A few weeks ago, I wrote of my vision (or, rather, my plea) for an official iOS “video screenshot” feature. While Apple’s almost certainly working on such a concept, one of the largest hurdles is sure to be the recording function’s start-stop toggle. As I wrote previously, it’s got to be simple and straightforward:
Remember, to take a screenshot in iOS, all you have to do is simultaneously press the Power and Home buttons. Easy peasy! Apple needs to make it just as easy to kick off this video experience. And the toggle needs to be off-screen, too, or else you’d invariably record bits of menu you’d intended to keep out. Maybe “double-click” the Power and Home keys? Or depress and hold them for a couple of seconds? Something like that would work pretty well, and it would appropriately retain and build upon the screenshot mechanic we all know and love and use every day.
I still think a short hold of the Power and Home buttons would most easily get the job done, but software overlays could be feasible, provided they aren’t included in the actual recording. One AppAdvice reader, the inimitable Windows 7 guru Jon Edlund himself, agrees. For a bit of fun, Edlund took to Apple’s Keynote app and roughed out a quartet of concepts illustrating how said on-screen video kickoff could work.
The first mock-up uses “drawers” called up by swiping left or right from an off-screen position. The resulting tab would reveal the record button, by which users could start and stop capturing on-screen content:
The next concept, which is limited to the lock screen, grants the user access to the record function, but only when in landscape mode and idle for a few seconds. (Personally, I’m not a fan of this particular implementation — it is a bit too restrictive and specific for Apple’s famous “less is more” mantra.)
For the remaining two demos, Edlund works on variations of a theme: the multitasking bar. For the first iteration, the record function is called up by going into the aforesaid multitasking bar and long-holding over an app icon to enter Wiggle mode. This would then present the user with a record button, where a quick tap kicks them back into the current app where everything is captured live. To end the recording, just repeat the process. All in all, this variant is workable, but it’s certainly less than ideal.
Edlund’s second multitasking iteration is probably the likeliest onscreen solution that Apple might use. Here, the user simply calls up the bar, swipes from the left (twice or thrice for iPad and iPhone, respectively), and taps the Record button.
Still, I’ve got to think Apple would prefer — at least in the short term — to keep this video screenshot toggle off-screen. The current screenshot feature works well, and the best solution would be to work off of its already-established mechanism. When Apple finally decides to ditch physical, external buttons altogether, Edlund’s ideas would make a lot more sense. For now, though, they do well to get the ball rolling, and they illustrate the proper course of action when designing for iOS: Always consider the caveats first. Then, the right answer is easy to find.
We already knew mine, and we now know Edlund’s answers, too. But what we really want are yours, so let us know in the comments.
Who knows, maybe Apple’s actually listening…