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Recently:  Stopwords in the user interface  ·  Implementing a slider well  ·  The revolution in the mobile user interface  ·  Introducing Aegea  ·  Map and reality  ·  Why are browsers so slow?  ·  The “Buy” button should always work  ·  How accidental promises hurt reputation


Jan 20   projects

If Apple Notes stop syncing

Has it ever happened to you that Apple’s Notes just stopped syncing reliably via iCloud?

For me it happens like this: the Mac stops uploading local changes to some notes to iCloud, so I don’t see them on my phone. I know that the problem is really in uploading from the Mac because the web version of iCloud continues to sync normally with my iPhone. Also, the new notes that I create on the phone, appear on my Mac.

You may have found several fix suggestions online, must futile. Signing off iCloud and then signing back on helps, but this way you lose all the local changes that haven’t been uploaded to iCloud.

What I’ve found to be a working and safe solution is to select the “All iCloud” folder in Notes, then sort notes by date changed, then move all the notes that hadn’t been uploaded to iCloud to the “On My Mac” account (you must enable it in Preferences) and then move them back to the iCloud account.

Dec 27   Mac   solution

Näckrosen and Hallonbergen Stockholm metro stations

Previously: Solna centrum.

I forgot to tell that it was really cold on all the “special” stations. I visited Stockholm in June, it was over 20° and sunny outside, so I was wearing a t-shirt. The five minutes that I spent on the stations between the trains made me almost freeze to death.

The next station is Näckrosen:

This station is all about the stones.

On the one hand it’s beautiful. On the other, it looks unhealthy, as if the station had a really bad rash:

Pictures on the ceiling:

Art:

A bench:

The next station is Hallonbergen:

Cardboard structures:

And kid’s drawings:

A platform. The metal elements are painted pink:

Exit. A compass on the floor:

The perspective:

The pictures are from the trip in June 2016. To be continued.

More Stockholm metro:

Reachability by overscrolling

There is an accessibility setting on the iPhone called “Reachability”. When you enable it, you can double tap the Home button or swipe down the Home indicator on the iPhone X to make the screen content move closer to you fingers so that you could tap it.

In The revolution in the mobile user interface I wrote that you should flip the UI so that all the meaningful controls end up on the bottom. But what if you have a full screen of tappable content? Then let the user overscroll it!

Look at this video for examples and read the explanation below:

  1. This is how Reachability works on the Home screen of the iPhone X. App icons just move down so that you can reach the top ones. Notice though, that visually it looks as if you just scrolled the screen down.
  2. This is what happens if you actually try to scroll the screen down. The icons blur away and the Search interface appears. But wouldn’t it be better if it actually just scrolled the icons down, revealing the search bar above them? This way, you wouldn’t even need Reachability to use the Home screen with one hand.
  3. This is how Reachability works in Settings. The whole screen just shifts down, letting you tap user account settings or Airplane mode.
  4. This is what happens if you actually try to scroll the screen down. Stuff just moves down, but unfortunately bounces back when you release your finger. But wouldn’t it be better if it actually just scrolled the items down even if there is nothing else above? This way, you wouldn’t even need Reachability to use lists.

Reachability should not be an accessibility setting, but a natural property of the design. If you’ve already flipped the user interface of your app, now it’s time to implement the overscrolling.

Dec 12   user interface

Solna centrum Stockholm metro station

In the previous part you saw this picture:

This is Solna centrum, my favourite Stockholm metro station:

These people have just arrived and go about their business:

Nothing special:

A bench:

A view from one platform to opposite one:

Ads don’t spoil the image:

There is a compass on the floor:

Some elk, or whatever it is, above a glass. Because why not?

Artists’ signature:

There’s black in addition to red and green. Escalators:

A man descending:

On the other end there is also a lift. It doesn’t go vertically, but follows the stairs instead:

More ads:

View upstairs:

The pictures are from the trip in June 2016. To be continued.

More Stockholm metro:

Aegea 2.7 released

Aegea 2.7 has been released. Aegea is a great blogging engine.

What’s new

There are several new design themes, which look like this:

All new themes are based on the existing theme Plain, but redefine some CSS variables:

Above is the code of the theme “Douglas”, which looks like this:

You can now easily preview the themes from Settings. There is a link that opens a special contrived page, which includes all sorts of blog elements to test. This makes building themes much easier as you can preview your CSS in one place instead of wandering around the blog looking for elements to check.

The editor now supports these Google Docs keyboard shortcuts, thanks to Igor Adamenko:

⌘B bold
⌘I italic
⌘K hyperlink
⌘⌥1 heading
⌘⌥2 subheading
⌘⌥0 usual paragraph
⌘] indent
⌘[ outdent

There are also multiple improvements to the features related to social networking, comments, search, RSS and JSON feed, uploading of images and audio.

About Aegea

An engine is a program that runs on the blogger’s website. It provides the writing tools to the author, shows the posts to the readers and lets them write comments. Medium.com (or similar) is simpler, but they can shut down and take all your posts offline. With an engine, the blog runs on your own website and you have access to the files and the database (you don’t have to deal with the files or the database, but you own all the data).

I want most people to have access to personal blogging in this way. That’s why it uses the most easily available platform: PHP with MySQL.

Aegea powers this and many other blogs. Among my favourites:

With Aegea, you can use one of the built-in themes or customise it however you like (this blog is an example). Be flexible with comments: allow and disallow them globally or per post. Refine posts using Drafts. Add images, videos, audio or code to illustrate your point. Organise your writing with tags.

Designers, writers, musicians and software developers use Aegea to show their work, communicate and spread knowledge. They love it because it’s simple and fast yet does everything they need. Aegea is free for personal use and paid for business use.

Learn more and get Aegea at blogengine.me.

Dec 8   Aegea   my products   projects   release

Stockholm metro trains

First read the introductory post about Stockholm metro. Now, let’s look at the trains.

The new train:

Stadion

The display above the door shows the destination station:

Mind the gap:

Inside:

Closer. Note the pictograms on the door:

Typesetting:

Different angle:

The line diagram on a transparent background next to the doors:

More pictograms:

At stations, the driver leans halfway out of the train to see the people when announcing that the doors are closing:

The old train:

Kungsträdgården

The train at the most incredible station:

Solna centrum

I’ll cover it in the next post.

Inside the old train:

The view in the opposite direction:

The diagram on the ceiling:

The transport system ads:

Simple but effective:

A freight train passes:

The pictures are from the trip in June 2016.

Continued

See also:

Stockholm metro

This is a kind of photos you usually see in blog posts titled “Stockholm metro”:

Rådhuset

You may think that all Stockholm metro is like this. But when you come to Stockholm and go to the metro, what you see is this:

Skanstull

Not all stations are fantastic, you must know where to go. I will get to the good ones, but will start with the other things.

The station entrances are denoted with the letter T, because metro is a “tunnel road” (tunnelbana). The entrance from the central rail station:

T-Centralen

In Swedish, the definite article is expressed as a suffix, including -n, so sometimes you see a funny word tunnelbanan (“the tunnel road”):

The entrance in the old town:

Gamla stan

Another one in the central part of the city:

Medborgarplatsen

The “T” thing itself is of a very nice form:

Gamla stan

And it is glowing at night:

Slussen

A lift at one of the stations:

The map of the metro and suburban trains:

You can find the stations Skanstull, Medborgarplatsen, Slussen, Gamla stan in the centre.

Ticket machines:

There is a unified graphic style for the transport system. I will show the airport and the central railway station later. They all use the same font, the Swedish text is always white and the English one is yellow. But on the metro, only the posters follow this style. Other elements are inconsistent in their design.

Let’s get it. A beautiful font:

A platform. The letters on the display are gigantic. Looks right:

This display informs about escalator direction:

One of the platforms at T-Centralen, where the central railway station is:

A station name:

Now let me guide you to a more impressive platform at the same station. Follow the signs:

Helvetica, rectangles, arrows (the display on the left says “not down”):

And here we are on the platform of the blue T10 and T11 lines:

T-Centralen, blue lines

We’ll get back to this later.

A standard hanging sign with the station name, Helvetica again:

And here’s another style, on a blue background:

The same style is used for remaining stations list:

Another one:

The pictures are from the trip in June 2016.

Сontinued

How Apple can preserve face while recovering from the MacBook Pro mistakes

In The best laptop ever made, Marco Arment outlines just how great the previous-generation MacBook Pros were. He does not say this directly, but obviously alludes to the multiple problems with the current MacBook Pros.

Really, almost all changes in the new MacBook Pros made them worse: unreliable keyboard, no useful ports, no MagSafe, worse battery life under load. All this with no meaningful improvements to performance. And nobody seems to care about the Touch Bar.

I don’t know whether Apple internally even think they’ve made a mistake with the 2016 design, but let’s pretend they do. If they just go back to the 2012 design next year, they will thus admit they’ve screwed up with the design. And that’s not what Apple usually does. But the 2012 design with the newer guts is what the market wants — at least until Apple comes up with a design that is actually better, and that takes time.

So how can they both satisfy the market and preserve face?

They still sell new 2012-design MacBook Pros. I think they will continue to do so, and will update those machines. Maybe they will rebrand them as “Classic” to contrast with the “Touch Bar” models, at least when they talk about them.

So, in year 2018 we may see updates to both lines. The Classic MacBook Pros could get faster processors, better displays and a couple of USB-C ports. The Touch Bar MacBook Pros could get a reliable keyboard, and to make them look super-cool, maybe, Face ID, if that’s not too early.

And by the year 2020 or so Apple will hopefully do another redesign, and we’ll see if it’s good enough to finally abandon the Classic line.

Nov 25   Apple   Mac

Feedback first

Here is my talk from FDConf, Minsk about feedback in the user interface:

Nov 13   feedback   talks   user interface   video
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