Basic Interactions 3. Abbe

The German physicist Ernst Abbe proposed this Abbe principle that measures things as close to their action as possible. It prevents error, and users will get a more accurate measurements. I found some good examples of using the Abbe principle in the media player applications, such as YouTube, Netflix, and Apple Podcasts. Since there are many great ideas, I’m not going to create a new interaction. I will just look deep into the three applications.

I. Thumbnails on Play Bar

Video contents players like Youtube and Netflix have similar features. They both provide a thumbnail when you put your finger on the play bar. The thumbnail allows you to pinpoint where you want to start watching quickly and intuitively without guesswork.

YouTube’s scrolling thumbnail interaction
Netflix’s scrolling thumbnail interaction

II. Skip 10–15 seconds to move back and forth

Netflix’s 10 seconds skip back button (Most players provide both Fast Forward and Rewind buttons)

Most media players provide this skip feature. Not like other players, YouTube created a unique double-tap interaction for the skip function.

  • YouTube’s Double-Tap Interaction
YouTube’s double tap interaction

YouTube adds up the skip time by 10x seconds when you double tap the left or the right side of the screen continuously.

The touching area is large enough because it’s almost half size of the screen, and it makes the interaction easier than pressing a tiny skip button. In addition to the ease of use, the double-tap is a pretty addictive gamified interaction.

It is also efficient compares to other apps that have a tiny skip button because this app doesn’t have to display an extra button on the screen. I think the double-tap skip feature doesn’t need to appear on the main screen since users can do the similar job with scrolling over the play bar. Moreover, it provides a text guide while scrolling.

III. Apple Podcasts’ Scrubbing Interaction

Apple Podcasts‘ ’scrubbing interaction

You can slide your finger up or down on the bar to select the four different speed of scrolling(Fine/Quarter-speed/Half-speed/High-speed), and then scroll to the left or right to find the desired point (Video instruction).

It can be useful if the content is too long and you need to listen to every word in the content. I love this hidden function, but providing this functionality to everyday content consumers is overly attentive.

Although the app provides text guidance when rubbing up or down, the four different speeds are not understandable at all. It is difficult to find the difference between quarter-speed and half-speed. If the app only provides a fine scrubbing function, it could be a more intuitive and useful hidden function.

What are 150 Basic Interactions?
This project is a weekly basis Interaction design study. I’ve always been intrigued by the cognitive/psychological approach in user experience design. The book The Pocket Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell will be the resource of my 150 Basic Interactions study. I will learn the principles in the book by finding existing weak examples and creating a new strong interaction with Framer, InVision, or other tools.