Top or down — not life but UX is discussed here — and a little bit more

Recently I played with Google Photos on iOS and I was surprised that in contrast to iOS default Photos (most recent is on the bottom), they are organized conversely — most recent on the top.

Not a big deal you may say… but let’s think about it for a while in a broader context.

How do we write?

Top to down. No matter if it is left-to-right or right-to-left writing, it’s from top to down.

It makes sense.

Not even we do not smudge what we wrote but we are able to follow the story as we write.

Ok, we cannot smudge on display but still.

But some get it different. For example email thread is (usually) organized as most recent on top. We are used to it (I remember the times when Thunderbird by default started in the opposite way — it was weird). Another quite strong example is a Facebook stream. Most recent on the top.

End of discussion.

They must do it right…or they are not?

It is the hard nut to crack.

[Short] history of written texts teaches us top-down. Follow the written story.

Facebook and email reverse this. The reason maybe is: there is no story to follow. Just the recent post (or email?) is significant. Posts do not create strong, visible or graspable story line.

On the other side chat and bots apps are again top to down — because conversation IS the story.

Back to photos. Is there a story? Most of the time, yes. Recent trip or birthday celebration.

In Google, photos are presented backward in time.

Red Dwarf — Backwards

But this text is not an accusation of Google photos.

This is about UX in a broader context. And a little bit about some slightly weird ideas.

Like UX of the browser…

We are all mostly happy with the browser. Some users even consider that Google search is the place where the address should be inserted, completely ignoring address bar. Good for Google, bad for UX.

What if we will query the web.

Of course, we are doing this every day with google this or that.

But I mean not searching the whole web but for example querying the website we are on now (and no, I do not mean search on the page, barely used by usual users). I mean:

“Show me this dress in red.”

“Where is your nearest showroom?”

“Search the flights from STN to SFO next Sunday.”

Yes, I mean even this type of querying and I do _not_ want to discuss the AI and other technology behind this functionality. I’m just brainstorming about the UX and UI of such browser.

Just a small example — where will be the query input (formerly address bar)?

I guess that it could find its place on the bottom. Like in a chat conversation. Because it is a conversation, that means story, that means top-to-down UX.

It makes sense for me. I ask and my question maybe becomes the title of “window card”. Not the title of the page (because it is controlled by the website and very often is useless so most browser even do not show it). I can see what I asked for — that’s great to maintain the context.

There will be changes of tabs UX for sure. And the window will look slightly different to reflect the query context — kind of “window cards” or query contexts?

The word card is not accidental — the content itself will be presented more often as a card (to throw another popular buzzword in).

Websites become radically different, mixing the bot functionality, card packaged information, videos, other interactive elements and maybe some pages as we know them today, too.

Of course, there will be more changes. Semantic web and structured information will allow users to save data snippets much more usefully than today (ok, today it is not possible to save them usefully at all, so any improvement will be better than nothing).

I’m looking forward to this future!

This short brainstorming led us to brand new territories with dream new services and startups. It will not be Chrome, Safari or Mozilla browser because they are too deep in current status quo (project Tofino was a nice try).

The change will be probably led by companies based on in-browser services (like Intercom and many more) and hopefully followed by some sort of standardization.

What’s your opinion? Should the photos be top-to-down? Will the web and browser UX change radically?

I like UX, UI, admire great design (that I don’t know, how to make), work with web stack with passion and want to learn a bit about functional programming (because code is poetry and design, too). And of course — I plan to participate in mentioned changes as much as possible.

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