Give iPad users full websites as default…
There is currently a lot of work going on with responsive design and mobile versions of websites. This is great and responsive design is no doubt a benefit to the user. However if any of the content or functions are missing from the mobile version or responsively viewed website there starts to be a problem. Please give tablet devices the full content.
For some mobile environments it can be a benefit but tablet devices should not be thought of in this context as mobile devices. Their browsers are for all purposes fully functional and need to be thought of as desktop browsers with a touch screen. That means, for example, don’t use drag and drop with the mouse as a selection method as it simply doesn’t work on touch screen (yes I’m talking to you google+!). Likewise keep clickable areas of a suitable size and well separated. You need to do this anyway with the increase of touch screens on laptops/desktops! Not to forget it generally looks better.
Many of the the tablet browsers even support flash, iPad included. So, give the user the full website as default and allow them to access the mobile version if they wish. Enough said.
Design flaws for thought…
To install/remove the SIM card you have to take the battery out or you need a tool to get to it. These are two clear situations where the design contradicts what the user wants to do. Nobody wants to remove the battery to take a card out of the device and you certainly don’t want to carry a special tool around with you. One solution, for SIM cards at least, would be virtual SIMs - nothing to physically remove. Bingo!
Don’t forget the user.
Please Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and others: do not forget the user in your business battles.
Twitter are getting personal with Facebook over Instagram using their API and Apple looking to reduce their promotion of Google. There is a big risk of removing the features that really allow the user to enjoy and use their services. Striving to dominate online with an all inclusive experience where you should only use Twitter or Google or Facebook could all too easily break those bridges that have been built through the Internet and put up walls to people’s communication. Bridges that also allow these companies to thrive. So I plea with you not to shoot yourselves in the foot and allow users to use your services in the diverse ways that they wish!
What Twitter API restriction for instagram?
No more Find Friends
Google’s days numbered on Apple devices?
Maps, YouTube and search could all go
Here is a great quote from Robin Linda 2003 in Marc Silver’s book Exploring Creative Design:
“BEING RECEPTIVE If you’ve ever worked with or lived with a stubborn person, then you know the value of a person who is flexible, open to suggestions, other opinions, constructive criticis, and different schools of thought”
Couldn’t agree more!
“Often the solution to one problem causes a different problem”
This quote from Marc Silver in his book Exploring Interface Design is so true. Not more apparent is it than in Twitter’s latest iOS app update. The app overall is more smoother and has some improved functions (although searching is just as pointless as it was before).
It is in this update that, without thinking, you can easily identify two examples of causing a different problem.
The first is now being able to press the users avatar, next to a tweet, to go straight to their profile. This is something I had thought should be done and a good idea. However now it’s fairly frequent that when you want to press the tweet you actually end up going to the profile instead. This is due to the visual clues of how the avatar appears to be “within” a tweet. This is in contrast to the Twitbird app where the avatar is a much more distinct element and so this problem doesn’t occur.
The second problem is the removal of information as to where a tweet comes from. I.e. is it from twitter on android, the web, Flipboard or somewhere else? Now Twitter have perhaps removed this as, in their mind, they want twitter to be solely accessed through twitter’s site or apps in an all inclusive experience. Or they have thought it gives too much information or clutter to the tweet. The later is, in my opinion, definitely not the case when you have made the effort to view more about the tweet and even more so on the larger iPad display. So what’s the problem with removing this information?
Well, now users have to ask somebody where they are posting from. For example somebody could be asking advice or have a problem with twitter but there is no way you can help them if you do not know what service they are using. Likewise you know not to ask someone about something iOS specific if you can see they are posting from Blackberry. In Twitter’s all inclusive mentality they have forgotten that users access the service from a whole magnitude of devices (not just apps that they do not want to promote). These are even through official services provided by twitter. So removing that information has in itself created another problem.
Overall the app update has improved the service but never forget that you have to be very careful not to create another problem when reaching a solution!
There are three iOS browsers to try before Google Chrome
I notice a lot of Apple users are switching blinding to Google Chrome based on it’s reputation on the desktop platform. Personally I advocate the use of a number of different browsers as just the one simply doesn’t always work. This was the same on desktops (I used both Safari and Chrome) and is even more relevant on mobiles.
A lot of websites are not fully tested or designed for mobile and so there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. For example a web designer has made the inexplicable decision to use flash for video when there are clear standards out there that will work both for pc and mobile. Don’t despair however, my first recommendation is there to help you with flash. Skyfire has very cleverly found a work around for this and is able to play many, although not all, flash videos on iPhone and iPad!
Another problem is when you come to use a website that you would like to upload something to. If the service doesn’t have it’s own app you will have probably given up at the sight of the greyed out upload button and gone to your pc. You see iOS doesn’t have a traditional system wide file structure that would allow you to do this. You are required to use an application to handle things. Now most of the browsers out there have forgotten that they are infact apps and perfectly capable of handling files for upload. Luckily one hasn’t and that is iCab Mobile. This browser very cleverly, as the most simple things always are, gives you a browser that handles files and so you are able to upload to most websites that have standard upload functions!
Those are two clear examples of browsers that provide two vital functions not available in the default browser Safari. That brings up the question what should be the default browser? A lot of people may be switching to Chrome instead of Safari. There are a number of problems with that. Two I have touched on in my previous post here: http://symonses.tumblr.com/post/26201676227/google-has-failed-with-first-attempt-at-chrome-and). However there is more. Most noticeably is Apple do not, as far as I’m aware, actually let you alter the system wide default browser. Safari is the default and you have no choice. Also there are no doubt many other apps you use to find content and then launch in browser. For example Twitter. Although it can browse websites you often want to open sites in a dedicated web browser instead. Which browser do apps uniformly give you to open externally? Safari of course! So the third browser, although some may not like it, is Safari. It is a stable and enjoyable browsing experience that can only get better with the coming iOS update. And to put it simply, you are going to have to really go out of your way to avoid it. The phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them” comes to mind.
Here are two browsers for you to “join” (the third you know where to find):
http://www.skyfire.com/en/for-consumers/products (for Flash, oh there appears to be an Android version too!)
http://www.icab.de/mobile.html (for uploading files to websites)
On an additional note and to be fair to both Skyfire and iCab Mobile they both offer a lot of other reasons to use their browsers and would be perfectly good solutions as a default browser should iOS ever allow it. For example Skyfire has innovative integration of social networks and user profiles to save different preferences for different users. Then iCab has so many customisable functions that I don’t know where to start describing them. It may not be inappropriate to think of Safari as iMovie and iCab mobile as Final Cut Pro!
Google has failed with first attempt at Chrome and Drive on iOS.
So Google Chrome and Google Drive apps for iPhone and iPad have just be released. They are both at the top (or near) of the the free downloads on the App Store. This must surely make them superior products and an immediate success?
They both lack some fundamental functions that will leave you using Safari and Google Docs (in Safari!) instead. Yes my first impression of Chrome’s loading times seem impressive but there is no way to import my Safari bookmarks that have built up over the years. Perhaps that is down to Apple but still it leaves me opening Safari. Add to that the most basic shortcut function failing. I type motogp into Chrome and instead of going straight to motogp.com it sends me to google search results. Fail! All hail Safari that comes with iOS 6 - it will have the tabs synched and probably a better implementation of offline browsing.
Well how about Drive then? It is quite simply going to drive you round the bend! Just like Facebook and LinkedIn apps, that fail to let you do the most important action: edit your profile. Google Drive fails to let you edit the wonderful documents you have in the cloud in real time like everyone must want to and so you’re left going back to Safari. Even more amusing is that when you view a document and go to Actions the main option is Open in Safari! Unbelievably it is not possible either to create new documents. Just as well the details about the app kindly state that you should go to the browser version to do so. Oh deary me Google. You are the nearest to understanding cloud computing but really, these failures will mean I will certainly not be using Chrome or Drive in the near future.