Figure 1-6. The data entry view in Mail in Objective-C

Generation QR Code ISO/IEC18004 in Objective-C Figure 1-6. The data entry view in Mail

Figure 1-6. The data entry view in Mail
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Figures 1-7 through 1-10 show how I implemented what I learned about data entry into Gas Cubby.
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CHAPTER 3: App Cubby
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Figure 1-7. The Gas Cubby main view
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Figure 1-8. The Gas Cubby detail view
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Figure 1-9. The Gas Cubby data entry overview
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Figure 1-10. The Gas Cubby data entry view
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The UI is distinct but also uses the Apple UI conventions any iPhone user will find easy to use. You may notice that the Gas Cubby data entry view (see Figure 1-10) has an extra toolbar not used in the Calendar application. At times, a user might want to quickly enter data into all available data fields. In this case, navigating back and forth to the data entry
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CHAPTER 1: App Cubby
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overview (see Figure 1-9) wastes time. Rather than breaking from Apple s conventions, I decided to mesh the standard hierarchical data entry model with the shortcut toolbar from Safari, shown in Figure 1-11. This toolbar allows users to quickly fill in every available field using the Previous and Next buttons or use the hierarchical navigation to more efficiently enter data only in certain fields.
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Figure 1-11. The data entry shortcut toolbar in Safari
Exploring Apple s data entry paradigm and implementing my own version challenged me to think deeply about why Apple chose this particular implementation and what designs may have been left on the cutting room floor. Some people complain about the perceived inefficiency of Apple s data entry paradigm, but for most users an intuitive interface actually outperforms a potentially faster, but more ambiguous interface. Efficiency is defined as achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. There are lots of ways for an iPhone UI to waste user effort, but wasting taps seems to be the focus of most left-brained iPhone developers.
To Tap or Not to Tap
When I first started mocking up UI elements for Trip Cubby, every feature was measured by the number of taps required to accomplish a specific result. My thought was that by minimizing the number of taps, I was creating a more efficient application. But as I continued studying design and started actually using the early builds of Trip Cubby, my initial ideas and assumptions about what makes a truly efficient UI on the iPhone were thrown out the window.
CHAPTER 3: App Cubby
One of the keys to creating great UI on the iPhone is taking a step back and thinking a bit about how users actually interact with the iPhone with their fingers. Yes, that s incredibly obvious, but something so obvious generally caries significance that few people take the time to explore. The finger is an incredibly efficient pointing device, far more efficient than the mouse. When the mouse was first introduced, it revolutionized human interaction with computers. I would argue that Apple s multitouch interface will, in time, prove to be even more revolutionary. A mouse manifests an unnatural disconnect between the motion of the user s hand and the action on screen. Most people these days have used a computer enough to be somewhat accustomed to the mouse, but if you watch someone use a computer for the first time, you ll see a definite learning curve to using a mouse! I ve even noticed a bit of a learning curve when using a new mouse or tracking settings with which I m unfamiliar. But the human finger, that s something just about every human being in the world is quite accustomed to using. We ve learned since birth how to control our fingers with an amazing level of precision and speed. Imagine if you were to attempt playing the piano with a mouse. Your tune would be choppy and unmusical at best. A touch-screen piano, however, would be playable, even if it didn t match a real piano for feel and accuracy. The more I thought about the finger as a means of interaction the more intrigued I was by how drastic the shift was from the mouse to multitouch. That s when it finally hit me. Taps are cheap! If the appropriate action is obvious to the user, the time actually required for that user to tap the proper spot on the screen is miniscule. Confusion about where to tap wastes far more time than an extra tap. Again, this conclusion may seem quite obvious. After all, ambiguity has been a challenge in all human computer interfaces, and reducing ambiguity has been one of the pillars of good interface design. But the iPhone is the first graphical computer interface where the speed and precision of the pointing device makes the physical action of pointing almost irrelevant when considering the time it takes to accomplish a specific result. Let that sink in for a minute taps are cheap. Understanding the finger as an input device is key in the process of making good interface decisions for the iPhone. Here s quick example: Let s say you are designing a simple yes/no questionnaire. Each participant will be asked a series of questions verbally and should respond by selecting yes or no. Some will be responding using a computer and mouse; others will be responding using an iPhone. To make the interface as intuitive as possible, you quickly decide that the Yes button should be green and the No button red (assuming a US audience and ignoring for a moment other cultural interpretations of color). Both buttons should have very easy-to-read text that is visually isolated from the background. Figure 1-12 shows what these buttons might look like on the iPhone (if you didn t hire a graphic artist).
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