It’s been a long time coming (the first announcement was in 2012!) however the team at Flexibits have now given us Cardhop, their attempt to improve the Contacts experience on macOS. It’s certainly been well anticipated - Fantastical 2 is a great calendar application for macOS and if even a fraction of the ingenuity shown in Fantastical 2 is present in Cardhop then there is the promise of a great application.
Well - it is indeed a great application, although I have to say it won’t be for everybody. Let me explain.
I love the simplicity that Cardhop brings. We have one single text field for creating, managing and interacting with contacts and this is accessed from either the dock or menu bar, as per your liking. The menu bar is optimal for me, although I’ve also assigned a snappy shortcut (Caps Lock and D). When the application is accessed, a window is presented which doesn’t list your contacts from A-Z. No, instead of this, Cardhop is intelligent enough to show you contact entires you may be interested in, such as Birthdays and Recent Contacts. If you do want to see all of your Contacts, there is a button at the bottom of the detachable drop down menu.
You can also show/hide a list of contact groups. I love the fact that this side panel can indeed be hidden, as grouping contacts is not something I’m overly invested in. If I start a new contract, then I may well add tags (groups) to any new contacts I need - this makes it easy to cull those entries when I move to a new role. Most contact applications keep this window in view all of the time, which is not to my taste - minimalism is key for me in my working environment.
If you start typing in the blank text field, Cardhop will either start the process of creating a new entry, or show you relevant entries based on the names/words you have typed. Adding a new entry is easy - you can add contact information from the input field easily enough through natural language and Cardhop will parse the information - totally expected behaviour from the team at Flexibits as they set the standard for this functionality with Fantastical. If it detects the name of an entry, but not the attribute that you are typing (for example, you have a phone number for Joe Bloggs yet type the phrase Joe Bloggs emailthen Cardhop has the smarts to edit the entry for Joe Bloggs with a new email address.
If you click on an existing contact, then a card will display on the left hand side, showing four customisable actions you can perform. By default you can send a message, email, call or video call the contact, however you can change these for other options such as Get Directions, Copy To Clipboard, FaceTime, Start a Skype Call, Tweet and others.
There is also a Notes field under each contact which is, admittedly, nothing new, however now that this field is (almost) a shortcut combination away, you may well find yourself tempted to use it more. It will never act as a CRM tool yet it’s a great way of being able to track actions that you have carried out with a given contact, or note down little nuggets of information for the next time you speak to them. If there is an important contact you have, jotting down information about their family, or interests that they have, can make a great conversation starter when you need to reach out to them.
One feature I have started to use extensively with Cardhop is making calls directly from my Mac. If you have Continuity or Wi-Fi calling enabled on your iPhone, calls can be kicked off from your Mac. Tapping a keyboard shortcut and then the phrase Call Kelly whilst wearing my headphones is so effortless - and effortless for me is good!
The reason this app may not appeal to everybody comes down to how people generally pull up their contact information. If an email needs to be sent to somebody, then email applications can fill in the contact information themselves. When people send iMessages, the Messages application is usually the source of the contact information. The same can be said for Twitter. We’ve become so used to a method of working that it’s going to be difficult to deviate from this and for just under £20 (after the introductory offer), people will struggle to see the value. For myself, my brain thinks in terms of the people I’m communicating with first, then the medium comes second. I will think to myself:
I need to contact Jim about this issue and will automatically open up Cardhop to view his info while my brain is working out the best medium for the task. If it’s a call, I’ll call him - if it’s an email, I’ll email him and I’ll initiate the action from the Cardhop application. This makes sense to my way of working, but this won’t be the case for everyone.
Check it out.