Fat-fingering iPad favorites August 20, 2011 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Please space out the favorites/flagging buttons. It is far too easy to fat-finger the [+] on an iPad.

As a fairly recent convert to iPadism I have noticed that the physical closeness of [12 favorites] [+] [!] makes it quite difficult to finger-select the interior [+], without zooming in significantly further than I'd ever want to for reading. Could these be spaced out a bit, please? Three em-dashes would be plenty.
posted by aeschenkarnos to Bugs at 3:17 PM (63 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Just cut down on finger food.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:23 PM on August 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Zoom in, click the + and then double tap to snap back to an appropriate level of zoom for reading....
posted by dfriedman at 3:23 PM on August 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hah, now try it on an iPhone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


I don't use an iPad often, but when I do I prefer dos equis have a little maneuver that takes care of this problem.

1) Put hand on screen over the thing you want to tap.
2) Use thumb and fourth finger to zoom in.
3) Use pointer finger to tap the thing you want to tap.
4) Use thumb and fourth finger to zoom back out.

It's a fluid motion and doesn't require hand repositioning.

Also, the world would be a better place with more love and less hate. Favorite more. Flag less. Visualize world peace.
posted by phunniemee at 3:35 PM on August 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


As a matter of fact, several medical schools are offering alternative certification programs for surgery - you just have to favorite 10,000 mefi comments on an iphone.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:36 PM on August 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


^ Flagged as HTML/display Error.

Damn, I'll never be a life saver.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:38 PM on August 20, 2011


Maybe the mobile interface could combine favoriting and flagging behind one link. When the button's pressed, pop open a small menu in place, with favorite above and flags below, selected upon release. Oooh, and "best answer" could be a checkmark gesture.

Uh, does the iPad get the iPhone mode, or standard mode?
posted by Pronoiac at 3:45 PM on August 20, 2011


Uh, does the iPad get the iPhone mode, or standard mode?

It seems to have its own mode -- 90% regular site + a few features, like a "skip" button at the top that takes you to the bottom, and I think the layout of the B, I, Link buttons by the comment box are different.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:50 PM on August 20, 2011


You need a dialing wand.
posted by Max Power at 3:52 PM on August 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


Just remember what you wanted to favorite and do it later when you're back on your real computer. iPads are just satellite devices anyway, so this shouldn't be any problem.
posted by hippybear at 3:52 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but your fingers are too fat to browse Metafilter. Please try again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:54 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I also have this problem. What's worse is the frantic rush to un-favorite the comment and flag it properly lest the crippling shame of having my username show up as favoriting some bunghole comment when I meant to anonymously flag it.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:00 PM on August 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


Think it is hard now, wait until it gets cold out and you have your gloves on.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:02 PM on August 20, 2011


like a "skip" button at the top that takes you to the bottom,

Oh yeah, can we have a skip button at the top on the iPhone as well?
posted by Ad hominem at 4:03 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh dear. Is that a fact? We'll get right on that.
posted by Decani at 4:11 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


You cram it.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:16 PM on August 20, 2011


Oh yeah, can we have a skip button at the top on the iPhone as well?

There is one already, "skip to menu" right up top. Do you mean something else?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:16 PM on August 20, 2011


Down at MeFi
In a thread on the Blue
There were twelve of us --
Me, your big fingers, and you!

Your arms and legs, they sure are swank
But your fingers, they just look like franks!
Hey! Your fingers too big!
Can't play favorites cause your fingers too big!
We don't want you cause your fingers just too big!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:17 PM on August 20, 2011


Horselover Phattie: "12I also have this problem. What's worse is the frantic rush to un-favorite the comment and flag it properly lest the crippling shame of having my username show up as favoriting some bunghole comment when I meant to anonymously flag it."

It's even more embarrassing when the bunghole comment you've favorited is your own.
posted by zarq at 4:19 PM on August 20, 2011


I got so frustrated trying to favorite this post I cut off my right hand.

Now it works a charm!
posted by carsonb at 4:19 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just remember what you wanted to favorite and do it later when you're back on your real computer. iPads are just satellite devices anyway, so this shouldn't be any problem.

But what if I forget what I wanted to favorite? Can we add some kind of bookmark button?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:35 PM on August 20, 2011


There is one already, "skip to menu" right up top. Do you mean something else?

I don't see it. Perhaps I have mobile turned off on my iPhone? I will figure it out.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:42 PM on August 20, 2011


That "skip to menu" jammy deserves the Nobel peace prize or something. I wish it was on every site.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:56 PM on August 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


You cram it.

that's how it got stuck in the bottle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:06 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a recurring request that keeps getting turned down. (If I have time later, I'll dig the old threads up.) It still strikes me as a great idea.
posted by salvia at 5:54 PM on August 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Agreed. I'm on an iPhone and if I hit Flag sometimes it kills a long thread for me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


> iPads are just satellite devices anyway, so this shouldn't be any problem.

Heh. My iPad and iPhone are my only computers for a couple weeks while I am moving house. Aside from being unable to use various proprietary desktop softwares, this is working out better than you might think. (In fact, specifically because I'm unable to use various proprietary desktop softwares, this is making my daily life happier than you might think.)

If there was a text editor and sftp app for the iPad I was happy with, an iPad could probably stand in as my primary work computer for a couple months.
posted by ardgedee at 6:41 PM on August 20, 2011


What about when you hit the askmetafilter button on your iphone and it takes you back 6 months in time? For some reason when I'm looking at a current askme question, hit the arrow key to go back to main page, it takes me to march 23. That's annoying!
posted by Sweetmag at 6:41 PM on August 20, 2011


JohnnyGunn: "Think it is hard now, wait until it gets cold out and you have your gloves on."

Nah, there's an app for that.
posted by misha at 7:16 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll just post what I posted last time this came up, since it's still a pain in the ass:

The mobile version should look like this
posted by pb at 9:35 AM on April 1 [!] [2 favorites] [+]
or even
posted by pb at 9:35 AM on April 1 [!] [2 favorites] [ + ]

The primary problem on the mobile device is that you have the [!] on the right of the [+]. If the [+] were on the far right, I could try tapping the right-most part of the line that I thought would work, and iterate left until I actually hit the [+]. As is, I open the flag dropdown about half the time because I'm trying to thread the needle between the flag link and the favorites-list link.
posted by 0xFCAF at 7:49 PM on August 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Gestures are your friend on the mobile device. Two fingers, moved apart... it zooms in! Suddenly it's not hard to hit whatever you want to hit on the screen anymore!

Or does it only work that way on my first generation iPod Touch? That's the only such device I have experience with, but it works great with that many-years-old device. Maybe things changed once they got to iOS 4.
posted by hippybear at 8:05 PM on August 20, 2011


Right, but the idea of the mobile interface is to make the site more convenient to use on the small screens. With a simple move of the buttons like 0xFCAF suggests we could eliminate the need for the zoom in.

I'm a pretty heavy favoriteer, and most of the time I can hit it without the zoom, so I don't use it all the time as that would be more inconvenient than missing sometimes.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:16 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


favoriteer

surely this requires some sort of uniform with sassy boots. surely.
posted by elizardbits at 9:17 PM on August 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's like being a mouseketeer but the ears are very, very, tiny and plus shaped.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:37 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have been asking for them to separate the + and ! buttons on the mobile site forever. It's not the size of them, it's the closeness that makes it hard to hit the buttons..
posted by empath at 9:51 PM on August 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


With the pretty much unanimous chorus, I wonder what the resistance is to separating the buttons?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:02 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can only assume it has something to do with the Tea Party Republicans.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:15 PM on August 20, 2011


Try to tap the [+]. Accidentally hit the [!]. For some reason, this zooms the page in such that individual letters are hard to differentiate from the sky. Cancel flag. Hit [+] on nicely zoomed-in page.

How you return to normal magnification is entirely at your discretion.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:09 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No problem here hitting the [+] when I want to, but I've accidentally favourited a couple of AskMeFi threads while trying to click through to read them on the iPad. When the question length is exactly right, the + ends up directly under the [more inside], and apparently my vertical hold isn't all it could be. And yes, I am trying to train myself to go for the answer count link instead of [more inside]; and yes, it is rather silly that I hit the tiny target while going for the big one.

(I haven't accidentally flagged anything yet, but it's only a matter of time. I'm relieved to learn that flags can be cancelled.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 7:40 AM on August 21, 2011


True story: 3 years ago, when I was a retail manager, I accidentally some numbers on my daily excel sales report and sent it to our office manager who caught the error in about 2 seconds and kicked it back for correction.

I fixed it in like 20 seconds and replied "Sorry, I just fat-fingered the numbers there. Good catch! Thanks!", and she responded in kind.

Fast forward 24 hours, my new boss from Ohio shows up and proceeds to write me up for insulting the office manager. Actually he said she hadn't said anything, but that he felt that it was inappropriate because "She is a bigger woman, and most women are sensitive about their weight."

So...I refuse to sign the write-up, and immediately called her to apologize to her if I had offended her. She had no idea what I was talking about.

I soon left that job.
posted by TomMelee at 8:46 AM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


With the pretty much unanimous chorus, I wonder what the resistance is to separating the buttons?

The chorus isn't unanimous, though. Some want separation, some want rearrangement, some want enlargement, some want a completely new system that involves going to a new page. And then there's the chorus that appears after a change that wants things back the way they were because that's how they like things.

We've tested a number of different options on the iPhone and haven't hit on one that seems to solve the problem without causing another. Everyone seems to agree that the current system doesn't work and their favorite solution to the problem is their ideal solution. But that's not everyone's favorite solution. We will continue to think about this and work on it.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:59 PM on August 21, 2011


I screw this up all the time on my iPhone if I don't zoom way in. Which I'd rather not have to do.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:24 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wishy-washy comment ahead:

I love my iPad and now use it as my primary device for surfage. It's very easy to zoom way in to tap the correct link, so a change in layout isn't really essential.

However.

If you do start changing things, a little more space between "Welcome back The Deej..." and the links below it would be great, and wil help prevent me from accidentally signing out when I really want to go to MetaTalk.
posted by The Deej at 8:44 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the contrary, a button that signed everybody out when they tried to go to MetaTalk might salubrious on the whole.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:49 AM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


ok, just added a bit more space between the welcome message and the site links in the plain theme. It went from 4 to 8 pixels, hopefully that helps a bit.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:25 AM on August 22, 2011


Ooo!!!! Ooo!!!! I gots me a PONY!!!!

Thanks pb. It looks apsolutely stunning as well. As do you. And your kin.
posted by The Deej at 10:54 AM on August 22, 2011


Zoom in, click the + and then double tap to snap back to an appropriate level of zoom for reading....

Users should not have to use workarounds to make up for poor design choices.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about you tap a comment to favorite it, double-tap to flag it, and slowly tap...tap...tap... to overthink it?
posted by davejay at 6:33 PM on August 22, 2011


I do have one suggestion on this. I've fat-fingered the [+] button many times myself and ended up on the page that lists the favorites for that comment. Would it be possible to put an "Add this comment to favorites" button on that page? That way, I can favorite the comment I tried to favorite in the first place, then hit the "Return to comment" link and continue reading the thread.

(I don't have room for a pony, so I'd be happy with a chicken instead.)
posted by azpenguin at 8:36 PM on August 22, 2011


I think that would be a good second step to take, azpenguin. It doesn't address the root of this problem, but it'd be a nice shortcut once that's done. Adding it now would be a stopgap, but I think we should tackle the larger issue first. We've been discussing this more and we're going to try another round of internal tests to see if we can find a good answer.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:53 AM on August 23, 2011


I guess it's probably not feasible, but I'd be happy to be a beta tester for any alternate mobile stylesheets you'd like to test out (now and in the future).
posted by Rock Steady at 1:12 PM on August 23, 2011


Thanks for the offer, Rock Steady. We're in a "let's try breaking things and see what happens" kind of testing right now. If we come up with something more solid we'll post again here asking for feedback. We don't really have a system set up for more private testing.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:15 AM on August 24, 2011


We're trying something out behind the scenes that's showing some promise: swipe right to favorite. So instead of clicking the little +, you just swipe right over the entire comment to bring up a dialog that asks if you want to favorite or unfavorite the comment. If you'd like to try it out you can visit this page to turn it on: enable swipe test.

And then if that's the worst thing in the world, disable swipe test.

We've only tested this on the iPhone, iPad, and a Nexus S running Android 2.3 so I'm not sure it'll work for any others. Let us know what you think here.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:40 PM on September 1, 2011 [95 favorites]


This is good, thanks pb. When the edit window is implemented I will have nothing left to complain about.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:03 PM on September 1, 2011


Hmm, is there a way to do a middle finger gesture to flag something?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:03 PM on September 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Does not work at all on my Samsung Continuum rinning 2.1.
posted by zarq at 4:17 PM on September 1, 2011


Sonuva... Now it does. Once the page refreshed. :P

Ok. BEST. THING. EVER. I love it. Please keep it.
posted by zarq at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Worked!

Not enabled on "recent comments" page? Or did my reload not truly reload?
posted by salvia at 5:33 PM on September 1, 2011


No, not in recent comments yet. Thread pages only for this test.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:34 PM on September 1, 2011


Oh, wow. That is phenomenal, pb. Nicely done, but you need to capitalize "Favorite this comment?" and "Unfavorite this comment?" so my brain doesn't hurt.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:01 AM on September 2, 2011


Done! If we roll this out permanently the phrasing should probably match our current hover phrasing for consistency. Those are "Save this comment as a favorite?" and "Remove this comment as a favorite?"
posted by pb (staff) at 8:42 AM on September 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kind of clunky phrasing, but I guess it's to avoid verbing "favorite"? They should probably be consistent, as you say. This is really very cool functionality, and a great solution to the problem. Could swipe left bring up some kind of flagging dialog, or does the multiplicity of flags make it not possible?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2011


Our thinking is that adding a favorite is a much more common activity than flagging. (There are around 33 favorites for every 1 flag.) The last few threads on this topic have been about adding favorites, that seems to be the main concern. The existing flag controls are at the far right side of the byline making it easier to click on its own than the [+].

So to keep things simple and avoid accidentally bringing up the flag choices, we'd rather not have other swipe gestures. For those few times you need to flag something the existing controls will work, even if they're a little clumsy.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:20 AM on September 2, 2011


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