The Greatest Case; another fix for smartphone UI design incompetence
We’ve talked about this problem with smartphone UI designers here on Pocketnow many times before. It was a big part of “8 ways to tell if your mobile app sucks” as well as “Why a top screen edge gesture doesn’t belong on a smartphone“. The issue is that if you’re holding your phone in one hand, in many cases, and especially with larger screens, it’s very difficult for your thumb to reach the buttons that were placed on the top of the screen. The iPhone was first designed with a 3.5” screen where this problem was not so much of an issue due to the screen size. When larger screen iPhones appeared, Apple at least tried to solve the problem by enabling a hack (iOS 8’s one-handed mode shows off Apple’s bad design) that moves the whole interface halfway down the screen so that you can reach buttons that were put at the top. It’s goofy, and it requires 300% more button presses than it should, but it works.
Over on Reddit, there’s a discussion in the design section about this new case that attempts to solve the problem, too. The “Greatest Case” has addressed the problem from a hardware perspective by adding a nice little handle on the back of the phone. This allows you to grip the phone with only a fraction of the length of your fingers instead of the full length of your fingers and palm. That way, you’ve got a wider range of motion in your thumb and palm which allows you to reach the entire length of the screen with one hand. It’s a pretty good idea.
The Reddit discussion quickly points out how the Windows Phone UI was originally very good about this and placed most of the application and system controls at the bottom of the screen where users could reach them. Unfortunately, that kind of common-sense interface design may have been lost by whomever has been working on Windows 10 for phones (Most Windows 10 phone complaints are about its bad user interface).