Sliders on sliders

I was an early adopter of Amazon Music, mostly because I was an Amazon employee when it launched. Also, I’ll try out any extra service that gives me extra Prime benefits at least once!

As I go about my merry work days, some design work takes up more screen real estate than others. That means that I get to appreciate the minified view of Amazon Music —

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However, today’s work required me to shuffle between videos of user testing, so every once in awhile when I had to scrub timelines for actual voice dictations, I had to turn the volume down. I then came across this slider-on-slider mess:

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Seems like a bit of lazy UI to me.

  1. Why show two sliders layered, quite literally, on top of one another?
  2. Could there be room for error? What if I mean to adjust one slider and accidentally adjust the other?
  3. Can I accidentally dismiss it?
  4. If I accidentally triggered the volume slider, I wouldn’t know that I’m in the volume adjustment mode. Nothing indicates that the volume adjustment mode is active.
  5. Why is the volume icon significantly smaller than the other icons? It seems miniscule. I almost have to squint to make out that it’s a volume icon.

I appreciate the compactness and how they’ve somehow managed to have all of the core functionality of a music player in such limited real estate. However, I would caution against sacrificing UI clarity and usability for the sole purpose of making it work in such a small form factor.

Tiny pagination buttons

Why are they a thing now? The only saving grace of this particular application is the ability to use the left and right arrows to paginate. (I also doubt that the other websites that use this pattern have gone so far as to make this UI pattern accessible.)

If someone were actually expected to click on these teensy-tiny pagination dots I imagine they’d have to squint their eyes into oblivion.

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Unoriginal brand colors

Asana is a really nice task management system. The design is simple and original, compared to a lot of other systems I’ve used in the past. However, one aspect of it makes it incredibly annoying:

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The use of Facebook blue for their ‘Log in using Google’ and ‘Log in’ button is really really off-putting.

When establishing a brand color palette, it seems like creating a unique set of colors and textures would be in good taste.

(It’s kind of like showing up to a party in a dress that you’ve picked and styled on your own, rather than peeking through other attendees’ windows earlier that evening and copying someone else’s outfit.)

 

I’m glad you take my money, Internet

So concise! So clear!

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The design is quite beautiful actually. I know exactly how much I will be charged, and when. The way that the credit card information is laid out is quite elegant. There are two clear calls to action. It even tells me why a monthly charge may have deviated from my usual fee.

It’s the little things that make the big things matter.

 

 

Confusing cancellation options

I really like to plan ahead. Like, super far ahead. I thought I would be around for an ultramarathon in July and I booked the flight in February.

Turns out, relocating tends to interfere with well-laid out plans!

Tried to cancel my tickets on Alaska Airlines and came across this gem. I spent about 15 minutes trying to understand all the different ways to cancel:

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There’s date ranges! And money! I was trying to minimize my losses and couldn’t actually figure out which the best option was. I already lost a $50 courtesy discount I used for this ticket and I didn’t want to lose any more.

I wasn’t really sure the difference between option 1 and 2 – I think it was just crediting an account vs. sending an email with a credit. I didn’t like the third option because it seemed to be the only one that had a change ticket fee. Bumsauce.

What they could’ve done better:

-Help me minimize my losses
-Recommend my best course of action
-Make the content easier to grok
-Give me a smaller amount of clear, concise options

Moral of the story – I should always buy my tickets on Southwest Airlines. I can cancel tickets easily, and always have a year from the original ticket date issue to use the credit. Easy peasy.

Pre-selected available times are unavailable. Say what?

I seem to be picking on calendar UX a lot lately…

So, I’ve recently noticed that my vision is going downhill. Maybe it’s because it’s been 3 years since I’ve last used my vision benefits at Amazon. Oy vey.

I access my optometrist’s website to schedule an appointment and get a fairly manual form. However, there are some tidbits that lead me to believe that it may be hooked up to some sort of availability calendar:

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I fill out the form with my info. When I get to selecting the dates, it automatically provides me with a dropdown of available appointment slots. However, this UI acted inconsistent when I put in my first date for this coming weekend. I guess they didn’t have any slots available and therefore didn’t select a time. They did let me pick the date though, so I assumed they had availability. The 2nd and 3rd choice dates gave me times to choose from, so I did and proceeded.

When I hit the submit button, I got the red error above. 1st time required? Like, I need to be a new patient? That seems lame. I switch out the radio buttons and submit again.

Nada.

I look a little closer and visually match the ‘1st time required’ error with ‘1st choice’. I clicked the drop-down and it had no times available. (Why on earth would you allow me to pick a date that didn’t have availability?) I ended up choosing an alternate date that wasn’t the 2nd or 3rd choice and it populated with some times.

All in all, it took a simple form that should’ve taken me a minute or two to fill out to a 5-10 minute ordeal, because I had to troubleshoot their ambiguous error message and thoughtless automatic time selector.

At least I know that the optometrist is worth the hassle!