Mute Yourself, Everyone
Wearying as lockdown may be, poor UX in the utilities it forces upon us is somehow more irksome still. A host of flaws make my face empurple, but unintuitive Mute toggle buttons have little contest in this respect.
A good toggle button isn’t all that elaborate –
- Function (What does this toggle?) is static and communicated by means adequately versatile: icons and labels. These should never change, for a toggle – or at least a usable one – pertains to one feature only.
- State (Is this turned on?) is dynamic, usually binary, and mirrored by icon and container colour. This is mainly because possible states and possible colours are common across toggles; and to update icons or labels wouldn’t provide adequate visual cues because they differ to begin with.
Now Zoom has somehow achieved the inconceivable, breaking every guideline – I repeat: every guideline – for toggle design.
This may seem trivial now that you’re reading a column of complaints, but I assure you that it becomes irksome awfully early into any Zoom call. I’ve glanced countless times at the toggle under consideration to find myself utterly confounded, taking a good five seconds to determine if I am muted.
Getting the Ball Rolling
The soccer media platform OneFootball has this week announced a new brand identity developed with DesignStudio and aiming to ‘set the tone and generate buzz before, during and after the game.’
The new icon may seem uninspiring on the face of it, but give it some more eyeballing and you’ll find it represents not only the number 1, but also a soccer pictogram with a pair of legs and a ball. I’ve got a weak spot for this kind of unforced expressiveness and firmly believe we need more of it. The word mark uses curious N and A letterforms with thin joints, but otherwise leans a bit towards the ‘system typeface’ side of things.
All this is tied together by the ‘Hype Generator,’ which creates pleasing – if somewhat chaotic – motion graphics by means of distorting brand elements. It’s a welcome addition to an already brilliant identity.
Annoyance Level: Medium
Medium has quickly become one of my favourite publishing platforms, in no small part because of its relatively noncommercial nature. But not even that will stop me from – unholster your shock – complaining. The editor, you see, feels a bit too comfortable in forcing American typography upon writers.
This is achieved by means particularly galling: quietly substituting en dashes (–) with word spaces before and after for em dashes (—) with hair spaces before and after, then offering no reasonably efficient means to reverse the replacement (there exist workarounds). Now excuse me very much, but this is British text, and I would much rather follow British typographical standards.
Why Medium has elected to quite blatantly ignore the existence of the Oxford style guide or Robert Bringhurst’s book The Elements of Typographic Style is beyond me, but never mind all that. Like in mobile keyboards, all automatic corrections should be undoable and all auto-correct tooling should be optional. For any text replacement, an instance exists where it’s unwanted. I might need a typo for humorous purposes, I might need bad grammar for quoted material, and I might need British typography if I’m British.