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Sofa 2.6: Sections and Siri Shortcuts

A few months back I did some research on how people were understanding Sofa. I learned a lot during that research, but two things stood out in particular:

  1. Apple Notes and other notes apps are used heavily to create and maintain lists for movies, books, and more.
  2. These notes apps are a mess. Their flexible nature led people to create lists that quickly become unintelligible.

That’s when I focused on improving the organization features of Sofa.

Sections: More Powerful Organization

You can now group lists together into Sections. For example, create a section called “Movies” to group all movie lists. You can do the same for books, podcasts, and tv shows.

What problems do Sections solve?

The number of lists people have in Sofa ranges wildy, from a few to dozens. Once you hit around 20–30 lists, it became painful to manage.

Grouping lists into Sections improves two common tasks:

  1. Quickly adding something to a list
  2. Browsing lists for something to watch, read, or listen to.

For those of you with a lot of lists, I think you’re going to like Sections :)

Siri Shortcuts

Siri Shortcuts are the new hotness in iOS 12. From Apple, Shortcuts are good for “immediately performing useful actions, or for opening the app to specific screens so the user can quickly initiate tasks”. Sofa’s implementation focuses on the latter.

How it works

Siri Shortcuts for Sofa focuses on speeding up the process of adding to your lists. Now you can say “Hey Siri, add a book”, and Sofa will open to the book search screen. This allows you to bypass multiple taps just by talking to Siri.

Before you start chatting with Siri, you have to do a few things first.

  1. First, Siri needs to be informed about the shortcut. Siri doesn’t know these exist by default. To tell Siri, you need to perform the action in Sofa.
  2. Add a book, movie, etc in Sofa. This tells Siri about the shortcut.
  3. Go to Settings App > Siri & Search to setup the shortcut and you should see the new Sofa Shortcut under “Suggested Shortcuts”.

The Limitations

Even though Siri Shortcuts give developers more power, there are still limitations. Ideally you would say “Hey Siri, Add the book ‘Sapiens’” and Sofa would open to the book search screen, fill in the title, perform the search, and show you the results. All triggered by your voice. From what I understand, this isn’t possible out of the box. Hopefully in future versions of iOS Apple adds the ability to do this.

What’s Next for 2019?

This will most likely be the last release of this year, but I have a lot in the pipeline for 2019.

This list is no guarantee that the feature will be developed, it’s more what I think will be worked on next year. Seriously though, plans change all the time.

  • Sharing of lists and items (movies, books, etc)
  • Improve detail pages
  • Search for lists and list items
  • Syncing and potentially an iPad app
  • New data sources like video games and places
  • Themes

If there is anything you’d like to add to our list, shoot us an email at feedback@sofahq.com.

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