Open PDF Documents Full-Screen in Dropbox for iPad [#dropbox, #ux]

This was actually surprisingly difficult for me to figure out since there is basically no discoverability hints anywhere, and I literally found it by accident.

In the Dropbox app for iPad, if you open a Word or other Office document, there is a little button in the lower right hand corner for viewing the document in full-screen. However, if you open a PDF document, that button is not present. Hmmm…

Additionally, in the iOS 5 version of the Dropbox app, there used to be an arrow button in the navigation bar area to toggle the visibility of the navigation panel on the left. This served as an adequate almost-full-screen view of a PDF, but the (as of March 10, 2014) current version of the Dropbox app removed that functionality.

So for months I was in a bit of a predicament regarding how to view a PDF in the app – double-tap zoomed, but didn’t remove the Panel from the split view controller. But just this weekend, immedately after sending an email to Dropbox lamenting the loss of the full-screen PDF feature, I discovered accidentally how to do it. It’s not immediately obvious how to view it in full screen, but thankfully, it is possible!

Turns out the answer is…. Single Tap. [facepalm!]

Just tap once on a PDF in Dropbox for iPad and your document will be shown in full-screen, and better yet, all of the other UI elements like the navigation bar fade away and you just see the document itself. So, while it was a little more difficult for me to find, once I discovered it I like the improvement in the full-screen view. I’m not sold on single-tap as a full-screen view gesture, but at least it’s there in some fashion.

What is the Future of iOS Notification?

One of the more annoying things about iOS is its notification system. Modal alerts are so arcane, intrusive and annoying, I am actually shocked that they are still the standard method of notification in iOS as of version 4…

Looks like there are some underground movements (requiring jailbreaking, of course) to change that. Here’s a little commentary by Sebastiaan de With (@cocoia) that I found interesting:

Cocoia Blog » Getting Notified:

There’s some discussion on Apple-centric and tech news websites about a video that’s doing the rounds with a new approach to notifications for iOS. While the system in the video is really nothing new (there’s been at least one alternative notification system in the App-Store-for-jailbroken-phones “Cydia” since 2010) it is getting a lot of attention, presumably because iOS users are quite satisfied with almost all the interactions of the OS except those dang stacking modal dialogs that interrupt your game of Angry Birds every time you get a text message.

So while I am not a jailbreaker (and never will be), my hope is that Apple and its designers and developers on the iOS team will take notice of this and do something about it in a future version of iOS.

We shall see…

Peet’s Coffee Packaging UX

As a nice perk, the company at which I am currently employed provides complimentary Peet’s coffee. While this a very nice daily benefit, and is entirely welcome, there seems to have arisen a fundamental usability problem.

This morning I just made the observation that, as far as I can tell, every coffee station here at the office seems to have a pair of scissors — since the coffee packets are so difficult to open!

Somebody better tell Peet’s that coffee packets have users too! I’m sure if it was a financially viable option, and if they made a commercial-grade machine, companies might just switch to Keurig over it.

Webcam as Input Device

Interesting research being done using a webcam as a different type of input device – a controller for your desktop:

Getting physical « Canonical Design:

With the ingress in the market of products like Nintendo Wii, Apple iPhone and Microsoft Kinect, developers finally started realizing that there are several ways a person can control a computer besides keyboards, mice and touch screens. These days there are many alternatives, obviously based on hardware sensors, and the main difference is the dependency on software computation. In facts solutions based on computer-vision (like Microsoft Kinect) rely on state of the art software to analyze pictures captured by one or more cameras.

Giving Users Some Credit [Design Informer]

Really liked this article, which is a little reality check for web usability. Especially neat was the UX version of “The Golden Rule” at the end of the post.

enjoy.

Giving Users Some Credit | Design Informer:

Creating designs that are intuitive and easy to use is something we should continually strive for if we want our sites and applications to be visited and used by as many people as possible. Ultimately, making those sites easy, as well as enjoyable, to use is a critical part of helping them be successful and it starts by abandoning outdated opinions on what users can, and cannot, understand. It starts by giving our users some credit and realizing that they are not ‘idiots.’

Overcoming Design Creative Block

While specifically written for Logo Design, I thought the suggestions contained in this article were applicable to most other design disciplines like web or user interface design…

Tips for Overcoming Logo Design Creative Block:

This phase can be very frustrating for any creative person. If you don’t recover within a few days, a creative block can destroy your self-confidence. The fear that you will never again be able to produce good work drives you to desperation. You try harder and harder and end up exhausting your mental faculties. This makes the situation worse. Therefore, it is very important to deal with this delicate phase of creative block with a lot of patience and care. Only you can get yourself out of it. Designers all over the world face this problem and don’t know what to do. There is actually no reason to panic. Let’s look at a few ways by which you can get rid of your creative block.

Designing with Paper Prototyping [UX Booth]

Designing with Paper Prototyping | UX Booth:

Prototyping is key to any successful design. Paper prototyping is usually the first step, but does it fit into a world where mobile devices are king? Yes, but not using the conventional method. Combine the physicality of the device and the power of paper prototyping and you have a solution that’s fit for the new era of computing.

Free iPhone Design Templates for Keynote and PowerPoint

Free iPhone Keynote and PowerPoint templates help get you from thought to finish:

Mockapp.com has created both Keynote and PowerPoint templates of iPhone UI elements, and has made them available as free downloads. Say you had a dream in the middle of the night about the most awesome iPhone app that, to your surprise, no one has thought of yet. Instead of waking up in a deep sweat and scribbling said ideas on paper, you could dream them up on Keynote.

After mapping out your concept on Keynote, you could then pitch it to others in a Keynote presentation. The Keynote and PowerPoint templates include alerts, the iPhone keyboard, arrow icons, buttons, as well as a host of other UI elements.