid and responsive experience overall.

I hope that's enough to convince you. Your data is all still housed in one db so there's no db merging to worry about. There's everything to gain and nothing whatsoever to lose.

Kelly Bell
Founder and CTO
Gotham City Drupal
917.446.1555

MB

Matthew Bartlett Wed 30 Sep 2015

Thanks! That helps heaps

KB

Kelly Bell Thu 1 Oct 2015

Thank you for listening.

GC

Greg Cassel Thu 1 Oct 2015

Relevant perhaps @kellybell and @matthewbartlett : http://readwrite.com/2015/02/27/native-vs-web-apps-ceasefire

Intriguing reference there to a VisionMobile report:

"Facebook’s newly announced React Native is a glimpse at a possible future where full native app performance can be achieved whilst the UI is declared much more like a Web app and the code is mostly written in JavaScript."

KB

Kelly Bell Thu 1 Oct 2015

Let me point out that I own a Drupal development company, which builds tons of web apps, and very few mobile apps. Even though they're easy to run off a Drupal data back-end, it's always hard to talk clients into paying to build native apps.

React Native, if it does what it says, is actually exactly backwards to what I'd want to see. I'd want the UI declared like a MOBILE APP. As I see it, that's the majority of the problem - so UIs that are built out of JavaScript will still have the same performance and usability problems as Loomio currently has.

Just my two cents. I like your mission and generally, your execution, a lot. It just naturally feels to me like it should be a mobile app, not a web site.

DS

Danyl Strype Sat 3 Oct 2015

@kellybell Loomio is an open source project. Nothing stopping you or your company from checking out the source code from GITHub and using it as a reference to build your proposed app yourselves. I'm sure the Loomio devs would love that, but it appears they have other priorities for their dev time right now (see the new Angular interface mentioned by @robertguthrie ).

Also, if you look at where the rest of the tech is heading, separate apps for net-dependent services seem to be on their way out. They're being replaced with web services that can detect and serve to specific form factors. Two examples have already been mentioned; the RESTful approach of Drupal 8 and FB React Native, but there's also Twitter's BootStrap (MIT license), which has been used in the CommunityWeaver 3.0 timebank platform.

GC

Greg Cassel Sat 3 Oct 2015

Brazenly generic here: There's undeniable value to be found in optimizing an app for a given operating system and, for that matter, a given community. In some cases, that value could arise from a practically 'ground-up' customization instead of a clearly modular approach. However, such customization can deeply impair 'cross-fertility' (and shared updates) with code sources. This can result in accidental or intentional competitions between richly financialized walled gardens and their open and inclusive alternatives.

I don't mean to imply that Apple or any other corporate ecosystem could ever capture the heart of the Loomio community and, by extension, its developmental resources. Such things happen, but economic forces rarely resolve that crudely. More often, a focused and sustainable effort is enervated-- sometimes to the point of instability-- by trying too hard to please too many interest groups. This can be avoided. Ideally, all interest groups develop complementary relationships with their source community.

More practically speaking, I'm guessing that the Loomio team could enthusiastically support and assist any well-funded effort to optimize the Loomio experience on iPhone and/or Android.

JK

James Kiesel Sat 3 Oct 2015

Also speaking pragmatically (it's basically the only language I speak, at least online), it would be tough to imagine a scenario where an Android / iOS app gets serious traction from within the Loomio team over the next couple years. However, I think if someone really wanted to make it happen, we'll be ready with a robust and reliable API in the near term, and I'd be happy to support an external development effort in that direction.

RG

Rob Guthrie Sun 4 Oct 2015

My point of view is that it's really easy to talk "android vs ios" or whatever, then name that one or the other should be built. but really the work is in uncovering an amazing UX. Is it texting a decision to your friends? How can we unlock the power of mobile decision making? The tech will follow.

KB

Kelly Bell Mon 5 Oct 2015

Don't care about texting. Care about not having to click every link 2-3 times to get something done. Just basic UX. As I mentioned in my OP. UX is currently slow and clunky on mobile.

Kelly Bell
Founder and CTO
Gotham City Drupal
917.446.1555

KB

Kelly Bell Mon 5 Oct 2015

I'm just saying that people in my group are having a pretty miserable user experience using their phones with Loomio. Do with that what you will. It certainly makes me dread having to use it too, I'll say that.

And yes. Thoroughly familiar with decoupled/headless w/RESTful + Angular Drupal in both 7 and 8. My company has been building them for over a year. We are trying to get D8 out the door and catch up on contrib modules; can't build your app right now, little busy.

Kelly Bell
Founder and CTO
Gotham City Drupal
917.446.1555

MB

Matthew Bartlett Mon 5 Oct 2015

hi again Kelly — dread's not a feeling we're aiming for! :) Have you tried out the new interface? Does it do the many-clicks thing?

KB

Kelly Bell Tue 6 Oct 2015

Has the interface been totally updated in the last 24 hours? If not, then yes I've used it. Unless you're keeping it somewhere not on your normal web site.

Kelly Bell
Founder and CTO
Gotham City Drupal
917.446.1555

MB

Matthew Bartlett Tue 6 Oct 2015

You can opt into the new interface at https://loomio.org/angular

HK

Harry Knight Tue 24 Nov 2015

@matthewbartlett i'm glad I found this link. I was on the old platform but didn't realise this was an option. Certainly makes it easier to use on a mobile which is handy. What's the latest on the iOS app? Is the thinking that there isn't currently enough reasons to develop it? (I've just scanned through the feed above to gauge)

MB

Matthew Bartlett Tue 24 Nov 2015

Hi Harry — hopefully before you switched there was a 'Try the new Loomio' link at the top of the old interface.

Ideas about a future app are being discussed over here

GC

Greg Cassel Tue 24 Nov 2015

There's an active new thread on the subject of Loomio mobile apps. Hope you have time to check it out @wikihouseharry . Glad that the angular interface has been helpful for you!

HK

Harry Knight Tue 24 Nov 2015

Thanks @gregorycassel will check it out now :)

HK

Harry Knight Tue 24 Nov 2015

Looks great but can't seem to comment or join?

GC

Greg Cassel Tue 24 Nov 2015

@wikihouseharry , perhaps you're currently a member of this group "Loomio Community- Feature Ideas" but not of "Loomio Community" ? I think that's technically possible. If so, I'm sure you can get added to "Loomio Community" although there may be a delay. (I'm not an admin.)

HK

Harry Knight Tue 24 Nov 2015

Ahh yeah I see. Just made a request. Was confused as I didn't realise I only asked to join a subgroup. Thanks again @gregorycassel

GC

Greg Cassel Tue 24 Nov 2015

Happy to help :)

HK

Harry Knight Tue 24 Nov 2015

Yeah got that thanks @matthewbartlett

ELS

Edward Lawrence Surridge Thu 24 Nov 2016

The last comment here is ( a uear ago) not encouraging. My G4 Adriod wont let me see what I type as I type . A preview allows the final to ne seen bit not edited )in sigjt). Love OpenSource votings programs. Hipe tp jere this can progress but wont wait. :-) :-)

JK

James Kiesel Thu 24 Nov 2016

An app is going to happen. In my mind it's a question of designing what it will do.

Unfortunately, we can't easily port all of the stuff that happens in the web interface over to a mobile app, and while doing a web wrapper within an app is an option, it means it'll be a less-than-stellar experience (you know, like, using the web on mobile.)

Building a whole nother feature-parity app is an option, but we don't have the dev power to make that a reality in a short period of time and continue development on the main product and support our existing users... and then we have to support two completely different codebases going forward. This is the kind of pie-in-the-sky investment which can cripple a small shop like us (although the argument can and is being made that not having an app is also crippling us.)

All that's to ask, what are the three things that you absolutely need the Loomio mobile app to be able to do?

JG

john gieryn Fri 25 Nov 2016

Mobile notifications are the biggest need for my group. Being able to change the text size would be awesome for those with eyesight challenges.

NKS

Nicholas Koy Santillo Fri 5 May 2017

Is there a mobile app? During a Sept 2016 TedTalk, Alanna Krause said Loomio is available for mobile devices, but I cannot find it on the Google Play store, or anywhere online

DS

Danyl Strype Sun 7 May 2017

Have you tried using Loomio in a browser on your mobile device? In another thread on the subject of mobile apps, about a year ago, @alanna commented that she uses Loomio that way, with a shortcut on her home screen, and it works fine for her.

NKS

Nicholas Koy Santillo Mon 8 May 2017

Thank you for the clarification.

I am on my mobile device to write this response - I find the interface quite laggy, and already have issues, such as not being able to access my email settings on mobile. When I click the link I am brought to the email settings page, but the page immediately beings to 'save changes' and boot me back to the home page.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 9 May 2017

Thanks for sharing these experiences. Would you be willing to create detailed bug reports on the things that aren't working for you on the Loomio crew's issue tracker? Fixing such things is much easier when they know details like what OS/ version you are using, so they can reproduce the bug.

Loomio crew; is there a place (a subgroup?) specifically for mobile users of the Loomio web app to give feedback and make feature requests? @richarddbartlett @hannahsalmon @jonlemmon @mixmix @nicolaswormser @robertguthrie

RG

Rob Guthrie Tue 9 May 2017

Hi.

We know it's not that great on mobile - Wish it could be better - it might be with react or react native or just native, but we're stuck on angular 1 which has quite poor performance on mobile.

Right now we're focusing on identifying what the best function of the app is, and its easiest for us to do that with just one codebase and without a technology change.

I don't get a lot of value from issues where the major problem is already known.

If the decision tools and instant Loomio stuff takes off then we'll circle back and sort this issue out, hopefully get apps in the app stores for you.

GC

Greg Cassel Tue 9 May 2017

If the decision tools and instant Loomio stuff takes off then we'll circle back and sort this issue out, hopefully get apps in the app stores for you.

That makes lots of sense. I've never been especially concerned with Android use, but thanks for sharing!

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 9 May 2017

If the decision tools and instant Loomio stuff takes off then we'll circle back and sort this issue out, hopefully get apps in the app stores for you.

Sorry, I'm confused, because this statement seems to contradict everything said so far by Loomio crew, on this thread and others. The message so far is has been that Loomio crew want to focus dev energy on making the web app work across all platforms with web browsers, rather than fragment your efforts by trying to create OS-specific apps. As I said in my previous comment to the one you replied to, I think mobile use of Loomio is best discouraged. It's totally up to the Loomio crew of course, but IMHO native apps would be a serious misapplication of resources.

That said, these gripes about mobile UX keep coming up, so people are using the web app on mobile. If they have issues that are different to those on other platforms, it seems like good stewardship to have a space for them to report and discuss them. Even if that's just a thread (or subgroup?) on the Loomio Community group.

Perhaps there could be an issues tracker specifically for mobile UX, one that you don't have to deal with Robert? One that somehow feeds detailed bug reports about mobile UX upstream to the Angular devs, so they can maybe fix some of the problems at their end?

RG

Rob Guthrie Tue 9 May 2017

I don't know what to say. We want to make Loomio good. Right now we're focusing on the decisions and integrating them into other tools.

We want people to have a good time using Loomio with their phones, but we can't spend much in that area this quarter. To deliver a good mobile experience means using a fast software stack. I personally believe that can be a web based stack, but we know users expect apps in app stores so we need to be able to deliver that.

We want bug reports written up in the normal way, but I can't promise to address the bigger problem at play here, if those reports are about the app being sluggish on mobile.

DS

Danyl Strype Wed 10 May 2017

From what @koy said in the comment I was responding to it sounds like there are mobile bugs unrelated to it being sluggish. This is what I was suggesting detailed bug reports on, so it seems like this was the right advice to give, but now I'm unsure.

BTW Robert I tagged you in because I was looking for official comment from the Loomio crew to make sure I'm not giving people a bum steer. You are under no obligation to comment on these kinds of discussions if they frustrate you, as the tone of your comments suggests that they do. If you feel like you'd rather be using your time elsewhere, it's probably better all round if you honour that feeling :)

DS

Danyl Strype Mon 8 May 2017

My general response to all the people calling for native apps for mobile is to ask them to really sit down and think about the quality of engagement on their Loomio groups. If people were able to hammer out comments or take positions on their mobile when they have a few seconds between other things , it might well increase the volume of participation, but it might also decrease quality of participation.

Decision-making is not social media (try a GNU Social or Mastodon mobile app), and it's not realtime chat (try an XMPP or Mumble app). It requires focus, and often some very delicate diplomacy, especially in an online platform that lacks all the subtle subverbal feedback available in face-to-face meetings. This is probably best done when you have time to sit down in front of a desktop or laptop.

If you really need to do something on Loomio on the run, it is available in mobile web browsers. It's a web app. That's the best place to use it, and the best place for the developers to focus their work on improving UX. The Signal text+voice chat app used to struggle along with push notifications relied on Google Play Services (on Android), and similar proprietary dependencies on iOS, but they are moving towards using WebRTC and other newer tech to improve the UX of their native apps. Maybe the Loomio team can look into borrowing some tricks from them to improve their web app UX?

DS

Danyl Strype Mon 8 May 2017

One more thing, I've seen people claim that owning a desktop or laptop is a privilege. This just isn't true, or at least it doesn't need to be. Even the cheapest new mobile costs more than $100. I struggle to give away working 2nd hand desktops, and decent 2nd hand laptops can be bought as cheap as $50, both of which provide for a much greater range of uses than even an expensive mobile.

Also, desktops can be easily repaired by anyone who can use a screwdriver, and parts can be replaced cheap or free (by ripping working parts out of dead boxes), allowing them to last an average of 5-10 years with a regular oil change. The same is roughly true for laptops, although the hardware is much fiddlier to work on. Mobiles are doing well if they last a couple of years before needing to be replaced, and if you add up the cost of a new one every 2 years over a 10 year period, and compared it to the cost of 2 second hand laptops...

RG

Rob Guthrie Wed 10 May 2017

Sorry. Yes we want bug reports about mobile experiences. github issues is the right place for that.

Offical Loomio stance on mobile is that we want it to be great but know we've got a lot of work to do..

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