13 July 2011

Conversing with BillionGraves

     I posted earlier today about my 2nd Try with the BillionGraves.com Android app. This post was my immediate reaction to my experience. I had emailed BG with my feedback and have been emailing back and forth with them to clarify some issues.

     I should state that I'm not trying to be negative or bring down BillionGraves.com. I'm simply frustrated. I think they've got a great idea, but it has just yet to work properly for me. 

     I emailed BillonGraves and told them that I'd tried to create two cemeteries and failed, as well as that I'd had problems with GPS using their devise, while I had no problems using three other GPS apps on the phone.  I'm going to paraphrase their response and condense it a bit.

  • Creating A Cemetery
    • This appears to be an issue with the user interface not being user intuitive and me not being able to figure it out. Some folks might say, "of course that's what you're supposed to do," but this doesn't make sense to me. 
    • Here's a photo of the phone when you're creating a cemetery:
    • So the last question is: "Are you in the cemetery?" The only apparent answer is "no." So I didn't click that button and went ahead and saved the cemetery, which gave a "success!" response. 
    • But apparently when I didn't select anything I was saying no - which I thought might happen, but what else was I supposed to do? There's not a "yes" button. And why did it say "success?" 
    • Apparently, "This is a bug in the program that we currently fixing" and "In order to create a cemetery, just make sure that you answer yes to the question: Are you in the cemetery?" 
    • To which I replied: There is not a "yes" button and sent them the above photo. So they said: "I apologize for the confusion, I will let the developer know about it. I think we could easily program two buttons in. Make the button so it shows "Yes" with green light showing [click on no]. It should read before you save it: Are you in the cemetery? Yes"
      • What I get from this: They are still rushing the app. First they rushed it without a feature to create cemeteries. Now they have a confusing app with known bugs that was released as an "update." They need to take their time and test the apps before release. There are tons of folks willing to be Beta testers who won't fuss when it doesn't work since it's a Beta test.
  • GPS Issues
    • They said that "the Android you are using is on our approved list, so it has been tested multiple times for compatibility with BillionGraves." 
    • However, "after researching your Android phone, I've discovered that it is known for GPS problems. The problem seems to lie in the programming rather than the hardware. However, I will be informing our Android developer of the problems you've been having so we can find a solution for you." 
    • So I recommended that they move the Samsung Epic G4 to the "maybe works" list, to which they replied: "our approved listed comes from Android"
      • What I get from this: BillionGraves themselves haven't actually tested the Android app, but is relying on Android to do so. Do I expect BG to honestly track down all these different phones and test them themselves? No. Do I think Android actually sent folks out to cemeteries to test the app? Doubtful. Do I expect BG to find and utilize volunteer Beta testers to do so? Yes. Because obviously, relying on Android isn't working out.
     Anyone else pick up on a theme here? Beta Test! If this app had been released as "beta," "early release," or "testing," I'd have no issues with the problems I've been having. Bugs happen. However, when a company makes a big announcement that a new product is available I expect it to work. 


Shelley said...

I agree 100%.

Sarah Farr said...

One note on the screen on the phone when you are looking for buttons. Any time the keypad is showing, try hitting the reverse looking button to make the keypad go away. Sometimes it will cover up buttons. Probably wasn't the problem that time, but just wanted to let you know for the future.

I can see why you are frustrated with the app. If you search google for mom's phone + GPS and it does show that the GPS isn't the best, or at least that it has had some mediocre reviews. You may have to stand there longer, maybe?

Hopefully it will get better, and they are getting a lot of useful feedback like yours!

McManigle Family said...

Sorry to say, I have been enjoying your Blogs with regard to BillionGraves. I thought this would be a great resource and waited patiently for the Anroid application to come out. I was ready to run out to a cemetery and give it a try! (note: I am disabled and not able to walk around alot, I knew I would pay a price for my little adventure, but really wanted to try.) I was was lucky to catch your first posts on this and decided to see how you did. I am glad I waited ~smiles~ I saved myself alot of pain ~laughs~ I also did not realize it was in Beta still. I will wait until you have a 'good' day at the cemetery before I venture out.
Thank you and I hope you have your 'good' day at the cemetery soon!


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