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Keyboard Smörgåsbord (elischiff.com)
43 points by elischiff on Sept 30, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

We had skeuomorphism for a few years. Then everyone decided to go flat and abstract. I don't think the obsession with flatness will last more than a few years, though. Sooner or later, something else will come up and we'll all rush to adopt it, users be damned.

Developers tend to have an analytical mindset, and people with analytical mindsets tend to overgeneralize. We find something that works for us in some cases, decide that it's the One True Way (tm), and try to apply the same principle to everything. We defend our choices religiously, blindly pursuing the ideal of purity. If any user dares to admit that they don't understand the reasoning behind our elegant designs, we blame them, not ourselves. PEBCAK, after all.

Then a new trend comes along, and we repeat the cycle all over again.

In fact, the problem does usually exist between the chair and keyboard. Except it's not always the user's keyboard and the user's chair. Sometimes it's between our keyboards and our chairs.

>More than two years have passed since the 2013 WWDC when iOS 7's flattened and utterly illegible software keyboard first saw the light of day.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person who feels flat is a dream come true. I've been waiting for this style to be mainstream for almost a decade.

Also, a keyboard isn't "utterly illegible" just because the state of the shift key is ambiguous.

The article is full of hyperbole, and I wouldn't want to read his book after reading half of this article.

> almost a decade

nice how we went full circle with every app looking like X11 ones

"consider Android: it lacks button borders, making it difficult to target a particular key"

It is true, the default theme ("Material") of the google keyboard has no borders.

But, anyone can change to another theme ("Holo" theme has borders). And a lot of Android users use another keyboard app, either by choice (SwiftKey is popular, and has borders) or by default (Samsung phones have Samsung keyboard by default, not google keyboard, and it has borders).

I find these long articles about such tiny details odd - extremely nit-picky and ultimately pointless.

Granted this is only based on personal experience and the experiences of people I know. Basically people figure out the shift key in less than ten seconds and it's not an issue.

Is this really a big deal for people? It looks nice and it works well, who cares?

It seems like you can always arbitrarily argue that a certain design decision is better than some alternative - it feels more like bullshit than science.

Nitpicking on tiny details is probably an accepted way of advancing UI affordances. Pointless it may be, but perhaps the author just needed to vent? And really, it's this attention to tiny tiny details that can sometimes make or break a design.

I never really figured it out.

Also, it's the job of the UI to tell the user what is going on.

So no, it doesn't work, and it would be easy to make it work. Just give it a glow or a color, like the old keyboard did.

If something else looks fine as well and works better, why not use that?

For first-time or occasional users things like that can get needlessly annoying, and if "it's just a tiny detail" is applied to everything, it quickly leads to "death by a thousand paper-cuts".

So yes, most people probably don't care about it, but IMHO good UX design should care about tiny details and look into small effects.

My original comment was probably too abrasive - it wasn't so much that it was just a tiny detail or that tiny details don't matter (they obviously do). I guess I just find UX more subjective - seems easy to argue that any decision is bad or good based on whatever criteria you're choosing to argue about.

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