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

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: 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.
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  • (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...