I’m fascinated by what is a really common UX problem – feature hiddenness – more commonly referred to by the scientific sounding term discoverability.
As software developers we toil away to add one great feature after another, but then to our surprise, many users never try our new features. Is it because they have no need for them? Sometimes. But I would wager that it’s usually because they never even knew those features were there.
As a product ages this happens more frequently because new features are added to an existing set and those people who were already using the app never seek out the new thing.
What got me thinking about this today was my very, very late discovery that the iOS camera has exposure and focus lock! I know, I know – you are thinking – wow this guy is slow.
I knew of course that you could touch anywhere on the camera view to focus and set exposure (and some 3rd party apps like Camera+ separate the two functions) but what I didn’t know until today is that if you tap and hold a point in the view for a few seconds then it will lock the AE/AF point to that spot and allow you to recompose.
I think this highlights the problem with gesture UI in general. Now that I know about this feature it’s very powerful and useful to me — I use the camera app daily. But until I heard about it in a blog or video I had no idea it was there and now way to discover it either.
‘Feature Hiddenness” and the feeling engendered when you unhide one is going to become such a thing that it needs it’s own new word for this generation. Suggestions?