Tap and Hold (and Release)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

There are a lot of little things that I find annoying about Windows RT. In isolation, each may seem trivial. But because of the frequency in which I encounter them, they can have practical implications on the user experience. Somewhere on the top of the list is tap and hold. 

For starters, the on-hold menu only appears after you let go. That doesn't make any sense. This causes the length of time you're holding onto an on-screen element to vary. Sometimes this will be more than the minimum time required. Seconds unnecessarily lost. When you do, the animation stutters between letting go and the menu appearing. As a result, a simple operation can become a jerky experience. An uncomfortable few seconds. See for yourself.

For the last five months, I'm embarrassed to admit using the on-screen keyboard's PC shortcuts (Ctrl + C/V) to copy and paste when possible. It was only through writing this post that I realised the context menu consistently appears when I hold for only a split moment before letting go. If only this was made more obvious. For positive feedback to be received when you expect it to (i.e. during the operation), and not after (you have given up on it). Like on Windows Phone.

Update: Despite discovering that a split moment hold before it's released is enough to open the context menu, I still find myself holding for a second or more purely as a precautionary measure to ensure the hold is not misinterpreted as a tap (that has happened a few times).