July 13, 2015 by Brandon Medenwald
Today, we here at Simply Made Apps are proud to announce the next big upgrade to Simple In/Out. Simple In/Out, now at version 8, brings a brand new look and a few new features we’re sure will make our users quite happy. This new upgrade affects all our apps, across all our supported platforms.
A New Look
The first thing to notice is Simple In/Out’s new look. We’ve strived to simplify Simple In/Out even further by creating a more compact look. We’ve increased the size of the user’s profile image to make profiles and the board more recognizable. We’re also introducing a new “in” indicator, a solid blue bar. This has the benefit of looking nice, improving board readability, and improving our accessibility for our color blind users. When a user is in, the blue bar appears. When a user is now out, the blue bar vanishes. We also fade out the row to convey this further, something we had already been doing in Simple In/Out TV.
Company Quick Picks
A popular request, we’ve added support for company-wide Quick Picks. Similar to a user’s Quick Picks, company Quick Pick are 10 configurable Quick Picks that are shared and accessible by everyone within the organization. Once added by an admin user, these company Quick Picks appear for users on the website, the phone apps, the Windows app, and within FrontDesk. These are useful for common actions like “At Lunch”, but can also be used in conjunction with Simple In/Out’s reports to generate accurate numbers of hours worked on a particular project (for example, “Working on Project X”).
TimeClock Badges within Phone Apps
For our customers using TimeClock for time keeping, Simple In/Out 8 adds the badges for your users right inside our apps for iOS and Android. Now those users can scan their device and avoid carrying their badges if they wish.
Default In/Out Messages for FrontDesk & TimeClock
FrontDesk and TimeClock admins can now establish default in and out messages that apply to swipes (FrontDesk) or badge scans (TimeClock). If you have more than one device running these apps, this is a great way to tell which station the user was at when they changed their status.
We’re working hard to improve our help and starting with Simple In/Out 8 we’re including an improved version of our FAQ within our phone apps. For the first time, we are also including the Help Center right on our website. This will get better and better over time as we continually add and update our help. We also plan to add more resources like PDFs and video in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Geofences with In or Out Updates Only
Geofences can now be created by admin users to only trigger entry or exit status updates. This has relatively limited use cases, but are important for several of our customers. This works great for situations where you’d like to mix some automatic updates with some manual ones. This also works well in concert with our Beacons.
We hope everyone likes these new additions to Simple In/Out!
July 1, 2015 by Brandon Medenwald
Over and over again here at Simply Made Apps we are complimented for our great support. It’s a point of pride for us. Users are most impressed by our response time, which is generally measured in minutes or hours.
This past week, our Keurig machine overheated here at HQ. Besides dumping boiling water everywhere and melting a K Cup, the thermostat burnt out and rendered the machine hopelessly broken. After we discovered what happened, we went to their website and requested support through the official channel. Nearly a week later, no response. We then tweeted at them and had an immediate reaction, then a follow up call, and now they’re replacing our unit.
A great result, but the impression they left us could have been so much better without the big delay that was only rectified by publicly calling them out. When you as a user are placed in limbo-land it can be confusing or even downright infuriating.
So, as a public service, here is how Simply Made Apps provides support. Our three rules to live by:
- Do your own support, don’t farm it out to people who don’t care about your product or your customers.
- Respond just as fast as you can.
- Be honest.
Here at Simply Made Apps, Bill and I do all our own support. On top of being the only co-founders and most of our software developers, we answer all the emails personally. This keeps us in touch with our ever-evolving user base. It’s also a great way to prioritize new features, but that’s an entire new blog post all together.
We respond just as soon as we can. Sometimes that’s within 5 minutes. Sometimes when we sleep (or golf) that’s a few hours. It’s never measured in days, and that’s critically important. Don’t leave users confused about whether you’re ever going to respond at all.
Finally, we’re always honest. Honesty, while sometimes difficult, is without doubt the most underrated support tool. When we receive requests from users that we don’t wish to do, or questions with “no” answers, it’s always tempting to sugar-coat the response. This only creates misunderstandings and potentially more support issues down the line. It also creates expectations, and setting false expectations is like placing a ticking time bomb under your reputation.
That’s it, three simple rules.
June 8, 2015 by Brandon Medenwald
In the middle of April, we shipped TimeClock for iOS. The response has been amazing. For companies, this offers the hope of a time clock system that isn’t restricted to paper punch cards. Based on our Simple In/Out ecosystem of apps and the website, managers now have tools like our Push Notifications, reports, and more to have visibility into their work force. Companies can manage their on-site staff in this very traditional way while simultaneously using Simple In/Out to handle other users the way we always have, with remote check in/outs, Geofences, Beacons, and more. The sky is really the limit.
Today, we’re proud to announce TimeClock’s arrival on the Android platform. Now, TimeClock is available for the vast majority of devices on the market today.
We’re supporting Android 4.x only. We’re not currently supporting Android 5, as we discovered a horrible bug with its camera API (we’re hoping for a fix, but we didn’t wish to delay until one arrives).
April 14, 2015 by Bill Burgess
We are happy to announce that Simple In/Out has a new companion app, TimeClock. Customers have been using Simple In/Out as a makeshift timekeeping service for years. They have had to live with a few shortcoming and sacrifices to make it work this way, but has performed pretty well given that it was never really intended for this. Over the years we have added reports and the ability to edit past statuses, recently we added all new permissions to control who can update their status, and today we released TimeClock.
TimeClock works like any other timekeeping app or hardware. Every user gets a badge with a barcode (printable from simpleinout.com or directly from the app via AirPrint enabled printer) and can scan to clock in. Admin users can customize user permissions so they can only change their status (or clock in) on the TimeClock app or allow users to continue to use Simple In/Out as they have before. We have given the power to every customer to decide which way works best for them. Simple In/Out is a flexible and easy as ever.
TimeClock is a Universal app that runs on any iOS 8 device. Need to have people clock in on the road, use your phone. Want to have a central place to clock in at the office, install an iPad with TimeClock on it and you are good to go.
For those that have followed our blog and website, TimeClock was codenamed Project Augusta. All of our big projects get codenames named after famous golf courses. We were happy to coincide our release with the kick off to the Masters Tournament this year, which is reflected in our app screenshots. Note the time and date for our screenshots was the inaugural tee time for this years tournament. We are big golf nuts here and thought it was fitting that our project was finally completed and in time to make the tournament.
We hope you will enjoy the new app. If you have any questions or feature requests, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us what you think. We are already thinking up new code names for new projects. We are already up to the letter D. Doral maybe? Guess we’ll see.
April 10, 2015 by Brandon Medenwald
We receive a lot of requests here at Simply Made Apps for our flagship product, Simple In/Out. Over the years, one of our most requested features has been bringing Simple In/Out to other platforms.
We’ve had a Windows 8 Desktop app for some time now. With the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft has allowed for the first time ever built-in OS support for Geofences, our signature feature. With that, we went to work to test if it worked well enough for our purposes. Today, we’re happy to announce we’re releasing the first version of Simple In/Out for Windows Phone.
While this version of Simple In/Out doesn’t supporting everything currently in our iOS/Android apps, we believe this is a solid start. With more demand, we’ll add features over the coming year. We don’t yet support Push Notifications or Beacons, but with Geofences supported, this app will be incredibly useful to the majority of our users.
For our Windows Phone folks, we say “Welcome to Simple In/Out”!
March 30, 2015 by Brandon Medenwald
Unknown to most, this weekend was a big weekend for Simple In/Out. We shipped some big structural changes, including brand new per-user permissions. This is a solution to a lot of requests we’ve had over the years, as well as some new things we wish to do with Project Augusta.
The most often cited use case for these permissions is the dead-beat employee. Many organizations love Simple In/Out, but they worry about the one user that spoils it for the rest by not being honest with their updates. Traditionally, we’ve always advocated for hiring only honest employees. However, there are certain industries where this is more difficult.
Starting today, an individual can be set to no longer have access to update their own status. If this happens, they can still log into the apps and the website, but the can no longer use Geofences, Beacons, or Quick Picks/Custom Status Updates. Instead, the user can only change their status via an admin-logged-into tablet device running FrontDesk, or have a user with the ability to change other people’s statuses do it for them. This change will allow organizations to restrict their staff to only interacting with the FrontDesk app at the office, while still allowing them to access the rest of what Simple In/Out offers.
Another use case is having a user with the ability to update other users’ statuses without having to be an admin. For many of our customers, this is a receptionist or manager who can update folks that may not have updated themselves. In the past, that user also had permission to add/edit/delete users, Geofences, billing information and more. Now, this can be managed much easier.
This is just the beginning of what will be a very busy Spring for Simple In/Out. We have a lot of great new things coming soon.
March 27, 2015 by Bill Burgess
Quick peek at our brand new app icon. Project Augusta coming soon.
February 13, 2015 by Bill Burgess
We are happy to announce a brand new feature to Simple In/Out today. Starting today with the latest updates to our mobile apps (and FrontDesk apps) you can now enter custom status messages that extend up to 50 characters. A 66% percent increase in characters. This extends from custom status messages to longer Geofence and Beacon names. We have had this request for a while, and we are happy to be able to deliver on this much requested feature.
Making longer status messages wasn’t as easy as allowing 20 characters more and done, it required some pretty good sized renovations across all of the apps to make sure none of those longer status messages got clipped or chopped off. The entire iOS app was overhauled to use Autolayout (Apple’s latest technology for dynamically resizing information on the screen) as well as support for Dynamic Text. Simple In/Out for iPhone now responds to your default text size (specified in your system settings) and will display text in whatever size you tell it to. It isn’t much to everyday users, but is a nice touch for users that like text really big or really small. We are happy to accommodate. Our Android users have this to some extent as well.
As always, all of our updates included some minor bug fixes. Some notable iOS bugs fixed are:
- Some crash related bugs
- Fixed some orientation issues on login and account creation screens
- Push Notification retry buttons now working
All of these changes are available today across our entire suite of apps. As always, thanks for using Simple In/Out.
December 22, 2014 by Brandon Medenwald
For quite a while, we’ve fielded questions from our users for the best way to display Simple In/Out to visitors and the general public. We have lots of options, like FrontDesk, Full Screen Mode and Public Links on our website, and even support for Panic StatusBoard. We featured all these methods in a blog post last summer. However, we’ve always thought there could be a better way still to get great looking information up onto television screens without the dedicated computer hardware.
Today, we’re thrilled to take the wraps off of a project we’ve had in the works for some time now. We are calling it Simple In/Out TV. Here’s how it looks:
Known internally as Project Carnoustie, Simple In/Out TV is a gateway to your Simple In/Out board you can access right on your television. It’s built for Android TV, which means it works today with Google’s Nexus Player. In the near future, it will be able to run natively on great TV sets from partners like Sony, Samsung, and Sharp (more almost certainly will follow). This means in the future, all an organization will need to have great looking employee presence views in their office is a TV off the shelf and a Simple In/Out account.
Since organizations come in large and small sizes, we’ve added a bunch of customizability in from Day One. We support 4 different “card” sizes, ranging from big photos to just the names. We have customizable scrolling to cycle through the list for large organizations. We also support a few background images. And, since Simple In/Out now supports adding user images from all the popular social media sites, it’s never been easier to make your Simple In/Out data visually appealing.
We’re incredibly proud of the way Simple In/Out TV has turned out. Stephen Ruda knocked development out of the park, with some of the sparse development information we had access to. This is also the first project visually designed by our newest employee Mara Paulson.
So, if you have a Nexus Player, or needed a reason to go buy one for your office, download Simple In/Out TV from the Google Play Store today!
December 15, 2014 by Bill Burgess
We have a big release available today for our mobile users on iOS and Android. There are several new features in the latest update, but 1 in particular brings some big changes to how Geofences will work going forward.
One of the biggest changes that users will notice is that you can now change your avatar image. You can now change your profile image to use your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ profile image. We still support Gravatar for our default images. To change your profile picture, just tap on the profile picture under User Profile in the Settings page. Permission needs to be granted to access the profile image, but we don’t make any posts or updates to your accounts.
The biggest change to Simple In/Out is how Geofence status updates are handled. This has been the biggest request we’ve had for Simple In/Out in the 4 years of doing business. When you manually update your status, say “At the Dentist back at 3”, you want that status to stay until you are back. If you have Geofences enabled and you leave, that status get overwritten by “Left the Office”. Dentist status forgotten forever. Today, your status will never get overwritten by a Geofence. So your custom status messages are safe when you leave a Geofence.
If a status message gets skipped due to a potential overwrite, we will notify you via notification with the ability to update directly from the notification. So if you think the Geofence update should apply, just pull down (or swipe left on notification window) to update your status. This is also a new feature we’ve made available to our iOS 8 users. Dynamic notifications. If you trigger an error or overwrite notification, you can retry or update right from the notification without having to open the app. This should make retries and updates even faster.
Finally, our iOS users will have an on-boarding process. New users will be able to quickly add users, Geofences, and Push Notifications. This should speed up the process of getting your account ready for use. Existing users can check it out from settings, under Quick Setup.
If anyone using Simple In/Out has questions about the new changes to the app, please let us know. This is a big update for our users and we think everyone is going to love the new behavior. These updates should be available today from your respective App Stores.