Using the "Variable String" template for Dashboard tiles

When constructing a dashboard: The "Variable String" template seems like the best (possibly only) way for a Dashboard User to provide string input data directly to a user device (i.e., without hopping through a Rule Machine global variable).

Is there any facility available for making the resulting tiles more user friendly?

On Tile Creation
Is there any way to adjust the "Variable String" and/or "unknown" text entries on the tile?
The default information does not inform prospective users about the purpose of the string being solicited.

On Data Entry
If the user drills into the tile, the information on the tile is slightly better. The user still may not know what is being solicited.

Post Data Entry
Once the user clicks "Save", the tile seems to freeze on the message "Sending...". The user gets no sense that the data did (or did not) meet any purpose. The user can click on "Sending..." to provide more data, but won't know whether (s)he should do so or not.

I expect to have some additional tiles that will provide some context (e.g., show a related value, use a text string to prompt data entry or offer feedback on what was entered). [Manipulating the device label seems like a bad idea.] I am hopeful that the contents of the tile can be manipulated for a better user experience - even if we are limited to static text entries.

Here are some additional thoughts on the "Variable String" template. I use it for sending custom text to be spoken on Echo Dot devices using "Echo Speaks". It works fine, but there are some usability improvements I would like to suggest.

First, it would be great if there was a way to delete the text that is in the box by default. I do like that it defaults to the last thing typed, but if I want to change it, and the text extends longer than the width of the box, then I have to delete the text in several steps. If there was a "clear" button or something like that, that would be nice.

Second, the size of the input text box doesn't change when you change the size of the tile. I tried to increase the width and height of the tile to provide more room and reduce the chance of the text extending outside the size of the text box. When the text from the last time I used the box is displayed, it uses the full real estate of the tile. But when I go to edit the text, the input box for editing the text is quite small (about 20 characters) and doesn't adjust based on the size of the tile.

Hope these suggestions are helpful. Thanks for all the great work!


The dashboard string variables do not update on the dashboard if the variable is changed in RM. It should right?