ana.words, absence of abruptness: faaaade

ana.words, absence of abruptness: faaaade
16. Januar 2007 mahal
In Allgemein

I was at the Steve Jobs keynote. And like everyone else in that room,
I was thrilled by the iPhone demo. The UI is spectacular, but for
reasons you can't see in a photograph, or get from the online keynote
video. The best part of the iPhone is simply this: the UI is alive. By
implementing one of the key principles of animation, the designers
have shown us the stunning power of using Dog Ears as a user
experience model.

In the real world, we have physics. We have inertia. Things bounce and
stretch and squash. We have follow through. Imagine a dog with long
floppy ears sprinting for a frisbee. Now picture the dog coming to a
screeching halt in front of the disc. What happens to the ears? They
keep going. Then they "bounce" back. And it's a big part of what
separates a good animator from an amateur.

Even if you don't notice it consciously, an animation (even of just
words) feels more appealing and alive when things move in the virtual
world more like things do in the real world (or even more
exaggerated). It feels more lyrical, fluid... less abrupt. And that is
what the iPhone UI does.

Yes the touch-screen is cool. And the multi-touch gestures are so very
minority-reportish. But it wasn't the scrolling that made my jaw
drop... it was what happened when the scrolling stopped: it bounced!
The thing actually bounced if you flicked it hard and fast enough to
send it flying up to the very (or bottom) of the list before it had a
chance to slow down and stop. It actually bounced. And until you've
seen it slow down and bounce, you haven't felt that visceral, life-
like, fluidity.

Someone was quoted as saying, "You had me at scrolling." Well, for me
it was, "You had me at what happened when the scrolling stopped."

And bouncing wasn't the only nod to a fluid user-experience... it also
uses audio fades when you're listening to music (iPod mode) and a call
comes in. Think about it. I attended a talk by Marc Canter in the
mid-90's, and it changed the way I think about sound and users
forever. In that talk, he railed against us--the interactive CD-ROM
developers--for committing one of the worst sound sins--chopping the
sound off when a user navigated from one place to another. He
demonstrated it by making a huge verbal ruckus and then--dead
silence--then back to a huge verbal ruckus. It was annoying. It was
stressful. It was what we were doing to our users.

And all it took to fix it was a fade! An f'n fade. Not a long,
elaborate, complicated cross-fade. Just a very short fade-out of the
audio as you left an area where the sound was not going to continue.

From that moment on, I became hyper sensitive to how stressful it is
when sound--especially loud sound--just cuts off. And now, if I'm
listening to anything--music, a DVD movie, whatever--if I have to stop
the sound for some reason, I attenuate. I grab the knob and rotate it
to the left. It's one of those tiny gestures that my companions might
not even notice, but on some level they appreciate it.

Life is abrupt enough as it is.

Why not reduce some of that for our users? If we can make a user
experience where things don't come to a slamming, smashing, halt but
instead move and fade as lyrically as a dancer, we've just added
something to their life.

Try it. Turn the music up in your car or home stereo to a pretty
strong (but good) volume. Ask a friend to join you. At one point, when
they're in the flow, cut the sound completely. Kill the power. Notice
their response. Now do it again, but this time fade the volume.

This is not a trivial thing.

And although Apple and the iPhone certainly aren't the first to use
this kind of "absence-of-abruptness" to the user experience, they've
done it in an elegant, subtle, flow-supporting, enchanting way.

Consider it UI research to sit in a dog park and watch some ears. Big,
floppy, ears.

[FIY: after leaving San Francisco, I was home for less than 12 hours
before getting on a plane for Australia, where I am now for the
wonderful conference. So, my apologies for being off-line for
the last week. It looks like I have a decent connection here in my
hotel, so I should be checking in regularly again while I'm here. And
oh GOD how I love summer. It was below zero F as I left Denver.]

Posted by Kathy Sierra on January 14, 2007 | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

-- = --    -- = --    -- = --     

a n a . w o r d s
aus dem hellblauen salon
ana.txt seite 444

reicht ana.words weiter!

vragen & kommentare & texte, die
ihr davon findet, sie seien es wert, 
dass es die ganze welt erfaehrt, oder 
mindestens die redaktion, dann 

du willst auch? immer mehr?
dann abonnier auch du ana.words:
<> oder
 mit subject:subscribe