iOS (mobile?) UI pass

Use case or problem

As an Obsidian iOS user, I want the mobile app to feel more native, more like a mobile app, less like a port of the desktop app. I’m not sure if this also applies to Android.

Proposed solution

It’s hard to pinpoint exact issues but I’ll do my best, I’m not a UI/UX person. The Obsidian app is fantastic and y’all are doing a great job! These are all just minor UX bumps, none is worth its own issue and these are just the 1% of things I noticed and that came to mind, as a sample to convey the feeling I wish I were getting from the mobile UX.

Some of these are perceptions that might not be true, in which case I submit that the perception is the issue.

  1. Touch targets are too small.
  2. Tapping the cursor around is sometimes laggy, unresponsive, or unpredictable, especially between different types of blocks (e.g. code block and paragraph text).
  3. Highlighting text sometimes breaks while dragging one of the handles and scrolling, causing the highlight to be reset.
  4. Animations seem to have low framerates, be too fast, and/or use accelerations different from native ones. Hard to say which but they feel off.
  5. Boot time is slow (~5s) compared to other apps (Apple Notes: ~1s).
  6. The boot progress bar is not helpful, compared to the design rule of showing a UI wireframe to prepare my eyeline.
  7. There are a lot of menus and I can never remember which one to look in for the thing I want. Bottom right 3 lines, swiping left, swiping right, swiping down, top left 3 dots, above the keyboard, the tabs button at the bottom, the plus button in the bottom center. I understand they are analogues to the desktop UX and the desktop UX makes sense. But on mobile I’m dazed and confused.
  8. When I’m searching, the way I get out of the search menu is by tapping Search, which doesn’t make sense.
  9. I have Sync set to sync my appearance preferences, and I want it to for most of them, but I never ever want it to sync my font size. It keeps being too small because I like it that size on my computer, could not figure out why until today.
  10. When I use the settings font size slider, the slider moves out from under my finger because the content above it is reflowing from the change. It’s also hard to see the current number with my finger in the way.
  11. I would like to collapse my keyboard the native iOS way, by swiping down on it.
  12. The tabs feature/button doesn’t hold much value for me, I usually forget it’s there and use quick switcher instead. The tabs are out of sight, and so out of mind—I never know what tabs are open and the quick switcher is nearly a superset of the tab menu anyway.
  13. The plus button in the bottom middle makes me think it will make and display a new note, but it opens the quick switcher. I like this behavior, just think the icon is misleading.
  14. The navigation bars use this left arrow/right arrow icon to mean “Change what is showing here” and that took me months to to try out, I don’t think the icon matches the behavior.
  15. I’m afraid to quit the app while it is syncing (which I tell by looking if the # files is changing), because I don’t know if my files will get messed up. I’d be happy if someone told me “it won’t mess it up”, but the feedback here is I’m more cognizant of the syncing status than I want to be.
  16. When I leave my phone screen on usually, the OS turns it off in ~a minute. When I leave it open to Obsidian, it never turns off, even when not syncing anything.

Again these are all very minor and please don’t mistake this for a giant bug report containing a bunch of small bugs, but as a user experience report around how mobile apps tend to “feel” and how Obsidian differs from them in ways that make me want something native.

Thanks for reading!

Current workaround (optional)

Related feature requests (optional)


Appreciate the time you put into this post, but I think it will be moved to help or closed.

Feature Requests tend to be one clear request. One use case or problem & proposed solution per post.

A few of your 16 points I recognized as open Feature Requests already, maybe more. Have a look through the FR category and add a :purple_heart: to the ones you find.

1 Like
  1. If this is done with CSS I think there are ways to have different font sizes for mobile and desktop. I don’t know how to do CSS though.
  2. I’ve never experienced a problem, even when not waiting for it to finish, but I would also like confirmation.

(I wrote 15. on the second one but I cannot figure out how to stop it from changing it to 10.)

Many of your points are valid, but with Obsidian being electron-based and generally a “heavy” application this sort of is what it is.

iOS killing Obsidian in the background seems to be the biggest issue from a usability standpoint. There is another thread about this and I’m not sure anything can really be done without an overhaul of the app.

My workflow is very mobile-centric, due to the issues you mentioned I tend to use the app more in a “reader/view-only” context with some basic-note taking here and there, and supplement with native iOS shortcuts.

Moved to help. Kindly one thread per topic and search before posting there are alredy FR open for most of those things.

I feel your ‘Pain’. I do most of my ‘work’ with Obsidian on an iPad. I absolutely love the app. But….! Enough of the Desktop major new features until the Mobile items (and more) you have thoughtfully listed have been attended to. Just my 2 cents. Let the arrows begin.

Thanks for the feedback all. I searched for my general request, but I should have also searched for the individual items.

I can respect if this does not match the process, and I’m sorry for that. What I am trying to report is an issue with the forest, not the trees. If these 16 issues are solved I do not believe this thread will be solved. I hope I am wrong.

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