[FoRK] Atrix / Xoom Details

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Mar 14 15:24:34 PDT 2011

On 3/14/11 2:47 PM, David Edmondson wrote:
> ..
> Things can be consistently bad, I agree.
> Here are two images to show how bad things are on this Wildfire (not my own images, but they show the UI in two applications provided with the phone).
> The contacts application (observe the gratuitous rounding of things):
> 	http://lh3.ggpht.com/_GDI0HsL0RCE/TRDNFE1azYI/AAAAAAAAFro/qIrTvKdQgHo/HTC-Android-Contacts-Address.jpg

Just a terrible use of screen real estate, typical of contact apps.
> The Gmail application (surely should be a shining example of what Android can do):
> 	http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_SS18DlBSIQ8/TJj4VUf1D3I/AAAAAAAAG3E/dUy6UyKeVVs/s400/android+gmail+updated+screenshot+2.png

Not too bad of a use of screen real estate, although the bottom buttons should be alpha-blended overlays that take no space.
> If you didn't know better then you'd probably thing that, a) these are from completely different systems and b) that the contacts application just dropped through a time-warp from 20 years ago.
> Of course there is room to be consistent. Having every application look and behave differently because they are hyper-optimized would result in no-one but the (one!) designer being able to use the phone.

There are certain things that can be made consistent at some level. End-of-scroll bounce, visual (and tactile) touch confirmation 
(Pre does this well at the system level), etc. should be easy to do in a consistent way. We need more of these, and to evolve them 
as quickly as possible. Trying to duplicate task navigation between different apps, or even button look is bad at least half of the 

For instance: I'm sure this design principle has a well-known name, but I think of it as the "No Grid Rule": Compare the usability, 
especially in the dark etc., of a random off-brand remote control for TV/VCR/cable box/etc. vs. a Tivo or similar controller: The 
latter has special shapes, patterns, and arrangement that help you find your place and remember or guess function, even in the dark.

Need I point out that this is a well-known mistake? To perhaps stretch the original meaning, but probably with some connection:
> AUTHOR:Ralph Waldo Emerson <http://www.bartleby.com/100/420.html>(1803–1882) QUOTATION: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of 
> little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. ATTRIBUTION:/Essays. First Series. Self-Reliance./



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