Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Aza Raskin Improve Navigation on the iPhone

Jef Raskin's son (employee No. 31 at Apple and Macintosh), Aza Raskin has long been used in Mozilla, where he designed the first specification for geolocation APIs, Ubiquity, or Tab Candy. It is not particularly convinced by the home button on the iPhone.
"Though proverbially simple, it gives you too little information" : the home button of the iPhone is used to return to home. If we supported it by mistake, he must often sail again to find the application, or go through a double-click to summon the helm of multitasking, and if the application is not compatible with multitasking wait for loading and reconstruct the browsing history. There is no simple way to return to the home screen application, beginners thinking that just press the home button takes you back to the host application - one click which is simpler than typing repeatedly on an arrow to move up the thread of a navigation application.

Android and webOS offer two types of interaction: a button / gesture to return to the home screen of the OS, and a button / gesture to go back one step in the history of navigation. This button / back gesture is familiar: it is used everyday on the Internet to move in the history of navigation. But while there is also a "Next" button on the browser, there are not phones: there is no possibility to quickly correct a mistake. In addition, the back button behavior is not consistent: he traces a notch in global navigation, which means it does sometimes come back to the home screen ... so there is a button for that.
Raskin does not mention it, but Windows 7 Phone operates in a manner different again: the home button takes to the homepage of the OS, making the back button go back one step in the browsing history without ever go through the home screen. Thus, if we went from one application to another through the Home screen, tap the back button will return to the previous application without going through the reception. Better, but not good enough if one follows the reasoning of Raskin.
"The home button is too simple, but the back button is too complex" , he says: he must find a system as simple as on IOS, but as rich as Android or webOS. In other words, we must find a way to always get out of his navigation, but which applies equally to the OS as a whole in applications. It proposes, for example to resume the system triggers the cameras: when pressed lightly, the camera focus, and if you push frankly, it takes a picture. The bearing between the two is clearly defined by a tactile feedback franc.
So he imagined a home button that you could touch to return to the application home, or on which we would support openly to return to the homepage of the OS. The advantage, according to Raskin, is that you can easily jump from light support to strong support in case of doubt. This does not solve all problems around the home button (especially as regards the management of multitasking), but has the merit of proposing a solution to facilitate navigation. What do you think?


Sounds like you are proposing that a button should secretly have two functions distinguished by strength of the press. I think that if there are more choices which one might wish for while choosing to press the Home button, then any press of that button should make the extra choices explicit at that time and place. Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck where you don't want to be with no obvious way to leave or even get more information. The efficiency of a single button with multiple ways to press it is no benefit in such a case.

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