Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stop frustrating me with your SPA web apps

tl:dr; it's about the person using it, not the technology.

This will get ranty. I understand if you want to skip this ;)


Congratulations, you've built a fancy new, all the rage, website using the SPA (Single Page App) style where everything is shown on a single page with all the content swapped in/out and loaded as needed.
Good for you. You've done something fancy with technology.

How is someone supposed to link to a specific piece of content? 
The way everyone has always done this is by grabbing the URI from the address bar. You are modifying the address bar (at the very least by changing fragments and allowing them to be used as direct links) when you change what's displayed on the screen, right?
No, having a share link somewhere on the page isn't enough. Especially if that only loads a popup containing the link.

What happens when someone scrolls down through a large amount of content and then loads a small amount?
So, I'm on a page with a lot of content. I scroll down so I can see all that content and then click a link to see something else but the screen goes blank. What happened? A bug? Is there no content? Is it a link to a blank page? Is it still loading?
No. The large amount of content was replaced with a small amount but the height of the page wasn't adjusted so the content is at the top but I'm still looking at the bottom. Is it really too hard for you to adjust the total height of the page or just automatically scroll me up so I can actually see the content I just clicked on?
Yes, I know that scrolling up isn't too hard but it's not a case of just scrolling up. It's: look at the page; wonder if it's still loading; decide it's not; scroll up to see if something is there; be frustrated that the website made something that should have been trivially simple (show the content for the link I click on) much harder than it needed to be.
This also applies to paged lists too: scroll down a list; click on "next page"; list updates but I'm left looking at the bottom of the list (which is now the bottom of the second/next page); have a sad face; scroll back up the list, all the which thinking about alternative apps/sites I could use in the future.

Yes, individually these are just minor things but I'm starting to see them more and more. If your site does this then you're breaking expectations about how to work with (use) websites


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