Thursday, December 14, 2017

Review of the Timer function on the Toastmasters International Mobile App


When I rehearse my speeches I usually time myself either with the stopwatch function on my Casio watch or a digital lab timer. I finally got around to downloading the Android version of the free Toastmasters International Mobile App at Google Play and tried it out on my Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G phone, as shown above.

When I opened the App it asked me to enter a Username and Password. For rehearsal I chose to skip that, and to continue to Use as Guest.

The timer on the Mobile App is quite useful, and easy to navigate. The top menu line first asks you to Select Speech…      V. When I clicked on that line I was asked to Select Speech Type, and given choices, which are:

Intro Speech (4:00 – 6:00)
Prepared Speech (5:00 – 7:00)
Extended Speech (8:00 – 10:00)
Table Topics (1:00 – 2:00)
Evaluation (2:00 – 3:00)
Open Time

The Custom Speech type starts set at times for a prepared speech (5:00 – 7:00) and then both minimum and maximum can be adjusted up or down in 0:15 increments.

Initially the two circular touchscreen control buttons are Start (red) and Reset (gray).  Pressing Start changes the left button to Pause (black). When Pause is pressed, that button changes to show Resume (Red). On my phone the Timer displays 0.4 in. (1 cm) high 4-digit white numbers for minutes and seconds. The background begins as dark gray, and eventually changes to the usual Toastmasters traffic light colors of green (shown above), yellow, or red. 

The Timer also continuously displays a horizontal progress bar with a vertical line between a dark color (left) and a lighter color (right). But, as shown above, there is insufficient contrast between the grays, some contrast between the greens, and easily seen contrast between the yellows.

I would suggest that (as shown above) that contrast should be increased so that a quick glance at the Timer display always would clearly reveal what percent of the maximum time has elapsed.   

I also wanted a way to tilt my phone so the timer could be seen easily during rehearsals. Placing it inside a generic 9.5 oz. clear plastic food storage container (like those made by Glad or Ziploc) solved that problem. 

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