Swaroop C H

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Apps using simple tricks to simplify usage

07 May 2012

I have been recently using the iXpenseIt iPhone app to track cash expenditures[1]. What's interesting is it uses the "most used" / "most visited" feature (which you may be familiar with in Firefox or other software) to vastly speed up its usage for the individual using it.

Let's take an example, this is my default "New Expense" screen:

iXpenseIt

Notice the entries - default vendor is "Shop", default category is "Household" and default subcategory is "Supplies." (my preferences).

Let's say I had gone out for a Saturday afternoon lunch and I want to quickly enter the food bill. I type 'Re' and it quickly shows the best auto-complete option from the list of vendors:

iXpenseIt

When I tap the 'Restaurant' pop-over, a small neat thing happens - it shows me the frequent categories I used for this particular vendor:

iXpenseIt

So I tap on the second option and voila, the correct category and subcategory is chosen. The funny thing is that this simple "most frequently used" gimmick is the sole reason that I'm still using this expense tracking app (after all these days of trying so many of them) because my time to add a new entry goes down 3-5x times over time!

iXpenseIt

Another example - consider my favorite note taking application Evernote - when I go to the 'Add New Note' option and the clock happens to be in the middle of a calendar event, the default title of the new note will be "Note from Event Name":

Evernote Why is this useful? Because that is the most likely thing I'll be doing - adding a note from the event that I'm attending, and this speeds up the process of me writing the new note. I wish more applications would do this, for example: Similar to these examples, what customizations / simple statistics / information usage would you like to see in the apps that you frequently use?

 

[1] I don't intend to use it for more than a few months, it's just to get a handle on expenses when living in a new city.

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