More “Hey Apple, Don’t Make Me Think”

23 January 2008

Derek Powazek is pointing out an oddity found when comparing the interface of Safari on a desktop to the one found on the iPhone. Basically the order of elements in the toolbar at the top of the window is completely opposite – which forces users to take an extra few milliseconds to process.

Apple has to change this on the iPhone, and soon, in order to unify the two interfaces; but my guess is that they won’t because the context of the two interfaces differs so much (e.g. desktop versus handheld), and because 4-million-plus iPhones are already floating around. I also wonder how close the benefit-to-detriment ratio is. Have users already gotten used to the refresh button being located to the right of the location bar?

No, seriously. Stop making me think!

Stranger – and of higher priority to me – is the conflicting behavior of the multi-touch trackpad on the MacBook Air and the multi-touch display on the iPhone. On the iPhone, for example, to advance, you swipe from right to left. It appears, though, it’s the opposite on the MacBook Air! Oh, boy.

I already have a hard enough time switching between the iPhone and my PowerBook equipped with a two-finger sensitive trackpad. In MobileSafari, I swipe from bottom to top to scroll down. On the PowerBook, I do the exact opposite. The first time I accidentally used the iPhone method on my PowerBook, I actually got my hopes up, thinking my trackpad had died – after all, if that were the case, I’d be forced to upgrade to a MacBook Pro, right?

And I know I’m not the only one to deal with this. [Reference link forthcoming.]

I understand this whole multi-touch thing is a new world for Apple, and I’m willing “sacrifice” myself and my time (the seconds-worth it requires) while they work these things out. However, I do hope they understand they’re training the world to a new interface right now. I wonder, if they’d been this all-over-the-map with the iPod scroll-wheel, would it be the success it is today?