Don’t Disable My UI

I recently saw another designer using minimal-ui in his <meta name="viewport"> declaration. And then I saw Daniel Eden explain it on Twitter, and go so far as to include it on his own website.

I gave it a cursory look, and included it on my next project without much thought.

It wasn’t until I started working on mobile layout that I realized something was up. Dragging the page down (i.e. scrolling toward the top) in mobile Safari normally has the behavior of revealing the chrome on the bottom of the screen, including back, forward, bookmark, and tab-switching buttons.

With minimal-ui, however, this behavior was eliminated. Tapping, as suggested in the above referenced tweet, does not have any affect. The only way to reveal the bottom chrome is to tap the top chrome bar, activating it and dimming out the page.

This is an interface regression, and a perfect example of working against a user’s expectations and preferences. While not every user might anticipate or utilize this native behavior, disabling it for aesthetic reasons is tantamount to designing for one’s self only.

So please, for me and any of your other visitors that have come to expect their browser to behave a particular way, don’t disable my UI.


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