Tag Archives: apps

Using reversible user options for interface design

One of the general principles of user interface design should be that when a user has to choose an option, it should be easily reversible – and it should be obvious how to do so.

Take a look at this grab, from Apple’s Keynote on iOS.

When I tapped on the button to insert an image, the iPad gave me the standard privacy control asking if I wanted to grant Keynote access to my photos. I accidentally hit “no”.

Now, whenever I open up the Photos control, I don’t see any images – but I do see an explanation of why I don’t see anything, and instructions on how to change that option if I wish.

That’s good design. It’s reversible, and it tells me how.

If you’re not using Zite, you should

Zite 2.0: A smarter, snappier personalized magazine for iOS | Internet & Media – CNET News:

“Zite has always been about giving users plenty of topics of news, and in the previous version, it had grown to 2,500 categories. In the new version, that number has exploded, to 40,000 topics, meaning that it can provide news to match almost anyone’s taste. But Zite is really all about discovery. And one of the best new features of Zite 2.0 is one that can take users on a journey of exploration through a topic, either by reading more on an individual subject, or branching off to other categories on a whim.”

Zite is an under sung star of the news aggregators. It’s simple, elegant, and puts the onus of discovery rather than simply displaying news in a more pretty way. If you’re not using it, take a look.

Circus Ponies Notebook: Expensive, but feature-rich, notetaking for iPad

I’m only slightly obsessive about note taking applications. I actually use more than one at once – DEVONthink for organising notes around projects, Evernote for filing just about everything else.

One of the ones that I’ve used in the past is Circus Ponies NoteBook, which on Mac was a great note taking application, particularly if you like to take notes as outlines. And now, thanks to an iPad version, I might well take another look at it.

What’s good about Circus Ponies Notepad for iPad? There’s a couple of features which stand out. First, the user interface looks pretty lovely, like a decent paper notebook but with plenty of easy-to-access features. Second, it’s not just text only – there’s tools for diagramming and drawing too, which is handy if you suddenly want to add a mind map or sketch. And finally, you can import PDFs and annotate them, so if you have documents you want to annotate it should be easy.

It’s not, though, cheap: £17.99, which makes it a pricey piece of software in iPad terms, but worth it for notes-obsessives like myself.

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