For many Windows Phone users, the NoDo update that included copy & paste just didn’t seem like it needed so much development time. Many users had to wait months and months for the update, which primarily focused on copy and paste functionality. Microsoft released an interesting article which focuses on the “queen of copy and paste.” That queen is Priyanka Singhal, program manager on the Windows Phone engineering team, who led the team that created copy and paste for Windows Phone.
In the article, Michael Stroh sat down with Singhal to talk about what it was like to create the most anticipated feature in the last months for Windows Phone. The sit down was summed up to 10 questions for the “queen” in which purposes, challenges and examples of copy and paste were all discussed. Again, jump to the full article to read all ten questions, but if you don’t plan to we provided the interesting ones below (after the jump).
Q: First, I have a confession: copy and paste isn’t a phone feature I use much. But I know many folks are passionate about it. What am I missing?
A: Let’s say your wife sends you an appointment to your daughter’s piano recital, and now you want to save that address in your address book. Or you find something on the web that’s really cool and want to send it to a friend in an email. Or you get an email and you want to quote it in an SMS. Or you want to look up a tracking number—basically anything you want to save or share but don’t want to type again. Your phone should be able to take that burden away from you.
Q: What problems or challenges did you encounter along the way?
A: Interestingly, we found people usually call this feature “cut and paste”. And initially we did get feedback from teams who said, “What about cut?”
But [our research showed that] people usually don’t cut. They almost always copy, especially on a mobile device. So then we said, Do we really need cut? For the “90 percent” scenario, if you don’t need cut, then you can get rid of it. Up till now we’ve been proven right. People still call the feature “cut and paste,” but they’re happy with copy and paste. If someone really wants to cut, they can still hit backspace after copying and the selected text goes away.
Q: Will copy and paste change for Mango?
A: There are subtle improvements here and there to make the experience smoother. In Mango, when you tap on copy you get a sound, so that people get more sense of success. We’re tweaking the look and feel of the buttons and making some UI [user interface] improvements to make sure it’s more clear that multiple paste is possible.
The last question we quoted above talks about improvements in Mango. It’s nice to see that later this year, many months after copy & paste has been released, it will still be improved with the Mango update. Hopefully, that sound when you copy and paste can be toggled on and off, we don’t want another camera shutter annoyance. If they are going to tweak the interface of copy and paste, hopefully they take a better look at the start/end point markers and how they function. At the moment, when you try to ‘grab’ one of the markers it’s sometimes difficult to drag out and still be able to see what exactly you’re highlighting.
What would you want to be improved about copy & paste in Mango later this year?