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Comment Re:I'll post what I posted on another site (Score 1) 460

Actually the scrollbar became outdated with the advent of the mouse wheel. What is not outdated however is the presence of the scrollbar

The scrollbar did not become obsolete with the mousewheel, as evidenced by the fact that the scrollwheel exists on all desktop platforms. As for visual feedback, on mobile platforms like iOS the scrollbar is shown when scrolling to address the visual feedback issue.

I can't believe you just wrote up something about scrolling, but you missed the conflict in functionality between swipe to delete and swipe to scroll.

What conflict? The swipes are orthogonal. Learning how to do a swipe vs a tap is a fundamental skill to using any mobile OS so if you can't do it yet maybe mobile isn't for you..

Every swipe may in fact have meant to have been a tap, so you need extra safeguards in place of an operation like delete, not just blithely assign it to a swipe

There is no way to accidentally do a full delete swipe rather than a tap. Normal swipe just exposes the option to delete. A full delete swipe requires a long deliberate swipe.

Hitting back to exit an app in Android has little consequences because Android has supported multi-tasking from the get-go.

Nope. As recently as 2.3 many apps quit when you backed out of them. Not destructive per se as the app should save state, but definitely a jarring transition when you all meant was to close some menu.

Even if you reboot the device, a lot of apps save their state so when you open them you're right where you were before.

So in other words, exactly as iOS has done since the beginning (well ok, maybe version 3). The entire development environment is geared around never keeping unsaved state around.

Never mind that in the few cases where you did have to use it, it was really, really helpful. Simplicity trumps all apparently.

No, they did usage testing and decided that it was vastly more useful to have a multitasking button there which will get used much more frequently. The correct decision.

Everything you learn, you learn from being taught, seeing other people doing it, or by doing it by accident.

Nonsense of course. Many apps have shortcuts for actions that they will tell you about in the app, generally using gestures. Obviously there won't be keyboard shortcuts if people don't connect keyboards to mobile devices often.

Your parents are probably just having an easier time with the iPad because it implements a much more limited set of features than a full-blown computer app.

Yes, so the premise of the article that the iOS interface is impossible or very difficult to learn for many is total nonsense. Fundamentally there is a limit to how many features you can efficiently use into a phone with a 5" screen and touch input. That limit is lower than in a desktop with a 30" screen and a mouse and keyboard. No amount of UI design will ever overcome that.

Try programming a spreadsheet with its myriad of different functions. It's a helluva lot easier on a computer than a tablet or phone, because the latter devices have much more limited input options.

Well duh. Now design an interface for a touch operated device that is just as easy as a desktop to edit spreadsheets. I am almost certain this is impossible, hence the compromises we see on mobile interfaces.

Comment Re:I'll post what I posted on another site (Score 2) 460

Justin Bieber makes music. If it sells, it's good ...

You say that like it isn't true. The market has spoken, and Justin Bieber's music is good for the target population. if it wasn't. it wouldn't sell. Just like McDonalds food is good because it hits a sweet spot between convenience, price, and taste. Market appeal is a better indicator of overall goodness than most measures, because it is not subject to your particular definition of what constitutes good.

By the way, by market share we can objectively say that Android is better for the worldwide market than iOS is. In certain countries it seems to be an even split, for the world as a whole it's overwhelmingly Android. Again, they've hit the sweet spot of price, features, quality that the global market wants.

Comment I'll post what I posted on another site (Score 4, Interesting) 460

tl;dr Criticizing design is easy. Any grad student that's taken a human interface class could write this article (and many do) illustrating how a certain design violates the criteria they just learned. But despite their background I would only start to take these guys seriously when they propose a touch interface designed for phones which has all the properties they espouse and retains all the utility of a modern smartphone. Sure it would be great if every single feature was immediately visually discoverable. But how do you do that when you have so little screen space? Do you sacrifice content for UI? Let's see their great alternative.

To respond to their points in detail:

Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read

You know how they say lead with your strongest point? Right off the bat the first thing they claim is that Apple's fonts are impossible for many people with normal vision to read. Nevermind many, show me a single person with normal vision that CANNOT read Apple fonts and I will save their life, because clearly they have a brain tumour and need treatment immediately.
Why would anyone take this article seriously when it leads with provably false claims? Anyway let's move on..

These principles, based on experimental science as well as common sense, opened up the power of computing to several generations

Of course much of the science was based on a mouse and keyboard interaction on a computer, not touch on mobile.

However, when Apple moved to gestural-based interfaces with the first iPhone, followed by its tablets, it deliberately and consciously threw out many of the key Apple principles.

This is why those interfaces work. Let's take a scrolling view for example. The traditional approach is to put a scrollbar in, and that's what most everyone was doing before the iPhone came along. The scrollbar is discoverable and it provides visual feedback. Sounds good right? Well it turns out using a scrollbar on a mobile device is a miserable experience. Swipe to scroll turned out to be the vastly superior method, and as soon as you learn to swipe (my 1 year old figured it out watching me) it is trivially easy to operate without any additional visual clutter.

Same with other gestures in the iPhone.
Deleting a row in a table. You can put a button on every row to make that discoverable at the cost of high risk of accidental deletion and visual noise, or you can make rows swipe left to expose the delete function. The swipe once learned in 5 seconds is vastly superior for the rest of your lifetime using it.
Accessing the notification centre by swiping down from the top. You could put a button on every single screen, or you could save the space and use a swipe. Clearly the swipe is far preferable to using up screen space on a 4-5" screen.

A woman told one of us that she had to use Apple’s assistive tool to make Apple’s undersize fonts large and contrasty enough to be readable.

So a person with a visual impairment used accessibility options to correct for it? This is a problem how? Later they confuse font weight with font size. Both are adjustable in iOS, of course if you really need very large fonts you will run into some sizing issues in some apps.

What kind of design philosophy requires millions of its users to have to pretend they are disabled in order to be able to use the product?

A vision impairment is a disability. A minor and common one, but still one. By the way, the common way to correct this disability is with glasses. I have poor vision, but never had an issue with reading Apple fonts because I've corrected my vision by wearing glasses. The author's implication that someone with a disability should be ashamed of themselves could be taken as quite offensive though.

Do you swipe left or right, up or down, with one finger, two, or even as many as five? Do you swipe or tap, and if you tap is it a single tap or double?

I don't know of any iOS core features that use more than one finger aside from pinch to zoom, and you're not going to get any support for the argument that that isn't a great way to implement zoom. Nothing comes to mind for double tap either. App switching uses a five finger swipe as a shortcut but it is not necessary to know that at all, as you can easily switch apps with the home button. Multi-finger gestures are used heavily in VoiceOver mode and that is a godsend for blind users.

The standard, simple way of correcting for these occasional mis-touches is to have a Back control: Android phones have Back built into the phone as a universal control that is always available. Apple does not. Why? We don’t know.

This is debatable. Back is not consistent in Android. You press back to get out of a menu and then press it again by accident? Whoops there goes your app.
A back swipe contained within the app is both faster to access and more logical (you can't back out of an app).

All you have to do to undo is to violently shake your phone or tablet.

This is a valid complaint. Maybe the authors have some concepts for how to implement universal undo in a better way? No, of course not.

Please don’t tell us stories of grandparents who can now use technological devices such as tablets whereas before they could never master computers.

This is where the article gets really funny. "Please don't prove us wrong with real world examples". Guess what, my parents have no end of trouble with their computer (with all of it's discoverable features) but they spend 90% of the time on the iPad and picked it up very quickly. One of the first things my mom did was the five finger grab gesture to close an app. I was concerned with the switch to iOS7, but it turns out I shouldn't have worried as despite the visual overhaul there wasn't much radically different so it didn't cause them any significant issues.

But they have huge barriers to anything advanced, such as selecting three photos to send in an email

Hmm let's see. On their iPad it would be go to Photos, press "select", highlight the photos, click Share and Email. When they send the email it asks if they want to send them Small, Medium, Large, or Original size. In Windows they still can't send photos no matter how often I've shown them.

Comment Re:IPhones (Score 1) 484

Odd. I had a couple issues with the first release of iOS 8 and Yosemite as far as Handoff, Continuity, and Airdrop goes, but since some later update it's been rock solid. I use airdrop all the time between various iOS device and Macs and haven't had any issues for ages. Same with continuity. I don't find handoff very useful so haven't really tested much.

Comment Re:Who did the study? (Score 1) 341

>> So if China supplies nuclear reactors to the world --- and ultimately also the United States for a hefty price, when natural gas declines and we shake ourselves awake from this renewables nightmare

You're funny. By the time that happens solar will supply the majority of the power and energy storage will have advanced enough to spread it out. Gas will do the rest. Nuclear will be useful but just an expensive backup.

Comment Re:Predicting the future is hard (Score 1) 347

>> What doesn't seem to work well, in my experience, is breaking down a project into microscopic detail and individually estimating each detail

I find this very useful.. Not microscopic detail but detail enough that it forces you to really think about the project. I find without this developers tend to leave out tasks entirely.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 437

Apart from Apple fanboys, I don't think anybody is stupid enough to buy a new device just to get a software upgrade.

Too funny, given that Apple users don't have to buy a new phone to get the latest software, since Apple actually cares enough to update their old devices.
Interesting how now we're supposed to believe that a lack of support is actually a good thing.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus