There Are Bigger Issues To Think About

UPDATE (May 3, 2014): Find me here and on Twitter @SahilC0.

As you can probably tell, I’ve always been really picky about the smallest UI elements. And I probably always will be.

But, to be honest, I’ve lost interest in ranting about the minute details; especially with a rapidly changing company like Google/Android. Most of the “big issues” I had in my previous posts have been completely changed, and old user interfaces have been made more polished.

You’re saying – “What’s he whining about? Of course the UI will get better – it’s been months since he made that post!”. And I think that is what bothers me. I know that Google engineers and designers have these issues in mind, and they’re doing their best to address complaints.

I just don’t feel the need to rant about every detail these days. There are bigger design issues to think about. This hit me especially hard after seeing Matias Duarte’s (Director of Android Design #HOLOYOLO) interview with the Verge. Among other things, he talks about how designing specifically for mobile is “dead”; how we need to design for the user and not for the device.

That’s what I mean when I say there are bigger things to think about. As expected, Google released many updates to their apps recently. There are rumors that the dialer is getting a colorful upgrade. Hangouts also received an update that merged the SMS and Hangouts threads (praise tha lawd!). Google even released the Camera app to the Play Store, and gave it an overhaul.

But the fact is, that isn’t the conversation I want to have with you. I want to talk about mobile design, and software design as a whole, and not just limit our discussion to Android. Maybe even the Design of Everyday Things.

I’d be interested in a YouTube vlog, or maybe a podcast. To be honest, I’m not sure what the next step is. But I don’t like how narrow minded my posts are on this blog. Like I said, I have no idea what’s next, but you can follow me on twitter @SahilC0 and on Google+ (yeah, that’s a thing) for my future projects. I’d really love to continue talking to you, just maybe not on this blog specifically.

See ya around!

Bad Camera UX

So this rant pertains only to a couple things about the Camera experience on stock Android.

We all know that the stock Camera app is a pain. These are a couple more details worth noting:

First up, the lockscreen. In <4.3, you could access the camera by swiping to the left on your lockscreen. The indication to swipe, however, was fairly weak, so I assume they decided to add an icon to make it more obvious, like iOS.

Android 4.2 Lockscreen widgets & camera

Android 4.2 Lockscreen widgets & camera

iOS Lockscreen - Sorry for the old iOS image. *shudders*

iOS Lockscreen – Sorry for the old iOS image. *shudders*

The problem here is, on iOS, you’d hold the camera icon and swipe up with it, revealing the Camera viewfinder. On Android, the icon is placed lower than where the viewfinder’s image shows up, so it feels very odd and non-intuitive.

Android 4.4 Lockscreen. The white dot is my finger.

Android 4.4 Lockscreen. The white dot is my finger.

It’s a little hard for me to explain – you’ll have to try this out for yourself. Your finger is sliding under the image of the viewfinder. It’s just wrong. 

Next, in the Photos app (comes annoyingly bundled with Google Plus), I don’t understand why the icons need to disappear and reappear for each damn image!

Screenshot_2013-12-14-23-15-18 Screenshot_2013-12-14-23-15-11

Instead, the icons can be kept constant, as the image changes.

As before, you’ll have to experience it yourself to get it.

Anyways, that’s enough for today. What do you think? How do you like the Stock Android Camera experience?

Another issue with the Clock App (and possibly others as well)

I should have added this with my earlier post about the clock app, but there’s another thing that annoys me.

The scrolling feedback – the white thing you see when you there are no more screens left to swipe to in an app – gets cut off by the action bar.

dont like how the feedback gets cut offOne way to get around this would be to make the action bar translucent, the way it is in Keep.  That way, the feedback would show through the action bar, and you wouldn’t feel like it’s a bug.

What do you think?

Clock’s “Lap” icon

This is the Clock app from 4.3 Jelly Bean and below:

JB Clock

JB Clock

The “Lap” button (the disk-like one on the bottom left of the stopwatch) changed, with Kit Kat 4.4.

This is what it looks like, now:

KK Clock

KK Clock

I’m okay with this; my only issue is that the icon hasn’t been updated in the notification shade!

Stopwatch running in notification shade

Stopwatch running in notification shade

Details, details.