Figure 7-11. Trying to assign a new meaning to a familiar button causes confusion. in Objective-C

Generator Quick Response Code in Objective-C Figure 7-11. Trying to assign a new meaning to a familiar button causes confusion.

Figure 7-11. Trying to assign a new meaning to a familiar button causes confusion.
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Broken metaphors can be worse than using no metaphor at all. For instance, imagine an audio application that had a vertical slider and a small knob that turns left to right. Both of these controls are metaphors for physical input devices found on many audio devices. Because of previous experience with these sorts of real world controls, most users are going to expect that turning the knob in your interface to the right will increase the value associated with the control. Similarly, they will assume that raising the slider to a higher position will increase its value. If your application reversed either of these
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CHAPTER 7: Postage
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expectations, users will consistently find themselves manipulating the control to get an unexpected result. These same concepts apply to gestures on touch devices like the iPhone. The touch interface of the iPhone OS lends itself to manipulation of photos by grabbing, pinching, sliding, and rotating. In Postage, we wanted to allow the users to rotate their photos to fit perfectly on their postcards. Apple doesn t provide a standard way to rotate with a gesture, so this is a behavior we needed to implement ourselves. When you create your own behavior, you potentially have a lot of freedom in how you map the user s finger movements to the rotation of the photo. The natural gesture for most users is to place two fingers on the photo and twist them to rotate. We found it was very important to make sure that points where the user touched the photo originally remained exactly under the fingertips as the user moved around. If you think about it, this is exactly how rotating a real photo on your desktop by twisting your fingers would behave. This attempt to emulate the laws of physics makes the mental model of how your interface works immediately meet your users expectations. Every attempt we made in Postage to map the finger-twisting to rotation in a manner inconsistent with the metaphor of spinning a real photo with your fingers always felt wrong.
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Using Familiar Controls in Postage
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In Postage, we employed many standard Apple controls and gestures: Selecting a postcard design operates with a standard scroll view that pages with the familiar swiping gesture. A standard page control conveys how many postcard templates are in a category just like Safari or the Stocks application. We used a standard navigation bar to implement the means to step through each task in creating a postcard. Our navigation was somewhat unique in that we allowed movement forward through the steps in the navigation bar. Most applications use the navigation bar item on the left to step back to the previous navigation step but drill down further into the hierarchy using a list of table in the main view. We wanted to advance forward using the navigation bar, so we developed the custom button shown in Figure 7-12 that carries the user forward in the same style as the right side navigation buttons (this same technique is used by the iPod application for navigation back to the Now Playing track). We made sure to maintain this navigation bar behavior throughout the application. Once you discover that you tap the right navigation button to move forward in the application, the behavior is consistent throughout.
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Figure 7-12. The Postage navigation bar with forward and backward navigation steps
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CHAPTER 7: Postage
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The sending screen of Postage also employs familiar controls for sharing a postcard with e-mail, as shown in Figure 7-13. Our e-mail sending screen uses a layout of fields very similar to the standard Apple Mail application. We also developed custom controls to tokenize the recipients in the To field and to add contacts from the address book just like the standard Mail application. It took a lot of work to add all these behaviors to our e-mail sending screen, but the result is that users are instantly familiar with how to use this part of our application if they have used e-mail on the iPhone already. Fortunately with iPhone OS 3.0 and later, you can now do almost all e-mail sending tasks, including attaching files to an e-mail using Apple s standard controls, without having to leave your application. The sort of custom controls we had to employ in Postage are likely no longer necessary for e-mail, but the lesson still applies if you find yourself needing to emulate an existing action common to other applications on the iPhone within you own code.
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