Alright, I think that I posted enough on various media about how Sailfish is nice and how it is easy to use but no UI is perfect. Sailfish fixes some of the the biggest problems in mobile UI, but they are still some rough edges. I know that it is still work in progress and I’m counting on Jollaians to fix it and satisfy us 🙂
Don’t reproduce the Android error
I heard quite a lot of negative feedbacks about the icons in the launcher. A lot of complains were saying that there were non uniform and too Androish. Even if, from my opinion, I feel them very modern, I have to admit that indeed, I agree with these remarks.
Android never released a common guideline for their icons in the launcher. This made the apps developer create icons with all forms and colors. First, this create a non-uniform visual identity, and second, for some icons , that are mostly empty, the user might not find the place to click the icon.
In order to provide an even more unified experience, Jolla should release a guideline for the colors used in all the apps. For example, what I loved with the N9 is that the icons are all recognizable by the background colors. Navigation is in green and media in purple. A similar guideline that should be applied except for base applications might be interesting.
As these pictures above shows, a colored background might help the user to identify the icon more quickly. In order to fit in Jolla themes, a partially transparent background with a glassified effect might be an interesting design.
A steep learning curve
Sailfish UI is just amazing. It addressed the back button as expected with the push, and introduced the awesome Pully menu. The multitasking was also greatly improved, which will greatly increase efficiency. But all these innovations had a cost, that is the first contact with the device.
Jolla extends the concept of Swipe that Nokia introduced, and created a simple one-hand usage where the fingers do not need to move a lot. But this experience needs to be taught. For swipe, Nokia decided to include a small tutorial to explain why the «home» button suddenly disappeared and why there is no close button. Now Jolla might need to introduce an even more complex tutorial to explain the pully menu, swipe to back, because if users are exposed to the UI without informations, thy might wonder where are «back», «home» and the toolbar, those components that were sacrificed for the better good of UI.
Away from sight, away from heart
The improved pully menu is a nice invention and implementation, effectively freeing space on the screen, but many users will take time to find these menus. By experience, I found that the glows Samsung used were quite ineffective to show that there are still contents, beu on Sailfish it seems to be managed better., but will surely disorient users.
The pully-menu might also be troublesome for developers. I thought about how a twitter client, that needs menu entries for switching from the feed to mentions and also the scrolling. If the user is in the middle of a page, he will have to scroll on top to trigger the pully-menu and change the category, so pully-menus are not suited in these cases. So developers really have to think of these user cases and do not do mistakes when using pully-menus.
Lack of visual clues and feedback
Sailfish is pretty, the minimalism, glassy effects and ambiance creation are surely really appealing, but I found that it missis a lot of visual clues. A button is simply an underlined text. Users have the habit that a button is a text inside some container, a rectangle box, with or without a 3D effect, so underlined texe is rather confusing.
The swipe action is also a bit confusing, even if it is really nice. When swiping, the window being minimized do not move, instead, it fades away. That’s rather strange because the swipe movement is not correlated to a visual feedback, and is really disturbing. If the window was being faded and moves to the position where it should appear, or just follows the finger, as on Nokia MeeGo then it would be nicer.
I know that my criticism is done on an unfinished product, but I think it is important to underline them right now, to at least hope for an improvement. And since Jolla people are rather open minded and that I loved to discuss with, I think that they will definitely be open on discussion on these points I noted.
Continue to improve Sailfish, Jolla, you are on the right track !