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Release Week: Castro 2.5

Posted by Padraig on Sep 22, 2017
Castro 2.5 Screenshot

This week we released Castro 2.5. Its flagship new feature is drag and drop on iOS 11.

Federico Viticci mentioned our implementation in the iPhone Drag and Drop section of his iOS 11 review:

Castro, the podcast client by Supertop, is my favorite example I’ve tried to date. In version 2.5 of Castro, which is an iPhone-only app, drag and drop complements the experience by letting you drag episodes around, rearrange them in the listening queue, and even batch select them to move them across sections of the app.

Castro was already based on the idea of a podcast inbox that you triage on a regular basis; drag and drop is the perfect interaction paradigm for it – especially because it’s been combined with the Taptic Engine to make you feel items you’re moving around. Now instead of using buttons and menus, you can just drag episodes, save them in the queue, and archive them.

[…]

Drag and drop in Castro feels great (Supertop’s use of animations, spring-loading, and haptic feedback is superb), and it convinced me that the feature is not a gimmick on the smaller screen; it can bring substantial benefits to any iPhone app. After getting used to drag and drop in Castro 2.5, I want it everywhere.

Jake Underwood also wrote on Macstories about how this update transforms podcast organization:

As my list of podcasts grows and my preferences change, I’m finding it tougher to organize my shows in an effective and intentional way. With Castro 2.5, though, something clicked. Through a combination of the inbox-queue methodology and drag and drop for my podcasts, I’ve been able to rethink how I listen to my feed.

[…]

Being able to move shows with drag and drop helps me filter what I’m immediately trying to listen to, an effect that can save me a lot of time.

Pádraig wrote on our blog about why drag and drop is a big deal for iOS, not just for dragging between separate apps on iPad, but as a way to embrace the multi-touch capabilities of all iOS devices:

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.

[…]

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.

[…]

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.

And Oisín posted a brief demonstration of the drag and drop features in Castro 2.5 on YouTube:

[Reordering episodes] can be done singlehandedly like before but if you have a second hand free you can now scroll the queue behind to get to where you want more quickly and efficiently.

[…]

Now, when you’re dragging an episode, if you leave your finger over the queue icon for a second it’ll switch to that tab and then you can drop that episode wherever you want in the queue, so you’re not limited to queueing just at the top or bottom any more.

You’re also not restricted to queueing just one episode at a time any more. You can drag from the filter bar at the top to pick up a bundle of all those episodes. Or if you have another finger free, then tapping an episode in the list while you’re already dragging will add that episode to your bundle.

[…]

Finally, reordering multiple episodes in your queue is now easier than ever. Instead of having to reorder them one at a time, I can just scroll through here selecting the episodes I want to listen to next… and then just drop them right at the top.

We’re excited about the potential of drag and drop to improve user experience everywhere on iOS, and we’re very happy with how our implementation of it has been received. Next week we’ll publish a design-focussed post that explores the details of what is takes to make a great drag and drop implementation, so designers and developers should keep an eye out for that.

Castro 2.5 is available now on the App Store. It’s a free update for users of Castro 2 and only $3.99 if you haven’t tried Castro yet.

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