Gizmodo recently asked why, and Wired (where this image comes from!) did the same a year ago. Long story short: it's a crowd-pleaser, more a showpiece to entice buyers than a feature that helps users. At least for now - it could be argued that by comforting reluctant users with familiar paradigms, eBook apps are positioning themselves to usher those users gradually into the future. If so, I'm eagerly awaiting that future, where the versatility of digital content can be leveraged instead of dumbed down - and in the meantime, having the option to de-paginate wouldn't hurt!
Hardware Comes Last: the Blackberry Z10, Nokia Lumia 920, and Chromebook Pixel. In each case, the individual product is excellent - but the ecosystems are so lacking that the whole product falls short. Perhaps the best hope is that some design elements will be stolen from these orphaned products and find their way into major ecosystems!
beloved but soon-to-depart Google Reader. Feedly has emerged as the heir apparent, and with good reason: it's attractively designed, cross-platform, customizable, and duplicates the vast majority of Reader's functionality. However, there are a few surprising holes in Feedly's offering - and I thought I'd point them out here so fellow migrators will be warned, and maybe even the Feedly team will take notice and fix them!
- Next Article / Previous Article: These are literally unpressable buttons because they don't exist: they're available as keyboard shortcuts, but not onscreen buttons. Making them keyboard shortcuts acknowledges them as worthwhile - so shouldn't I at least have the option to use my mouse for this interaction?
- Save For Later: The location of the save-for-later button (the equivalent of "starring" in Google Reader) is illogical: it's only at the end of each article. If I'm saving something for later, it's likely because I haven't read it - which means I haven't gotten to the end of the article! Give me this button alongside the headline - that's where I really need it, especially in the full-article view mode I use most.
- Unread Only: I use the "unread only" filter - but the way this filter actually works seems to be: "unread only, unless there are no unread articles, in which case show all articles." I hope this is a bug and not an extremely poor design decision! It's especially bad since I also filter by "oldest first" - so when I log on, I see either (a) new unread articles or (b) hundreds of month-old articles. If there's nothing new, why not give me the satisfaction of that big green checkmark I'm beginning to love so much?
So, Feedly ( #feedly or @feedly ), what do ya say? I'm a fan, but I could be happier...
Despite the lack of tactile feedback, digital interfaces have a "feel" - and one of trickier elements for this are dropdown submenus. You know them: hovering your mouse over a menu option in a column causes more options to pop out to the right. The trick is that if the submenus pop out too quickly, the interaction is "slippery," and you can too easily slide to an adjacent option and the wrong submenu. So a delay is added, which is effective in preventing these mistakes but makes it feel "sluggish." Well, Ben Kamens has discovered how Amazon's dropdown submenus are lightning-quick and error free: tracking the path of the mouse, rather than its location. He determined that if the mouse moves from a menu option to any location in the colored triangle (shown for illustration here, but not actually visible), the current submenu stays open; if it leaves the triangle, the submenu changes with no delay. So it's not slippery, but it's still quick. It's the GUI equivalent of a tight-cornering nimble sports car - and that's a pretty good feel! Check out his explanation for some good animated examples of dropdown submenus that are slippery, sluggish, and just right.
Fitting squarely in that tricky category of "products designed to save us from ourselves," the HapiFork is a chubby little utensil that aims to make you, well, less chubby. It's generally known that eating too quickly contributes to overeating, so the HapiFork detects the rate of your fork servings and vibrates if you're eating to fast. In theory, a fine mechanism for self-control - but in practice, there could be problems. Meals are social occasions, and using a product with such a stigma (and no good looks to save it) may be a nonstarter. Still, similar user-guidance has worked for Sonicare toothbrushes which time your brushing and beep to cue a move to the next quadrant of your mouth - so maybe there's hope yet!
over 98% of their drink sales. They know it's a tough proposition to BYOC - something fragile, expensive, even sentimental - but hope that an impulse buy might be persuasive, especially since it pays for itself over 10 drinks with 10-cent discounts. It's a hybrid between permanent and disposable, where you can reuse it but wouldn't really care if you lost it - the same tack Gladware took to compete with Tupperware. It doesn't last as long, it doesn't cost as much - but it shifts the balance from disposable to reusable, if not all the way to permanent and durable. That shift could help, if people buy into it - and here's hoping they will.
[via Gizmodo, photo from The Parkhurst Group]
[via Gizmodo, photo from The Parkhurst Group]