Grumpy Website


Nested content that changes its size on hover AND has scrollbars is... not easy to get right.

Thanks @dottedmag for the video install snippet:

- Can’t be copied

- Has a dedicated copy icon

- Clicking on which does nothig

- Has to click anywhere else inside a label

- Huge green thing appears on top of the screen, offsetting everything on a page

- Disappears faster than you figure out that you are supposed to look for text in the other corner of the screen

Thanks @okertanov for reporting this

In Finder’s left panel, icons have offset (left). I guess, it was intended to help with grouping. Well, grouping is obvious even without it (right).

iOS layouts post. I will describe the current logic as it is. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry: it’s because it is.

Click on the image to see full size.

The main layout (third column) can be changed with the globe symbol. The globe switches to the last used layout. I guess someone at apple figured, if I installed three or four, it’s because I only really need two anyways.

How to get to the rest, you ask? Well, if you tap globe fast enough, it will start going through all of them in cycle. What is fast enough? I don’t know. For me it works like this: I need a particular layout, tap globe a couple of times, notice that it only cycles between the two, get annoyed, naturally start tapping faster, and eventually the correct layout appears.

The worst part about this UI is that it’s unpredictable. I don’t mind extra clicks if those clicks always lead to the same result. Humans don’t have problems developing habits through repetition. But unpredictability is the worst enemy of a good UI.

Then there’s dictation. Unlike the rest of the keyboards, dictation is a mode (there’s separate dictation for each language). Following the trend of bad design, it DOES NOT display the current language, in spite of having lots of free space. It also has globe symbol located _slightly_ different, enough to annoy frequent users. And the key to get out of dictation is in compeletely different place and doesn’t look like like anything.

Special mention for Emoji keyboard. It’s the only one that doesn’t use the Globe symbol as the rest of them, and the only one where this button is located in a different place. So in fact I can’t cycle through layouts, not really, because once I get to the Emoji one, I have to click in a different place to keep going. Even US people, who, I imagine, have only two layouts (US and Emoji), must be suffering from it.

Okay. Shifted layouts are ok, I guess (fourth column). Single key, always in the same place, gets you in and out. No surprise there.

Although there was a notorious moment in iOS history when actual keys on the keyboard were ALWAYS UPPERCASE, even in a lowercase mode. I guess someone at apple decided to bring limitations of physical keyboards (which can’t change their labels on the fly) to the digital world. Beautiful, but unusable.

And finally, numbers. Let’s not focus on the fact that 123 button is 1 pixel narrower than the globe one next to it (and #+= is TWO pixels wider :). Technically, numbers are just another layout. It’s not even numbers, it’s numbers AND special symbols. But there were not enough space for all of them, so they decided to split it in two.

So, problems. First, the split between symbols in 123 and symbols in #+= is more or less arbitrary. I guess, it’s based on frequency, but that doesn’t help when you are looking for something in particular: Apple might know the frequences, but you don’t.

Next, in its essence, symbols are just another layout. But they have a separate button to access them. Why?

Finally, #+= symbols are two levels deep. You have to go to the numbers first using one button, but then click ANOTHER one to go deeper. This is problematic because 1) you need to go through the layout you don’t really need, and 2) you need to click in two different places, which means rescan the screen, figure out what’s going on, locate the needed button, etc.

Getting out of there is not easy, either. For example, to get back to numbers, you have to click 123 button, which used to lead you to specials symbols, but now it leads to numbers. If you click to where the 123 used to be, you’ll end up in your primary layout, not the numbers. The point is, buttons change meaning and places all the time, again, blocking you from forming a habit.

Overall experience feels like a maze. You click random things trying to get somewhere. After enough clicking, with some luck, you’ll probably end up where you wanted to be. Not the best experience.

The solution? It’s a classical navigation problem, solved million times by now:

- There should be a single button for each mode.

- They should all be visible at once.

- They MUST have fixed places.

- And the current one should be highlighted.

Look in the bottom left corner where I drafted a prototype. In my prototype, it can easily accomodate as much as 8 languages plus emoji witout a problem. I imagine this is more than anybody would ever need, but just in case someone needs more, you can always make it scrollable.

Sure, it wastes one extra row. That would’ve been importnat on iPhone 4, but starting from 5 onward, screens are only getting taller. There’s plenty of space even on my 8, and even more on X or 11.

Also, Emoji keyboard needs a search. Just saying.

How to add a picture to the pinterest:

- Go to

- See random images, not my pins

- Click to my profile

- My profile contains my boards

- Go to the desired board

- (not in the video, but I actually tried drag and drop to the board, no result)

- See three identical plus icons

- Choose one. It has a dropdown

- Select section: Create, element: Pin

- Navigate to the add page

- Finally, a place that will accept my image. Drop it there

- Don’t worry, we’re far from done

- Click Save

- Wait significant amount of time

- See a popup over my uploaded image, that contains the same image

- Click “See it now”, only viable option. I just uploaded the image, why would I want to see it once more?

- Navigate to the pin page, a thrid page that looks almost identical to both the upload page and a popup about Save being successful.

- Wanting to make sure the upload was successful, navigate to the Profile, then to the board (stupid, but what can I do instead?)

- The image is not there

- Upload it again, still to no success

- Upload it third time, only to discover all three images are now displayed

- Die from too many facepalms

What I expected the experience would be?

- Open, see MY boards immediately

- Drop an image to the one of them, without opening

- See some sort of a message indicating the upload was successful

Seriously, how are they still in business with the core experience being like that? I guess UX is not everything.

It's 2020 and Microsoft is still Microsoft.

- The intro dialog contains a link to open privacy preferences

- The link leads to a webpage

- The webpage tells you that you should open privacy preferences in the app

- Preferences are disabled until intro dialog is dismissed

- Opening up preferences automatically creates an empty workbook

Compare to the obvious path:

- The intro dialog contains a link to open privacy preferences. It opens the privacy preferences

Not everything needs an icon. Some things just can’t be explained with tiny abstract graphics

As a company, Apple has never understood what gaming is at the deepest, core, systemic level.

There have been hundreds of external systems integrating with games. There are dozens of them now. And only Apple manages to create an excruciatingly slow animation to display a simple login form that's not even integrated with Apple's own TouchID.

Needless to say that the Cancel button that appears in the top right corner is unresponsive until the animation completes.

Google Meet and the efficient use of screen real estate

I wonder what’s the deal with iBooks, Apple official book-reading app, is (left). I mean, its main purpose it to display text, right? So I figured they must optimize for that. Yet it somehow has the ugliest defaults. The same company’s Safari has a reader mode (right) that is spotless. Why can’t iBooks just be like that?