I had to instruct an old person how to use an Android phone and it went a little like this:

"When the screen goes dark, you need to turn it back on by pressing this unmarked button on the right. Then, when the screen lights up with the clock, a background picture, and no other indication of what you should do, you need to place your finger on the screen and swipe upwards."

When did we decide that this was a good idea?? I might as well teach them how to use Vim at this point. my mom came to me last week with "i scanned some documents to "My Computer" using my new printer, can you help me find them?"

consumer tech has jumped the shark

@purple @samgai it's infuriating bc we were sold this horribly restrictive vision of task-specific kiosked computing on the idea it would improve discoverability & "ease of use", lower barrier of entry for new users etc (which was done for all the wrong reasons... "growth" not accessibility) and instead, of course, as anyone could have seen we got constant violations of spatial memory, no consistency or discoverability, and of course the granular computational tool is just an entirely dead construct
makes me sick

@samgai omg I've never even thought this through, that is actually really unintuitive if you don't already know it on the iPhones at least it says "Press home to unlock" but it doesn't indicate which button is the home button

@samgai seems relevant here

back then: "how do we make this usable to people who have not seen a computer yet?"

e.g. the part where the Start menu & the taskbar were made visible all the time because people wouldn't find it otherwise

also, it has an actual label with the text "start"

when did we start going with "it's better to hide / iconify / clean up everything instead"?

@samgai sometimes when I'm very frustrated with weird user interfaces on devices, I draw diagrams that show what button press brings me to which sub menu.
Later I found out that in CS this is called a "finite state machine" and my approach was literally decoding the software.

@samgai Eh, if you've gotten this far, Vim may not be that much of a stretch. 🤷‍♂️

@samgai yeah, this really bothers me about modern software

at least vim comes with a manual!

@samgai I still can't remember which way to tap or swipe to answer a call in which phone app. And they differ! Just answering the phone is a nightmare. If I'm lucky enough that it actually rings through.

@samgai Hidden UI is such a scourge of modern UI design.

I've actually reported websites as broken because there was no visible indication of how to interact with them, it's terrible design.

@samgai Android … well there's the problem right there (he says without really being invested so don't give it much thought)(although … to be fair … the Apple design philosophy moves in the opposite direction and my phone … that little f$&ker is always telling me it feels like a swipe).

@samgai Me using Windows 10 for the first time at a friend's place: How the hell do you unlock this shit?

@samgai When we made scroll-bars the size of toothpicks we began wandering this dark path of removing all kinds of visual cues for users.

@craigmaloney @samgai and making borders so thin there is no place left to drag and change a window least some ui's let you use the drop shadow area too.

@samgai They probably already know how to use Vim.

@samgai apparently it only says "Swipe up to unlock" after you tap the screen :-(

@samgai custom ROM for old people???

it should exist if it doesn't


Next can you teach me how to adjust the touchscreen heater fan speed on my car without veering into oncoming traffic?

Prerequisites: I'm pretty sure it's android based, and I know vim already...

Maybe it would be safer to make the screen a keyboard-only terminal... and a car plugin for vim...

@float13 @samgai I'd like to know how to adjust the radio volume without turning the defrost on to MAX HOT, myself. There's a volume knob, which is nice, but it's so big that I tend to brush my knuckle on the touch screen right around the defrost M+A+X button. My kingdom for tactile orientation cues

@float13 @samgai semi related, I had to swap my dad's phone to Nova launcher instead of Moto bc he kept flicking his text app off the home screen. Same problem as me, tbh, but in a friendlier ecosystem where there are some alternatives. Makes me think too of an even older man w/ something like Parkinson's who has been super isolated during covid bc he lives in the country with poor internet and his hands shake so bad he can hardly use a cell phone even to call ppl.

@samgai Showed this to my family. Had to explain what Vim is.

@samgai I maintain getting rid of the home button on iPhones was one of the worse decisions Apple has made, UI-wise.

The home button was a *godsend* to older users.

me: "No matter where you are in this phone, just press this button, and you'll be returned home. If you ever get lost, just press this."

them: "Really?"

me: "Yes."

Now, I have no idea what to tell them. Swipe up? If they don't "swipe up" from the exact right spot, it doesn't work.

@samgai And don't even get me started on "swiping up" on iPadOS. Dear god.

"Swiping up" on iPadOS does *three* distinct things, depending on A) where you start from, B) how fast you do it, and C) how straight of a line your finger moves.

It's _horrible_ UI.

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