Saturday, September 20, 2014

Little Design Thing that Irks Me.

So I've noticed this for a while, but getting a new phone, and a new iOS version, I thought I'd write about it today. When Apple first came out with a music player, it changed the way most of us listen to music forever. Being able to "reach out and touch your music" as Steve Jobs put it, was a thing that many of us had never done on a computer before.

At that time, the iPhone had a 3.5 inch screen, and one of the neat things that you could do to control your music was to scrub through the alphabet on the right hand side of the screen, which would let you get through your music much more efficiently than the click wheel that preceded it would allow. However, the screen at that point wasn't tall enough to be able to display the whole alphabet, and so they had dots in between groups of letters in the alphabet to save space (see the iPad screenshot below, click to enlarge):


As iPhones have gotten bigger, one of the things you can see is that the iPhone will now show you every letter to scrub through in the music app, because there is enough room for it. However, as you can see in the iPad screengrab, even though the iPad has almost twice the height of the iPhone, it still replaces every 2 out of every 3 letters with a dot. This means it is very finicky to try to scrub through your music on an iPad, and I just don't understand why they don't show you the whole alphabet. 

I'm not saying the Apple device lineup is perfect, but they make enough good design decisions that every time they take such obvious mis-steps, and every time these design decisions remain way past their intended usefulness, it irks users who have to deal with looking at it every day (just ask me about 1st-of-the-monthgate...actually, don't).