Attention to detail

From Peter N Lewis (author of my beloved Keyboard Maestro):

Upgraded to iOS 13.2 on my iPhone SE – practically the first experience is it asking for Light or Dark Appearance, with the text of “Light” and “Dark” partially cutoff by the “Continue” button at the bottom. It was attention to details like that that attracted me to Apple…

You can’t even tell wether Light or Dark is selected without scrolling.

I get it. My team did a complete UI rewrite (don’t ask) this Summer. And throughout the whole time building out screens I knew in the back of my head that small phones were going to be trouble because design mocked everything up for X class devices.

So I tried to build the UI with that in mind along with a modicum of testing as we sprinted towards our deadline. And, still, we had nearly a week of testing and cleanup dedicated to fixing small screen layout bugs.

But this is Apple.

On a damn onboarding screen that every iOS user has to go through. I just…

iOS Scrollbars and Discoverability

First of all, Michael Gubik says

Just discovered you can drag scroll bars on iOS (you have to hold for half a second)

And, oh my god, it works.

I’ve been using an iPhone since June 29, 2007 – twelve years! – and I never knew this was a thing. To quote Hannes Oud

Is this a new feature? I guess it is, according to Jared Sinclair

@steipete I would keep the custom handle. I’m a developer and an Apple nerd and even I didn’t discover the new feature until someone showed me, and at this moment I can’t even remember how to do it.

If developers as tuned-in to the Apple ecosystem as myself and those quoted above had no idea about this feature, how on earth are normal users ever going to figure this stuff out? Do we just accept that scrolling quickly (by dragging) is only for power-users – like keyboard shortcuts on a desktop? (Well, to be fair, at least keyboard shortcuts are discoverable since they’re listed next to each menu item.)

This all goes back to discoverability and flat design and UI affordances. Back to when a button looked like something you could click or tap (or lick). Matej Bukovinski, of fantastic PSPDFKit fame, writes:

We were considering dropping our custom drag handle in favor of the new draggable scroll bars. However, discoverability is simply not good enough. I’m sure everybody tried it when fist getting an iPhone and then made peace with the previous behavior.

It’s great to see 3rd party developers trying to improve the situation for their customers. It just sucks that they need to.

I’ll leave you with this.

iOS toolbar redesign

via Craig Hockenberry.

I’m right there with Craig in wondering why so many common actions were removed.

And while this isn’t specific to iOS 13, it’s always puzzled me why Delete is right next to Reply – especially now on iOS 13 with so much more toolbar space available. That button placement just seems…dangerous.


The way to make a single song repeat in Music in iOS 13 is the absolute dumbest interaction design decision I’ve encountered in iOS in years. Clearly every designer working on iOS at Apple uses Spotify.

Via Mike Rundle; and he’s not the only one.

I consider myself an advanced user, nonetheless, on iOS baffles me nearly every time I use it. It’s just the weirdest damn thing, and I constantly find myself getting lost.

I’ve been an Apple Music subscriber since 2015, and I still have no coherent understanding of how the Up Next queue works.

Is it because I’m in my 30’s and I think everything featured on the “Browse” tab is just the 2019 equivalent of mid-90’s FM radio payola hot-garbage?

The only reason I use Apple Music over Spotify (or, hell, even Tidal) is because every time I’ve attempted to use a competing service, iOS insists on playing the first song in my iTunes library that begins with the letter A whenever I start my car.

macOS Disabled States

Apple design is so glorious. After iOS, macOS Music App:

  1. You barely see the difference between the active and disabled gray
  2. The active gray is lighter than disabled gray.

Basic usability stuff you would assume you can’t get wrong at this level.

I basically discovered this after my playing list stopped playing despite I thought it was in repeat list mode.

It’s only until I saw the light gray with the little ‘1’ that I realized the colors were wrong.

via Damien Petrilli

Twitter for Mac fullscreen and whitespace

Here’s Twitter for Mac running in fullscreen on an iMac. An extreme example perhaps – I know there aren’t many people out there using Apple’s most popular desktop model.

And just so we’re clear, here’s the same screenshot but with whitespace colored red.

Also, an unedited screenshot of the fullscreen compose view. I did not add the black myself like I did the red color above. This is what it really looks like.