The Android platform is a new venture for us, which is why droidbydesign is hosted
here. Currently we have one demonstration application, which uses the Gestures library
to create a 'speed-dial by gesture' application. The text below is from the app's
Date: 18 October 2010
About OftSeen Gestures
OftSeen Gestures lets you speed dial using 'gestures', patterns drawn with
your finger. This is quicker than looking up a contact in your Contacts and more
compact than using the conventional speed dial functionality, which requires you
to have a desktop icon for each number.
- Create your own gestures and associate them with your favourite numbers.
- Use single or multiple strokes.
- Select the strength of the pattern recognition used to identify your gestures.
- Call numbers directly or after confirming, as you choose.
- Optionally send an SMS instead of dialling.
- Er, that's it.
The application is installed with several predefined gestures, such as the letter
V. Note that all of the gestures were drawn by a right-handed person and begin on
the left. The direction you draw a gesture is important for recognition.
The first time you use the application you will be taken to the Editor screen and
you will see that all of the gestures are shown as 'unassigned'. You can either
then delete each gesture and create your own or simply assign a number to the sample
To delete a gesture or assign a number to it, open the context menu for the gesture
by using a long-press on the gesture.
When you quit the Editor screen, you will return to the Reader screen and you can
start using the application by drawing the gestures whose numbers you have assigned.
Read the FAQ below for more information about changing the gesture accuracy and
The Edit screen where you create new gestures and assign numbers to them:
Adding a new gesture:
The gesture menu (long press on gesture list item):
Using a gesture to dial a number:
Preferences let you change whether the number is dialled immediately or confirmed,
and let you set the accuracy required for gestures. You can also choose to save
the numbers mapping file to the SD card instead of internally, and to use gestures
made with multiple strokes:
Why does the application require Internet and Call permissions?
- Internet permissions are only used to display the internal online Help inside the
web browser. Call permissions are necessary to call the number when you draw a gesture.
The application does not initiate any other Internet or phone communication, is
completely free to run, and does not access or share any of your private data.
How many gestures can I create?
- Theoretically, as many as you like, but there are good reasons to limit it to five
or six. Firstly, if you have more than that, you are likely to forget their associated
contacts without looking them up all the time. Secondly, the program works best
with widely dissimilar gestures that cannot be confused during pattern matching;
the more gestures you have, the more likely they are to be confused with each other.
Can I have multiple numbers for the same gesture and choose between them when I
- No. Each gesture is associated with a single number. A useful convention is to define
two gestures that look identical, one drawn left to right and the other drawn right
to left. You can then assign the most common number to the first gesture and the
less common to the second. For example, for your most commonly called number use
a dash '—' drawn in one direction and reverse it for the contact's
What do I do if the program tells me that a gesture was recognized but was not accurate
- Go into Menu>Options and lower the Gesture accuracy setting. Two is probably
an optimal setting.
Can I call the number directly rather than confirming each time?
- Yes. Uncheck Confirm Call on the Options menu. But you should only do this if you
have widely dissimilar gestures that won't be confused.
Can I send an SMS instead of dialling the number?
- Yes. Go into Menu>Options and select Offer SMS. The next time a gesture is recognised
you will be prompted to call or SMS.
Is the direction in which I draw the gesture important?
- Yes. The letter 'Z' drawn from top left to bottom right is not the same
when drawn in the opposite direction.
Can I create gestures using multiple strokes?
- Yes, but the delay between the strokes is quite short and if you do not draw the
second stroke in time, the first stroke could be recognized on its own. The application
default is to use single strokes. Use Menu>Options to change to multiple strokes
and then experiment. Note that we have witnessed some unpredictable behaviour when
using multiple strokes, for example you define a cross '+' but the reader
doesn't recognise it. Try it and see if it works for you.
Wouldn't it increase the accuracy if I was allowed to save multiple gestures
under the same name?
- Yes, it would. The default Android Gestures library actually supports this functionality
but it is not implemented here for reasons of simplicity and presentation.
I can see my gestures file and back it up but I cannot see the file that stores
my assigned numbers. Why not?
- The numbers map is by default stored in a directory private to the application to
avoid it becoming corrupted. If you want to take responsibility for it yourself
so that you can back it up, use Android Apps in Settings and move the OftSeen Gestures
to the SD card.
Isn't it more trouble to start this application than it is to go straight to
- No, there are two keystrokes compared to four, if you create a shortcut to this
application on your desktop.
Can't you provide a widget that sits on the phone's home page?
- No, certain functionality does not work as a widget screen and gestures is one of
them. An alternative is to put a shortcut to the application on your home page.
Can I delete the default gestures?
- Yes, they are only there to get you started. You need to assign numbers to them
anyway so you can delete them and start again.
Can I use this application while driving?
- No, it's not recommended and is probably illegal. The only reason I include this
question is because one user left this comment: 'Really useful app. Especially
for when I'm driving.' Maybe with a dashboard-mounted handset you could
draw a simple gesture, but I still don't think it's a good idea. Use voice
Version 2.2.0 - 11 May 2014
Updated to support Android KitKat. Removed in-app option 'Save to SD Card' because that is now supported natively by the operating system.
Version 2.1.0 - 17 October 2010
- Choose to send SMS or dial the number.
- Choose for the application to shut itself down after calling.
- Picking a contact without a display name causes crash.
- Selected gesture is null when renaming or assigning number.
- Renaming a name with trailing spaces causes gesture to not be found in the library.
Version 2.0.0 - 5 July 2010
The application was rewritten to support both the old and new Android Contacts API.
So this version should work on all handsets starting from Android version 1.6 upwards.
If you have any problems running this unified version and your handset is a legacy
one, try installing the legacy application, now called OnceSeen Gestures, which
only supports Android 1.6.
- Gesture settings lost after screen is resumed from background.
Version 1.1.1 - 20 May 2010
Minor release. Fixed issue with trailing spaces in gesture name causing the assigned
number to be lost on app reload. 1.6. OftSeen Gestures supports all handsets on
Android 2.1 and above.d support for multiple-stroke gestures. Added extra interactive
tips to improve useability.
Version 1.0.3 - 2 May 2010
Minor release. Fixed bug related to extended character sets and assigned numbers
being lost. The mapping file is now saved in UTF-8 format. Note that although this
is the known cause of at least one user losing their assigned numbers, it is possible
there is a separate cause we have not diagnosed yet.
Version 1.0.2 - 24 April 2010
Minor release. Added option to allow the internal assigned numbers map to be stored
on the external SD card along with the gestures file so that you can take a backup
Version 1.0.1 - 20 April 2010
Minor release with no new features. Fixed bug with preferences being forgotten until
next restart. Updated online Help.
Version 1.0.0 - 1 March 2010
If you experience a problem with this application, please do not just leave an anonymous
comment with your rating. It would help us to know the details so that we
can fix it, if it is a bug. Send an email to
email@example.com summarizing the issue along with the make and model
of your handset.