Three ways to move the cursor, from most reliable to least:
1. Hold down space bar and you'll enter a mode where moving your finger moves the cursor.
2. Drag it from its current location to a new location. This gets finicky, especially if you move your finger out of the text area; the cursor will move to the end of the text, but the highlighted bar that represents where you want to place the cursor will move around on the last line of the text. If there are non-text elements (images, etc.) in the block, then this will be unpredictable in where the cursor ends up. Also your finger blocks the text and there's no more magnifying glass.
3. Single tap in the text to place the cursor -- but if you tap on a misspelled word, it will go into "suggest replacements" mode. Double tap selects a word, and triple tap selects a paragraph.
To select all, you have to have a free cursor (nothing selected) and tap on the cursor itself. To avoid accidentally double-tapping (and thus selecting a word instead of bringing up the context menu) you have to make sure that you wait a beat before tapping again.
To paste (most to least reliable):
1. Do a three finger unpinch gesture, and it will paste at the cursor.
2. Enter the select all menu above and tap on the cursor (same caveats) and one of the options will be paste. But very often the second tap will either activate a double-tap (and thus select a word) or move the cursor a little bit, making a precise paste difficult.
How many iPhone users attentively watch WWDC or read each update's (often incomplete) release notes? 1%? 3%? 5% tops? Why roll out a feature when 95% of your users will need to discover it through trial and error? A relatively juvenile UX mistake for such a mature company, but seems to be their MO these days...
I totally agree, but just want to point out that it may be 5% of developers who follow these. Of the general use base in total? I'd assume it's rather about 1/100 of one percent, or one in ten thousand people.
Unfortunately that would require that end users a) read such information (given the truism that "users don't read"), I would ouputr this at a vanishingly small likelihood, and b) summoned such information to mind when using their device.
The only people who would read this sort of information are techies it closer techies. It's certainly not my aged mother.
The real solution is to stick with some time proven UI techniques. As the author says, like scroll bars.
Instead, we have form over functionality writ large.
Video games do this a lot, too. I’d play more games but it’s always a one-hour commitment to get started between opening videos and tutorials.
Then, 2 months later, I want to change the colour scheme in the Weather app. Can I remember how? Or even remember where I saw to do that? Or even find the right tip? Obviously not...
I'm the customer. If your customer has a personal issue with your product, that's your problem, not theirs.
I'm not holding the phone wrong!
The problem is that modern UI's can do so much that some has to be hidden so the common use cases can be easier, but users never go into the tips app or online help books to find out what was hidden. Pushing notifications spams users who don't want to look there, so we instead have our current situation /shrug ️
Source: used to work on the iOS tips app and help.apple.com/$productname help books at apple.
Bollocks. The "modern UI" can't do anything that much more that Windows 95 wasn't doing already. Too bad the touchscreen became standard long after anyone cared about good UX, and so the UI paradigms are still struggling with this new kind of hardware.
There is no reason ever to hide the scrollbar, which is not only a control, but also an indicator.
The UI designers don't hide it for the sake of good UX, it's for the sake of being "brave" - leading to articles like this.
iOS, on the other hand, is a byzantine mess of nondiscoverable gestures, meaningless hieroglyphic buttons that you have to blindly press to see what they're supposed to do, and general UI antipatterns. This isn't the only post on HN today about modern UIs, prompted by phonisms, regressing functionality. There's one about scrollbars too, which is another area that Apple has lead the charge on messing up.
Even the very thin and translucent ones that just function as an indicator?
My C=64 came with a thick reference manual, with circuit schematics in the back. Every computer I've bought since then has had a smaller manual. I think my smartphone came with a small pamphlet with a couple screenshots.
It seems you're supposed to learn how to use electronics these days by having people say "oh, don't you know?"
It’s just that often they are not, and both good and bad design comes without a decent manual.
It feels to me like it happened around the time of the first iPad. That was such a usable device (and OS X was just about at its peak of perfection at the time) - I remember just opening the box, turning it on, and everything being intuitive. I’m 99% certain scroll bars were still present then, for example.
I don’t think we ever really made the transition from paper manuals to online help very well. Some apps need additional help, and some even make it available, but I rarely see people-in-need actually making use of it. Heck, they rarely even consider googling for help (the issue in the article can be worked around, at least, with a google search). At least with a physical manual, you knew how much help was available/necessary for a given app - that’s just not the case with 'software help' or help online.
Crazy! Apparently there's a whole set of commands accessible this way, most notably three finger swipe left = undo!!! This is a significant improvement. They could've told me while I was painstakingly shake - confirm undo - shake - confirm undo - shake - confirm undo ...... ing!
I've been trying to get the show desktop gesture on my mac right for years. You know, the one that "windows-D" was doing so loyaly for ages.
My habit is to arbitrarily swipe as many fingers as I can find available from center of trackpad outwards. It used to take me ~10 trials to get it right.
And now, enlightened by this random thread, I suddenly figured out I actually need to swipe 3 fingers upwards and one downwards simultaneously. This is the greatest Epiphany HN had given me since https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13651148
put four fingers in the center of the trackpad- not touching each other, but very close. then naturally spread them apart.
How is that an improvement? I get that the shaking gesture is horrible, but this one is not better: a three finger swipe is unusual, impossible to discover, hard to do. I don’t get why swiping left, usually associated with going to the right (= forward in Western cultures), is here used to undo (= going backward).
FYI: Triple-tap is for sentences. Quadruple-tap is for paragraphs.
Text selection is the one area that the lack of 3D Touch affects me the most, and I am truly upset about it.
With last year's phone/iOS, you could 3D Touch anywhere on the keyboard and enter a cursor-move mode. This was replaced with the spacebar thing, which is fine.
But then while moving your cursor around in the old version, you could 3D Touch again to select a word, again for a sentence, and again for the paragraph. I could select text so easily! This made deleting sections or copy/pasting bits of edited text sooooo much easier.
Now it's significantly worse. I can move the cursor fine, but then to select text I have to use my fingers to tap on the text directly and it's much more difficult to be precise. (Why? Because I can't see through my fingers, surprisingly. You can see through a cursor just fine.)
Sigh. I'm really disappointed in this change specifically.
Classic car comparison: imagine every time you took your car in for a service, the mechanics not only fix any problems, fine-tune the workings, and give it a clean, but they also 'improve' the controls. Your automatic becomes a manual, you gain acceleration but lose top speed, and your indicators switch with your wipers. It would be an absolute nightmare, up with which no one would put!
I sneered at the pinch/unpinch copy/paste gestures when I first read about them. But Apple's implementation, at least on the iPad, is stellar. I'm still not used to it, but when I remember to use it, it works flawlessly every time.
And there's even a little feedback bubble that pops up at the top of the screen letting you know you did something. That kind of feedback in invaluable, and desperately lacking in this era where programmers look down on feedback animation as superfluous.
FWIW, I recall being shown some of these new gestures (cut and paste, undo) in post-update iOS 13 splash screen of some kind.
By contrast, when I hardware swapped from XS to 11, nothing prepared me for the loss of formerly oh-so-intuitive 3D Touch. I’d read about it, didn’t realize how second nature it had become. I often saw others struggle with or unaware of 3D Touch, so my guess is Apple metrics showed it wasn’t as widely used as they’d hoped. The other positive is consistency, as I occasionally attempted 3D Touch on iPad or old phones and felt stymied.
4. Deep press anywhere on the keyboard to switch to cursor moving mode.
On my iPhone X, I used this all the time. With the iPhone 11, there is no substitute: you cannot long press on anything but the space bar to move the cursor. Also, a deep press was quicker to activate, a long press takes a fraction of a second longer. It's a bit annoying.
Specifically, either long-touch the space bar or force-touch any letter. Just don't force-touch the left side of the screen, which will invoke the app switcher.