Beta testing the Android app — Bulb Community

Beta testing the Android app

edited January 12 in About Bulb
I'm psyched to announce that we now have our Android app live in beta!

We've already sent out invites to everyone who signed up, but don't worry if you missed it - we're keen for all the feedback we can get about how this app works since Android encompasses a bunch of different devices and OS version.

To access the app, head to https://play.google.com/apps/testing/uk.co.bulb.my on your phone's browser and follow the instructions to download. You will need a Google Play store account.

After you've spent some time using it, we have a few questions so please comment below:

- Is it easy to use?
- Is anything confusing?
- Did anything unexpected happen?
- Is anything missing or doesn't look right?
- Anything else?

Make sure you include the device and operating system you tested on in your feedback. Otherwise we’ll struggle to fix any bugs.

Thanks so much,
Sian

Comments

  • edited January 12
    Hi
    android 7.1.1 oneplus A5010

    Overall layout looks very good and seems to work. So far only put an electricity meter reading in. each tab loads fast, it would be nice to be able to swipe left and right on the screen to get to the next tab. Also a torch button on each meter reading page that turns the flash on and then automatically turns it off when you leave that page would be nice.

    Yours

    Tim
  • Looks good to me so far. I'm on a OnePlus 3T running Android 8.0.0 (Oxygen OS 5.0.1) Using Bulb app version 1.0.2.3 build 3

    - It's easy to use.
    - When I tap "readings" at the bottom I expect a list of historic readings rather than just a "send us a reading" option, as that's already on the home page.
    - Nothing unexpected has happened. I was able to submit some readings today.
    - As above with "readings" not looking right, and maybe the "Payment" button should be called "Pay+Bills" ? It might also be good to be able to say what date a reading was taken (perhaps allowing going back 2 or 3 days from the current day)
    - Nothing else immediately jumps to mind but I've only just switched so only have one pair of readings so far. I've just added another pair. It's good to see the Meter Serial numbers and MPRN/MPAN.

    Nice work!

    Tony
  • Only had a chance to have a quick look around so far, but a great effort in my opinion! Only question so far:

    If I submit meter readings will these be applied to my account or considered as test data?
  • As someone who's still in the process of switching, the app is currently closed out and takes me (correctly) to a "still switching" page.

    Will report back once switch complete.

    Pixel XL android 8.1
  • Immediately it looks great.

    Some observations / Feedback, from Android v7.01 on an LG G5.
    • Rather than 'Home' be a statement of my balance, I'd prefer this to be a dashboard-style view of my usage. Maybe YTD, LM, predicted usage. For me, a Home screen should be a summary of the apps main function. Personally, my account balance is secondary to managing my usage.
    • Readings: Nice and functional, and a nice touch to include the meter serial number/identifier.
    • Readings: A couple of idiosyncrasies however:
      Gas reading it states: "Your previous meter reading was 02650 m3 on 6th Jan 2018".
      Electricity reading: "Your previous standard meter reading was 8589.4 kWh on 6th Jan 2018"
      1. It took me comparing both pages to realise "m3" was a unit of measurement. Could the '3' be superscript to indicate it clearer?
      2. Why is electricity referred to as a 'standard' reading, and gas not?
      3. The use of a decimal in the electricity reading is inconsistent with the website readings. Also, I have never given a reading to 1 decimal point. The x.4 is incorrect.

    • Clarity on the Statement / payment (Bills?) screen that additional items can be viewed on the website. Or please make this an itemised statement screen like on the website and include all credits and debits.
    A feature suggestion - A toggle button when submitting a reading, to turn your phone's flashlight on (to help with taking the reading).
  • Seems fairly easy to use. However I hope to see an energy usage graph, as well as the future predicted readings included.
    On the Galaxy S8+ it also doesn't expand to fit the screen by default, I would expect a new app being developed to be fully compatible with a flagship Android device.
  • Edit:
    Frank said:



    3. The use of a decimal in the electricity reading is inconsistent with the website readings. Also, I have never given a reading to 1 decimal point. The x.4 is incorrect.

    Looking at the json data the app is getting, I can see this reading is 'Estimate', which then made me realise I'd missed that key detail on the readings shown on the website.
    It would still be good to have clarification that the app is showing an estimated reading, and keep the decimalisation consistent across app and website.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ running the latest version of Nougat with all updates applied.

    For me, the app was slow to download / install and I'm on fast (200 Meg and 4G) connections. I did wonder whether it was actually going ahead couple of times but I eventually got a message to say it had installed and a shortcut was created.

    Logged in with no problems or delays and everything is clear and easy to read.

    I haven't taken meter readings yet but will do to test the functionality.

    Like others I'd appreciate a 'dashboard' of historical usage on one of the pages.

    Will add more when I've had time to navigate around it some more. So far, looking very good!
  • TonyBrett said:



    - It's easy to use.
    - When I tap "readings" at the bottom I expect a list of historic readings rather than just a "send us a reading" option, as that's already on the home

    I agree with the above. I would also add that it's not immediately obvious you need to enter five digits. As I recently had new meters installed I am only at 3 digits and I needed to enter 00 prior to both readings. May not be obvious to everyone.

    . each tab loads fast, it would be nice to be able to swipe left and right on the screen to get to the next tab. Also a torch button on each meter reading page that turns the flash on and then automatically turns it off when you leave that page would be nice.
    These features suggested by tim would be nice and I agree on the torch front.

    The app does what it needs to, very efficient and fast to respond which isn't always the case with previous providers.

    Finally I am on a Samsung J5 running Android 7.0

    Neil
  • I'm not sure I agree with the need for a torch button, as most Android phones build this into the notification area?
  • I'm not sure I agree with the need for a torch button, as most Android phones build this into the notification area?

    I personally don't care but I can see how a nice button on the app could be useful for some people.

    I know plenty of people who have smart phones but still have basically no idea how they work so may not think about the notification/settings area.
  • edited January 15
    OnePlus X (E1003), Android 6.0.1, OxygenOS 3.1.4 (non-standard DPI of 420 IIRC)

    Functionally wise, only very minor niggles so far:
    • If you press on an item, move your finger up off the item's hitbox and then back down and let go, the item is still selected. If you press something and then move your finger down so that the page refresh action is triggered, the item selection is cancelled as expected. A minor thing but a little weird.
    • Swiping left and right is something I tried to do but I'm undecided about it and I don't know whether it's just because I read the thread earlier that I tried. Monzo is the same (no left/right swiping for main nav), and I haven't read the material design guidelines so maybe it's not recommended when navigation is on the bottom. On a Monzo page with options at the top (the Payments page for example), swiping moves between the top options. WhatsApp has top navigation and left/right swiping enabled.
    • When pressing the (Android) back button on the meter reading submission page, it goes back to the previous page. When pressing the back button from a page that's not the "Home" page, it closes the app. I'd expect it to only close the app if you're already on the "Home" page (like WhatsApp does for example).
    • When submitting meter readings, it's nice that it stops you entering decimal points, spaces or commas, but it only does this once you've started entering numbers. No idea if it's technically possible to stop it altogether.

    On the Galaxy S8+ it also doesn't expand to fit the screen by default
    It doesn't do this on my device either which makes the spacing around the Bulb logo at the top look a little weird and the pink bar overly deep. (For clarification, I'm talking about expanding to colour the notification area the same colour as the app. It remains black on my phone - I have hardware buttons so the app does fill all of the space top to bottom).

    I've quite a few other comments about the design, but that's not specific to Android (the IOS app is basically the same from what I can see) so I'll post elsewhere once I've had a chance to play with some screenshots and mock up my suggestions.


    As the first (public release beta) version for Android, it's a great start. :+1:

    Oh, almost forgot. The magic email link for sign in on mobile is absolutely marvellous.
  • @timr @TonyBrett @matthew744 @alunheseltine @Frank @katherine244 @KCW @NeilP @mowcius
    Thanks so much for the feedback everyone, keep it coming! I'm making a note of the feature suggestions

    @matthew744 any readings you submit will be applied to your account, so please go ahead
    @katherine244 @mowcius thanks for raising that expansion issue, we'll do some investigation


  • Another oddity, if you click to view your statements from the home page, then click the home button, it doesn't take you back to the home page.
    More oddly, if you navigate to another tab, say the readings page, clicking the home tab still doesn't take you back home, rather it remembers that you were viewing statements and requires you to back out of that page first.
    The same thing occurs from the Payment page.
  • Could the colour of the toolbar be changed to pink too? Currently rather garish?

    No ability to change payment amount/top up in app?

    Thanks
  • Thing i find abit weird (might just be me) where you have a clickable link i.e. "View more statements", i'd expect it only to go to the statements if i clicked on those words (which are a different colour to the rest) but i've found if you click on "Your last statement was £xxx" words it also treats it as a click and moves you to view the statements.

    Same seems to happen on them all, another example is on the Account page under 'Help', the "Go to the help centre" text is in grey with an arrow, but you can click on the text above "Head to our centre if you have any questions" which is in blue-ish colour and it will take you to the help..

    It's not an issue as such just abit strange to me. It's abit like having a label next to a text entry box and being able to click on the label to do stuff
  • Trying out the android app on my phone and tablet and love it...
  • Trying out the android app on my phone and tablet and love it...
  • Interestingly, the Gas reading I submitted on 12 Jan (via the app) seems never to have appeared in my account. I can't see it in the app or on the online account on the web.
  • I'm not sure I agree with the need for a torch button, as most Android phones build this into the notification area?

    It would just be quicker than having to go into notifications and finding the button.
  • Just submitted my first readings via the app, can you check if they came through? I'd agree a torch button would be great if possible. My last supplier's app had this. So far seems good. I like the fact it only accepts a reading with the right number of digits.
  • @Ajm184 @tom6685 @mah @mowcius @timr @frigo thanks!

    @frigo We've checked and can indeed see a gas and electricity reading submitted yesterday
  • @TonyBrett That was something separate to the app. It was just a lack of meter information in your account. The read on the 19th loaded in okay.
  • @Sian at Bulb I've submitted some meter readings now, so much easier doing it on the phone in a meter cupboard!

    Are there any other areas you'd specifically like feedback on?
  • I know there has been a lot of discussion about meter readings in particular gas and Neptune. Would it be possible for you to write the definitive piece as things stand at the moment? I submit reads which show up and then disappear. You use estimates for gas when I have supplied reads etc. So what I would like to know is:

    How many reads a month do you need?
    When in relation to the bill do you want them?
    What happens if extra reads are supplied?
    Why are estimates being used when reads are supplied?

    I put it here because using the android app for reads first they show and now they have disppeared.
  • Android 7.0 Moto G(4)

    Looks good to me - agree with the comments with the pink logo/bar at the top being a bit too thick but the app responds very quickly, good menu system.

    One improvement in the Account section could be link to the blog (maybe with whether there has been an update since last log on) - as this is the way you keep us up to date on whats happening within Bulb, could be a great way to engage even more people :smile: :+1:
  • edited January 21
    I have 2 addresses on my account, one currently supplied by Bulb and the other still switching to Bulb. When I viewed the one which is still switching, I only could see the switching sign (bike and switching bar). It doesn't seem possible to get back to view the other property (statements, payments, usage, etc.)


  • To access the app, head to https://play.google.com/apps/testing/uk.co.bulb.my on your phone's browser and follow the instructions to download. You will need a Google Play store account.

    Even easier - click the above link on a PC's browser, select your device(s), and the app will be sent to them.

    Tablet: Asus Nexus 7 (2013) Android 6.0.1
    Phone: Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 Android 4.4.4
    Pleasant appearance, and has the two essential features I'd hoped for - entering readings and current balance. AFAIC it's only a standby if my main PC is unavailable for some reason.
    If it were ever to be used as the main method of contact with Bulb, I'd like to see the whole of "MyBulb" as it is on the website.
  • When I try and login it says "Hmm, something went wrong. Please try again"
  • @matthew744 glad to hear that. We're keen to hear what you liked, any errors you encountered, and what you think would make it even better

    @purpleotter thanks for the suggestion!

    @Ashour you will be able to login again once your new property switches

    @198kHz thanks for the tip, good to know

    @michael6785 thanks for raising this, an error seems to be occurring and we are looking into it - sorry for the disruption!

    @keith
    How many reads a month do you need? *1 per month*
    When in relation to the bill do you want them? *2-3 days before your bill is issued*
    What happens if extra reads are supplied? *We take every read that passes read validation*
    Why are estimates being used when reads are supplied? *Because they weren't supplied in time to be used for that bill*
  • The issue with logging in has now been fixed!
  • Hi. I've only just downloaded this so not really had a chance to play with it much yet.

    What I have discovered is:

    * the home page and the payment page contain almost identical information so, unnecessary duplication
    * there is a separate page for meter readings so there is no need for this facility on the home page. More unnecessary duplication.
    * pages load quickly but you have to tap on each tab as there is no swipe action.

    In my humble opinion the home page should be a place with links to all other actions, i.e. submit meter readings, change direct debit details/payment date, view previous statements, view account information, contact us, etc.

    I manage my mum's utilities accounts and she is with another supplier who have an excellent app.

    Dare I even suggest that you could have a look at theirs to see what their home page looks like? :astonished:

    It's....... shhhhhh..... **British Gas**

    I'm on a Samsung Galaxy A5, running Android 7.0
  • I manage my mum's utilities accounts and she is with another supplier who have an excellent app.

    As you generally can't use an app without being a customer, Bulb probably haven't seen/used a lot of them.

    Fancy posting some screenshots and notes of exactly what you think is good/bad about their app?

  • Hi
    Overall: Great start with the App - simple but effective
    Tested on: Google Nexus 5X and Google Pixel C Tablet, both running android v8.1.0

    Comments:
    You can access the two primary functions (readings and statements) directly from the home page so having separate options in the bottom toolbar seems like unnecessary duplication. I suggest either keeping the home page clear for general information or as a summary page (last bill, current balance, last reading dates etc) and retain the individual readings and statements pages, or just delete the individual ones and keep them on the home page.
    Downloading PDF statements was quick and easy
    It would be nice to see energy usage information at least for the last two or 3 months, but it could wait for the next release.
    A link to access the community blog would also be useful
    On the phone and tablet, if you start the app in landscape the appearance is bad - once logged in it enforces portrait display - make it autoscale or enforce portrait for the pre-login pages
    If possible, automatic log out after inactivity would provide some security
  • Google Pixel running Oreo 8.1.0

    All seems pretty good for a beta release. Opens quickly and seems pretty stable so far.

    I agree with most of the suggestions made so far by others, but one more would be to enable the camera in the meter reading page, and maybe down the line introduce character recognition to read the digits (with the option to correct it if wrong).

    Other than that I'm sure the look of the interface will become a little slicker over time to match your website style a little closer.

    Great so far, carry on with the good work.
  • mowcius said:

    I manage my mum's utilities accounts and she is with another supplier who have an excellent app.

    As you generally can't use an app without being a customer, Bulb probably haven't seen/used a lot of them.

    Fancy posting some screenshots and notes of exactly what you think is good/bad about their app?

    Good idea.

    This is their homepage where you can see everything else branches from.



    If you tap on "submit a reading you then get this:



    Obviously the method of entering could easily be a box to enter digits into, they just have this rolling system which opens at your last entered reading. Scroll the numbers round to the correct reading, click "next", confirm and submit.

    If you then tap on "account summary" you get this:



    Which has sub menus for things like managing your direct debit. The homepage also drops onto a small tab at the bottom and if you wish to return home you just swipe this up to restore the homepage.

    If you tap on "your usage" you get this:



    Again more sub menus which are self explanatory.

    I have no idea how complicated this app was to build or even if Bulb would want to explore something similar, but IMHO it is an excellent app, very user friendly and one of the best "big company" apps I have come across.
  • I don't know what I've done there but those screen shots are HUGE!!!!

    Sorry folks :anguished:

  • Looks great so far. Would like to see:
    - torch toggle (my cellar is dark and my eyes are old)
    - camera to take readings, if possible
    - Auto logoff, and reauthentication, maybe by fingerprint.
  • I just received 1.0.4.5 build 5. There doesn't seem to be any indication as to what has changed?
  • On my Samsung GS8+ running Android version 7.0
    I have found the following:
    I have successfully (I think) submitted a Gas meter reading via the app.
    The Electricity reading will not activate the 'Submit' button and so I can't complete that activity - I'm certain I've got the digits right. If I prefix it with a couple of zeroes the 'Submit' button does turn green. I didn't have to do that with the gas reading.
    Both numbers, when entered, had a little bit shaved off the top of the actual digits inside the box as per the attached screenshot.
  • I'm using a Huawei Mate 9 on Android 7. Here's my thoughts.

    The meter reading input screen isn't clear as it doesn't stipulate the user has to enter a 5 digit reading. My meter is currently showing a reading of four digits in length. It took me a while of trying different things to get the submit button to turn green.

    It would be nice to see estimated energy usage in the app.
  • KCW said:

    Both numbers, when entered, had a little bit shaved off the top of the actual digits inside the box as per the attached screenshot.

    That looks huge!

    I presume you've changed the DPI/screen zoom settings? It you know what you've got it set to, that would likely be useful info for Bulb.

  • @TonyBrett well spotted! The update was a trial release for the production app. As a result, we kept the release notes the same so that people viewing the app for the first time saw the original notes. Now the app is in production, we’ll add more detail to the release notes with future releases. As well as configuration changes to get the application ready for production, 1.0.4.5 build 5 also includes:
    - Improvements to the screen layout for devices with 18.5:9 aspect ratio (further improvements to come for this)
    - Changing the status bar colour to match the navigation bar colour
  • @witchywoman, @clive126, @MaWi72, @Pannetony, @carguy143 - Thank you very much for all your suggestions. We’re planning to incorporate these ideas into the next version of the app. We’ll keep you up to date on the next release!

    @KCW, @mowcius - Thank you for pointing this out. As @mowcius said, it looks like this could be due to the font zoom. @KCW are you able to confirm your font zoom settings on your phone? We’ll test this here as well.
  • Hi everybody,

    Firstly, thank you all so much for testing the app and providing so much feedback. This is invaluable to the product team who look after the app and helps us shape future releases.

    We’ve now ended the open beta and fully released the app to the Google Play store. We’re putting together a roadmap for the app, which will incorporate a number of the ideas that have been suggested here and will keep you up to date with future releases.

    We’d love to keep this discussion alive and continue to get your feedback, so if there’s anything else you’d like to see us change in the Android app, then please let us know!

    Thanks,

    Dan
  • Functionality seems good, and can't think of anything missing that I'd want at this stage.

    The negative point for me is the size of the app (over 40MB!). For an app with such a small set of features, I'd think the footprint should be much smaller (although I'm guessing development was done using lots of frameworks rather than built from the ground up? Given your dev resources!)
  • Google Play Store says app is not compatible with my device Android 4.2.2
  • I was sceptical about the app: I couldn't see any need for it because the website works fine for me. However, I have an open mind and thought I'd try it out to see what I'd been missing.

    However, I cancelled the download when I saw the the app was full of SPYWARE ! There can be no valid reason for wanting to snoop through my photos, take photographs and see who I've telephoned. NO WAY !

    I'm really ashamed of you, Bulb. I thought you were a good company, but you've gone down a lot because of this. You really shouldn't tarnish your reputation by getting tangled up with such dodgy software. If I find a cheaper company I wouldn't feel so guilty about leaving.
  • edited February 2
    Gerry1 said:

    However, I cancelled the download when I saw the the app was full of SPYWARE !

    Thankfully this app contains nothing even close to what could be considered spyware. Perhaps ensure you understand the terminolgy you're using before casting aspersions.

    I understand your concerns about unnecessary permissions, however but both those and the bloat are likely explained by the software used to assist them in building the app.

    The latest version on Google Play is now smaller (slightly) and seems to have no excessive permissions when installed (storage only).

    I'm really ashamed of you, Bulb. I thought you were a good company, but you've gone down a lot because of this. You really shouldn't tarnish your reputation by getting tangled up with such dodgy software.
    I'd suggest keeping more of an open mind:
    "misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice"

  • carguy143 said:

    I'm using a Huawei Mate 9 on Android 7. Here's my thoughts.

    The meter reading input screen isn't clear as it doesn't stipulate the user has to enter a 5 digit reading. My meter is currently showing a reading of four digits in length. It took me a while of trying different things to get the submit button to turn green.

    It would be nice to see estimated energy usage in the app.

    +1 ..

    The app/user would benefit from an input field showing pre-filled zeroes in the background, doing the padding for us, visually. It also shows the previous reading with a decimal point, which from UX perspective can imply we can submit readings of tenths/hundredths: I first tried XXXX.0 to get the accept button to turn green, without realising the decimal point wasn't accepted, before trying again with a zero in front. Thankfully the app did provide a warning/confirmation rather than blindly accepting the x10 reading.
  • Whatever the update was it's much better now (14MB rather than 40MB before!). Also, sensible permissions (just asks for camera/file access for uploading pictures of meter readings). Good job.
  • Thanks for your feedback everyone, and great to see so much uptake of the app!

    We've taken your feedback on board and reduced the size of the app, and the permissions requested - the only permission you'll now have to give is access to Photos/Media/Files, so you can download your statements.
  • I have heard that the android app is now up and running. I still can't install it on my Samsung Galaxy J7
  • @Chrisgreaves9, what issue are you having with it?

    Visiting the Google Play page or searching for it in Google Play on your mobile, you should be able to tell it to install on your device. It should work fine on a J7.
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