Calypso on iOS: The big impact of little interaction bugs

During my last iOS web session, I thought about the little bugs and interaction problems that compromise our iOS web experience. Some of these have been with us for a long time, notably scroll bleed, editor zoom-and-pan, the traveling 2FA prompt, and notifications scroll jitter.

With the recent editor changes, we’re getting closer to a flowful mobile web experience. Scroll bleed and zoom-and-pan, however, baffle our emerging flow.

Ruminating on this and previous iOS web sessions, I arrive at these suggestions.

  • Eliminate scroll bleed, notably in the sidebar and notifications. Scroll bleed interferes with our primary nav.
  • Eliminate zoom-and-pan in the editor.
  • Improve image and embed interactions in the editor, particularly while scrolling.

These are little interaction problems with big impact. They get in the way of flowing through my Calypso publishing sessions.

From my last session:

Scroll bleed

I often experience #scroll-bleed in the sidebar. When a lower layer grabs the scroll, the sidebar doesn’t scroll. Offscreen menu items inaccessible. Usually, waiting a few seconds before initiang another scroll will clear the bleed and allow the sidebar to scroll. This is a little hitch in my flow that occurs often.

Scroll bleed in sidebar

Notifications does it too.

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso/issues/12671

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso/issues/8173

Zoom and pan when editor focuses

The view zooms and part of the toolbar goes offscreen when I tap into the editor.

Zoom and pan when switching tabs

Tap into HTML. View zooms and pans.

Tap into visual. View zooms and pans.

Cut, copy bar obscures inline image toolbar

Tap an image. The copy bar comes up along with the image bar.

Also, initiating a scroll drag on an image triggers the image bar when the finger lifts at the end of the drag.

Account prompt

The 2FA prompt follows you to the notifications and reader screens.

Notifications scrolling

The filter header in notifications jitters while scrolling and sometimes comes unpinned.

 

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso/issues/8173

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso/issues/5697

Sharing pop up

The sharing pop up doesn’t dismiss with an #outside-tap.

Sometimes it opens offscreen.

Editor toolbar does not pin

I need the toolbar, even when scrolled.

#editor, #ios, #notifications, #scroll-jitter, #session-notes, #zoom-and-pan

Session notes: Instagram widget auth flow, editor flow, embed reflow, list flow, vscroll

Notes from my past couple weeks-ish of sessions.

Instagram widget auth flow

So I tried Cmd+click to open auth in a new window. After completing instagram auth in the new window, I was redirected here.

The widget is not added in this new session.

I added it in this new session and hit the same auth blocker.

I went back to the original session. It is not authorized. I Save & Publish and then reload the customizer, still blocked at auth.

I couldn’t find a workaround.

Editor layout after AYS

After triggering AYS

Content area disappeared

I think this happened while typing.

The only thing in the console was

Cropped embed

Switching to HTML and back to visual fixed it.

Like, video overlap

Undo reflow

#undo-reflow after hitting Cmd+z.

Editor flow

The familiar frustrations of:

  • embed reflow
  • undo reflow
  • vscroll loss when an embed is selected and you click another embed
  • having to switch to the html editor to move embeds
  • waiting for embeds to load every time I re-enter a post
  • reflow, reflow, reflow

Idle editor wish: Outline of headers for easy jumping around. I use this a lot in Ulysses.

Lists of links

Today’s frustration: Links losing their href on paste, last mentioned here.

https://test.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/session-notes-back-buttons-hidden-sites-touch-image-flow-notifications-site-switching-flow-keyboard-flow-media-section-desktop-first/

Issue opened:

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso/issues/10669

Also, the inline link toolbar gets in the way when rearranging lists of links. Whenever I work with lists of links, these two bugs/behaviors make for #frustrated.

Back button vscroll respect

Audit back buttons for vscroll respect. Losing vscroll kills browsing flows. For example, I prefer wp-admin themes flow to Calypso themes flow. Calypso loses your vscroll place when you return from the theme details page to /design. This makes for awkward theme browsing flow. wp-admin remembers your place in the /themes list as you navigate in and out of theme details.

wp-admin uses a modal for theme details, which flows much better for me. It respects vscroll.

Scrolling /posts/

I’ve had trouble with scrolling /posts/ several times today. Posts stop loading into infinite scroll. Sometimes the loading placeholder gets stuck showing. The screen becomes inured to clicks. Chrome gets CPU happy.

Embed reflow

I spent lots of time in the editor today, waiting for embed reflow. Embed reflow is the #frustrated. I work tweets into my posts, a not at all uncommon thing.

When I paste a tweet into a post with several embeds, reflow dances my vscroll. I lose my place and can’t remember what I was doing. Over and over.

Alt text flow

Wishing I could add alt text from an image modal. Make alt text available to drag-and-drop image flow. I encounter this lack all the time when writing about disability. Lamenting the lack of an image modal right now as I work on…

The Segregation of Special

#accessibility

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-calypso/issues/307

Blockquotes and embeds

Adding stuff after embeds is frustrating, particularly if there is a blockquote nearby. My attempts at creating a new line between embed and block quote get block quoted.

Editor flow

Today’s editor flow harshers:

  • Editor unsaved changes #ays
  • #undo-reflow
  • #embed-reflow
  • links losing href on paste
  • inline link toolbar getting in the way of list editing
  • can’t blockquote lists without using html editor

Wishing I could toggle embed expansion so I can edit my posts without all of this reflow grief. Reflow and vscroll loss every time I Cmd+z or paste in another embed makes me wish Ulysses would hurry up and release editing of published WP posts.

Posts at the top disappear when I scroll back up

If I don’t touch anything, they’ll wink back in after 30-ish seconds.

Moving embeds

To move an embed, I:

  • flip to HTML
  • scan tag soup
  • cut the embed link
  • flip to visual
  • paste the link (If I past while in HTML, the embed won’t unfurl.)

List Soup

The bug where links lose their href when cut and paste pushes me to the html editor, where this greets me.

Working with embeds

I want to get at the underlying link so I can visit it and copy it.

An inline embed toolbar? An embed modal?

Sometimes embeds don’t load

Embeds can be slow to load in. Sometimes they don’t load at all. The links for the embeds don’t show, giving the appearance of vanished content.

After reload.

Remember size of notifications comment box

Wishing the comment box remembered the size I set with the drag handle.

In the comment box, ping backs display with “Reply to” followed by a link that is partially offscreen. The link is followed by an ellipsis, which makes me think the link has been truncated, although that’s not the case here.

#auth-flow, #editor, #embeds, #session-notes

Session notes: Refreshed Reader

No video

Opening on author

Clicking an author sometimes opens you scrolled down to that author, sometimes not.

The back button is a long way up when you open scrolled down. When I just want to peek an author, having to scroll back up to go back is a hitch in my flow.

The author links do nothing in this context

The author links don’t link anywhere.

Photo credits, captions

Photo credits, captions smush up against the article.

#reader, #session-notes

Session notes: overflow, reflow, embeds, image selection, double notifications, tab titles, working with text

Overflow, zoomed – iOS web

This insisted on loading zoomed in a bit.

Dismissing follow – iOS web

Follow doesn’t dismiss with an outside tap. To dismiss, I tapped 3 dots and then tapped it again. Tapping follow to dismiss closes the popup but unfollows in the process.

Embed reflow – Macnchrome

Adding Twitter links causes vscroll stomping reflow, especially on posts with other embeds. This happens every time I paste an embed and every time I load a post with multiple embeds.

#embed-reflow and View Post #forked-flow are taking the joy out of this session.

Whenever I edit a post with embeds, I wait 30 seconds before touching the keyboard due to the embed reflow. There’s no embed caching? Hmm, will Chrome’s

scroll anchoring help in this context? It’s the new default in Canary. Looks like it can be turned on via a flag in production Chrome. I’ll try it out.

chrome://flags/#enable-scroll-anchoring

Telegram’s image picker

Wishing our image pickers had accessibly sized images like Telegram. This is media flow I can see and use.

Double notifications – iOS app

Double notifications in the Hockeyapp beta. These persisted for awhile but then stopped.

Meanwhile, the Testflight beta didn’t double.

Inconsistent media display

This is how the iOS share extension works. If you share an image from another app to the WordPress app, it’s added to the post as a gallery. A relatively recent enhancement added the ids parameter to the shortcode to specify the image being included there.

Yuck. Our history with media is marked by such inconsistencies. Recall when IO editor launched with single images posting as galleries. Users responded predictably.

https://test.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/session-notes-back-buttons-hidden-sites-touch-image-flow-notifications-site-switching-flow-keyboard-flow-media-section-desktop-first/#comment-403

Twitter embed doesn’t reflect updates

I updated a post and then tweeted it.

That shows the old text.

Post: https://ryan.boren.me/2016/08/14/rules-of-thumb-for-human-systems/

Browser tab titles – Macnchrome

Which post am I editing in each tab?

Non interactive notification – iOS app

Visual glossary

Aside, notion: A marked up set of screenshots naming the various ui elements would help these discussions. A new section in the dev docs for a visual glossary of terms.

Working with text – Macnchrome

Moving links and blockquotes around in the visual editor isn’t so friendly. I often switch to the html editor when reorganizing living documents. There, I…

  • scan through the tag soup
  • rearrange blocks and links
  • mess up tags in the process
  • look for revisions in Calypso so I can revert
  • fail to find revisions since Calypso doesn’t have revs yet
  • switch to wp-admin
  • find post
  • dig through revisions
  • restore old revision
  • back to Calypso editor
  • reload to get restored rev
  • #frustrated

#app, #desktop, #editor, #embeds, #ios, #macos, #mobile, #notifications, #session-notes, #web

Jetpack Beta Testing Flow Session

Installing a beta zip – Macnchrome

Some changes are delivered to testers as custom zip files. One I received was named jetpack.zip. If a tester tries to upload this zip, it fails because jetpack is already installed.

I can’t install this beta zip without deleting the existing Jetpack install, but I can’t delete Jetpack from plugins.php on Pressable.

I could rename the zip and try deactivating production Jetpack and activating the test one in jetpack-test. That’s not so friendly though. Will Jetpack behave if run in a directory other than jetpack?

Connect Jetpack – iOS Safari, iPhone 7+

Info popups don’t dismiss with outside taps. Tapping (I) to close is awkward.

Empty dropdown – iOS Safari

Dropdown defaults to empty.

After connecting jetpack – Macnchrome

After connecting Jetpack on my phone I reloaded a wp-admin desktop browser session. I had to log back in.

Beta connected – Macnchrome

Clicking through enable markdown leads to:

Looks like I needed to reconnect after moving to the beta. After reconnection:

Check the box to activate? – Macnchrome

For a moment, I was confused over whether the checkbox was also activate/deactivate. When scrolled there’s no header to remind you that the checkbox is for bulk ops.

Looks like this jetpack_modules page is no longer referenced in the main interface. Does the enable markdown link on the Jetpack beta page need to be updated?

Getting at the beta plugin – Macnchrome

The beta plugin page is the first hit for “jetpack beta” in Google.

Getting at the beta requires form filling.

If you keep scrolling, the form turns out to be optional.

Forms at the front door usually turn me away.

Skip the form, proceed to:

https://jetpack.com/download-jetpack-beta/ has a video. How about some screenshots in the step-by-step instructions?

Why not put the beta tester plugin in the WP plugin repo?

Beta Testing Flow Questions

  • Put an install call to action button above the form? https://jetpack.com/download-jetpack-beta/
  • Include screenshots in the install instructions?
  • Public call for testing flow. Where? test.wp.com?
  • Put beta plugin in WP plugin repo to make it more discoverable and easier to install? Too public?

#beta-testing-flow, #jetpack, #session-notes

Session notes: forked flow, featured images, images in posts list, network errors

forked-flow

  • Start on permalink post page
  • Click the pencil icon in the actionbar
  • Make changes
  • Save
  • Click View Post in the confirmation message
  • Opens in #new-tab-window and forks flow

View Post forks flow by opening in #new-tab-window. Could/should view post be made aware of when flow passes in from the actionbar and offer to return to calling context? How do our post-post trampoline concepts handle actionbar edit flow?

Jetpack connected site links to wp-admin – iOS app

Wishing my Jetpack connected site linked to Calypso instead of wp-admin.

Photo sites and featured images – Macnchrome, iOS Safari

So far, every post to this site was made through the iOS app, IIRC. I upload a single photo and publish. I don’t set a featured image or add taxonomy. Here’s what my site looks like.

I dig it, but here’s what I see in the backend.

No images.

Here’s the posts list after setting a featured image.

And here it is after waiting 10 seconds-ish.

The iOS app shows images for all posts. Setting a featured image is not required.

As mentioned in this session, I had some single image posts mysteriously pubbed as galleries. The iOS app does not show images for these posts, but Calypso does.

So, the app shows images for single image posts but not galleries. Calypso shows images for galleries but not single image posts.

Themes and posts list shouldn’t require setting featured images.

Stuck loading – Macnchrome

I reloaded the page after 30-ish seconds of waiting.

Masterbar – iOS Safari

Can’t save draft – Macnchrome

This was due to some network issues. Is it possible to be more precise with the error message?

#app, #chrome, #desktop, #desktop-bias, #desktop-first, #featured-images, #forked-flow, #inclusion, #ios, #macos, #media-flow, #mobile, #posts, #safari, #session-notes

Session notes: back buttons, hidden sites, touch image flow, notifications, site switching flow, keyboard flow, media section, desktop-first, link pasting – iOS app, macOS app, Macnchrome

Back button vscroll respect

Audit back buttons for vscroll respect. Losing vscroll kills browsing flows. For example, I prefer wp-admin themes flow to Calypso themes flow. Calypso loses your vscroll place when you return from the theme details page to /design. This makes for awkward theme browsing flow. wp-admin remembers your place in the /themes list as you navigate in and out of theme details.

wp-admin uses a modal for theme details, which flows much better for me. It respects vscroll and doesn’t introduce an awkward back nav interaction.

Change hidden sites

Changing hidden sites leads to a wp-admin page that is not ready for small screens.

Also, the “share on” dialog does not dismiss with outside taps.

Touch image flow

Here’s a screenshot filled post on self-hosted WordPress.

Depending on how you link your images, tapping those screenshots could open them in a new browser window or do nothing. Neither behavior provides good, accessible flow, as has been lamented before.

Every time I tap through to the images in Federico’s screenshot filled posts, another touch media flow lament is logged in my soul.

WP should handle all of this. Shoulda been handling it for years. Insert my usual mobile web advocacy.

Decent touch image flow should be baked into core.

I consume a lot of WordPress sites through the Twitter app. We drop flow. Touch flow comes into us, and we drop it. One of the ways I most often experience WordPress hasn’t changed since before the iPhone came out.

Systems error

Switching from a8c proxy to direct connect fixed it. Happens to me occasionally.

Notifications and Life

I was about to write something in my parity log, and then notifications sidelined me into other cogitations. I now have no idea what I was about to write on parity. I’ve turned off notifications for almost all apps, services. I might turn off for WP as well.

Between neurological disease and medication, my stack is fragile. I can’t maintain high memory states like I used to. The smallest interruptions crash my stack. Notifications are not small interruptions. They are big ones that cause stack dumping, flow forking, and tangents. Notifications disrupt flow states.

Notifications both enable flow and disrupt flow states. Finding balance requires fiddling. I’ll try running WP on iOS with notifications going to the notifications stream w/o showing an alert. I’ll still get a list of actionable notifications, but without the interruption. I wish I had this control on macOS.

I’m also wishing I could turn the orange dot indicator in the masterbar notifications off.

Notion: Notifications interfaces should have a do not disturb toggle. Especially ones that rely on Chrome Desktop Notifications? It’s interface for notifications is not enjoyable.

Finishing setup – Mac app

“Finishing set up” and “Loading my sites” are stuck on screen. This was coincident with slow loading of WP sites in my Chrome session. IIRC, I had to restart the app to get rid of the messages.

Uh oh – Mac app

I abandoned my session after the loading slowness above. I came back later to browse through the reader. After reading a few things, I clicked over on sites and got:

https://github.com/Automattic/wp-desktop/issues/249

No keyboard after switching site – iOS app

The cursor is still in the title, but no keyboard.

This happens after searching in the site picker.

Since the picker always defaults to the primary blog, my usual flow for starting a post is:

  • Tap pencil icon
  • Tap site switcher
  • Tap into search field
  • Type site name
  • Tap the desired site

Now I’m in the keyboard-less state above. From here:

  • Tap into content to restore the keyboard
  • Tap back into title
  • Type in title
  • Carry on with post

Pencil always opens default site – iOS app

I’m on the plantbelly site. Tap the pencil icon.

Picker defaults to my primary site.

I almost published to the wrong site twice in my last session. I had to ditch in progress posts with images twice. I wish the iOS site picker had multisite flow more like Calypso’s. It asks which site to publish to on the way into the editor.

Clicking embed while other embed selected jumps vscroll to first embed – Macnchrome

Click an embed.

Scroll down.

Click on the embed. Vscroll jumps to first embed.

Storify Embed – Macnchrome

No Storify embed?

Twitter embed reflow in the editor – Macnchrome

With a lot of embeds, tweets are slow to load. Links will disappear momentarily as the embed loads. Whenever I load the post, I wait 30 seconds-ish for the load and reflow to finish before touching content.

Single image uploads inserted as galleries – iOS App

Images for two of my posts don’t load in the posts list.

Oh, these single images were inserted as galleries. I published these from the iOS app. I’m not sure how I did this. It was not intended.

Sort recently used to top – iOS app

I wish the iOS app sorted recently used to the top like Calypso does. I wouldn’t have to search so often which would avoid the keyboard interaction bug mentioned above.

iOS landscape – iOS app

I’m flipping back and forth between portrait and landscape in this session. I notice that flipping portrait to landscape to portrait drills down a level. I expected my context to remain consistent as I flipped between the two views.

Dismissing pub drop down in landscape – iOS app

This drop down dismisses with an outside tap in portrait but not in landscape.

Media desktop-first artifacts – iOS web

As with the media modal, the media section’s selection model exhibits #desktop-first thinking in its reliance on showing icons on hover. Here’s how media modal selection and scrolling behaves on touch screens:

https://test.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/media-scrolling-the-media-modal-gallery-on-ios/

And here’s the new media section showing both the edit icon and selection on the same thumbnail:

Calypso media is not designed for touch screens.

Also, #scroll bleed.

Where is reply? – iOS app

Took me a long moment to see reply at the bottom. I didn’t notice until I remembered that @designsimply had experienced the same thing recently. Then, I searched for it at the bottom.

Losing href on cut/paste links – Macnchrome

Links on a line by themselves lose href upon paste. I prefix the link with text as in this screenshot to allow moving the link without losing the href. In the screenshot below, I prepended “Links on a blank line lose href when cutpaste.” in front of my link. Without text in front, the link will lose its href when cut and pasted.

#app, #back-buttons, #back-history, #back-navigation, #comments, #desktop, #ios, #keyboard-flow, #macos, #media-section, #mobile, #notifications, #phablet, #session-notes, #vscroll, #web