Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.
These ARE eBird checklists, so it will be using Clements' naming, etc.
This is a tough project, and after a few years of stop and start on it, and a huge learning curve, I finally have enough base under me to efficiently develop Android (for now) apps as easy as I develop the main PC Birder's Diary program. This is a good feeling.
Now, let's talk about the checklist entry style that we can use on Mobile. Most of this is just an off the cuff discussion with you where I am considering all the justifications that led me to this design. Sorry for the length, but I need to justify to myself and to all of you why I think you will use and like this more. Or hear why it is a bad idea.
First, the eBird app, it has two basic checklist entry modes; 1) one where the entire checklist is shown, and 2) where just the species seen/checked-off are shown. Both are always in taxonomic order. Most folks I talk to use the 2nd form; me also. This form always requires typing in the species code/name to get to the species in question and then checking it off. In the former (#1), the entire list is displayed and if the next species you want to check off happens to be on the same page as the last one you checked off, then you merely need to scan the list to find it without typing in the code/name. This less-than-often case is not that easy, taxonomic order continually changes and I don't know whether Purple Sandpiper comes before or after Red Knot. So the scanning is problematic and for me requires reading glasses to be able to do that at all. You mention one of the few actual cases that fit your argument as I can see it, fall shorebird birding. Where the next species you are about to check off is likely within a page or two of the last one you checked off. However, that has the problem I just mentioned. Where is that next species? Forward or backward? Ah, nevermind, I will just enter the code/name. That matches my use in the field. I would wager to guess that the likelihood of the next species to be checked off in 95% of all birding cases is not within the same page of names as the last one just checked off, year-round.
Let's also don't forget, that only a small percentage of birders using these apps are of the type that know whether Galliformes comes before or after Piciformes in the taxonomic order.
In summary, I believe that it is the rare case when your argument for taxonomic order might be considered beneficial.
Back to the new Birder's Diary app. I have been an avid user of the eBird mobile app for years. And I have used many of the others. eBird's is the cleanest and easiest to understand and use. The others offer neat additional features, but less intuitive and not as clean.
I wanted something that addressed my woes with eBird's and others' apps.
- No typing in the field just to check off species and/or increment the counts
- One handed use - I don't want to have to take my hands off my camera, binos, etc just to check off a species and get my binos back to my face to check off the next. I should be able to do this with one hand. Easily clicking anywhere on the entire row to increment the count. Not just the count field on the far left.
- I need to have reading glasses around my neck (and I think this matches many birders) in addition to binos, camera, in order to type, read, see, edit sightings. I don't want that. The user should be able to set the font size comfortable to them that allows them to quickly and easily see and check-off sightings.
- This needs to be at least as fast as using eBird mobile app.
For no typing in the field, you have to implement a method that allows you to find the species quickly and easily all with only using your thumb on one hand to scroll-to and click on the row. The alpha Thumb Index and an alphabetically ordered list is the only method I know that allows this.
I used species lists from my last several outings in Birder's Diary as real-world examples of species I encounter on various trips to the beach, estuaries, jungle, and urban areas. This generally included from between 15 and 40 species on each list. I entered that checklist using eBird (two hands and reading glasses with code/name typing and count incrementing) sitting at my desk, not in the field with equipment dangling around my neck, and using the Birder's Diary method (using one hand and NO reading glasses). In ever case, Birder's Diary app method outperformed eBird's app. Not worse, and not a tie, but always better. For example, if eBird's app took 40 seconds to enter 20 species using both hands and reading glasses, Birder's Diary app took 30-35 seconds with one hand and NO reading glasses. This is a WIN and meets the design criteria. Originally, I felt if I could just match eBird's speed or be only slightly longer, it would still be a WIN. I unexpected came out ahead on every test.
Ok - there is my justification for this design.
Now to backtrack and make those of you still in the taxonomic order camp feel a bit better...
- I intend to offer an option to put the list in Taxonomic order; this necessarily removes the Thumb Index
- Both taxonomic and alpha ordered lists will have a search feature that allow you to do substring searching on the entire list. You can search on 'bunting' to display all buntings, or 'sandp' for sandpipers in their name, etc.
- The display will have options to show SciNames or CommonNames only, or both with one being in larger font on top and the other being in smaller font below. It's only a matter of personal preference and real-estate usage on the screen. For example, I want my botanical list in SciName (still sorted alphabetically, but that is how I know my plants), but bird lists in CommonName.
All righty then. That is enough for now. Thanks much for bringing this up and allowing me to explain my rationale in detail. Let me know what you think about this and anything else.
Back to coding...