Chris Brown

Amateur Recursionist

The Misuse of Pull-to-Refresh

I’ve noticed a worrying trend in the misuse of the Pull-to-Refresh interface paradigm. For those that are not familiar with it, Pull-to-Refresh is a common interface pattern that is used to refresh a list of items on mobile devices. The user pulls down while at the top of the list before releasing to trigger an update action. Pull-to-Refresh was devised by Loren Brichter for use in the Tweetie iPhone application.

The brilliance in the design of Pull-to-Refresh is that the motion of pulling the list down is the exact same action that the user would perform if they were scrolling up to see more items above the current view. This allows it to be simple, fast, discoverable and, above all, downright genius.

It’s a testament to the brilliance of this interface element that it has become so widely used among iOS applications (even Apple has conceded and added it to the Mail application in iOS 6). Unfortunately, in the hurry to use it in their applications, some developers are putting it in places where it does not belong.

Mistakes with our First Release

Over here at Proa we’ve just put the finishing touches on the first beta release of Finndu, our new website for sharing arbitrary locations with anyone. Finndu is the first large group project that I’ve been a part of and, in a jump-in-at-the-deep-end sort of the deal, it’s the first group project that I’ve been in control of. I’ve managed to learn some things that I’m going to be able to take to the next release and, more importantly, the next project I work on.

One of my goals with Proa was to give people the opportunity to work in a group on a project they enjoy before they’re thrown head first into the fast-paced Software Development work place – including me. To that end I’m going to be documenting the things that worked and the things that really didn’t starting right now with our first release experiences.