Castro blog

The latest news for podcast lovers

Back to list

Drag & Drop is a Big Deal

Posted by Padraig on Sep 21, 2017

The ability to detect multiple points of contact on a screen, known as multi-touch, has been around since the first days of the iPhone. Before the iPhone we interacted with computers indirectly, using a keyboard or a mouse. The major advance of multi-touch is the illusion of directly manipulating the interface. In practice though, much of the capability of multi-touch is under-utilized. Aside from the occasional pinch-to-zoom on a photo or map, we still perform most actions with a single finger. This is changing with iOS 11’s new drag & drop capabilities. iOS apps have a new way to deliver on the promise of multi-touch.

One limitation of drag & drop on iPhone is that dragging between separate apps isn’t supported, while it is on iPad. A lot of attention has focused on drag & drop in the context of sharing data between apps easily. That is a great improvement, but it’s is not the full story. Drag & drop is powerful and transformative even within a single app.

Many iOS workflows are tedious, requiring taps, swipes, special edit modes, pushing extra screens on top, and finding a done button at the end. Users have to maintain a mental model of where they are in the app as they step through these tasks. Consider this example: you’ve written an email and wish to attach a photo. You tap a couple of times to get the black popover to appear, tap the right arrow, tap “Insert Photo or Video”, browse through your photos, tap it, then tap “Choose”, then tap send. With drag & drop, you find the photo and drag it into the email.

In addition to making interactions much more efficient, the direct manipulation that drag & drop affords is easily learned. It’s not just a tool for power-users. It’s intuitive — we move things around in the real world and now we do that in apps too. The basic idea has existed on the desktop for decades. Ordinary users will get it.

Castro 2.5

We worked all summer to add the new drag & drop features to turbo boost triage, the core feature that makes Castro special. Triaging podcast episodes is much more simple and powerful in Castro 2.5.

You no longer need to process episodes one at a time — you can scroll through the inbox with one finger, collecting episodes in a bundle held by another finger, then drop them all in the queue at once. You can re-arrange your queue by picking up a few episodes at once and dropping the bundle in a new position — in a long queue, this is a huge improvement.

Here are some things to try in Castro 2.5 and iOS 11:

  • Tap and hold to lift an episode, then drag it.
  • While dragging, tap more episodes with another finger to add them to the bundle.
  • Drop episodes on the queue, inbox or archive to move them to these locations.
  • Hold a bundle over any tab icon to switch to that tab, or just tap it with another finger.
  • Drop episodes in a specific queue location, not just top or bottom.
  • Drag from the filter bar to pick up a bundle of all the episodes in that filter.
  • Using drag & drop, you even can now move episodes back out of the queue into the inbox.

It’s hard to communicate in writing just how transformative drag & drop is for Castro, so we made a short demo video. Castro 2.5 is available on iOS App Store.

Sign up to stay up to date

Get the latest news on Castro product updates and new features.