Dustin Curtis, on legacies of the original Android design:
On all major competing platforms, scrolling performance is given priority over other tasks by the operating system, and is accelerated by the GPU. Not so on Android. This is important because the interfaces on touch screen devices are treated as tangible, physical objects by the human brain. When a physical action you make with your finger does not lead to the response your brain has learned to expect in the physical world, something feels very wrong. It doesn’t feel genuine.
I am genuinely curious. When people make claims like the italicized one, have they looked to any studies in neuroscience or cognitive psychology for support? I would love to see the references to this particular claim. If not, then we’re just competing to see who can tell the best just-so stories. Without some empirical support, it seems like this claim is nothing more than a piece of armchair psychology.
What is so dangerous is that, with the mere mention of the brain, claims like this one seem to acquire an air of plausibility that is simply unwarranted. (After all, we humans are not too good at accurately judging the plausibility scientific claims.) In this case, Curtis goes ahead and uses this (as far as I know) armchair psychological claim to support a further contention about user experience and design — that scrolling in Android just “feels wrong” to many people. See, it’s just the brain! I would be surprised if it doesn’t get echoed across the Appleverse in the next few days.
Dustin Curtis, of course, is also famous for the claim that Apple has discovered the platonic form of smartphone screen size for human hands — 3.5 inches. This claim was quickly echoed across the Appleverse and is now almost a truism in the community. I am, again, genuinely curious. Are there peer-reviewed systematic studies that give support to this claim, or is it just a piece of armchair physiology? (By the way, there is about a 0.75 inch difference between the average hand size for men and for women. That translates to 20% of 3.5 inches. So, do there exist different ideal smartphone screen sizes for men and women? If so, which is Apple’s?)
Design and user experience absolutely should be informed by sciences of the brain, the mind, and the body. But the key word there is sciences, not pseudosciences.
I have no idea whether the claims that Curtis makes are true or not. Let’s look at the available evidence out there.