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Quicker, easier, better camera tool

All those seconds add up!

We listen carefully to what people tell us about the things they like and dislike about Perfect Ward, but we also keep a careful eye out for the way that people are using the app. 

One little nuance that we'd noticed was how people were interacting with photo note functionality. We think this is a really important feature of Perfect Ward - the fact that you can add photos to really provide context and evidence to your inspections, alongside the quantitative scores and qualitative comments.

Originally we designed the camera feature so that all photos had to be taken in landscape orientation. We did this so that there was consistency to how the reports would look and display, both within the app and within PDF extracts. We did notice that users didn't completely get this first time, so we added some visual guides to help people realise that this was how it was meant to work. Users do figure it out after a few goes and it wasn't something people were asking us to fix, but we've never been entirely happy with it.

Old camera screen - with visual hints to turn the screen sideways

If you did take a photo portrait (as above), to keep the consistent layout in the reports, you would have to crop them to become landscape:

Forced crop to landscape orientation on the old camera screen

Alongside this, we realised that if you wanted to take a photo, you had a few different buttons you needed to tap through to navigate to the camera (e.g. a screen that asked you to choose whether to take a photo or pick from your library, when in reality very few people were choosing photos from their library). It's not a huge amount of time, but it felt like a small irritant that slowly added up.

Additional choice of Photo or Gallery

So... we have reworked the camera feature, and we're much, much happier with it. Now, when you tap on a photo note, it will jump straight into the photo screen - from there you can still select your album, but we've been able to reduce the step of choosing which one you want to use.

The new camera tool - this is the first screen you'll see (the gallery can still be reached from the icon in the bottom right)

You can take a photo landscape or portrait, and when you've taken it you can easily rotate or crop the photo to the size that you want. This works in slightly different ways on iOS and Android, but both are quicker and more flexible than before.

The new cropping tool, with resize, rotate and aspect ratio tools to make editing easier and more flexible

We've also tweaked the Historic Reports and PDF exports to reflect the new photo orientation options. One of our developers helpfully noticed that the portrait photos wouldn't be so obvious when scrolling through Historic Reports, so we have now added parallax scrolling as just a small visual prompt to users. You'll need to be eagle-eyed to spot this change though!

We hope everybody likes these changes and finds them easier to use, but feel free to let us know your thoughts on how this (or indeed any other features) could be improved!

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