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posted by martyb on Sunday January 09, @04:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the green-with-envy dept.

https://medium.com/@_sdc/how-apple-taught-its-users-to-hate-android-through-subtle-design-cues-518cd7eda80

If you use an iPhone, you might have noticed that SMS conversations (green-bubbles) are harder to read than iMessage conversations (blue bubbles). That's not by accident — in fact, green bubbles weren't always so difficult to read.

You've probably heard of the green and blue text message bubble colors inside the iOS Messages app. On an iPhone, normal SMS text messages are colored green, while iMessage (Apple's iPhone-exclusive chat platform) conversations are colored blue. Many iPhone users shun the "green bubble" due to the fewer features provided by SMS. If you own an iPhone, you may feel the same frustration when trying to read a green-bubble chat, as they often feel harder to read than blue-bubble chats. That's no accident.

To begin, we have to take a trip back to 2011. As you may know, iMessage, along with the signature blue bubble, didn't exist until the release of iOS 5. Before iMessage was introduced, every message in the Messages app was green, as the only messaging supported at the time was SMS. Once they added iMessage to the Messages application on iOS, the blue bubbles came along with it to help differentiate between iMessage and SMS. Given that the Messages app has stuck with the same green bubble/blue bubble differentiation, it may sound like the hatred towards SMS isn't related to the color at all. However, along the way from iOS 5 to now, a tiny design change opened a user-experience chasm between SMS conversations and iMessage ones. This isn't a story about about the green or blue colors themselves — rather, it's a story about contrast, and its astonishing impact on our perceptions.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @05:36AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @05:36AM (#1211200)

    And that's why customizability matters. The thing that cannot be configured by the user will be exploited against the user. It can be seen in Windows, where power-hungry 3D card is a must-go now, even for displaying the flat user interface. It can be seen in Mac too, however, looking at their history this is what you usually get with Macs. The bad thing is that even in Linux / Open Source world, decades of ergonomics research went forgotten because GUIs must look "appealing" while they are counterproductive. Or are for touch screens.
    I noticed that when I bought a new computer. Tried with the newest KDE, and their new file manager considered that it will be beautiful to display all folders full of images with live-generated thumbnails. Even this folder with >60K PNGs with microphotography results, 10MB each.
    So after I killed the file manager as it used up a whole RAM, swap and temporary space for thumbnails, I returned to KDE3 fork.
    The lack of customizability is the "f..k you" to the user. My dumbphone with simple 16-colour screen allows to change color themes. There is literally no reason to remove it except preparation to implement some "dark patterns".

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday January 09, @08:49AM (2 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @08:49AM (#1211218) Journal

    KDE is known for customizability though...? So just turn that feature off.

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @09:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @09:51AM (#1211223)

      Wrong. Really wrong. It USED to be known for its customizability. It's now the Krap Desktop Environment.

      I hate OSX, but my computer will probably be a mac. And my current laptop will be dual boot - FreeBSD and Windows XP.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @06:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @06:21PM (#1211279)

      Just a quick information: KDE was quite customizable up to 3.x versions. In the source code side it was a spaghetti, but it was possible to configure UI quite well. One thing which I considered a mystery was the proper parameter string to dcop to make DE do what I wanted.
      In 4.x, they decided to dump most of customizability, and what is more important, configurations from one version does not work i another - like in MATE Desktop when they switched to GTK3. Finally, they made this tablet file manager as the primary one and to make users not go back to the previous one (as I said, hellish spaghetti code with HTML rendering engine in it, but works and can be well customized) they removed the sidebar. Because everyone has 256GB of RAM to make these >60K images fit their thumbnails in!
      So currently you have a choice: Use outdated, but quite fast DE, use a "customizable" DE in which you customize it from source code or use modern DE without customization.
      And all their pushing the problem to someone else. Global keybindings? "That's server's job" - DE devs say. Meanwhile in Wayland... it must be done by the desktop engine or it will not work.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday January 09, @06:15PM (1 child)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @06:15PM (#1211277) Journal
    Customization doesn't solve it unless enough people do it. Defaults are powerful because a lot of people don't change defaults.

    I still remember a manipulation of Eve Online (internet spaceships game with heavy hypercapitalism role play) contracts where the default behavior of contracts being sorted by time issued was exploited. The manipulator (a group) would drop like 100 overpriced contracts for popular items (like fancy guns and armor) that noobs would buy and flood the "sorted by time" viewpoint with their contracts. Every time someone put in a contract that was cheaper,they would either buy the contract or reflood with 100 more such contracts.

    End result is that noobs were buying items for roughly double market price since they never saw the cheaper items. Meanwhile, the veteran players sorted by best price and never saw the manipulation.

    Shortly after the manipulation was revealed, the Eve Online developers changed the default contract view so that it showed best price by default. One of the few cases where manipulation was so successful that it changed the game.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday January 11, @03:47AM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @03:47AM (#1211691) Journal

      I definitely agree there should be sane defaults, but we've seen the complete pizdec the Gnome team made of that idea. That said, out of the box, most DE's defaults are crap.

      The LXQt desktop enviroment is a F/OSS project I've contributed to, in the form of a couple of official themes as of v0.16, Clearlooks and Leech. On the discussion boards, you can find me pointing out that the default experience is crap and attaching a screenshot of my daily driver setup, which looks like nothing so much as pre-GTK3 Xubuntu did. I make the point that this design lasted so long because it was functional and made logical sense, and was less than subtly hinting that this basic layout ought to be the default when someone installs LXQt fresh...especially because the default layout is somewhere between "hostile" and "outright unusable."

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 3, Touché) by FatPhil on Sunday January 09, @11:44PM

    by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday January 09, @11:44PM (#1211346) Homepage
    > GUIs must look "appealing"

    The word they use is "compelling". You'll never win buzzword bingo if you don't use the right terms.
    --
    I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2) by Magic Oddball on Monday January 10, @02:16AM (1 child)

    by Magic Oddball (3847) on Monday January 10, @02:16AM (#1211380) Journal

    And that's why customizability matters. The thing that cannot be configured by the user will be exploited against the user. … Tried with the newest KDE, and their new file manager considered that it will be beautiful to display all folders full of images with live-generated thumbnails. Even this folder with >60K PNGs with microphotography results, 10MB each.
    So after I killed the file manager as it used up a whole RAM, swap and temporary space for thumbnails, I returned to KDE3 fork.

    That has nothing to do with the extent of customizability, as you could easily have solved the problem in a couple of clicks by either:

    a) Turning off the "Show Previews" option in the View menu.

    or

    b) Opening the Dolphin Preferences dialog box, clicking the 'Previews' tab, and unchecking 'images' from the list.

    or

    c) On the same tab, setting "skip previews for local files above:" to whatever small number floats your boat.

    A GUI can have preferences up the wazoo, but it doesn't do any good if the user can't be bothered to even look in the menus or settings dialog box for them.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @05:51PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @05:51PM (#1211831) Journal
      Looks like AC resolved that matter with d) a couple of clicks and a return to KDE3 fork.