New App is to PTV as Timeline is to Facebook.

A recent article in The Age highlights a growing distaste for PTV’s new app to replace the old Metlink one on iPhones and iPods. But having reviewed the app myself and all it’s functions, it’s actually highly intuitive – and it works; assuming you get your head around it. It is genuinely a better app when you work well with it.

The Public Transport App.

I also have an Android phone and use Train Trapper and Tram Hunter (available from Google Play), and look at these two apps and in contrast they are extremely simple to use. The Metlink app (there is no PTV app yet – tuh) is acceptable at the best of times.

The trade off? High amount of functionality versus almost too easy to use? Why not? People are stupid.

I’d fathom that most people who actually have smartphone, only use a small fraction of their true capability on another note. Like our brains really, if we tried to do more we’d probably overload (we as humans, not the phone dengus).

My other point is the same thing was to be encountered with Facebook Timeline. Imagine if everyone’s resistance halted progress? We’d be stuck in the stone age of internet, although looking at it, we technically are in the stone age. I mean the only real change was a giant picture at the top (Cover Photo), and the fact that it only made obvious that fact you post things is chronological order, where you can OPT to specify an event date. It’s an OPTION.

I wish I could observe Facebook when I started using it back in the Myspace era. Look at it’s highly limited capability. Every time it had been modified in some small way, there had been public opposition.

Easy might be convenient, but it doesn’t get us anywhere.

Just like the countless modifications to Facebook, this app will see it’s heyday just like nothing happened 8 weeks ago. I don’t believe it’s quite an appsolute failure, in fact I don’t even know why it made the news. But, don’t worry our short attention spans will make sure of it. Oh, cupcakes.

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6 thoughts on “New App is to PTV as Timeline is to Facebook.”

  1. the lack of andorid app makes me angry. i understand why the iphone apps are devloped first but as a goverment body, they should be endevoring to provided services to all users equaly.

  2. I’m sorry I couldn’t agree less about the PTv app. I’ve rolled with all the Facebook changes over the years and worked out how to work with me, but I’ve never ever seen an upgrade that reduces the functionality of something as successfully as this Metlink one has done.

    The previous poster mentioned the reduction in offline capability – this is a HUGE step backwards, not only for those users with non3G devices, but those on small download plans, and most importantly, those who use the app on the train network, where tunnels, cuttings, The Loop and endless interference means using 3G is near impossible most of the time.

    They have also removed the possibility to:

    – Properly journey-plan
    -View full timetables of any line/bus/tram
    – organise your favourites list once you’ve added the stops
    – see BOTH the departure time and the minutes-to-departure of a particular service (you have to choose one or the other)
    – Choose from your favourite stops while journey-planning
    – Jump from one function to another in one touch (on the new one, if you’re 4 pages into a journey plan, you have to go back 4 to then go to your favourites)

    Against all of that – I’ve compiled a list of the pros:

    – Includes tramtracker real-time info
    – looks nice

    Not that great a list is it?

    For someone taking the same trip every day I’m sure it works fine. Simple journey-plan requests are returning no results. It won’t do a single journey-plan with a street address as the start destination, and virtually none work with it as a destination either.

    I did a journey-plan today from a known station to a known bus-stop. No results. Metlink Classic app, pixelated and offline and all, found exactly what I wanted to know in about 3 touches.

    Why is this app a good idea???

    1. I’m traditionally an Android user and the Metlink App was irritating. I had the App also on my iPod. But if I could get live information, I would. My logic is this. People who use this app are using it: just before departure, or close to it, and; to travel from A-B. For most people this app should work.

      My experience as follows

      1. WiFi does limit capabilities. Most people are connected though. I’ve assumed that you are connected.

      2. Journey Planning has evolved. I sampled a few random journey’s.

      Custom non station/stop journeys? I cycle to the station. But I found no big difference. I still inputted my address, and my final tran station. I got the same results. Nifty map system, which is better than having to click and wait for a custom drawn map.

      I got those options to choose my time of departure, everything – no change. Functionality hasn’t changed – you just input using the search bar, which provides actual mapping information. Hitting next, I go my 4 options. Pretty standard. Also done in three taps :) (Four, given if you opt for any custom preferences, windows seat, vegetarian meal, priority boarding et al)

      3. Organized favourites I don’t think is a priority. I mean surely it doesn’t take that much effort to scroll up and down. That would also change if you use an iPad or the upcoming iPhone 4 (taller screen). If you want it arranged, it records your favourites in reverse chronological order, that you add them. I scroll away, no biggy. It’s great it’s colour coded.

      4. Departure time vs time to departure. I don’t think there’s a difference. If it’s noon, and you want the 12:08 train, it’s still 8 minutes away…

      Having both would keep it cluttered. But if you are one of those people who like to plan at the end of a meeting, grab a coffee/snack then commute, probably not. But the app wouldn’t work either way for you, so it’s a bit of a moot point.

      5. Favourite stops. Yes this is an issue, but I think the intuitive nature during Journey Planner overrides it for a wider spectrum of ‘occasional users’ rather ‘frequent users.’ This does have some room to move.

      6. A direct ‘back to home page’ would be quite useful, so I agree. But really, four taps? I remember brandishing three timetables, and a notepad planning journeys back in the day.

      But it imply the app is biased to people who are generally follow a specific route/departure point that is the app knows about. Once that’s set, the Favourites Screen becomes very powerful, and is beyond capabilities of TramTracker as it incorporates your specific journeys, and other modes.

      BTW – Have you turned offline mode off, when doing custom address based searches? It obviously won’t work that way. Nor will the original app.

      There are others niggles like journey planner not displaying results. This issue as well as using specific addresses with Journey Planner I suspect is not the app itself (wholly) but the live server on the other end.

      Sorry long post.

      1. As far as I can work out, the new app does not provide live departure information at all – it still just draws on the timetable information from the server. I thought that it would at least include the tram tracker information, but when I’ve checked the two against each other, it is blatantly not the case.

        Given this, how is it not capable of using the full timetable information on your phone in offline mode? If the old apps could do it so well (and are you aware that the app this replaced worked in both offline and online mode?) why can’t the new one?

        As for being connected – I am, but I’d say 75% of my trip into town in the mornings has zero-little Internet connection. That means once I’m out of 3G I can’t get any information.

        And that brings me to another point.

        The app still just doesn’t work for me! I keep on trying it to see if they’re actually dealing with the server issues. This morning, I was 15-minutes into the journey before it conceded there were any trains in less than 1+ days from Blackburn, one of my favourites and quite a major station. I searched for Glenferrie station, both on the map and in the favourites box. It churned away for a while and never popped up a result. I put it into offline mode… Same thing, despite having all the timetables on my phone.

        This is just basically something so desperately wrong with the programming that I can’t even understand. How can the three-year-old classic app that is no longer maintained perform these functions so effortlessly, and the new shiny one fail so miserably.

        Btw similar ‘tests’ have failed as well when I am at home on our high speed home wifi so it’s not an issue with my device.

        I don’t mind if they want to change the appearance of the new app, but I’m yet to find one thing that the old one didn’t do that the new one is an improvement on! The other list, of what the new one doesn’t do, is ever growing.

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