Hey, I’m not on a tablet

On my best of days (and perhaps my worst of days), this is what my desktop will look like:


I’m rockin’ laptops, Leslie Knope-style. In Parks and Recreation, she decides to run for public office while still working, so she takes all of her campaign business outside of City Hall and runs inside when she has to tend to city business. It ends up being pretty ridiculous but that’s what I find myself doing when I have to shuttle in between work-work, teaching-work, grad school work, running my business, and personal stuff, which happens multiple times a day, every day of the week! (Such is life…)

Anywho, my personal computer is a petite 11″ MacBook Air. I love the thing because it really eases the strain on my neck, shoulders, and back when I need to pack twice the laptop to schlep my gear across cities. However, I sometimes get annoyed when I’m browsing sites and it somehow thinks I’m a giant tablet.

Hey. I’m not on a tablet:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 9.11.01 AM

I have very strong opinions about hamburger menus on a desktop site, but I’ll leave that to another post. Maybe this was an intentional design element, I tell myself.

I’m looking for the login link, so I go ahead and fire off the menu. Now the entire page moves down.

Okay. Really though. I’m not on a tablet:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 9.11.07 AM

Ugh. Wait. Are you serious? I’m not on a tablet.

Well, at least I eventually found the login area. Here goes:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 9.11.12 AM


Hey. Seriously — I’m not on a tablet!


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 —

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.13.57 AM

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:

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.10.48 AM

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.