November 27, 2015

Apple, what have you become?! Everything wrong with AppleTV.

Hype and media did it’s job. I broke down and purchased the new AppleTV. What can I say? I’m hooked on the Siri search. But unfortunately, it looks like there were some serious trade offs Apple made in order to release this thing on time. Mostly it has to do with the overhauled interface. Though designed quite pretty, with slick little flourishes like the 3D Thumbnails, focused content, and huge, splashy background images; it lacks the natural usability of the original interface (which wasn’t that great to begin with).

It seems like the flourishes were put at the forefront. Full use of the new and innovative remote is absent. They really had an opportunity to simplify the navigation process with a few gestures and flicks, but instead they’ve focused on scrolling just like the old remote. As a result, everything is set up to scroll horizontally. A super lazy approach when attempting to parse and navigate a lot of information. Easy to code, horrible to use. I’ve outlined some of my specific pet peeves below.

We get a single row of characters for search/data entry. This includes passwords! So if you’re like me and have a bunch of special characters in your password expect to take a few MINUTES to enter your password… EACH FRIGGING TIME!!

appletv-textentry-6c

None of the shows are in the expected or correct order consistently. And again, all the shows in a series are in a single row, meaning you have to scroll to the right forever to get to the most recent shows; AND everything is in ascending order, with no way to change or sort sometimes hundreds of shows for longer running series. Why the F**** can’t they at least break up the series by season so you just need a few quick swipes to get to the episode you want? GAWD!

tv-show

There are 5 different views that show the exact same information in the exact same format, so it’s difficult to understand what section you’re in. And finally, you can’t add some shows to your favourites list… for some reason, this seems like a bug, but everything else I think is being sold as a feature.

views

In short… the UX guy should be slapped in the face with a dead fish.

What happened to Apple? I used to turn to them for interface design advice. They had a nice, crisp well organized and thought out style that has been emulated over and over by amateurs and large design agencies alike. The stuff they’ve been doing lately – though technologically brilliant – lacks that one key aspect that set Apple apart from other computer companies. Attention to the needs and expectations of end user.

Lately Apple has been faltering in their UX executions, making me realize Steve Jobs really had an impact on the company as a whole. There’s something to be said for working under a leader who demands excellence. It makes for a hellish work environment for sure, but in the end you get excellence. I just want a product that works as expected. It’s difficult to watch your heroes stumble.