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No more "left hand / right hand" switch

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Posted 7 years ago

In the previous post, I said that removing features is a good thing. Perhaps you guessed that I was leading up to something!

One of the earliest features I added was the "left hand / right hand" switch. I put it in the sidebar so people could find it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and for text content it worked reasonably well.

But again, this feature complicates things. And it's especially complicated if you try to apply it to videos. You see, I had this idea that maybe I could flip the video so that left-handers would see proper left-handed demonstrations.

That would be pretty neat, wouldn't it? The trouble is, it's not that simple. Flipping the video is easy, or at least it was easy until I started using Vimeo to provide my videos. I would have been able to apply a CSS transform to dynamically flip the video. It would have been so clever.

Now I can't do that, because Vimeo (sensibly) embeds its videos in a "sandbox" (iframe) so you can't mess with the internals. That means I could flip the video, but only if I also flipped the video player and made all the controls backwards. Nuts.

The other problem is the audio. Whenever I said "right foot", for example, I would have to record the clip a second time and say "left foot". Then I'd have to edit a second version of the video.

Maybe I should just be really careful, and avoid saying things like "right foot" or "left foot". I can just say "racket foot" and "non-racket foot" instead. That would work.

And in fact that's what we're going to do, except where it feels too confusing --- in which case we'll just do the old-fashioned thing of explaining it a second time for left-handers.

But then, is it really worth trying to flip the video for left-handers anyway? It's a neat feature, yes. But how helpful is it? And how complicated will it be in practice?

I plan to remove the left-handed / right-handed switch. It's still going to be there for the articles, because I consider them legacy content and I don't really want to mess with them. But on all the new pages, it's gone.

One side-effect is that I can completely remove the sidebar on all the new pages!

This isn't a final decision. If enough people come out the woodwork and tell me what a terrible mistake I'm making, then I will change my mind. Let me know what you think!