Dammit, Apple. You’re Supposed to Be the Ones With Good UI Design.

The grand appeal of using an e-reader is the ability to own a large library of books without adding to the colossal weight of one’s possessions. Ever since I moved away from print books I’ve been able to remove hundreds of pounds of clutter from my apartment and from my life. Storing books digitally has improved my quality of life. That being said, the various e-readers that are out there have an obligation to provide a good user experience, and they do that through design.

In the past I’ve taken Amazon to task for user interface design that I felt was subpar. Since it’s introduction, Kindle for the iPad has gone through numerous updates to its UI, and while still not perfect, it provides a fine balance of text and whitespace. The only reason I don’t use the app regularly is because Kindle doesn’t have continuous scrolling. Enter iBooks, the e-reader app from Apple.

Apple prides itself on the quality of its design. One can see it from the look and feel of Apple’s signature hardware, to the way fonts render in OSX, and everything in between. Which makes this so inexplicable:


That is a screenshot of a page in iBooks, with continuous scroll turned on, after an update to iOS 10. The margins to the right and left are too small, leaving the text crowded to the edge of the screen. When using one of the new model iPad Pros, the text is less than an inch from the edge of the device. The width of the text also interferes with the eye’s ability to flow from one line to the next. What happened to all that whitespace that designers value so much? It used to be there. This is a screenshot of the same text taken in iBooks from an iPad running iOS 9:


The second screenshot shows a much better use of margins. I know there are charlatans out there who prefer text to be much closer to the edge, but they’re wrong. Luckily, a solution that satisfies most users should not be that difficult for Apple to implement. The Kindle app already has a margin selector in the same menu where a user adjusts fonts and background colors. The settings in iBooks does not. As of right now, the experience in iBooks on the iPad has been degraded by the decision to close the margins. Were Apple to add a margin selector, it would be a vast improvement to the app.


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Link Drop, 8 Feb



Link Drop

Admir Hadzic has a gorgeous portfolio site

Zack Grossbart on P Vs. NP“Right now we assume that P does not equal NP. This means that some problems are easy and others are hard. We think our secrets are safe, but we can’t prove it.”

See the invisible wireless signals around you with this augmented reality app

434 Talks for Designers from 60 ux/ui conferences all over the world

Designing for Various UI States

Design Is Fine“Imagine a time with no computers but with lots of craftsmanship and creativity. This is my library of art & design history, inspiration from the past.” (via Coudal)

NYTimes – Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. – Sherry Turkle looks at how technology has affected our abilities to communicate and empathize with others.




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Apple Music, First Impressions

I’ve been using Apple Music since it launched yesterday. It’s interesting. I’m not sure if I’ll be signing up after the 3-month trial is over, but so far I like the recommendations it gives me.

The playlists under “For You” are good, but I’ve been playing around with the ability to create a “station” based on a track I’m listening too. I want recommendations based on my music library. So far, the stations Apple has been creating are good. I noticed it will play me a combination of songs already in my library and songs from iTunes.

The user interface on my iPhone is on the complex side. I can figure it out without too much trouble, but I’m not sure non-nerds will be able to. Part of this is due to the density of functionality Apple has packed into the Music app. There’s a lot going on.

I used to be able to double-tap on the album artwork to display the album track list, but that doesn’t work anymore. I have to hit the 3 dots in the bottom right of my iPhone and then tap on the track/album/artist at the top of the modal menu. Weird. Confusing.

When I go to My Music and switch to ‘Songs’ I no longer have a ‘Shuffle’ button at the top of the list. I miss that button. I’ll probably get over it.

I also no longer have the ability to reorganize the bottom menu. Right now ‘My Music’ is the last button. Apple is assuming I’m always going to want their streaming service to be my first priority. I’d like ‘My Music’ to be the first menu item. Please.

iTunes is a whole other story. It continues the long tradition of being a labyrinthine, confusing desktop application. As with the iOS Music app, I can figure it out, I just wonder how many regular people can. Since iOS is where all the money and consumer eyes are these days, it’s not the end of the world.

Now back to my music.


Human Experience


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