Sunday, 27 April 2014

The most annoying UX feature all systems have

I am watching a movie on my iPad and suddenly this happens:


I kind of got used to the battery low messages breaking my user experience, but a software update? Was it REALLY THAT important? Earlier today I was typing an email on my phone and a popup window appeared then disappeared when I hit space between two words. I have no idea if I okayed or ignored it, but it also doesn't matter: Because I had no chance to see what it was! And guess what happens if you have several tabs open in Chrome and one of them fires a popup message? That tab automatically gets the focus! No matter what you do on the active tab: you can be in the middle of an online game, a chat, an email, a video... the tab with the popup is automatically activated. Why do all the three big ones think that it's a good idea to change the focus at any random time? Besides that it is annoying there are two edge-cases that happen amazingly frequently with anyone who has a decent typing speed: you either hit space/enter on a message-box you had no chance to read because just 1/10th seconds before you were typing somewhere else. Or your last sentence gets typed into some completely different application. Hunt-and-pecks are also not luckier: they tend to look at their keyboard when they type; they completely miss if the OS moves their cursor to some other random window. Or another one: If during a phone call a popup message appears on the iPhone, you can't finish the call until you deal with that popup. I could go on and on.

Dear Microsoft, Google and Apple: Please stop this madness. Thank you.

Update: it is called focus stealing.