03-20-2013 11:31 PM - edited 03-21-2013 09:21 AM
My app failed Built for BlackBerry (4Transit Thunder Bay), but not for a reason that I would have expected. It failed the user benefits test.
The rule is:
User Benefits - One of RIM’s goals of the Program is to make sure that BFB Apps provide users with obvious benefits in one or more of the following areas: genuine entertainment value; enhanced productivity and enriched communication. The Testing Team will look for, where appropriate, the implementation of functionality like the invocation framework or BBM™. Apps that perform a simple single function such as play a noise or display a graphic are not eligible for this program. Applications must provide functionality that is considered useful to the end user, as determined by the Testing Team.
My app is a location-aware transit app that provides real-time information on your nearest bus/street-car/subway stops, Identifying the nearest stop for each service, for each direction, the distance to the stop, and the time until the next and subsequent services.
To acheive this, the app makes full use of the BlackBerry Location Service, a local geo-map of the region covered, and an internet link to pull down XML data from a server and process it.
Unlike its competitors, the app uses its own algorithm to identify the nearest stops in order to grade the concept of "nearby" since how far a person is prepared to walk to a subway station or an express bus stop may be different to that for a local bus. The alogorithm does that, running on the Z10 in about 35ms, removing a swathe of HTTP requests to servers, and reducing the data bandwidth consumed and improving battery life.
The app runs runs in the background, periodically monitoring the user's location using the BlackBerry Location Service and automatically updating the displayed information (on a Cascades UI) . When minimised it utilizes BlackBerry's Active Frames to give a running summary of the information provided on the main screen.
The app is multi-threaded, separating out UI behaviour from HTTP requests, and from location tracking, ensuring that the UI runs smoothly independently of the backend prcessing. It provides an extensive FAQ, full set of terms and condtions, and contact information using a swipe-down BlackBerry Application Menu.
The UI itself is designed to be as low-attention as possible. Transit apps are used in close proximity to moving traffic and it is important that the user is more aware of that traffic (and on occasion, other people) than they are of the app. It is designed so all you need do is scroll through the generated, dynamic list. No menus, no buttons for normal use. That's a safety constraint.
As I said, the app failed the "User benefits test", and I am at a loss as to know why.
When I first got the rejection flag in the portal, I assumed that it was something about the look and feel of the app that doesn't feel suffiently BlackBerry, and I was waiting to see what suggestions were made. But that's not what they are saying, and it is difficult to imagine how I can improve on the user benefits within the context of a transit app. More bells and whistles can certainly be added (integration with BlackBerry Maps for example to show routes, but that doesn't improve on the core functionality).
So I ask the questions:
1) Given the description above, how can my app fail the user benefits test?
it is difficult to imagine a more smartphone-centric app than a transit app reporting live, localised data to the user. This one manages that in spades, minimizes the data transfers (saving bandwidth and battery), utilizes BlackBerry services, and makes use of unique BlackBerry UI elements - the Active Frame, and true multi-tasking.
2) How do I get the decision reviewed?
3) How do I convey my app description/arguments above to the testers. It's not really the kind of thing I want to add to the app, its way too detailed.
Solved! Go to Solution.
03-21-2013 01:37 AM
One reason may be that the tester is not in Thunder Bay, but perhaps in a different city or country. It may not be obvious to them that the app has such functionality. I know it's not much help...
03-21-2013 09:26 AM
03-21-2013 09:41 AM
But Peter, the prime use case for mobile apps is narrowly focussed, localized content.
By defintiion, many of those apps are going to be focus on relatively small geographcial areas or narrow market segments.
It's fine to publicize broad appeal apps, but people also want to know that theire (useful) localized apps are up to snuff.
It's great to know that Angry Birds is jolly well made, but its more important to know that the transit app you rely on to get to work is also well made.
03-21-2013 10:25 AM
03-21-2013 10:39 AM
Hi Peter, I realize that.
I've emailed Alec Saunders directly to ask if there is any progress ont he appeals process yet (thanks for the link btw).
03-21-2013 11:10 AM
The appeals process is coming soon.
bobodd - I am looking into your app now.
03-21-2013 11:28 AM - edited 03-21-2013 11:28 AM
Bob - I will email you directly offline.