App Review — Timely for Android

by Rachit Gupta

I’ve been using Timely for about an year now and it is one of my favorites. Just like Songza’s review, this is my feedback/impressions from a design perspective.


First Impressions

Unique visuals. It looks different, there are no clock faces or huge numbers or sliders shouting at you. It’s colorful.

Setting an alarm in one-tap-and-drag. In one tap and drag, I was able to set an alarm for the next day. There’s the selling point.

I don’t remember the onboarding steps but Timely is ‘cloud enabled’ which means that if the user switches phones, he does not lose his already set alarms. Simple, but useful.


The Experience

I’ll break it screen by screen.

Setting an alarm:

Setting an alarm

Sweet. But what if now I want to move this alarm to 9:30PM? I’d drag this all the way down to the end of the screen.

Using drag vertically across a huge screen with the action buttons (‘cancel’ and ‘done’) on top isn’t a one hand task.

Viewing alarms:

Greens I like, and reds are usability issues

You’re looking at five of my alarms. What if there were 20?

List would lead to scroll. If my most important is 11:30PM, it’d be at the very end in the present design.

Editing one alarm:

You tap the alarm card in the previous card to come to this view. Smart Rise and some other options are interesting to explore. I like the toggle switches for turning on/off the alarm for certain days.

Digital clock:

Changing clock face

The second tab is a simple clock feature which in my opinion isn’t really needed.

The main goal of the app is to make the waking up experience better, coming two levels down to view digital clock isn’t useful.

Timer and Stopwatch

Timer and Stopwatch in action

A couple additional features in Timely are Timer and Stopwatch. You swipe up and down to toggle between the two.

Visually it looks nice and different.

But there are some specific design problems:

Setting a timer for 10 hours is a negative experience

Setting up a timer for 10 hours is probably an edge case, but 2 hours? 3 hours?

Moving finger around the dial 3 times to set it is time-consuming. 3 taps would be faster instead.
Stopwatch interaction when adding multiple laps

I see numbers, a lot of them. But how do they relate to each other?

As a user, I want the app to do the math for me. I just want to know if the numbers are good or bad. That’s it.

App Redesign

Visual overhaul is due for an incoming post but while reviewing this app, I thought of some ideas I can share:

Alarm Clock

Using a real clock to set alarms instead of dragging on touch
Using a real analog clock-like experience to set alarms eliminates the problem of dragging back and forth.

Stopwatch

Instead of toggling between stopwatch and timer, stopwatch can have it’s own screen. Showing a graph of user’s performance instead of a simple list can make the data visual and easy to understand.

Timer

Four ideas for Timer

I came up with 4 different ideas for Timer. As a final solution, I ended up with a toggle switch between hours and minutes and tap-drag experience.

Imagine your screen is a glass with a 60 point scale on the side. When you start dragging from bottom, the screen fills and when you release the timer is set and starts counting down.

Closing Thoughts

These are some of my nit-picky thoughts/frustrations about the overall experience with Timely. I use it daily and I love it!

Closing with something I learned in the recent past:

Delight is important, but usability is the priority.

Stay tuned for redesigned visuals. Share your thoughts in the comments section and let’s connect!