Session Release Roundup #13: It’s all about the UX

Session Release Roundup #13: It’s all about the UX

September 16, 2021 / HarrisRelease Roundup

It’s been quite a while since we’ve done one of these, so we’ve got a lot to catch up on. Normally when we bring these to you we have a single big ticket item that dominates the column inches. Not so this time, instead we have a theme — we’ve been tirelessly tippy-tapping away over the past several months at a whole suite of quality of life improvements for our lovely Session users.

From the new look Android conversation screen to new translations to just plain performance boosts, we’ve got a lot to cover, so read on for a rundown of all the latest and greatest changes!

Just a touch-up thanks!

  • Closed Group improvements (Android, iOS, Desktop)

This is a pretty broad one, encompassing quite a few tweaks and improvements to make closed groups run silky smooth. For more details on the specifics you can always check out our dev updates.

  • Performance improvements (Android, iOS, Desktop)

I promise it gets more specific down further, but I don’t want to bore you with all the details of how we’ve improved Session’s performance when the important thing is that we’ve done it. If you haven’t used Session in a while, give it a go, you’re sure to notice the difference.

  • Update and add new translations (Android, iOS, Desktop)

We’re all about making sure that Session is as accessible as possible. Privacy is a human right, and that doesn’t just apply to the English speaking world. Whenever we can we’re adding new translations of Session and improving the ones we already had. In terms of new translations we have Japanese, Hindi, Croatian, Swedish and Thai — plus a whole heap of updates to existing translations. 

  • Improving the way Session handles when things go wrong (Android, iOS, Desktop)

We’re not going to lie to you, Session isn’t perfect. Onion routing is hard and things tend to go wrong sometimes. So we’ve made a few changes to make sure Session knows what to do when that happens — logging, retrying, and giving better error messaging if it can’t resolve the issue automatically.  

  • Conversation screen UI overhaul (Android)

A fresh new coat of paint for the screen you spend the most time looking at. Easy on the eyes and easy to understand. Brings Android in line with the makeover that iOS got last time.

  • ONS Resolution (Android, Desktop)

ONS is here and it’s ready to change the Session game. You can now add your friends with their ONS names instead of having to copy and paste their long Session ID. It’s the efficient life for me, and hopefully for you too. Of course if you’re on iOS you might be having some deja vu right now. Don’t worry that’s perfectly natural, you’ve had this for a little while now, Android and Desktop are just joining the party!

  • Group notification settings QoL changes (iOS, Android)

  • Group notification settings for specific groups (Desktop)

You now have the ability to only be notified when tagged in a group chat, to reduce notification overload. We love our Session groups, but sometimes when they’re popping off it can be too much. If you’re on Desktop it’s even more specific — you can change the notification preferences for individual groups.

  • Path Display (Desktop)

Plenty of people have told us they love the path display feature on our mobile clients, so we brought it to Desktop too. For those of you not in the know, the path display shows the locations (just the country) of the Service Nodes that your messages are hopping between.

  • Audio message play speed controls (Desktop)

Look, we get it: you’re busy. There’s just not enough time in the day — and we’re here to help. Now you can get all of your daily listening down in record time, and the bonus of making everyone sound like a chipmunk — who says efficiency can’t be fun?

It’s the big one

If you’ve been following along at home you may already know this, but for everyone else we have some big news  — voice and video calls are coming. We’ve been working at this over the past couple of months and we’re very pleased to have made big progress already. After an extensive process of determining how to go about making the world’s first onion routed voice/video call system we settled on using webRTC over Lokinet, and it’s been a whirlwind from there.

As it stands we’ve knocked down two big milestones: successful voice/video calls through Session over clearnet, and the big one: successful onion-routed voice/video calls through Lokinet. From here we have to bring the two together, which is a task that probably sounds a lot easier than it is. Not to worry though, we don’t back down from a challenge and I have a pretty good feeling that the next time you hear from us in roundup form we’ll be telling you about our exciting new feature. 

Of course we’re not a one track mind here at Oxen, and we wouldn’t want you to think that’s all we’ve got coming down the pipeline. We’re also on that eternal grindset — smashing bugs, improving performance and ensuring your privacy. 

Phew, that was a lot. Take a minute to catch your breath and try out some of the new bells and whistles — but not too long because we’ll be back with more before you know it!

Thank you!

Without you dear reader, and others like you, we wouldn’t be able to do any of the things we do. It’s comments and suggestions from users like you that help us build the app you want to use, so keep the feedback coming, and we’ll keep grinding away to make Session the best private messenger we can. As always, thank you for your feedback and your support!

— The Session team

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