Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shopping Assistant User Guide

  Since we've just finished the first version of our shopping list management application for Android and we are still in the process of getting a proper site, I am going to add the user guide for Shopping Agent as a post in my blog for the time being.
  Before I dive into the specifics of the application, I would like to add the following disclaimer for those of you who want to download and use the application from the Android Market.

  This software is freeware and is provided 'as-is', WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages arising from the use of this software.

 In the hopes that you will find this application useful, here is a short user guide. For any inquiries or suggestions you can email us at hypersynapse.support@gmail.com. We're also available on twitter - follow @sh0passistant to get tips on how to use the application and provide us feedback on the application.

  The application has 3 tabs with the in which the users can manage their shopping lists, do the actual shopping or see reports of their previous shopping sessions.

1. The shopping list management tab (Shop Lists)

You can create a new shopping list by entering it's name in the List Name text field and pressing the Create button, or you can use the Import button to load a previously exported list from your device's SD card.

 In order to add items in your newly created shopping list, you can use the View/Add items context menu on your list, which will bring you to a new screen where item details can be entered.

Tip: categories can be isles from your preferred supermarket, that way it will be easier to filter when shopping in the store.

The import and export functionality can be used for passing lists around to other users. For example, one user can create a shopping list that she wants to send to somebody else, and use the Export context menu on the list to save it to the device's SD card and then mail it to another user who can use the Import functionality to load it in her application

2. The Shop View tab

On the Shop View tab you can use the List and Category drop downs, to select the list from which you want to buy the items and the category/isle on which you want to go. Once the items are filtered, you will see them in the list with check boxes next to them. If you tap on the check box next to an item, you will be taken to the next dialog which will allow you to enter some info about the item such as a price and an expiration date and you can edit the quantity of an item if needed.

 The application will compute your total cost for a shopping list so at the end of the shopping session you will be able to know how much you need to pay.
 If you are buying an item that expires, you can enter the expiration date and on that day, you will get a notification in the notification bar of your device, that your item expires. If the item is non expiring, don't forget to check the Non Expiring Item check box.

Warning: If the device gets booted after you set an expiration notification, the notification won't show on the expiration day - this is currently the default behavior of Android alarms which get reset when the device is booted, and we're working on a workaround for this small inconvenience.

Tip: There currently are no units for quantity and for items such as fruit or vegetables, which are sold based on weight, you can just add 1 as the quantity, and when you weigh them, you can add your total as the item price.

3. The Reports tab

 On this tab you can see various statistics about your shopping sessions. You can choose one of the reports available in the Report drop down and you will see a corresponding statistic. This is helpful if you like to keep track of your expenses and see what were your most bought items.
 In order to be able to see any reports of your previously bought items, you should first close all the shopping lists you have already bought from the Shop Lists tab, by using the list context menu -> Close.

4. The Application Settings
 When pressing the device menu key, you will be presented with the application's settings menu. If you tap on the menu, you will access the settings of the application.

 There currently are 2 settings that can be changed: the Notification Start Time, which will be the time at which you want your expiration notifications to go off in the day the items expire and the Limit Top Reports which is the number of items to be shown in your Top Frequency and Top Expensive reports.

Playing for Change