Finding What Page an iOS App is on

It’s common for iOS users to have multiple pages of apps. However, it can be annoying scrolling through pages of apps just to find one particular app, especially if that app is hidden in a folder. It’s quick and easy to swipe down and enter the first few letters of the app in order to launch it. But if a user wants to find what page it’s on, then it requires slow manual searching. What would help is if the search results showed the page and folder the app is in. Currently only the folder name is shown (in this screenshot, the app Chess is in a folder called Games 4). But which page is it on?

iOS—Show page application is on

iOS 10.3.3 (14G60).


iPhone Icon Placement—Bottom Up

Most people operate their iPhone using their thumb. When the thumb won’t suffice, then fingers from the other hand are used. However, if Apple allowed the user to choose a corner from which icons could propagate, then users could get more use out of their phone should they choose to propagate icons from the bottom right-hand corner (or left-hand corner for left-handers).

How it is (note that the thumb can barely reach the third row of icons comfortably):

How icons are currently laid out

How it could be (note that now the thumb can reach most of the icons comfortably):

Icons aligned from bottom to top left to right

It might seem ugly, but after a few days of using iOS like this, it wouldn’t seem odd, and most users wouldn’t want to switch back given the increased usability.

iOS 10.3.3 (14G60).

Dock Positioning

In the default setting, the Dock lies at the bottom of the screen, and contains 18 applications, a folder and the trash can. In this state, icons are clear and bubble numbers are easy to read. However, this default placement robs the user of vertical screen height, which is the axis that the user has least of. On a large iMac screen, the Dock can get away with living at the bottom, but consider the laptop user; space for them really is at a premium, and so it doesn’t make sense for the Dock to live at the bottom of the screen. This lack of vertical space is compounded by the various toolbars that applications have, almost all of which are displayed as an extra horizontal bar across the top of the application.

By default, on laptops, the Dock should be attached to either the left- or right-hand side of the screen.

OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

Illegible Number Bubbles in the Dock

Unless you’ve got a lot of screen space, the number bubbles on applications in the Dock can be hard to read, particularly if you have a 12″, 13″ or 15″ laptop. With the Dock in its default position at the bottom of the screen, it’s easy to read the number in the bubble.

Default Dock with Horizontal Number Bubbles
Five and six items, easy to see.


Keeping the number of items in the Dock the same (the default count is 18 applications, a folder and the trash can), I’ve moved it to the left-hand side of the screen (I’ve already written about why to move the Dock to the left- or right-hand side of the screen). Is that 5 or 6 or 8 or 9 in the bubbles?

Default Dock with Vertical Number Bubbles
Five and six items. Would you know if I hadn’t told you?

Remember, this is the default state of the Dock, just re-positioned, except now impossible to read without using the magnifying option, which is too awkward an experience for everyday use. Even on a 24″ iMac, reading the numbers inside bubbles can be difficult.

The solution is to have an option in System Preferences > General to increase the size of the bubbles. Currently this is only possible using DockStar, which at $20 is a bit steep for what is an OS X accessibility issue.

OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

Safari Search Fields

UPDATE: From Safari v. 10.0 this annoyance is fixed. Search bars are now located in the top-right corner of the viewport. Yay \o/. Original entry below.

A search-box in OS X applications is almost always found at the top-right of the viewport. But Safari does its own thing when it comes to searching bookmarks and history. It has the search-box at the bottom-right corner. Even though I know this is where the search-box is, every time I want to search my bookmarks or history I automatically look at the top-right of the viewport and expect to find it there. Then, brief moment of confusion over, I remember to look at the bottom-right of the viewport, and wonder, yet again, why the search-box is there.

Safari. Search Web Page.
Where it should be
Safari. Search History.
Not where it should be
Safari. Search Bookmarks.
Not where it should be

Safari 9.1.2 (11601.7.7); OSX El Capitan 10.11.6.