2021-04-10No Comments

Petite annoyances

Part 1 - Event length

One design pattern that I feel could be improved is the event calendar with autocomplete and it comes from a place you'd expect it the least, Google.

When you click on a time-slot, the system automatically creates an hour long event. To change that, users need to manually select an option on the event modal from the drop down list. I'm pretty sure that UX fellas at Google researched and tested this smart default, but that’s not the case in my or my team's practice.

Mobile view of Google Calendar with a one hour smart default event length.

Currently, there's possibility to change the length, but I experienced issues with the sensitivity and accuracy of the interactive area (green dots in the top left and bottom right). My touch inputs often get confused with panning on the timeline.

The feature would be helpful on the desktop view, where I find no issues at all with the size of the corner handles and could speed up my meeting schedulings.

Desktop calendar view without the interactive corner handles as seen on mobile.

I imagine a solution where a tap action would only set the begin time and an additional slider pattern with 15 min. increments could grant access to set the duration on the event detail modal. To allow fine-tuning or extending the duration beyond smart defaults of the slider I'd also add an input field below.

Part 2 - Timezone selection

Especially now during a global pandemic, working in sync with across continents, teams, and individuals in different timezones is crucial for obvious reasons (wasted time is money badly spent). In Google Calendar, the time belt selection is counterintuitive.

Either you internalize differences of +/- hours, or at least you know the name of the settlement, or the name of the zone where your teammates reside. Searching for common abbreviations like CET, PT, ET or for a city is entirely unsupported.

Instead, users face an alphabetically ordered list, based on city names, although the search functionality only covers the Merriam-Webster form of the timezone.

Unsupported search results for most common timezone terms and city names.

I find the solution obvious: add search results support of cities and timezone acronyms.

Thanks for reading my first world problems!

2019-10-26Comments are off for this post.

Phantom Buzz? – I bet you have that too.

Many of us are worried about missing a phone call or replying to a text that we became hypersensitive for notifications. Especially when you have a highly 'texetive' (talkative over text - It's my term) supervisor, boss or college that you cannot ignore.

Robert Rosenberg, assistant professor of philosophy at Georgia Tech University, examined why we think our smartphones are buzzing when, in reality, they don't — already back in 2016. That was three years ago, look at your right know: notifications probably built into every portable electronic device surrounding. You can read about Rosenberg's study at Academy Minute.

I'm not going to cover the phenomenon, but give it a try to address the effect and habits it caused in our life. I felt enslaved to this higher self; that never sleeps, that interrupts me in everything I do during the day, without respect on my private life nor my sleep cycle. In conclusion, It worked for me so well that I no longer reach out for my pocket randomly, and probably you won't too.

What are notifications?

  1. the act or an instance of notifying
  2. a written or printed matter that gives notice

according to Merriam-Webster. According to me: notifications are aggressive, attention-hungry little multi-sensory pins without holistic regard to your schedule. (They're not all evil after all!) As an iOS user over eleven years, it came a long way with the initial release of the Notification Center with iOS 5 in October 2011. It seems to me, that tech-heads did put too much cherry on top since then.

My solution

Use it for what it is — In other words, the center for your notifications.
Turn vibration off. Trust me for a week!

That was simple right? The next and most crucial thing:

You as a finite, tiny dust particle in this universe, the most valuable asset you have is your attention. Gary Vee can talk your head off about the importance of it. Attention = the act or state of applying the mind to something (Thanks Merriam again!) Therefore, anytime you use your brain capacity to something else that you want or need to, you are giving away this precious resource for what? For the unmissable deals. For a hilarious meme sent by your best friends. For the lazy coworker who was on his/her phone when you had the briefing.

You are in control. Yes, even at the end of the corporate food chain, you are mature enough to schedule and know when you have time for something or not.

Plan, communicate why you are doing this, and allocate a specific time (or several time slots) during the day for getting through your notifications: messages, deals, and whatsoever.

Here's how you can do it

Look at your apps and define three categories.
I'm a huge fan of traditional thin crust Italian pizza so my analogy based on the extra topping a novice would put on a Margherita:
1. Parmesan
2. Chili
3. Pineapples

Let only the relevant channels ship their goods in, and use 'Do Not Disturb' mode as a killswitch — It puts everything into the Notification Center when turned on.

Settings > Notifications > *

1. Parmesan — setting applies for the most important apps
(I turned off Badges on eMail apps. Everyone will get a reply, don't panic.)

2. Chili — setting for the nice-to-have-delivered apps

3. Pineapples — they don't fit well on a pizza, ask any Italian!

In the end, your application list should look like this:
Deliver Quietly — Thanks!

Hold on, one last thing:

Settings > Accesibilty > Touch > Vibration OFF

I did this change three months ago, and my phantom buzz disappeared. I feel more and more conscious of how I spend my time. And this way I can show respect to my family and friends. Respect my work, which became faster and efficient, because I can manage the most significant procrastinator: myself. Nietzsche would probably say it's harder than managing a junior team member, but let's have that topic for another blog post.

I wish you can implement this principle in your life and that it will put you in control of your attention. Give it a try, you have more to gain than lose.

Richard Horvath

Product Designer in Berlin, DE

@ 2021 Richard Horvath, All rights reserved

Richard Horvath @ All rights reserved 2021

Richard Horvath @ All rights reserved 2021