Friday, March 28, 2014

StandOut - Floating window applications on Android

Today, I saw an Android library that caught my attention, so I thought I would post a quick note about it.  Hopefully I'll get the time to create some kind of test app using it, but for now, I'll just share the find.

The library is called StandOut and it lets you create floating windows that stay in the foreground while you use other apps.  This would seem to be the most useful on a tablet or other large form factor device, but I guess you could create an app that attaches itself to the side or a corner.  Then that app could pop out when certain kinds of interactions happened.

The app I wrote at work is for drivers that work for couriers and agents to manage the package load/pickup/delivery life cycle.  Some customers have asked for an enhancement to support taking pictures of either documents, the packages, or pickup/delivery location to serve as more evidence of the service details.  One idea that I had was that instead of an icon on the action bar or a menu item, we could hover a small camera icon that jumps the user to activity for picture taking.  I'm still not sure that is a good idea from a UX point of view, so I guess when it comes time to code it we will have to do some hallway usability testing to try out the ideas.