Think Like a User

A few weeks ago, when I upgraded to OS X Lion, I notice Chrome could do bounce-scrolling. That is, if I was at the top of the page and tried to scroll further up, it would move the page down a bit, but as soon as I let go of the trackpad, the page “bounced” back to its original position. Well … it didn’t quit bounce scroll. It would if you weren’t at the top of the page. If you started from the middle and did a quick scroll up or down, it would bounce. A little. Reluctantly. Kind of like a “well, gosh, I guess I’ll bounce.” Every other scrollable view in Lion bounced, but not Chrome. This frustrated me as a user. I wanted to bounce. I liked bouncing. I assume that Google realized that it was silly to stop users from bouncing because the latest Chrome Dev build now has full bounce support. Rejoice!

I once joined an iPhone project where the lead developer had disabled bouncing on all scrollable views and tables. No bouncing. Anywhere. Because “he didn’t like it.”

As a developer, you’re not a user. Let me say that again, as a developer, you are not a user. If you expect your software to fare well against the competition, you’ve got to make it behave as the user expects. You’ve got to think like a user, or you’ll go out of business.

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