Meshtastic

Channel Pairing/Sharing UX suggestions

First of all, as someone new to this project, I am super impressed and excited with how much you all have accomplished so far. It’s all remarkably simple to use as an end-user, and feels quite ‘complete’ relative to the vast majority of open source hardware+software projects.

I am sure that most, or all, of this is already on the roadmap, but as a new user, I thought it might be handy to capture some of the confusion/issues I had around getting devices on the same channels.

I think this is worth highlighting, because the user experience up UNTIL the point of setting up a custom channel was great! The channel stuff was notably more confusing and complex than the rest of the process.

UX:

  1. It’s not clear that you can’t ‘share’ a channel simply by typing the identical channel names into all devices. I understand the underlying security reasons for this, but it’s not messaged well inside the app.

  2. QR-code sharing of channels appears to be broken on at least SOME android devices because the default camera app does not respect forwarding the URL to Meshtatic, and it also does not allow you to copy/paste it anywhere. Tested on a BLU phone running android 10.

  3. Not all devices appear to properly set the “Open By Default” android setting that is needed to properly handle the URL. This was set on install on my Android 9 device, but was not set on my Android 10 device (I did sideload the app via .apk on the Android 10 device, I am not sure if this may have contributed to the issue).

The upshot of all this was that as a new user it was quite unclear how sharing a channel was supposed to function.

Given that some of these things are probably longer term fixes, I wonder about at least temporarily providing the option to copy/paste the URL directly into the app. This would be very helpful in cases where QR code isn’t working (as described above), as well as cases where Android is not properly configuring the “Open by Default” setting for whatever reason.

Again, fantastic work on this project. Hope this is helpful.

3 Likes

I think adding copy and paste support would be a great addition to the channel settings page.

While still in beta there is also a meshtastic desktop GUI that makes setting things like channles with copy paste simple.

intalled with:

Windows 
python -m pip install --upgrade meshtastic-pygui

Linux 
pip 3 install --upgrade meshtastic-pygui

OSX
pip3 install --upgrade meshtastic-pygui

It can be launched with

meshtastic_pygui

or 

pthon -m meshtastic_pygui

It will also make downloading and flashing firmware easy so you dont have to use the command line. You can backup your radio and then restore it so that way you can test changes without worrying to much.

ZebusJesus/Meshtastic-PyGUI: Python Based GUI that uses the Meshtastic API (github.com)

You should be able to set the channel you want along with any other settting without using the Android app at all.

1 Like

This is super handy, thank you!