I really like the way that the iPhone recognises phone numbers in emails and turns them into touchable links.
But for ages I thought that all you could do was call the number.
This used to really annoy me because, being a modern kind of person, I generally prefer to text people than call them. Other times I just wanted the number to add to my address book, so I’d end up cutting and pasting the number into Contacts.
Then one day I lingered on the link too long and a whole new menu popped up! Hey, here were exactly the features I was looking for.
Now, there are two problems here.
Firstly, there is no advantage to the user from this arrangement. In both cases the phone displays a menu with one or more actions and an option to cancel it. The required user actions are the same:
- Press (or press and hold)
- Press selected option or cancel
If the user interaction is exactly the same why not just show the full menu in both cases?
Secondly, and more importantly, this “press and hold” functionality is hidden from the user and there’s no way to easily discover it. I’d had my phone for a couple of years before I realised it was there (I’m assuming it wasn’t added in an OS upgrade) and I wonder how many people still don’t know about it. And what other convenient features am I missing just because I haven’t thought to check that they might be there?
To my mind, “press and hold” is a user-unfriendly way to add functionality and should be avoided wherever possible.