FlipToast

FlipToast is one of those apps I reviewed during the release preview but I have since deleted it since it was outdated and not very good. I figured it was time to look at it again to see how it is improved. I liked it as a possible alternative to the People app. I will compare it to that default app in this review.

FlipToast – main screen view with right-click

The opening view shows you what is important, of course not until you set-up your accounts.  It isn’t empty though as you’ll see FlipToast’s Twitter and Facebook feeds to start with. I enjoy the visual style with the circles for everyone’s avatar and a little flag to indicate which service the post is from. It also provides how many likes, comments and how long it was posted. It doesn’t feel crowded but you get a lot of information at once.

You may notice I have 3 accounts active here out of the 4 possible services currently available. Instagram is the one I don’t use, but the People app doesn’t include it. I had thought the buttons would isolate the feed to only show that service, but it opens up the settings panel instead, too bad.

Along the bottom you can see a few buttons. The Post Update button allows you to post an update to all of your services at once (in screenshot further down). Convenient should that be something you have always wanted to do (not for me though I admit I do not use Twitter or Linked In very much anyway). You can easily post photos from the right-click as well. It worked quite well though thought it would auto-erase helpful text where it wants you to enter a description for the photo. I do take objection to the buttons for liking and following FlipToast on the bottom bar – they are on EVERY screen. A bit of overkill. I’d rather they just be in settings or something.

Scrolling to the right on the main screen you get sections for Notifications, Photos, Messages, Birthdays and Friends. Overall a bit cleaner than the People app with more information available as well for each of them.

FlipToast – post with like and comment

By clicking on a post you can get the full post plus # of comments and likes. You also get the ability to like or add your comment here. Scrolling to the right you can see all the avatars of people who liked it and finally all the comments. It works well but I just find the horizontal scroll doesn’t work for me when reading comments. You assume they go down each row and then start-up again in the next row but it is difficult to tell the flow of the 3 box high columns. No time is shown for when each post was made either. Here is one area the People app presents it better with only a scroll bar down for comments, otherwise all on one page. No right-click needed to either like or comment as well.

FlipToast – facebook friends page

FlipToast – twitter follower detail

Above you can see Facebook and Twitter contact pages. It keeps the interface consistent but a bit limited. You can post for whichever service you are viewing the contact for and make a post for that service to that person. It isn’t clear that it will send them a message as its labeled “Post” not “Message”. You can’t do very much though. The People app can email that contact, map location, call them (as long as have for it) view profile and send a message. The People app also separates the photos section and provides even more options via right-click.

FlipToast – photo view

One final area to look at is viewing photos. Above you can see one from the Pita Pit (great food by the way) and it is informative for its likes and comments. It isn’t exactly obviously though if you wish to like or comment you need to click on the photo. Why can’t I do it from this view? You can do it from the large photo view on the People app.

Charms

Search – doesn’t work as I expected, though not something I use typically on social networks. I tried looking for a friend and nothing from that friend came up even though they are in my contact list. Mostly things not related. I search for McDonalds and that returned several matches of people I don’t know. I’m not sure if there is a limit because I only got 50 hits in total. Share – since it combines several social networks it shares well with other social apps including Mail and Stumbleupon but seems to only share the fact you are on FlipToast nothing from within the app. Useless. Settings – just a section for adding accounts. Be careful you don’t click on an existing account. I had thought it would show more options, I was wrong. It deleted the account.

Snap

Here the app works better than the People app. You can do everything within the snapped one-third view, though there are few graphical missteps and some things look odd, it works. The People app goes to full screen for some things without warning.

FlipToast – live tile

Tile

It cycles though 3 different states with those states sometimes changing. It will show News, Photos (a mash of 5 photo posts) and Messages (most recent messages). It is quite good. The People app only cycles through Photo collages and Messages.

Summary

This review was a bit more detailed than I usually will do but I wanted to hit most areas in it as a combination app for social networks is something many might wish to use. While some of the apps included with Windows 8 leave you feeling empty, the People app isn’t one of them. Overall it has a nice clean presentation just makes it hard to do what you want to do (can’t reply to messages!). FlipToast does well to keep itself unique but could use a little dose of ease of use in it and cut down on the self-promotion. It certainly gives you Instagram and Linked In, and I hope in the future Google+ that the People app doesn’t and probably won’t. (note: the People app lets you add a Google account but I see no way that it adds Plus to the feed).

 

Rating

Category: Social    Download size: 169 KB    Age: 16+     
                         Publisher: W3i Holdings Inc.

 

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About

51-yr-old father of 3, work in telemarketing, like computers and technology

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Apps, People, Social Networking
4 comments on “FlipToast
  1. Thanks much for the review. I’m on the FlipToast Team and I can’t thank you enough for your post.

    We will definitely take your feedback into account. Here are some things we are already working on for our next release:
    1. Ability to isolate the feeds to one service only – we are adding the ability to toggle between different networks in the top app bar.
    2. Self-promotion – thanks for the feedback. We will revisit how we’re doing the ‘like’ and ‘follow’
    3. Search – this is meant to be a ‘social search’ feature. So for example, if you want to see what everyone on all different networks is saying about ‘fliptoast’ or about ‘black friday’ you can do that using our social search. It works like Twitter’s search but for all your social networks.
    I appreciate your comment about having search show people or your friends as well – we will incorporate that.
    4. Share – this is more so for you to be able to use FlipToast to share an article you are reading on IE or within another app to all your social networks. However, I understand where you are coming from if you want to share something from your social networks to another app. Thanks for feedback.
    5. Ability to like and comment – we strictly followed Microsoft’s UX guidelines that made it a little tedious to like and comment. We are revisiting that and will make it work more seamlessly.

    Thanks once again. This was so helpful for us. It’s very difficult when people leave reviews and don’t explain what didn’t work or why they are not 100% satisfied with the app. I wish everyone would write us a review like this 🙂

    • sekyal says:

      Your welcome. One comment one the Like and comment reply. You mention following UX guidelines, well it appears Microsoft doesn’t always follow those guidelines themselves in regard to the People app anyway.

  2. Also, is it obvious that clicking on the column headers like ‘Today’s Posts’ or ‘Photos’ or ‘Notifications’ gets you to a category view of more content?

    • sekyal says:

      The column headers are obvious at me at least because it is commonplace for apps to use that method to see more of a section. It isn’t entirely obvious though if new to Windows 8 apps.

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