Getting Rid Of Physical Buttons: The Right Way

Three days ago a friend, which is a regular user, asked me about my opinion on the “new button-less phone that was just released”, he was talking about the Sony Xperia Z. First I explained him that those kinds of phones (button-less) existed for a long time before the Sony one, then I gave him a long explanation why I think the Android way of getting rid of buttons was just wrong.

If you really want to get rid of the physical buttons you shouldn’t replace them with virtual ones, since I still loose part of my screen to that piece of the past, so don’t get rid of them, I prefer to have something more “natural” than just an abstraction of it.

To get rid of the physical buttons in the right way you should first of all replace their place with pixels (shocking!), so I can see more content. After that you replace the button actions to be triggered by something that won’t take more screen space, for example gestures.

A clear example where a company made the transition perfectly is RIM, they came from a OS that was completely driven by physical buttons (BBOS) and went to a fully gesture driven OS (PlayBook OS and BB10). Another great example of how to use gestures is the awesome Ubuntu Phone which in my opinion is one of the best implementations I ever seen.

So, if you want to replace the buttons you shouldn’t just virtualize them, but really replace them with something different.

OAuth Broke The Internet

If you don’t know what OAuth is, it’s a auth process for cross-domain login, like Twitter or Facebook when you want to login/register on client apps, like HootSuite, Carbon or Tweetbot, or when you’re just logging into a 3rd-party site like Empire Avenue or Geeklist.

It’s a very secure system, the problem is that you break the user experience in the worst way possible. You take the user out of the web site or app just to login, the developer has to create a very bad system by embedding a WebView to the app or redirecting to the browser just to log the user in.

xAuth is good, but not perfect, at least you don’t need to take the user out of the app, the problem is that Twitter, for example, the developer must request the xAuth keys and wait if it gets approved, also it has limitations like no access to Direct Messages.

Users and developers should make some pressure on Twitter, Facebook, Google etc. to open the xAuth access without limitations or ask for a new and better authentication system.