ActionButton mouse area issue

Dirk Hohndel dirk at
Tue Feb 9 18:48:18 UTC 2016

On Tue, Feb 09, 2016 at 06:43:34PM +0100, Thomas Pfeiffer wrote:
> > > I understand your user's problems, however. Even though in fact, the
> > > lowest
> > > list item can still be reached by scrolling it up (a standard function
> > > supported by the list component allows users to scroll the first and last
> > > items of a list towards the center of the screen where they are easier to
> > > reach), it is indeed strange to see it fully but not be able to interact
> > > with it.
> > That isn't useful in the way it's implemented right now, though. I can
> > pull it up but it springs right back. So if my list has a "tap to open an
> > item" feature, it is /really/ hard to open the last entry in that list
> > (that's how I noticed this whole issue and started to track this down
> > because I couldn't open the last dive in the list).
> Oh, I didn't know that. See Marco's and my reply to that.

Maybe we are using the wrong component. We're using the standard QML
ListView inside a ScrollView. I'll need to take another look at the mobile
component that Marco mentioned - maybe that already fixes that part of the

> > > - Another one is only grabbing horizontal swipes on the height of the
> > > action button, but still letting everything else through.
> > 
> > That appears to be impossible with the current QML backend implementation.
> Too bad :( Well, so we might have to cross that off :(

Or we can fix it in the C++ code if it is seen as an important
enhancement. It would be nice if stacked MouseAreas worked in this case
where the top most one grabs the swipe but passes clicks and double clicks
on to the ones below.

> > > - A third is going back to a toolbar with buttons on the sides to open
> > > drawers (while still allowing edge-swiping in addition)
> > 
> > I will humbly admit that I'm kinda in favor of that. While I understand
> > the logic behind having the user interaction focused on the bottom, the
> > ActionButton does not resonate well AT ALL with the Subsurface users. We
> > have about 30 people that have tried it so far (maybe more) and have heard
> > back not a single positive comment but eight different testers came back
> > with anything from scepticism to outright hostility towards the concept.
> My hypothesis is that there are two reasons for this:
> 1) There are still real problems with details of our interaction design. This 
> does not surprise me, to be honest, because new interaction design ideas are 
> never perfect in their first iteration. Never. If anybody tells you they can 
> create a new interaction design paradigm which is perfect before any user 
> testing, they are lying, plain and simple.

A designer overpositioning their design?


> 2) Humans' first reaction to change is always hostility (unless they are 
> disciples of the Cult of Apple, that is). 

True. That said, I have now tried to use this for several weeks (after our
first conversation about this which lead me to re-enable things). And I'll
tell you honestly that I'm still not sold on it.

> Now if we want to come up with something that is better than what Material 
> Design does (and there is much room for improvement from there!), our task is 
> to separate the aversion to change from the real problems and fix the problems 
> to come up with something that makes people overcome their fear of change.
> Even if the end result is an always-visible toolbar, I'd still put the primary 
> action button more towards the center, and I'd still put the toolbar at the 
> bottom, where it's much easier to reach.

That I totally agree with. Ever since you pointed this out to me I have
noticed how awkward it is to tap the menu buttons in the top two corners.
I still end up using them more than dragging the button, though.

All that said, I'm not suggesting that you already should abandon the
button. But it would be nice to have an alternative implementation that
centers around the bottom of the screen in a meaningful way without using
the ActionButton. Who knows, maybe there's a better way to do this.

> > Subsurface-mobile has the global menu and context menu buttons in the top
> > bar because so many of our users absolutely did not like to interact with
> > the ActionButton.
> I understand why you did this, but I really hope we can come to a design which 
> is better than that, because this position of buttons makes it simply 
> impossible to use an application with one hand (for people with smaller hands 
> than yours ;) ).

Understood and tentatiely agreed :-)

> I'm still hopeful what together we can find something which is genuinely better 
> than what Material Design offers. Not that Material Design is bad in general, 
> not at all. There are some great ideas in there, but some decisions seem to be 
> based on the "lowest common denominator" instead of a search for the best 
> possible solution.

Isn't that always the case. But much more importantly, I'd love to see
open source software drive positive innovation into even better UI design.


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