Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Split View Proactive Peek and Reveal on Edge Hover

Wade Tregaskis:

It’s easy to see how some UI designer thought this was a good idea. Surely if you move the mouse near the edge of the window (or the screen, in fullscreen mode) and rest it there, it’s because you’re looking forlornly for your lost sidebar? What could be more helpful and delightful than your missing sidebar popping into view?!

Unfortunately, they have ignored that fact that there is usually already other GUI controls at the edge of the window, not the least of which being the window edge itself (for drag-resizing of the window). Scrollbars are another common inhabitant of window edges.

“Proactive Peek” is the worst of these two because not only does it change what’s under the mouse cursor just as you’re likely to click, stealing the click away from its true target, but it actually shrinks the window’s visible contents. This leads to layout changes and motion noise, particularly in web pages where it can have knock-on effects like mucking with the scroll position or causing major changes by crossing some “responsive design” threshold.

Losing the sidebar is a real problem that people encounter and get stuck on. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to get rid of all the borders and chrome. Proactive Peek actually is kind of delightful, but there are some issues, as he mentions. For me, it changes the Safari toolbar layout. I also wonder whether it’s obvious enough or easy enough to trigger to really help people who are lost.

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Most (maybe all) apps with sidebars I use have a sidebar button in the toolbar. By contrast, this new behaviour is a vestibular disorder trigger. Because it cannot be prepared for and because it shifts content within windows, it’s potentially very dangerous.

I’ve written to Apple to request it at least be disabled when Reduce Motion is active. It isn’t quite iOS 7 folders bad but it’s a long way from good. (And it’s another example of how Motion accessibility is rarely baked it and is instead reactive.)

Stanisław Małolepszy

I'm not exaggerating when I say that it took me months to figure out (a) what it was, (b) that I was the one who was triggering it, and then to learn that (c) it was intentionally designed this way. Before that, I just thought it was a rendering bug, perhaps caused by some old UI framework persisting in the codebase for years. Kind of like in Windows, where you sometimes discover a dialog that looks like Windows 2000 (which I miss dearly). Not to mention the visual jitter caused by the reflow.

He touches on the real issue in the second paragraph. Any interface that moves when you try to touch it is doing it wrong, and there are far too many of them these days, both in operating systems and web pages.

Once something is laid out that way, bloody well leave it alone until I take an action. Way too much stuff jumping around.

I first encountered it in safari and thought it was a bug.

I also took a while to realize that it was me that was triggering it, and when I did, I couldn't believe that there wasn't any obvious way to turn it off. So incredibly distracting!

Ohh, thats what it is, I was so confused that sometimes when I move mouse pointer out of the way while working, may window starts to resize(mostly with sticky trackpad) by accident when I try to interact with trackpad again.

So frustrating

In non-fullscreen mode, the way that Safari occasionally does it on the left side of the window (showing a tiny sliver of the 'Reading List' like 8 points wide) cannot be a deliberate design because it looks completely inscrutable.

I had never encountered this, and it took me a while to figure out what you guys were talking about.
I agree this is a weird GUI flaw. And the inconsistency amongst apps is bad too. There should be one obvious and _standard_ way to show / hide side bars. A lot of folks have standardized on the tool bar button but different apps put it in different places.

I also discovered: if you click twice on the edge of a window, it will extend it to the end of the screen!

Yes! Stop moving things as my hand is moving, it drives me crazy! I don't use Apple products anymore so if it was just a MacOS or iOS problem, then fine, alas, it simply is not. The web is probably the worst offender with constant mouse over events and the like. Mobile apps can be pretty jank too. Everything feels over engineered and not nearly as slick as the developer's probably think it is…

People wonder why I use Linux and stick to simple interface like XFCE! (Yes, yes, don't get me starter on apps not understanding HiDPI or the differences between GTK, QT, etc. frameworks all intermingled, but oddly enough I was able to find a lot of work arounds for these details and since I'm using a "hobbyist OS" that seems somewhat expected.)

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