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.