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).
I hope Niantic fix it soon in Prime and listen on agents feedback.
There is a very related issue to the hitboxes being too small, in that they are too close to the edge.
On my phone, I run a "bumper" style cloth case, which comes in really handy when I'm playing Ingress and I get excited or sweaty from being outside.
Other people I talk to have curved edges, and those make a bit of the edge very hard to use.
Given the issue above, where the primary area you hit is a vertical space right at the edge, these resonators are very tricky. The horizontal component is too near the agent name to be useful.
I'm not sure what the "best practices" are for buttons and edges, but I imagine it's something like a 5% margin, and not respected but this UX on my phone ( Pixel 3 XL ).
Please move the hitbox away from the edge.
According to the general mobile UX docs, it's ok to be near the edge, as long as the box is wide enough that it is still easy to place an entire fingertip on. (extending ~1cm away from the edge at least)
I am really not seeing the benefit of the new 'exit to main map' behaviour that was introduced in 2.33. It's even worse in the recharge screen (from keys), because it just exits back to the key and from there it's still two clicks back to the main map. Even on the main portal view, if you miss the Hack button it exits to main map, which makes you think you hacked successfully until you fail to receive any items.
It has its uses for the Fire and Cube menus, but they should function the same as the X, not "drop all the way back to the map". Tapping out of the Cube menu after cubing while firing, should drop you back to the Fire menu and tapping out again should drop you back to the main screen.
Same please, selecting a resonator to upgrade is an exercise in frustration on a curved display.
But the Fire and Cube menus have an X right there that you can click on to exit back to the previous screen. By all means make the X bigger, but I don't see why it has to be literally the whole rest of the screen.
Please made the select resonators to upgrade bigger.
Sure, good point. I should have said both too close and too skinny.
When there's an agent name that's active, it's an L shape ( rotate 90 degrees right for left side, flip for right side ) which is only wide enough for a very narrow location. Not wide enough for my finger. So, yes, it is too narrow too close to the edge.
For a guideline, you don't get to measure the height and width of something L shaped as the maximum of both dimensions.
When there's no agent name, it's generally OK.
I've also been struggling with the upgrade. It's taking multiple taps to hit the right spot when I have no interest in seeing the agent name. I rarely tap on an agent name that way, compared to frequently trying to upgrade resos.
I totally agree. If I am standing still, I can select the corner resonators (not the ones close to the edge of the screen) fairly reliably. The ones close to the edge of the screen are a bit dicey. Note that in Redacted I could select a resonator and upgrade it while biking, which is totally not an option anymore. I mean, probably someone can do it, but it is too tricky for me.
OT: You shouldn't do that anyway. Operating the scanner while biking.
Totally Agree. Exactly my experience, and well described with good solutions. Please address, Niantic.
By the way, I think the layout of resonator buttons itself should be remade back to that of redacted, where they were more or less in a circle. It's hard to determine which resonator corresponds to which side of the world, and will still be hard after they implement North resonator marking for parity. This disables or makes considerably harder advanced gameplay tactics when some person deploys only North slot, some second person deploys only North-West slot and so on.
Thanks for reporting this in such a good and detailed way!
It's one of the many annoyances that prime has. It definitely needs urgent fixing to get back to the classic efficient usability of the UI.
Totally agree. Niantic, please fix.
Please Niantic fix this.
Reviving the RED marker for the northern resonator slot would also improve gameplay for teams!
I have just tested this in 2.35 and it seems to have been improved. Tapping on the last letters of the agent name activates the resonator slot for slots at the right side of the screen. Tapping the first letters of the agent name activates the resonator slot for slots at the left side of the screen.
very insightful observation, hope they fix it soon.
I can not understand why such an obvious problem in the design can go through all steps to implementation.
And it is still really hard to hit a resonator, they have to re-design this screen.
Yup, it's painfully difficult to select a resonator. It's a sort of sideways hit with the finger.
I would like:
1) The default to be the level 8 reso. [Why level 7? WHYYYY?]
2) When upgrading, start with an auto-select one of the spots. If I want to change the position, I can, but normally I just want to upgrade. If it autoselected, this would remove 90% of the frustration with the spot selection as I simply wouldn't need to anymore.
In the original Beta version, you couldn't open the player menu against the resonators, so we raised that as an issue. Then when they changed it to allow you to tap the name to get the menu, this became an issue.
Simply a case of not completely understanding all the requirements at creation, then applying changes that didn't keep that whole requirement scope in mind.
They had a working app as reference, so there is no excuse of not understanding requirements. There was already a working, living example :)
It is sad to see how they destroy this nice idea and cool game. Inrgess/Redacted was working fine, there is no real reason for the re-design of the client app.
While they had a working app, their brief was to improve it's appearance. They were tasked with making changes, and just having the app doesn't make you understand how people use it.
Also, consider requiring all your in-house play testers to have induced fuzzing on their tap positions. If you can't effectively play the game with your taps fuzzed by 5-10mm, your game is unplayable by anyone with MS, ET, Parkinson's, some forms of arthritis, and a dozen other conditions, including simple old age and cheap phones.
We don't need to have the bike play argument yet again. Accessibility is a perfectly adequate justification for UX fixes.
Or just wearing gloves because it's cold outside. (Mind you I think 10mm is a bit much to ask in a game like this. Currently you can miss by as little as 2mm and not have it select the portal you wanted.)
Bump. I used to manual deploy, upgrade and recharge. Now it's painful with those little reso buttons. Especially for recharge which, if missed, recharges all resos when I, for example, wanted to charge 2 resos so that links on the portal go down. Niantic, please make the buttons the same size as they were on Redacted and, if possible, return to circle layout since it's still more meaningful in terms of sides of the world than two columns. And with that, don't forget North reso mark.
tap selects the resonator and longpress selects the agentname?
whole area both name and resonator can be used this way.