My weird behaviors on the web (or do you do this too?)

I believe that everyone has some idiosyncratic habits when it comes to using technology. From a UX designer’s perspective, this brutal reality can come down hard when your carefully thought-out designs don’t work out as planned.

Just for fun, I thought I’d write out some of my own behaviors I’ve noticed over time. I’d be curious to know how many others have the same habits as I do, and how many think I’m absolutely nuts. (I kinda hope you think I’m nuts, because it’ll just prove that designers can never assume that everyone will interact with their products the same way.)

Gestures with small hands turn into arcs

Tiny thumbs means tiny touchscreen gestures.

I have small hands and a phone that’s a pretty standard 5 inch diagonal, so sometimes when there are gestures that go horizontally as well as vertically, things get weird. Pretty much every app has vertical scrolling, so I use that gesture a lot.

But my short little thumb can only scroll in a straight vertical for so long before it starts to curve inwards… which sometimes triggers an unwanted horizontal gesture, like removing items, going back a step, swiping to a different page, and more.

To compensate, sometimes I end up scrolling with tiny little scrolls rather than big long scrolls. Sigh.

Favorites as record-keeping

Favorites/likes/hearts/sometimes stars

I think I use favorites/likes/hearts/sometimes stars in the way they were originally intended about half the time.

On Twitter, I use hearts to say I liked something, but also to go back and read certain articles, watch certain videos, or generally just keep tabs on the things I want to be able to find again.

I use hearts on Medium similarly, as a record of the things I’ve read and liked, and on some occasions to bookmark articles for future reading. This works especially if I’m at work and want to read it when I get home on my personal laptop.

On Instagram, there is no way to go back and see your Like history, so I sometimes send something to a friend. This way it stays in your thread forever. This is obviously a pretty limited approach, but I rarely feel the need to do this anyway. There will always be more photos of adorable dogs in the snow.

Shopping with purpose and process

When I’ve set my mind on getting some clothes shopping done, there’s a whole process that I’ve perfected. Bear with me now.

I avoid these places now.
  1. The key is to first have a specific item or items in mind. Otherwise, the landscape is endless and I’ll spend a whole day looking at clothes but not buying anything, which is surprisingly exhausting.
  2. I’ll usually look up my usual brands and check a site like dealnews.com for good sales. I end up with a dozen sites open to different retailers, half of which get discarded quickly because they don’t have what I like, are too expensive, etc.
  3. I filter for the items I’m looking for (I use clothing type, size, style, and usually a price range; never brand or color, because they’re not as important to me and fragment the choices too much).
  4. Then I look through their entire (heavily filtered) catalog. Usually I’ll start with the sales, and then move on to the regular price items. As I progress, I put the items I’m interested into my cart, complete with size and color. The goal is to have a cart full of good options that I can narrow down further; this also helps ensure that the item doesn’t get snatched up by someone else while I’m looking through everything. I don’t intend on actually buying most of the things I put in carts.
  5. After I’ve done this on all the websites that are good candidates, I go through the shopping carts I’ve filled up and start winnowing them down. I skim the reviews, scrutinize the fit on the models (my rule of thumb is that if the 6-foot-tall model can’t make it look good, I can’t either), and mentally work out whether it will harmonize with my existing wardrobe.
  6. At this point I’ll probably still have more clothes in my carts than I want to buy. I’ll try to remove entire websites if I can, because bundled shipping is cheaper or free. I remove items that seem redundant with each other. I compare prices and value for the money. (Cashmere on sale, man. It feels so nice…)
  7. I purchase the one or more items I’m most happy with. I’m tired from the rapid-fire decision-making, but also content that I’ve looked through many, many options and picked items I’m happy with and haven’t missed any great deals.

Is this crazy? Maybe, but I do this maybe a couple times a year and then I’m set for a while. The key is to do it all quickly, and not drag out any part of the decision-making process — except for perhaps at the very end.

I’m sure there are many other behaviors that I barely even think about, but someone else watching me would be surprised by. What are your weird things?