ben treston

What ever happened to the user experience?


Now finally getting a chance to read “Steve Jobs”, the biography of the late Apple co-founder it has made me very curious, not necessarily about Apple - rather it’s competitors and their way of working.

Not all companies can have a CEO and visionary as passionate, innovative and stubborn as Steve, however I actually wish more companies did.

It becomes more and more apparent throughout the book, that time and time again, Apple’s fastidious focus on user experience completely catches a lot of competitors “flat-footed”. Why did it take Apple to show them what they were doing wrong? Surely, making hardware or software means that the user should be your number one priority - they are your customer, your word of mouth and more importantly, if treated right, your customer again the next time.

Rumours abound that Apple may release their own television - and it has been said that TV makers are panicking. Why is that? Are they afraid this new rumoured product might make other TVs suddenly look obsolete? Well… precisely.

Dealing with complex on screen menus, incompatible remotes, multiple confusing inputs - I can see why Steve and Apple felt like they might be able to do something there. When reading the chapter on the iPhone, the motivation to create such a device came about due to the bad user experiences already on the market in mobile phones. The television may be the next innovation from Cupertino.

As televisions are getting more complicated with network ports and connections straight to media servers and YouTube - the problem seems to get worse and worse. Having tried to set up an internet connected Sony TV at the office for viewing edits for clients wirelessly became an exercise in sheer frustration. The on screen menus were slow, laggy, confusing and impossible to understand.
If I could not figure this out easily - what chance does Ma and Pa at home have at getting this to work as it should? (hint - smooth and seamlessly) It is going to take some new innovation here in the TV space to show how it should be done, and I’m afraid it is going to be the big A to drag them kicking and screaming into the future… again.