1. Make waiting delightful
  2. Can’t use without looking
  3. Interfaces are leaving text behind
  4. See also

Make waiting delightful

There was a moment in the history of the web when interface designers thought that hiding slow operations would be (a) cool and (b) possible. This is in material’s style guide:

Motion provides … distraction from what’s happening behind the scenes (like fetching content or loading the next view)

In other words, use animation to hide that the product sucks.

Unfortunately this has backfired on mobile – on my 2 year-old device running new Android, animations make the product suck. Everything takes forever to happen.

‘Make waiting delightful’ as a strategy is about as effective as ‘show someone dog pictures while administering electric shocks to make them like electric shocks’. The negative stimulus dominates. What’s worse is that this has turned into ‘make waiting longer’ on mobile in 2018. Consumer technology in 2018 is totally unacceptable.

Can’t use without looking

I could touch-type 50 wpm on my Blackberry.

Interacting with android requires massive visual attention. Interface timing is totally inconsistent. I never know if I’m waiting for a tap to register or if I tapped before the animation finished and I need to tap again.

Entering text is particularly bad. I find myself in the position of needing to look at the keyboard & the word-choice bar at the same time, leaving zero IQ points left over to think at what I’m writing, or even to look at it. In some apps text entry is clamped so I can only see one or two lines of my input (SMS, slack, I’m looking at you).

Give me physical buttons every time. keyboards are awesome. I used my blackberry bold 8850 for months after the battery started to swell. Eat your heart out, galaxy note 7. I gave it up when the charger finally succumbed to accumulated dust and sebum.

Interfaces are leaving text behind

The world is built on text and it’s getting harder to work with it. Fuck images fuck video fuck animation, please just make text fast and good.

Text editing getting worse everywhere. Text editing on gmail in chrome is worse than msword 03. It’s worse than the state of the art from 1993. Laptop keyboards are getting worse for serious typists. Arrow keys on any new laptop are placed & sized insanely. Most laptops don’t have home/end/paging buttons.

I get the argument that the people who use the web need to have video streaming in and out of every hole (though I wonder if it’s based on facts). But the people who make technology are using text editors some of the time. Please remember us when you design your products, because you are us.

See also