Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 26th Nov 2013 23:07 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces

It's rare these days, but it happens: a (what I think) is a completely new UI element (or 'widget', in proper parlance).

In my quest for an Android Twitter client that doesn't suck, I stumbled upon Tweedle, a no-frills, properly designed Twitter client for Android that, as far as I can tell after a few days, does not suck. It integrates properly with Android and has an actual Android user interface - unlike other Android Twitter clients, it doesn't shove any non-standard UI crap in my face. Really, the complicated, overdesigned user interfaces many Android developers come up with just to show several snippets of text in a scrollable list (that's all Twitter is, folks) is remarkable. Let's save that rant for another day, however.

What I find most intriguing about Tweedle is that it includes a UI widget I've never seen before. Instead of a regular scrollbar, Tweedle has a vertical line that increases in length as you scroll down in your timeline, and decreases in length as you scroll upwards. If you reach the newest tweet, the bar disappears. It's a different take on the traditional scrollbar, but to me, it feels like a better fit for a timeline than a traditional scrollbar.

If you scroll far enough down, the line will reach all the way to the bottom. If you keep scrolling beyond that point, the line just stays there. A traditional scrollbar, like in, say, Tweetbot 3 for iOS 7, acts differently. Once the scrollblob hits the bottom of the screen, a new set of tweets loads, and the blob erratically jumps upwards, which is just plain weird when you think about it.

The traditional scrollbar - even a proportional one - does its job best when used with finite scrollable areas. Timelines on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and so on, however, are essentially infinite lists, which causes traditional scrollbars to jump around whenever you reach the 'bottom' of your timeline and new content is loaded. The line in Tweedle does not have this issue, but it does introduce a new one - once the line fills up and hits the bottom, but you keep on scrolling - it stops conveying any new information.

Still, I find it a fascinating rethinking of the traditional scrollbar, and I hope to see it in more applications.

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Form / Function
by HappyGod on Wed 27th Nov 2013 02:40 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

It sounds like a good idea, and with the amendments suggested by flypig, it would actually work.

But as described by Thom, I don't think it flies. I would prefer a scroll bar to jump up when the list grows, than have it just run out of ideas. Especially on a mouse-driven device.

A scroll bar should:

1. Convey your position in the overall list, and;

2. Give you the ability to scroll the pseudo-bottom of the list.

In it's current form it doesn't do either of those functions well (I'm aware that function 2 doesn't apply on mobile devices :-).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Form / Function
by mutantsushi on Wed 27th Nov 2013 08:00 in reply to "Form / Function"
mutantsushi Member since:
2006-08-18

Agreed. The 'jumping' is of course conveying information that the list is getting longer. Going with that, I think having a specific animation rather than just instantly re-locating the scroll widget to the newly correct location would be a better way to convey what's going on, that the list is being enlarged and the proportional position in that list is being regressed. Having the scroll widget 'suddenly' shift from conveying information to not conveying further information doesn't seem any better than the scroll widget 'jumping' to the newly accurate position.

Edited 2013-11-27 08:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3