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Adrian Hon: Missing: A Common Grammar for Tablet Gestures

Adrian Hon:

Thoughts on consistency in tablet news apps | Mssv: A few months ago, I finally had what I’d been dreaming of for years – digital delivery of every single magazine and newspaper I read…. I was free and the iPad did it all…. Of course… completely different method[s] of operation and user interface that conspires to frustrate me in big ways and small. Before a recent trip abroad I… synced everything, but The Atlantic proved too wily… when I tried to read the magazine while offline, it sniffily informed me that another update was required. Thanks for nothing…. I shall refrain from going too much into The Atlantic app’s failings… magazine pages as images that are just-about-but-not-quite readable without zooming in; the practically non-existent navigation; the weird text-only mode….

This Cambrian explosion of interfaces that touchscreens have ushered in is exhilarating in the truest sense; I’m pleased to see new ideas flourish, but I’m frankly tired at having to keep track of so many different UI conventions….

[This,] I believe, has made so many people enamoured of iOS. We might complain about how the home screen and its grid of apps is getting rather long in the tooth, but at least you know how it works….

The same reason lies behind why people like ‘personal newspapers’ like Flipboard, Zite, and arguably Instapaper (along with their earlier incarnations, RSS readers); these apps make the reading experience consistent across every blog and newspaper and magazine, and just make things easier to read, even if they don’t actually have best-of-class UX. They also download stuff faster and provide a one-stop shop. I could frankly care less about the social stuff, it’s just the convenience that’s important…