Why do I have to click into each of these headers? Something something the presumption to reducing friction something something thoughtful interaction.
Agree. They're bounding the experience over aggressively.
I say this as someone who’s been designing and using computers since the Osborne 1, who can’t use his own iPhone 7 when my girlfriend gives it back to me, and who can’t verbally explain to said girlfriend how to gesture effectively on my iPhone XR.
It doesn’t work when I re-install Linux after not using it for merely 3 years, even though my WordStar sense memory is stronger than vi, emacs and Word on both Mac and Windows. What the hell did they do to Gnome!?
I do UI and UX testing when rolling out enterprise and web apps, but design..!? It’s temporal and artificial. It’s not actually foundational, like thumbs and squatting.
I taught community college for a spell, computers 101. When you go back to the very beginning and have to explain desktops and folders and files and file types to the same people who have little to no familiarity with moving a mouse... it’s profound how un-intuitive all of computing is... from the very beginning.
I think of this when I switch between Windows machines and Macs and their scrolling directions are opposite of each other.
That said, I’ve never taught my son how to type and I’ve never explained computers to him. He’s the kind of kid who figured out iPads and iPhones on his own, at a young age. And he is definitely a fast touch typist, all on his own.
Maybe “intuitive UI” metaphors aren’t helpful here. Computers are lived experiences, like homes and hotel rooms and cars. Think of the car you drive now, and how familiar it is, and think of the car you had 10 or 20 years ago. Get in that older car and it won’t be familiar right out the gate.
We have hundreds of interfaces that we live with... kitchens, rooms, appliances, spaces we navigate in the dark, cars, office layouts, TV interfaces, etc.
Most are shockingly poor interface experiences, and the brands/models that have them usually don’t maintain them. And we switch those pretty regularly with little thought to the next relative to the last. Because it would be maddening to be held to those things as we try and move along in our lives.
Example: I used to have a Volkswagen CC. Two things I loved about it: the auto-hold button (keeps brakes engaged and you can lift your foot off during stop-and-go traffic). and a “Jump” button on radio that could be programmed to go to any preset in memory. So, if you program your satellite radio stations in order of preference, you could hit Jump and go back to the first preset. Lovely feature.
That no subsequent VW or Audi I test drove afterwards kept those features has puzzled me ever since.
Live and long... for old interfaces, better interfaces, etc.
People often need to stop speaking, and often ask for silence, when they need to think. Thinking and Talking is definitely a useful modality (think, relationship discussions, brainstorming), but Thinking and Non-verbalism is also a necessary way to function. Think of when your partner goes silent in a conversation and you look over and they're starting at their phone, or doing something on their phone. People can't talk and do something else at the same time.
I work from home. I often wake up, go for a run, eat breakfast, sit at my computer, begin my workday, and when my first conference call of the day begins... find myself a little rusty at speaking. It seems like "talking" has a spin-up cycle for some people.
I don't want to talk to my computers... so I haven't yet developed any positive notions of living with a VUI.
If I adjust my viewport to an even lower resolution (to match an iPad) it does manage to fit in the section headings.
Ironically the website itself is not easy to navigate on mobile.
Not to be pedantic or nitpicky, but was there really a need to create a complete website with a dedicated domain name for advertising such a simple idea? Surely it could have been done via a blog post or, if a separate page is needed, hosting on a (free) static site hosting service like Surge, Netlify or Now.
Why can't the User Agent allow the user to set themes, with some sensible defaults provided? There should be a background color, foreground (text) color, a few accent colors, etc. Custom themes should only be used by applications which have really different requirements; background/foreground/accents/good-bad-error colors should be enough for 95% of them and the other 4% can interpolate to get more colors. This also helps people with special needs such as colorblindness (almost 10% of men) and poor eyesight.
For example, on KDE I can set a system-wide color scheme applied to Qt (and also attempted to apply to GTK) applications. It comes with a pretty good default light and dark theme, but the user can get any custom theme they want or make their own. It seems to work just fine here, with a wide variety of applications looking great even with nonstandard themes.
Of course HTML/CSS has been evolving for many decades, but there needs to be a reset at some point where we switch from legacy technology designed to make reading documents to a new system that is useful for making web applications and interactive documents.
One thing I've done on my browser is to disable custom fonts. Font CSS is ignored; all webpages render with GNU FreeFont (sans + serif; sans is very similar to San Francisco / Helvetica) and Fira Code. It looks great; once in a blue moon I find a page where typography is the focus of the page and in those instances I copy the URL into another browser. When I occasionally use that other browser for normal browsing, the presence of custom fonts makes me feel the same way as when you turn off an ad blocker and surf the web - it's absolutely disgusting. There's no reason to allow companies to push their ridiculous branding styles down our throats.
An idea I just had is to make a browser addon which automatically tries to do this - every element's color value is categorized as light, dark, accent, etc. and then gets replaced by the user-configured theme.
However, personalization doesn't work well with the current system of CSS. No page (I know of) has a stable CSS that would enable personalization to any meaningful degree.
I think you'll be happy to learn about prefers-color-scheme: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/@media/pref...
Chrome hasn't implemented it yet (Firefox and Safari did), but there's some activity here: https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=889087
As far as I understand it, a website would have two stylesheets (dark and light) and your browser would pick which one should be used. Websites would still have two themes, but the activation process would get automated. This would allow the browsers to finally implement a "I prefer dark themes" setting.
> There's no reason to allow companies to push their ridiculous branding styles down our throats.
Understandable, but on the contrary, you can imagine complaints on the opposite end of the spectrum. "Man, their site is ugly!"
Designers do their best to understand and create experiences that are crafted to their target audience; to, well, varying degrees of efficacy.
W.R.T. your other point, my argument was that people should be able to use their own themes but then it becomes the responsibility of the User Agent vendor to provide a great default one. While Mac doesn't allow custom themes, they have made this work pretty well with a switchable light/dark theme. All apps using the native widgets look beautiful; each app designer just has to put UI elements in the right place and make them behave nicely with user expectations. I don't use macOS personally so I don't know how this works with nonnative apps, but on the browser we have a single language set (HTML/CSS) with tags for everything already (button, progress, various text input, radio/checkbox, etc.) so that's not an issue.
In my previous post I alluded to replacing HTML/CSS but that seems unnecessary. Currently CSS is used for both styling and layout/positioning. If User Agents provide a great default style then users can strip out the CSS styles, the same way users can disallow custom fonts after specifying a good default font in the UA settings. And when UAs become responsible for styling, it's only natural that the more feature-rich UAs would allow users to configure the entire theme.
Determining which parts of CSS are style and which are layout might be a bit difficult, but can't be too hard. Eventually people will start using CSS for layout only and stop putting style in CSS, which solves the problem. The only possible issue is that companies still want to shove their branding down our throats instead of letting us use a native-looking or otherwise preferred theme. In which case... fuck 'em. I'll block it the same way I block their shitty fonts.
Anyhow, kudos to the author for putting up a website to tackle such a hugely relevant issue these days.
 Like this: https://i.imgur.com/GgudrKa.png.
For a sober take on Harris and "tech humanists" more generally, check out "Why Silicon Valley can’t fix itself" by Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel.
Have you done _any_ research? You can disable notifications for any app you like in pretty much any semi-recent version of Android.
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The site is more obsessed with clever design and useless gadgets than simply presenting text.