UX: Prime Resonator Select Hit Areas - Too Small
Issue: Prime Resonator Select hit areas are too small, and have negative consequences if you miss.
In Ingress, the Deploy screen has a few purposes, in most important to least important:
- Deploy Resonators
- Upgrade Resonators
- Display Resonator Owners
- Message/View Profile of Resonator Owners
Both Classic Ingress and Ingress Prime share the same functionality and the same level of importance to those functionality. However, their implementations differ, and Prime's UX suffers for those differences.
NOTE: Much of the same issues that will be raised apply to the Recharge screen, however since selecting individual resonators for recharge is uncommon and the Recharge and Recharge All buttons are large, this issue has far less impact on that screen. That said, changes to the Deploy screen should also reflect on the Recharge screen for uniformity.
Classic Ingress (Redacted)
In Classic Ingress, the Deploy screen was distinct from the main Portal display screen and devoted entirely to dealing with Resonators.
The primary use of the Deploy screen was to deploy and upgrade resonators. Because of this the largest screen element was the Deploy Carousel. This allowed the highest importance action, Deploying, to occur quickly.
On a fully deployed portal, you then had the ability to select a resonator and upgrade it. There were no automated selections, so upgrading was done manually, with a new selection by the user each time. Therefore, as the second most important thing on the screen, the Resonator Selection hit targets were large and finger shaped. They allowed an easy and unambiguous selection of the resonator to be upgraded. Missing the target was difficult, and had no repercussions aside from having to try again.
The third most important part of the screen was displaying the names of the owners of resonators. As most people opened this screen to do the deploy, this information was only a later piece relevant after a portal had been deployed. Still important, but not as much as being able to deploy and upgrade. As such, the names were less visible. As an addition to that, long pressing on the name allowed you to select from a menu to view the user's profile or send them a message.
The long press was less effective as a means of interaction but it was also a far less used element of this screen.
In Prime, the deploy screen was modeled on the layout of the Portal Details screen, or more likely, the Portal Details screen was modeled after the Deploy screen. This has benefits for the Portal Details screen, in that you can see the names of Resonator owners on the main screen, but the trade off is that the Deploy screen has been modified in a negative fashion to allow the two screens to appear the same.
The primary use of the Deploy screen remains significant in Prime. The Deploy Carousel is still clearly visible and easily used. However, missing the Deploy button has significant repercussions in that it will drop the user out to the Game field. While this might be a useful feature for the Attack carousel, the Deploy screen requires far more than a simple swipe up, to return to the view. (Locate the correct portal on the screen, Tap Portal, Select from the Disambiguation Menu if required, Tap Deploy)
Then we get to the second most important aspect, Upgrading. While Prime introduced an auto-next select for Upgrading, we still need to get the initial tap correct. However, the Resonator Selection hit area is smaller than the Player Name hit area, and in an L shape wrapped around the Player Name hit area. As many Agents have commented in recent weeks, we tend to miss and get the name far more than we should, and with the recent update to add the 'tap out' feature, attempting to tap around the name to get the Resonator has gained greater negative repercussions.
With names themselves being truncated far earlier, reducing the ease of identifying the Agent deploying a resonator, the top three uses for screen have all become less easy to use than their Classic counterparts.
Only the fourth use, that of being able to message a player or view their profile, has become easier, simply because it requires a tap instead of a long press to open the menu. However, even there, the menu is much smaller and "fiddly" to select, instead of the full screen two options of Classic Ingress.
Suggested Ways Forward
- The first change needs to be to remove the "Exit to Main Map" hit area from the Deploy screen entirely. While there may be some times when this is useful, it could be achieved by a far simpler button than the entire background of the view. Alternatively, tapping the Player Avatar could take you back as well. As it stands, the accidental tap off the Deploy button, which is quite common when spamming the button for a fast deploy, or accidental tap off a name or upgrade selector because of their small size, is far more detrimental to the experience than it gains.
- The second change needs to be an expansion of the hit area of the Resonators. They need to be easily tapped and far more accessible than the name of the owner. One idea would be that tapping the Resonator, Level, or Name would select the resonator, giving a large hit area, and then allowing a long press to open the owner menu even if you long press the Resonator health bar itself. Either way, the ability to tap a resonator while jogging, cycling, or even walking fast, needs to be far simpler.
I'm sure other Agents have good ideas on how to implement these changes too.
Since this post is purely focused on the UX, I'll just note these further issues with the Deploy screen and upgrading that also need to be addressed from a programattic side.
- Resonators are deployed into one slot and appear in another.
- The Deploy carousel regularly starts at L7 even though the last resonator selected was L8.
- The delta stats are often wrong, showing a +0 when a resonator upgrade would increase the level, then showing a +1 after the resonator has upgraded the level (and a subsequent upgrade would not).