Saturday, 14 April 2012

Dolphin browser gesture doesn't get it right

Update: you can move the gesture button to the other corner again.

The unique selling point of Dolphin Browser HD is the way it lets you make and use custom gestures to switch tabs, move around your sites, and much more.

The latest update changes the way gestures work, and I don't like it at all.

The old Dolphin would let me choose if I wanted my gesture button on the bottom left or bottom right of my screen. That's how it should be, because there are left- and right handed people out there and they all have their personal favorite position for the gesture button.

The new Dolphin forgot all about ergonomics. It added a "go to page top" button which is not only useless for most (we already had gestures for that, right?), but it sits on the bottom right corner of your screen by default.

That means that the gesture button now sits on the bottom left, and there's no way to move it anywhere else.

Update: you can move the gesture button to the other corner again.

Not much of a problem in portrait mode, but tilt your phone to landscape mode and you'll probably find that the gesture button is out of reach if you're right handed. Say goodbye to single handed browsing unless you switch back to portrait position.

The new gestures share a screen with the Sonar feature. Sonar is Dolphins voice input. You're probably not using it, which is why Dolphin decided to push its Sonar in your face. It's now a tab on the gesture screen, and for some inexplicable reason you have to enable the Sonar button or else you will have no gesture button at all.

The transparency of the new gesture overlay is almost zero, so you can no longer see the page that you're drawing gestures on.

There's one tiny little ray of light. If Dolphin doesn't understand your scribbled gesture it shows a "did you mean..." set of suggestions so you don't need to draw again.

Another nice touch: the add-on sidebar now shows names in addition to icons. Too bad Dolphin found it necessary to clutter up the sidebar with some more placeholders for add-ons you'll probably never use, and there's no way to delete them. The add-on set needs a bit of a spring cleaning anyway. Really, is anyone gonna download the 2010 World Cup add-on now?

Let's hope Dolphin cleans things up in its next update.

Dolphin HD

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