Honestly, though, mobile really does have to get creative. The lack of space, if nothing else, means that we can’t be super-explicit about each and every function – there just isn’t enough room. So, it only seems logical to rely on a trick or two – gestures, swipes, double-taps, tap-and-holds – if we’re going to cram in all the functionality we want to give the user.
But how do users learner about all that stuff? Well, if it’s not “intuitively obvious,” you might have to rely on some kind of support – coach marks, demos, help …
You know what I see a lot though? Basically, people seem to learn the most just from other people. And where I’ve seen that the most is with teenagers. They love to show each other the new app or feature they’ve just downloaded or discovered.
Unfortunately, we are not all teenagers. So, how are the rest of us to learn?
Well, there is definitely some sharing going on within other generations (and lots between) as well. And users are definitely more apt to experiment these days (and without thinking that they’re going to “break” something).
I do worry, though, that we might simply be leaving some of those great features on the table. And, you know, that might be just fine.
My thought here is twofold. One, we may not need to pack all that functionality in in the first place. Remember, apps are supposed to be a simpler, more streamlined version of desktop functionality. Second, we might want to limit functionality that is hard to discover to things that are more nice-to-haves, and less crucial operations that make or break anything.
All that said, I still think Doug is right. “Tricks” do not make for good UIs or good user experiences.
You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out ...