Short UX review of Quip

So, Quip finally launched their Android app a few days back. I had to try it, so I did. It sort of lost me within the first interaction.

I created a new document, added some dummy content and wanted to share it with a colleague – a specific colleague who wasn’t yet on Quip. Guess what, the share screen didn’t let me send it to him. It seemed like I was limited to just colleagues who have tried Quip with their “work” email addresses.

The share button wouldn't let me share with an email address!
The share button wouldn’t let me share with an email address!

So, there I was, wanting to try the product for what its meant to be – mobile collaboration – and I couldn’t. I was sure I was the one who was mistaken since this is a fairly simple task and they couldn’t possibly have left this feature out.

I was right. Someone at Quip decided to hide the feature of sharing with people who are not in your phone’s contact book in a secondary menu under the “Settings” icon. Yeah. It happened. Well, I hope, for their sake, they fix this soon.

Not the best place to hide a sharing button!
Not the best place to hide a sharing button!

Catch 22

One positive impact of the move to the city is that now my commute is a little longer – 35 minutes door to door each way. This lends very well to my desire of listening to audio books (killing two birds with one stone). I just completed A short history of nearly everything – a fun book full of trivia, which I have been told might not all be accurate! :)

I’ve always wanted to read more fiction, so I decided to download something that’s been on my list forever – Catch 22. Its hailed as one of the great literary works of modern American literature.┬áIt’s a parody based on experiences of several American soldiers during WWII, and quite unique in its style. I still haven’t gotten used to the narrative yet – jumping from character to character and story to story, and really conversational. It’s almost like listening to a movie. Perhaps that’s not my style but I am committed to finishing it!

Soldiers trying to avoid it while generals loving it and every other emotion mixed in between – makes it a unique take on war and that’s always a fun topic. If you have a great suggestion for other fictional books – please leave them in the comments! :)

Review of the Basis Band – a complete health tracker

As some of you may know, I bought a basis band a while back. It’s a fantastic device, but its true power was only unlocked a couple of days ago, so I wanted to write about it.

The band, which is essentially a replacement for your sports watch, measures your heart rate, steps taken, perspiration, general body movement (accelerometer) and temperature. Using this data and applying their algorithms, it’s able to to tell me when I went to sleep, woke up, walked, sat idle for, etc. So, what’s special? Aren’t there a lot of apps and devices that do the same?

Here’s the secret sauce. Their visualizations are far superior than anything else I have seen in the market. Their mobile and web app gives you just the data you need. Here’s a summary from the last day:

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 7.03.44 AM


You’ll notice something really interesting here – I hit 3 out of my 7 habits. This is huge for me. I didn’t have to do anything to input those habits, I just picked them up from their mobile app and it tracked it for me. Awesome! You can also see details of each of these habits or any activity (down to the minute by minute detail of your heart rate).

The web app has existed for a while and I have been wearing the device since January of this year, but syncing it till last week meant plugging it into my computer. I only did that once a week. This weekend, they finally released their Android app for Nexus 4 and that has completely changed the way I use the app – I am a lot more active, with widgets of various habits on my phone’s home screen, and automatic bluetooth syncing with my phone every few hours. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Well, hang on, I do want to ask for more. I believe what will round out this device for me is the ability to enter other habits (physical and non physical). These could range from # of pushups/squats and cycling, to trivial things like inbox zero, and talked to family! If I could maintain all habits in one location, it would go a long way. Right now, I use this in addition to my habits spreadsheet, which is fine, but not ideal.