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How ContactShip structures your data

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Introduction


A structured relationship management comprises a wide variety of information types and can quickly become very complex. The aim should therefore be to achieve the best possible result with simple measures.


The three main problems of a relationship management are


3 highest hurdles

Problem 1: The sheer quantity of information and contact leads to old data and to contacts left behind.

Problem 2: The combination of different offline and online tools makes it impossible to tie the details together and you end up searching for them or writing them multiple times.

Problem 3: Writing down or memorizing information can take lot of energy, especially if you must plan and structure over and over again where and how to save it.


The reasons behind this problems


Reason 1: Tag clouds and one-pagers can’t manage long term relationships. The contacts and information need an useful sstructure, classification and evaluation.

Reason 2: Address books and co. don’t grant enough possibilities and therefore you need a combination of different tools (address book + list + calendar + notes + …) to manage your contacts. There must be one solution covering all of it, otherwise you won't be able to relate the information to the contacts.

Reason 3: Documentation takes far too long. There must be a fast and easy structure which works with a few words and not with whole texts.

With ContactShip App we want to provide you the solution for a real relationship management.




Overview of the data structure


Overview data structure diagram

(This is only a brief summary of the entities to explain the concept. It doesn’t contain all data fields and date tables and therefore is not usable to build APIs.)

ContactShip structures your data in a multi-relational database with different data tables. There are four main entities and several sub. Each table saves a set of details with different data type (text, time, numbers, selections etc.) and timestamps, ratings and markings. The relations between the tables ensure a meaningful structure of your information and each of your entries uses a combination of data of the entities.

With this structure you obtain the maximum of flexibility to save the information you want to guard without losing the overview.





Structure of the main entities


Contacts

Summary of all information about one person. The contact has a contact id which is used for all entries related to the contact.

Consists of: First name (Text), last name (Text), contact id, creation date, update date, marked status and rating.


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Groups

Groups are the entity to form manual selection of contacts. They are used to define the Group Memberships.

Consists of: Group name (Text), description (Text), group id, creation date and update date.


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Occasions

Occasions are the entries in the scheduler and are used for the interactions and notifications. Occasions are quite complex because they contain a lot of information to allow the functions of the scheduler.

Consist of: Occasion name (Text), category, location (Text), start time, end time, occasion id, creation date, update date, marked status, rating, repetition status, repetition pattern, repetition end pattern.


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Categories

Categories are a dimension to subdivide six of the seven sections and they are also used for the occasions.

Consist of: Category name (text), category id, creation date, update date, section.


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Structure of the sub entities / sections


Basic data

Set of basic pre defined attributes like first name, age, look and relationship status. They are related to the contact entity through the id of the contact.

ConsistsConsists of: Attributes with different data types: text, selection, rating, time/date.


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Contact details

Contact information like phone numbers, email addresses, social media profiles etc. They are related to the contact and category entities.

Consist of: Label (Text), info/number/e-Mail (Text), category, creation date, update date, marked status, rating.


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Descriptions

Wide range of information like hobbies, preferences for food, vacations or wishes and dreams. They are related to the contact and category entities.

Consist of: Entry (Text), info(Text), category, creation date, update date, marked status, rating.


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Interactions

Time based interactions with a person like phone calls, video chats and meetups provide a time line. They are related to the contact, categories and occasions entities. Interactions can start before and end after the occasion the belong to (for example the meetup starts at 6 pm but you already join with a person at 5:30 pm). You can create several interaction with one person for one occasion.

Consist of: Occasion, start time, end time, description (Text), category, creation date, update date, marked status, rating.


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Group memberships

Functions and behavior of people in a selected group. Group memberships are related to the contact and groups entities. Each contact can be related to each group once.

Consist of: Group, function (text), creation date, update date, marked status, rating.


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Social relations

Relation of the person to a selected other person. Its a double relation to the contact entity.

Consist of: Contact, info (text), category, creation date, update date, marked status, rating.


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Custom (premium feature)

Extension of the descriptions with your own categories. They are related to the contact and category entities.

Consist of: Entry (Text), info(Text), custom category, creation date, update date, marked status, rating


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Structuring your data in different dimension


The most important fact of a relationship management is, that you will end up with a lot of information especially in long term relationships. If you make just 1 entry for a friend per week you will end up with 530 entries after ten years. If you have 10 friends this will be 5.300 entries plus a lot of entries for your other contacts.

If you take this fact into consideration you know why a plain tag cloud or some notice fields won’t be any good in the long run. Therefore, we included different dimensions to structure your data so that you keep on top.

The aim is to display meaningful extracts of your data.





Dimensions to structure your contacts


A) Social closeness to you: Your relationship with the person

Relation status selector

ContactShip App contains a relationship status with the basic data to separate your contacts into:

  • Unknown: People you don’t know but are related to one of your contacts (for example the sister of a friend you haven’t met yet)
  • Acquaintance: People you met but you don’t know well
  • Friend: Your friends
  • Family: Your family members
  • Relationship: Your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend

You can set the relationship status while creating new contacts or in the single contact view.

With the relationship status you have a first basic cluster of your contacts which you can also use to create lists.


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B) Contact groups: Manual selection of people

Single Group View

You can create groups for work, hobbies, occasions, activities etc. Inside a group you can add or remove members and you can access the profiles of them with one tap. Each person can be member of unlimited groups.

With groups you can focus on a manual selection of people of your choice.


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C) Contacts with specific criteria: Automated selection of people (lists)

New List View

Lists are one of the core features of ContactShip App and they allow you a huge flexibility to structure your contacts. Lists are managed automatically and as soon a contact matches their criteria it will be displayed inside them. For example you could define a list for people who love sushi, do horse-riding as sport, and are friends of Harvinder. Each contact can be inside each list once.

If you are a free user you can create list from basic details, if you want to work with the other data sections as well you need to upgrade your subscription to the premium plan. You can create as many lists you want.

Lists are a very good way to structure your data and enable you to focus on people with similar interests, history etc.


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D) Time based elements: Timestamps with the creation date and update date of a contact

Sort options

ContactShip saves a timestamp when you create a contact and also when you update it’s information. You can use this timestamps for sorting in groups and lists.

The importance of timestamps will rise while we continue to develop the ContactShip App.


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E) Contact ratings: Classification of persons according to your impression

Rate a contact

Ratings point out the people you like to hang out with and also mark people who make you feel uncomfortable or bad. You can rate a contact in the contact list view, new contact view, single contact view and in groups and lists.

The dimension of ratings allows you to concentrate on the people you like to be with and to stop investing your spare time for red flags.


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F) Marked status: Marking of persons of special interest

Single Contact View

You can mark contacts by tapping on the checkbox. Marked contacts appear in the marked contact list (standard list).

Marked contacts are a selection of people you want to keep in your focus. You need to decide yourself what the reasons are.


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Dimension to structure the entries of your contacts


G) Data sections: Each entry belongs to one sections with a clear delimitation of content

Section selector

ContactShip divides information in seven main section for different types of contents:

  1. Basic data: Set of basic pre defined attributes like first name, age, look and relationship status.
  2. Contact details: Contact information like phone numbers, email addresses, social media profiles etc.
  3. Descriptions: Wide range of information like hobbies, preferences for food, vacations or wishes and dreams.
  4. Interactions: Time based interactions with a person like phone calls, video chats and meetups.
  5. Group Memberships: Functions and behavior of people in a selected group.
  6. Social Relations: Relation of the person to a selected other person
  7. Custom (premium features): Extension of the descriptions with your own categories.

You can change the section by tapping on “section” in the single contact view. If you change the section you will access a complete different extract of the data you have saved.


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H) Data categories: Further subdivision of the sections into smaller logical units

Category selector

Each data section has it’s own categories. Categories are an additional dimension to structure the data for your contacts and they also provide a piece of information to your entries. Whether someone like chicken as an animal or enjoys eating chicken makes quite a difference. With ContactShip you just pick different categories and the meaning of the information is clear.

You can filter for categories in the single contact view and therefore concentrate your view on small rextract of all your entries. This improves your overview a lot.


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I) Attributes: Most entries are divided into attributes and values

Attribut edit modus

To offer you a maximum of flexibility for your entries, there are only a few fixt attributes - the basic details. The rest of the attributes you define yourself while creating entries.

While typing the ContactShip App shows you entries you have typed in before as suggestions so that you can pick from them to keep a basic structure. This attributes you can include as criteria in your automated lists.

You can split your entries into two parts to save them easier.

For example instead of typing “He likes German shepherds beause he had one as a child” you could type:

Attribute = “German shepherds”
Info = “had one as a child”
Rating = green

Be aware that ContactShip App doesn’t know that a German shepherd is a dog. If you want to search for all people liking dogs you would need to:

  • put the information with the contact separately or
  • include dog with the attribute “Dogs German shepherds” or
  • create a custom category “dogs” (premium feature) or
  • include a condition for “German shepherds” as OR criteria.

On the other hand your friend maybe only liked his german shepherd and no other dogs.


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J) Time based elements: Timestamps with the creation date and update date of an entry

Single Contact View

ContactShip saves a timestamp when you create an entry and also when you update the information. You can use timestamps for sorting in groups and lists and as condition in automated list.

The importance of timestamps will rise while we continue to develop the ContactShip App. A feature will be that you can limit the items displayed to those that were updated in the last week or month.


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K) Attribute ratings: Classification of entries according to that person’s or your impressions.

Rate an attribut

We included a 5 points and colors rating system in the ContactShip App. With two taps you can rate an attributes of or your interactions with a person. You can rate every entry separately.

TheThe dimension of ratings allows you to concentrate on the likes or dislikes of or about a person.


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L) Marked status: Marking of entries of special interest

Marked attributes

You can mark entries by tapping on the checkbox. Marked entries appear in the marked entry section of a contact.

Marked entries are a selection of information about a person you want to keep in your focus. You need to decide yourself what the reasons are.


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M) Interactions elements: Accessing entries from related entities

Interactions View

Because of the interactions are related to the occasions entity you can access interactions also from the scheduler. Through this perspective you focus only on the interactions of people you saved for a certain occasion.


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Dimension to structure occasions (scheduler)

N) Data Categories: Further subdivision of the occasions into smaller logical units

Category selector

Occasions use the same categories like interactions. Categories are an additional dimension to structure your occasions and they also provide a piece of information and display an unique icon. Subdivide your occasions in phone calls, video chats, meetups and messages etc.

You can filter for categories in the occasion lists view and therefore concentrate your view on a small extract of all your entries.


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O) Time based elements: Timestamps and time values

Occasion List View (Scheduler)

ContactShip saves a timestamp when you create an occasion and also when you update it’s information. Occasions also contain a time value.

You can filter a certain day or time period in your scheduler to have a good overview.


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P) Occasion ratings: Classification of occasions according to your impression

Single Occasion view

You can rate occasions with the 5 points and colors rating system in the ContactShip App.

With this you can point our occasions you liked in the occasions list.


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Q) Marked status: Marking of occasions of special interest

Single Occasion view

You can mark occasions by tapping on the checkbox.

Marked occasions are those you want to keep in your focus. You need to decide yourself what the reasons are.


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Summary data structure

  • The three main problems of relationship management are (1) quantity of contacts, (2) number of required tools and (3) the required time.
  • With ContactShip App we want to provide you the solution so solve this three problems.
  • Your data is structured in a multi-relational database to offer you a maximum of flexibility.
  • Each of your entry is saved in a combination of data tables.
  • Especially in long term relationships you will gather a lot of information therefore you need measures to keep on top.
  • ContactShip provides you several dimension to structure your data with the aim to display meaningful extracts to you.