6 minutes estimated reading time
- The difficulty in finding and installing other apps inside Messages. Many users aren’t aware of the functionality. This is different to the ‘interface as oldster barrier’ that SnapChat had. DoorDash – a Deliveroo analogue dropped a support after a few months due to a lack of users. Apple took a second run at this with iOS 11 trying to improve discoverability
- Apple 3D touch isn’t used to drive contextual features by app developers
- The Apple Watch’s mix of crown, button and small touch screen made ‘lean in’ interactive apps hard. The Apple Watch interface isn’t learned by ‘playing’ in the same way that you can with a Mac or an iPhone. Apple’s forthcoming watchOS update looks to have Siri ‘guess’ what you want. It wants to provide contextual information to users (and reduce interactions)
- WeChat – the take up of mini-apps in WeChat have been disappointing performers. Is this indicating a possible ceiling for functionality?
- Consumers didn’t know they had a need, its hard to get consumers to build new habits. Forming habits can be hard
- They were a bitch to sign up with. Yahoo!’s sign-up process killed products. It’s a fact. We’d get consumers hyped up, we’d deliver them to the relevant page and they wouldn’t convert. I didn’t blame them, if I wasn’t an employee or digital marketer I’d have done the same
- Both Flickr and Slack had common key team members
- Both products fell out of failure. Flickr came out of tools for Game Neverending. Slack began as a tool in the development of Glitch
Bill Moggridge, designer of the GRiD Compass computer – the world’s first laptop thought a lot about ergonomics. The laptop had a 11 degree slope from pop-out leg to the keypad. This is something that your MacBook Pro or Surface doesn’t have. There is a lack of depth in technology design compared to what Moggridge had. He brought in psychologists and studied human computer interaction. He eventually co-founded IDEO.
Whilst the elements that Moggridge looked at were well known the thinking doesn’t seep into product categories. We are very good at asking can a product be made. We are poor at asking what does the product really mean. Apple’s viewpoint on the tablet segment is a case in point.
The vast majority of tablets are used for lean back media consumption from watching films and reading books to reviewing emails. It can work as a productivity device in specific circumstances with custom built apps – say field sales or replacing a pilot’s flight paperwork. The keyboard and power of modern Macs (and PCs) provide a better tool for content creators; whether its analysing a spreadsheet or writing this blog post.
Yet, since its launch by Steve Jobs, Apple has viewed the iPad as a new PC. The iPad Pro has been designed to try and catch up in features with the Mac. It is ironic that Microsoft has moved a slim ‘MacBook clamshell design’ analogue into its latest Surface range.
It is very different to the pragmatic design ethos of China’s ‘shanzhai‘ gadget markers who came up with both laughable and exceptionally smart solutions. Everything from the dual SIM phone to the phone / electric razor hybrid. Successes bloomed, educated a collective knowledge of makers and a manufacturing ecosystem of facilitators, while the oddities slipped into the night.
The manufacturing ecosystem played a crucial role in upping smartphone quality. Metal phone enclosures started to trickle down to other manufacturers once Apple had grown the capability of CNC manufacturers with orders for thousands of machines in Foxconn factories. This also fed expertise in how to use these machines in mass manufacturing. Which shows how physical interface design can be influenced almost as fast as software interface design in terms of commercial rivals.