Well, that didn't take long!
Days after announcing a revamped Twittelator Neue, the app's creators have dropped one of its most original features - the dipping tab bar that disappeared and reappeared as you scrolled through your timeline.
To be clear, the look of the bar is unchanged. It's the behaviour that's different. Instead of disappearing on its own, the bar now requires a separate gesture to drag it in and out of view.
Is it an improvement? I'm really not sure.
It's not as easy to use and unlike the original tab bar, it takes a while to figure out (gripe: it will only work when you are in the middle of your feed, not if you are at the top). On the plus side, it's nice to know that you can display the tab bar at a time of your choosing and not, as before, when the app saw fit.
Noteshelf, the very popular note taking app for the iPad, has one of the best realisations that I've come across of a skeuomorphic bookshelf. I like the way that a category with more than one notebook shows them stacked, one behind the other.
James Allworth surveys the history of computing from the first broad adoption of the mouse and cursor, to the touch paradigm that Apple popularised with the iPhone, to Siri, the iPhone's new voice control software which, he says, is going to fundamentally change our relationship with computers.
It is entirely natural for us to talk to one another. Talking is one of the first things we learn how to do as children. It's second nature for us to ask a colleague or a friend a question and for them to answer the same way. Being able to talk to a phone like it's a personal assistant is something people are going to get very used to, very quickly. It's a much more natural approach than using a mouse on a desktop.
Twittelator Neue has received a complete makeover and one of its more interesting features is a floating tab bar. The moment you begin to scroll through your feed, the tab bar will drop out of view, only to reappear again when the scrolling stops.
And unlike some reviews, I really like it.
By any measure, Tobias Schneider is a very talented designer. If you have been following him on Dribbble, you'll know that he is one of the more prolific contributors to the site, with a fan base that reaches across the globe. He's now released an iPhone app and it's brimming with the kind of details that make his work so outstanding. The one that caught my eye is the tab bar and the subtle use of lighting to show when a tab is in use.
We've all come across metaphors that don't quite work or which are memorable for all the wrong reasons, so to round things out, I'd like to add two of my own.
In the first example, Countdown Me, we're presented with a basic looking notepad. The bottom edge of the topmost page is very slightly curled and beneath it you can see the rest of the notepad - something you see a lot of with apps that use journals or books as their real-world metaphor.
On seeing the app for the first time, my response was to assume that I could turn the page by swiping my finger upwards... but then I noticed the dot indicator, which calls for a different response - swiping across, not up. So which is it?
By using a metaphor that is at odds with the underlying pattern, the designers have introduced an element of uncertainty which, as I discovered, is not resolved until you start using the app.
The second example is from the newly minted Facebook app for iPad. We're shown a stack of photos and a caption stating that you have err... only one photo! A stack and single photo are two different things so, again, which is it! It's not a question the user should have to ask - it should have been resolved by the designers, and I'm a little surprised to see it in such a high-profile app*.
*To be fair to Facebook, I have seen this with other apps so they're not alone.
FontShop has released 14 font packs tailored specically for use in iOS apps.
Speculating on the future of technology is not my bag and reading Scott Jenson's article on why Mobile apps must die! is a poignant reminder of why... as any sporting person will know, you have to play what's in front of you and getting lost in a fog of speculation is not a good start.
He does, though, make a great point about the value > pain of having too many apps on your phone which, coincidently, is exactly how I feel about my Twitter feed - I have trouble enough keeping up with my feed and know that if I add a bunch more people, the value/pain ratio will quickly go into reverse.
Interesting piece by Dustin Curtis on why larger screens are more difficult to articulate with your thumb.
Long story short: unless you are in the habit of exercising with a thumbscrew, or have an unusually long one, your thumb will not reach the other side of the screen.
I don't know who started the trend for raised tabs, but I think it's fair to say that Instagram was the first to really popularise it. Here are some examples from the Gallery.