Week 5: Competitive Research on Address Book Apps + Prioritized User Stories

Some address book apps that I researched and their features – one may not have heard about it but here’s what’s good and what’s bad about them:

  1. Addappt, for iOS and Android, tackles the issue that most information on an address book has to be updated manually by the users. The app will automatically update every changes ones contacts make on their own profiles, on condition that the contact also use the app.
  2. Government Officials Contacts, “the largest offline database (contacts or phonebook) of the field level officers of Bangladesh Government” according to the description of the app on Google Play, contains all contacts of the government officials and the higher level local officers. However, it is not clear who the target users are, whether the civil servants or the normal people. However, the UI itself looks too simple with only buttons and information of phone number and email address. (The developer of this app also created other apps such as Calendar of Bangladesh national holidays, Mobile Court Activities of Bangladesh, and so on. Wait, do they all have permissions of the authorities?)
  3. GAL (Global Address List), a searchable directory in Outlook, features a global list of contacts within one’s own private organization/group, where one can still hide individual contacts from other users. Users can create a list of contacts and share the entire list with others. I personally think this is very convenient. Although the sharing process could be easier by just sending a list of names by other platforms such as emails, one already has GAL as the input platform so one doesn’t have to input the list one by one manually into another app of his/her own.
  4. Humin, an iOS app, in my opinion stores contacts’ information the way it should be, by how “relatable” the contacts are to the user, rather than pure data. By having a lot of filters such as contacts’ current locations, how one knows/met the contacts, and more, it prevents user of having a long list that starts with a contact whose name starts with an “A” but is barely familiar with. Although this workflow is definitely special, it does not guarantee of efficiency when normally in most of the other address book apps we just simply type in the contact’s name or part of the name in search bar; people may have to take time to get use to this workflow.

Other interesting things:

All these address book apps coming out with new, cooler, and seemingly more convenient features, does it really matters at all? I found an article online which tells a story about an address book app called Brewster, which collects all kinds of information of a person from famous platforms to provide an overall view of how the person can be reached. It sounds perfectly useful but it was said in the article by Brewster own CEO Steven Greenwood that, this is not actually how people do,

When we want to reach someone, we don’t open our contacts app and tap Send Message. We find them inside the communications app we’re already using, whether it’s Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, or the Mailbox email app. And when we do want to look up someone directly, we search for them within Spotlight on iOS, or within search on Android.

User Stories for midterm project: building a simple address book “app”

(This section should be constantly updated throughout the development of the project.)

Name of the app – [App.name] (undecided, for mobile use)

  1. As a user, when opening up [App.name], I can see a default vertical order of a banner with “add contact” function and filter/sort function, my profile, a Favorites bar, list of all contacts showing their profile pictures centered with their names beside, and a search bar at the bottom.
  2. As a user, I can search contacts by clicking on the magnifying glass on the bottom left, and then typing the name in the search bar that appears.
  3. As a user, I rearrange the order of my contacts in the list when I click on a filter icon on the bottom right, choose different filters, and type in the filter requirement (ex. Country: China).
  4. As a user, I can sort my list of contacts, either ascending or descending, based on the contacts’ names.
  5. As a user, when I click on each individual contact, a personal page of the person will pop onto the current page, containing all of his/her information (name, address, phone number, email address.)
  6. As a user, when I click on [App.name] on the top center or other spare spaces, I go back to the homepage with a list of contacts.
  7. (More to come…)

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