App Advanced Search

Geocaching is one of my hobbies and I usually cache with just my iPhone using the official app. Most of the time, I’m searching by location (find nearest caches) or by a cache’s specific ID. But occasionally, I want to narrow the results using the app’s Advanced Search feature.

One of the advanced options is to narrow by cache type.

screen for the geocaching app advanced search show cache type and difficulty filters
Geocaching app advanced search screen

Issues with geocache type filter

  1. Use of radio buttons when the user can select multiple options. These should be check boxes.
  2. The hit area for each type is very small. I often have to hit the circle multiple times to get my selection to register.
  3. The select all/deselect all option is in a weird spot.
  4. It can be problematic to rely solely on icons because not everyone, especially newer cachers, know about all the types of caches. There is a little “information” icon but it has information about many additional cache types beyond the nine available in the app search. Other filters include labels.

    geocaching difficult and size filters with labels on the icons
    Filter options with labels

Design Recommendations

  1. Change the circles to squares and make the entire icon the hit area for selecting a cache type.
  2. Move the select all option to the end.
  3. Add icon labels.
mock up of cache type selection with boxes and icon labels in place of radio buttons
Cache type selection mock up

Adding a Bookmark in Safari – Part 2

In Part 1, I explored how you add bookmarks in the Safari browser for desktop versus other browsers. Part 2 looks at adding a bookmark on the iPhone using Safari mobile.

The desktop version of Safari uses a “plus” icon for adding bookmarks, an icon not found in the mobile interface.

screen shot of the Safari browser in iPhone
Safari mobile browser

This left me wondering which icon to use. My instinct was to tap the “book” icon. This icon shows the list of current bookmarks only, and does not include an option to add the current page as a bookmark.

screen shot of the bookmarks screen in Safari mobile
Safari mobile bookmarks screen

Turns out you have to tap what I’ll call the “export” icon to get to the option to save a page as a bookmark. This option uses the same “book” icon as the menu bar, which I find confusing.

screen shot of the Safari mobile screen that allows you to add a bookmark
Safari mobile add bookmark

Compare this to Chrome which uses the typical “star” icon for adding a favorite, located in the browser menu, and provides a “Bookmarks” link to view existing ones all in one place.

Screen shot of the Chrome mobile browser menu
Chrome mobile browser menu

Design Recommendations

The iOS UI patterns on iPhone seem to limit the number of icons on the bottom menu bar to five, which makes adding a “plus” icon just for bookmarks unlikely. Instead, I’d include an option to add a bookmark from the “Bookmarks” screen for those of us whose instinct is to click the “book” icon.

Updated screen shot of the bookmarks page with the option to add a bookmark
Safari mobile mock up for adding a bookmark

Making Connections with Siren

I first heard about Siren, “A dating site that gives women more control,” earlier this year on NPR. It opened up this week to more communities, and I decided to try it out.

In lieu of a standard profile, Siren has people answer ‘Questions of the Day’. Women can chose to hide their profiles while men cannot and they have to approve any connection requests before receiving messages.

I find myself at a crossroads because of a serious UX flaw: What happens when I click the “Accept?” button for a connection request?

screen shot of the Siren app connections screen with two request
Siren app ‘Connections’ screen
  • Why does the button have a question mark?
  • If I click the button, will it automatically accept the request? Because I don’t see a ‘reject’ or ‘ignore’ option.
  • If I click the button, does it then give me an option to reject?

The main purpose of the app is to connect people, yet I find myself ready to walk away at precisely that point because I don’t want to get connected to someone by mistake, nor do I want to have a perpetual list of requests I’m not interested in.

On a user’s profile, I have the options to ‘Block User’ or ‘Report User’, neither of which is what I want to do.

For curiosity’s sake, I’ll click the damn “Accept?” button…

And there’s my answer. Clicking the button accepted the connection request, with no option to reject, and I see no option to disconnect. Bad, bad, bad.

Design Recommendations

    • Remove the question mark from the “Accept” button, remove ambiguity about what clicking the button does.
    • Provide an “Ignore” button too.
Connections screen with an ignore option added
Connections screen with an ‘Ignore’ button added
  • I found that on a user’s profile you can click some text that reads ‘Connected’ to remove the connection. I really dislike when UIs try to make text and buttons do double duty. It’s never clear, especially when the text isn’t shaped like a link or button. Just provide a ‘Remove’ button.

    Before and after screens for 'remove connection' options
    Add a ‘Remove Connection’ button