While reading a blog on a phone you are expected to scroll to read it completely (as there is no limit on the length). So why would you provide a left / right swipe to jump to previous/ next posts? But Simple Template for Blogger just did that!
I was reading a particularly long post (10 downward swipes long,say) and I wanted to check how much was left to be read. So I used my thumb to quickly swipe multiple times. I am sure I must have slipped and changed direction of my thumb movement on the 5th one, and I was suddenly reading the next post! I quickly swiped back, and gave one more swipe for good measure when it took time for the page to load. Sure enough I was thrown 2 prior posts. By the time I came to the post, I had lost the place I was reading at…
I was reminded of reading wired magazine on the iPad. You scroll vertically to read one article, you swipe left right to move between stories. But that’s an iPad. You have to make bigger gestures than a flick of a thumb to commit to a navigational response (ok, maybe you can do the same with thumb, but you would be more mindful while doing it).
Sometimes you need to curb your desire to use multiple gestures if the resulting user experience is one of frustration.
I am writing this post on a WordPress blog. I have always admired the simplicity and intuitiveness in their interface. And I am sure this is just a small slip that went unnoticed, so I will keep my criticism to minimum.
Look at the following alert.
It informs the user that any changes not saved as draft would be lost if the user cancels the post. So what would you click? Cancel? because you are supposed to confirm an action that ‘cancels’ or ‘Ok’ because you agree and understand what this alert is trying to communicate?
I must confess I clicked on ‘Cancel’ once before realising that I should have done otherwise 🙂
One cannot stress the importance of devising the right labels enough. If the word ‘Cancel’ appears at the end of the message, perhaps it would have been better to provide ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Buttons. But if WordPress has to maintain consistency among all alert message action labels, it would’ve been better to just remove the last line of the message.
Two days back I was visiting the mall at Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai. While in the lift I saw this information poster behind the lift attendant’s chair. I could’t help noticing the misplaced QR code. I am sure this was placed there by their advertising/design agency without giving much though about what are QR codes and how they are used. See for yourself…
The much loved QR codes (by the digital marketing community, at least) never really gained popularity in India. Although I don’t have numbers to support this statement, I don’t remember seeing even one person pointing a phone camera at a QR code in a public place.
The love and care (!) taken while designing the above mentioned poster shows the importance the marketers themselves are placing upon QR codes. And they are not in the wrong. Here are two articles that discuss the decline of QR codes in detail:
And this one from Forbes is from 2012!
Digital marketing community has always been wide eyed about new technology and eager to embrace it in their recommendations. I remember a creative director screaming “Augmented Reality!” in every other brainstorm in an agency. (so we will assume that every customer has a webcam and a printer and will have the patience to see some dancing 3 dimensional images pop up and be delighted by it).
Any promotional technology that does not use the tools and skills that the consumers already possess, or have acquired while getting some other task done, will remain largely unused. Whereas the easy ones (such as clicking a picture of an ad to get product brochure downloaded) will have a better chance at sticking around.
Facebook is life. So when you get a message saying ‘Your account is blocked!’ you will be understandably out of breath. Gasping, praying, eager to tell Facebook that its really You! Do not pull the plug! And you would want to do it in a millisecond.
But you are on mobile and your connection is slow, and the screens take ages to load (it’s not ages, but it seems so when you are fighting to stay alive). The worst possible thing that you can encounter is buttons designed for a calm and quiet scenario.
I was unfortunate enough just now to be in this situation. Why? because Facebook decided that my Mackbook Pro (which has FB integration, by the way) is a device that does not belong to me! No issues. I love a system that does recognise a new device and takes care of the subscribers. But as I explained, I had a millisecond to act.
I get a prompt on my mobile. And the screen said that if i wanted to start account recovery I must press “Continue”. Yes, yes. I want to. Get on with it… I pressed it. No reaction. I pressed it again. No movement. 1,2,3 Clear! Another press and I realised that all was lost! During my multiple presses the next screen had arrived confirming what had happened, with two optional buttons. One to say that I do not recognise the device in question, and the other to say that I recognise it, and Facebook should not go locking the account.
But it was too late. The button that said that I do not recognise the device was EXACTLY in the same position as the continue button on the previous, seemingly non-responsive screen.
Luckily there was a way out. I was provided one last chance to change my password and everything went quiet on the western front.
Lesson for UI designers – even the clever ones, such as those at Facebook – Put yourself in the shoes of those in a fix. Think about the spotty network. Think about a different screen layout. And help those who are so close to the end and bring them back to life…
Recently I downloaded the Tactio Health app because everyone around me thinks I should lose some weight and become fit. Fine. I took the first step (Second, actually. Livestrong’s Myplate is a great app that I still use to track my calorie intake)
What amuses me is how web forms of any kind are still designed with less love and care (even if better UI elements get created).
Take the following screen for instance. The user is supposed to declare gender. At the same time the same screen had to let the user navigate between questions (there were many).
The Gestalt principle of connectedness is destroyed here as the gender Male is closer to ‘Previous’ button and Female is somehow closer to ‘Next’.
Feminists may read into this differently, but I don’t even know how a user will respond to this question before going back or forward in the form.
There are no affordance cues other than those two buttons (appears as things to press to respond)
I have not managed to get past all questions and my health goal seems distant, but I sincerely hope Tactio listens to this and changes these screens.