If you are into home security as well as technology, Alarm.com is a popular choice to fill that niche. It is a smart home solution that, as you would expect, allows you to control your security system as well as things like cameras, lights, doors, and thermostats. It even supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Think home automation with a security slant, and you've basically got what Alarm.com is about. Initially, this post only set out to talk about the new features in the most recent update, but one of the changes was so incredibly well done that we couldn't help but diverge in our discussion of it. Alarm.com's method of configuring app shortcuts is fantastic.
• Pinch to digitally zoom in or out of a particular area of interest on video (feature screen only).
• Download and share saved video clips and images directly from the app.
• The push notification sent to the app when someone rings the doorbell is now accompanied by a doorbell sound, letting you know that someone is at the door.
• Added support for Shortcuts (for devices with Android 7.1 and up). For supported devices, this feature can be configured by going to App Settings > Shortcuts.
Don't get us wrong, the new features in the update are great. They've added a digital pinch to zoom for videos so you can take a look at what's going on back at home in even more detail — assuming the feed resolution is high enough. You can also download video clips and images and share them directly inside the app. It's even got a new literal doorbell sound for doorbell notifications. But, the most interesting of these new features is the app shortcut configuration.
It's nothing flashy, but it does everything it needs to, and it does it well. Developers should take note, something like this is the right way to handle customizing app shortcuts on Android. It's quick and easy to add the items you want to your list, and reorganizing them is just as simple. You get what you want, in the order you want, with a minimum of fuss. No dragging items up or down long lists, no unintuitive swipes or long presses to add or remove them, just a straightforward and obvious set of icons for adding and removing items, and easy rearranging by grabbing items by the list indicator to the side and moving them up and down the list.
This isn't game-changing stuff, it's just perfectly done. The method is simple, it looks good, and it's not hard to figure out or use. One of the reasons a lot of companies tend to exclude customization features is precisely because of how awkward and technical they can end up being. If you add a dozen ways of doing something, you can end up with a dozen steps to configure things. But this is customization done right, and even the least technically savvy could look at the screen above and deduce the correct steps to set things up.
Alarm.com should be pleased by how easy they have made things, and we hope that other developers use this design as inspiration for their own. When I worked at a classic car garage in my youth, my boss used to have a saying, "Simple is elegant, and elegant is timeless." Well, this is a pretty simple way to handle app shortcuts. If your interest is piqued, check it out over on Google Play or APK Mirror. Unfortunately, you need an Alarm.com setup to use the app, but that's a small price to pay for something so well done.