When the conversation turns to women working in game development, as it has frequently for the past few years and intensely for the past few months, you often hear the same points raised. I’ll use one of them as an example: booth babes at E3. There have been efforts to reduce or eliminate the presence of booth babes at industry events for years. They’ve been eliminated at some events like GDC, but not at others—and E3 is usually the event that comes up along with this topic.
In those discussions, there are several points that frequently take center stage. First, that a product showcase with scantily-clad women as hostesses sends a strong message that “this is for men, not women.”
Second, that the presence of so many women as sexy hostesses at an industry event sets a climate for women developers working the show that a woman’s “place” at E3 is as an object and not as a developer. There are many blog posts and interviews with women talking about specific ways the tone of E3—largely set by the use of booth babes—made their time working at the show more difficult, more awkward, and much more uncomfortable.
When we talk about these issues, though, the conversation generally dissolves into statements like these, from both men and women:
“I like booth babes, personally.”
“It doesn’t send a ‘this is for men’ message to me.”
“The games are being marketed to men, so it’s appropriate.”
“Sex sells, right?”
Or, in other words, “My game is fine and they’re playing it wrong.”
If we want to encourage more women to apply to our companies and work in game development, we need to treat it like a usability problem.
Hey, can we remove all the buttons in the text editor? They’re ugly. It doesn’t matter if it reduces usability and we have to add annoying popups to tell people how to use the editor in the future because you can’t see the controls anymore.
Oh, and make it harder to use HTML. HTML is like, cheating. So let’s hide the option to switch to that editor away in the settings. Also, when you switch to HTML, and then from HTML back to visual editor should fuck the code up arbitrarily, just so people are further discouraged from using HTML.
What’s that? Adding features people actually want? Hah, as if we’d let users tell us what to do!
One result of iOS 8’s size classes is that lots more apps support landscape orientation, and I have a confession to make: It drives me bonkers. I almost never want to use my phone in landscape. It used to be that most apps only supported portrait orientation, so it was no problem if you tilted the phone a little too far. It might send a rotation message to the app you were using, but the app would just ignore it. That means I could read Twitter while lying on the couch without worrying that the screen would suddenly rotate if I tilted a couple of degrees too far. In iOS 8, I find myself more and more tempted to use the rotation lock feature.
In fact, I leave auto-rotation enabled for one simple reason: video. Most video fits far better in landscape orientation than in portrait. The iPhone’s screen is perfectly shaped for wide-aspect video in landscape. Unfortunately for me, iOS won’t rotate video into landscape orientation unless it can rotate the whole OS into landscape. Put another way, if I use rotation lock to keep the phone in portrait orientation, that applies to video as well. That means video gets letterboxed into a postage stamp-sized area in the center of my screen.
I use my iPhone with rotation lock turned on 95% of the time. I hate landscape mode. As a user, I think it’s awful—the available screen size for text entry is tiny and too wide and the keyboard is a different size which breaks my 10-year muscle-memory—and as an iOS designer I never want to build support in for it because I think the metrics of landscape on iPhone lowers the quality and usability of nearly every app (I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’d bet they’re exceedingly rare). People typing with an iPhone in landscape mode generally fail my possible-friendship litmus test.
There are, however, two cases in which I want the option to use landscape mode: playing games and watching video. Tim’s suggestion of video ignoring rotation lock would be perfect (applied to games as well, obviously). If I had my way, I’d remove landscape from iPhone in iOS entirely but for these two scenarios.
Apple Could Fix This Glaring, Never-Ending UX Nightmare in 5 Minutes
“Cellular data is turned off for [app name]”
Today I saw this message 54 times. I may have a bad memory but ITS NOT THAT F****** BAD.
Every. Single. Time. I. Load. A. F******. App.
And just for extra protection - sometimes before I close them too after waking my device.
How on earth is this not irritating the hell out of the developers who work on iOS? Is it because they are all so rich they don’t care about paying more for data? (serious question) - or maybe Apple pays it.
Today It Reached Its Nadir
I was snowboarding near the Russian border - in Gudauri, Georgia. Ironically enough I was listening to ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ with Audible, on the lifts - then a nice deep house playlist on Spotify in the powder on the way down.
(as Steve might have said - this message is “Insanely Shit”)
I did about 15 runs in total. At the top of each lift I took out my phone, unlocked it, sometimes had to press OK on ‘cellular data is disabled for Audible’, loaded Spotify, had to press OK on ‘Cellular data is disabled for Spotify’, then press play on playlist.
Then when I came to the bottom of a lift - the same process in reverse.
In both cases people on skis and snowboards are trying to dodge me - and I’m trying to get on or off a lift. Delays are not what I wanted.
Had it not been such a nice sunny day - I may have thrown my iPhone off a cliff; there were plenty to choose from.
It also seems to inconsistently do this when I’m connected to WiFi too! You know - just incase….
Why I Turned Data Off
I turned data off for Spotify and Audible (and App Store, Castro, and Overcast - podcast apps) because - like 90%+(?) of people - I don’t [always] have an unlimited data tariff. These apps download large files that I only want to download on WiFi.
Virtually anyone with such an app - should have data turned off.
After a little ‘incident’ with Overcast - @MarcoArment, developer of Overcast (@OvercastFm), has a nice solution with an ‘Allow Cellular Downloads’ button visible on the downloads page. Similar implementations are piecemeal and inconsistent across apps.
We can’t leave this to individual developers to solve - a holistic solution is required.
Who Is This Message For?
This message is displayed when you have manually turned cellular data off for a particular app. When *you* turned it off. So this warning is for people who hit their head really hard and have temporary memory loss just before disabling data. So hard that they forgot they saw this message the last time - and every f****** time - they open the app.
Or people that did it by accident or forgot they did it. But - this is their own fault, what about the majority who *disabled it on purpose*. How is this acceptable User Experience?
Why It’s The Wrong Message
If anything - telling users wireless data is turned *ON* for ‘downloading’ apps would make more sense. Apps like podcasting apps can easily - often in the background - download gigabytes of data on your limited cellular tariff; possibly costing you $1000’s.
How Apple Should Fix It
For the love of god (who obviously doesn’t exist while this bug does - and like because famine) - can we fix this! It’s so easy to fix, in order of goodness:
1. Remove this warning entirely.
2. Give us a universal option to disable this warning.
3. Show it once a day (week?) *at most*. There is no good reason to show me this message 54 times in one day.
4. Stop it being a modal dialogue that forces you to press ‘OK’ or ‘Settings’ - make it a tapable banner instead (90% fixed right there).
Beyond this, apps should have a flag the developer or Apple can set - marking them as ‘data intensive’ or ‘background downloading’. This flag causes the user to be prompted about cellular data when the app is installed “On/Off”
A further, prominent standard switch / information bar saying ‘app cell data off’ within the UI itself would also be a good idea.
The current approach is broken to the point of infuriating me - and probably millions of other iOS users many times every day.
I don’t think ‘infuriation’ is what Apple is going for?