New Feature: Longer Status Messages

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.

Announcing Simple In/Out TV

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:

Simple In/Out TV

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!

Big changes for mobile apps in Simple In/Out

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.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus support for iOS Users

Today, update 7.1 goes live for Simple In/Out users. This update brings a ton of new changes for Simple In/Out users. Especially our users that upgraded to the new wave of iPhones a couple of months ago.

iPhone 6/6 Plus

 

We spent a lot of time making this latest version fully compatible with the new devices. That means we had to go over every screen and make sure it stretches, fits, and rotates correctly to handle every pixel. Because of all this work to make things work for a bigger phone, we thought, why stop there. So we went all the way and added support for iPad as well. We have had lots of users ask us for a version of Simple In/Out that runs on an iPad, but doesn’t have those black bars around it. We are very happy to announce Simple In/Out is a Universal app and will run on all compatible devices for iOS 7 and 8.

As great as support is for bigger phones and iPads, we didn’t just stop there. We added a bunch of new features to make using Simple In/Out even better.

– We added support for the 1Passsword extension. If you use 1Password, you can use the extension to log in or create an account. It makes logging in super fast and super secure. (iOS 8 users only)

– Updated placeholders for user images. We removed the Mystery Man icon in favor of a placeholder with the users initial. It looks great. This is also just the beginning for some much bigger avatar changes we have in store. So stay tuned.

– Lots and lots of bug fixes and optimizations.

– Added a hidden tap gesture to the Beacon page to reveal information about them. Used for debugging and adding new Beacons.

– Lots of iOS 8 specific changes to make sure the app runs great.

We are very happy with the work we put into this build. We have been updating Simple In/Out for a lot of years, coming up on 4. We promise not to rest on our laurels and keep adding features you request. If you keeps sending in suggestions, we’ll keep working to make them happen. The update is live, so get it today from the App Store.

Full Screen Mode: Now with Custom Colors

Happy Saturday to our users around the globe.  Just a bit ago, we rolled out a little weekend surprise:  allowing custom colors for the Full Screen Mode on simpleinout.com.  Now, any company admin can choose the background color (and text color) of the Full Screen Mode to help brand their big displays in their office, their intranet, etc.  This change apples to both our Full Screen Mode and the Public Links.

One of the most powerful features of Simple In/Out is the ability to use our API to do all sorts of amazing things.  Many developers use this to build custom displays and dashboards, which are amazing to view.  But there were other folks that just wanted a bit more customizability without having to build new software.  We hope this small change really helps Simple In/Out blend into your Full Screen use case.

Keep an eye on this blog, as we plan to knock off a couple big feature requests in the near future with our next big release. 🙂

Simply Made Apps Hires Mara Paulson

Mara PaulsonToday, we’re excited here at Simply Made Apps to welcome the latest member of our expanding team.  Mara Paulson has joined Simply Made Apps as our lead designer.

For those keen observers out there, you may have noticed our website has changed a bit.  Over the summer we hired Stephen Ruda to head our Android development efforts (which has resulted in a lot of great new features for our Android app and a new Android version of FrontDesk).  We’ve also given our Marketing intern Bisou a raise of several more walks around the office a week.

Mara is a classically-trained designer with a BFA in Graphic Design from Minnesota State University Moorhead, with a minor in Graphic Communications.  She will help us streamline our products, including design work for our codename projects that are still under wraps.  In fact, her first task will be working on Project Carnoustie, which we’re hoping to wrap up in the next couple of weeks.

We’re thrilled to have Mara here and can’t wait to put her design talents to good use.

Simple In/Out 7 is Here!

Today, we’re incredibly proud to announce a big update to Simple In/Out.  Simple In/Out, the best electronic in/out board anywhere, has now hit version 7.  Thanks a ton to our loyal users and the team here at Simply Made Apps for spending the last few months putting this great release together.

What’s new in Simple In/Out 7?  We’ve made some bug fixes and other small features, but here are the big 3.

Feature #1: Support for hardware Beacons

For about a year now, we’ve supported using Apple’s iBeacons in Simple In/Out using our iPad app FrontDesk.  This summer, when we rewrote our Android app, we supported an open Beacon standard there too, which allowed them to work together.  However, you still needed an iPad running FrontDesk in the foreground in order to use this excellent feature.

With Simple In/Out 7, we’re changing all that.  Starting today, you can order Beacons right from our new Simple In/Out Store.  These Beacons, starting as low as $29 a piece, plug right into a USB port and broadcast up to 30 meters away.  Using these inexpensive little Beacons, Simple In/Out can be accurate with check in/outs regardless of the location and what Apple/Google know about your area’s cell towers/wifi hotspots.  Because Beacons are based on Bluetooth, they allow for much smaller areas than Geofences.  They also can be stringed together to cover larger areas.

When you purchase a Beacon from us, we’ll preconfigure it with a name you choose and ship it to you for free.  Simply plug the Beacon in once you receive it and you’re all set.  For anyone who has tried Simple In/Out and the area they operate in just doesn’t work well for Geofences, this is the answer.  And, we support this in both our iPhone and Android app immediately today.

Feature #2: Add users from Address Book

Over the years, we’ve received many requests from users who’d like to speed up the process of adding users to Simple In/Out.  This is especially true of new users, many of which have to add 100 people right out of the gate.  To that end, we’ve made two important changes.

First, we’ve removed the need to choose a new user’s password right away.  This removed 2 fields that had to be filled when adding a user and it is far more secure.  Now, your new user will receive an email with a link to choose their own password to complete the sign up process.

Second, and because of the first, we’ve now integrated with the Address Book in your iPhone and Android device to allow you to bulk add users.  With a single tap on a name in the list, you can immediately add users without any typing whatsoever.  This is a major improvement, but even better for large organizations that use a service to add all the employees to each other’s address books.  With a bunch of taps, you’re in/out board is populated with new users and ready to go.

Feature #3: Board Search

This is a change that will really come in handy for any organizations with more than a single screen of users.  Now you can search right from the board view for users, allowing you to quickly find the status of a single person without having to scroll and hunt.  You can also tap on that person, allowing you to place a call or send an email quickly.  For those using Simple In/Out as a company directory, life just became a lot easier.

 

I hope everyone enjoys these great new features in Simple In/Out 7.  We’re excited to see our users put these new features to good use.

 

New Video: GeoFence 101

GeoFence technology is pretty cool

It means your phone can automatically update your status when you arrive at or leave a location. Whether you’ve just discovered Simple In/Out or are a long-time user, here’s a video you can watch to learn more about GeoFences.

This video will teach you

  1. How GeoFences work
  2. How your privacy is protected when using Simple In/Out
  3. How to set up and enable a GeoFence

Ready to give GeoFences a try?

Sign up for a FREE 45-day trial of Simple In/Out.

We Made an Android Version of the FrontDesk App

Android, users – can you feel the love?

We recently rewrote the phone app from the ground up and added support for push notifications. And now we just published another brand new Android app for you in the Google Play store!

We’ve had more than a few requests to make an Android version of our FrontDesk app

And today we’re excited to announce that we’ve done just that. You can use it with any tablet running Android 4.0 and later.

It’s basically the twin sister to our FrontDesk app for iPad; if you’d like to check out all the details, just head over to the FrontDesk page on our website.

Here’s a little sneak peek at what it looks like

We also added themes to the app so you can flip between light and dark themes. We’re partial to the dark theme – the white text really stands out against the dark background! 

frontdesk_android_screenshot

What are you waiting for?

Grab your tablet and download FrontDesk for Android in the Google Play store now.

Simply Made Apps Behind the Scenes: Paintball

Earlier this spring, BNG Holdings invited Simply Made Apps and a few other local companies out for an afternoon of paintball. A fun time was had by all.

Bill taking aim and getting all muddy.

Bill getting serious(ly muddy).

Bill's son, Adam fighting off "the enemy".

Bill's son, Adam, fighting off "the enemy".

Bill helping Adam reload his paintball gun with ammo.

Bill helping Adam reload his paintball gun with ammo.

Then, they had each team form a line and face the opposing team. You can tell by the slumped shoulders none of us was very excited for this game.

For one game, they had each team form a line and face the opposing team. (You can tell by the slumped shoulders no one was very excited for this.)

We were to take aim and shoot once on the count of three. If you got hit, you were out. Everyone left standing took a step forward and played again.

We were to take aim and shoot once on the count of three. If you got hit, you were out. Everyone left standing took a step forward and played again.

Very quickly I (Michelle) found myself the only one left standing from my team.  Someone took pity on me and offered me a body guard. I am eternally grateful to this kind sir for his service.

Very quickly I (Michelle) found myself the only one left standing from my team. I am eternally grateful to this kind sir for his service as a body guard.

Randall just chilling, waiting to get tagged back into the game.

Randall just chilling, waiting to get tagged back into the game.

Randall's son, Zachary, choosing teammates.

Randall's son, Zachary, choosing teammates.

Stephen sneaking around the corner with Brandon following behind.

Stephen sneaking around the corner with Brandon following behind.

—–

Thanks to Valley Paintball for the splendid photos.