This is part two in a series that discusses UX and other flaws in iOS. You can find Part 1 here.
In part 1 I discussed what I felt were the top two flaws in iOS today: The lack of user profiles and abysmal application management. In this post, I’ll continue the list.
3. First Rule of BUG CLUB: You Do Not Talk About BUG CLUB
I’d say this one’s a problem with Apple in general, not specifically iOS. But it’s my blog so I get to include it in my iOS rant.
The problem is, more specifically, that Apple is terrible in:
- Acknowledging bugs and generally communicating with the public about them.
- Fixing those bugs.
Apple provides the Apple Support Communities which are basic user-to-user forums. Searches for common problem symptoms (e.g. AppleMobileDeviceService is taking 100% CPU) will most likely land you on the forum.
My gripe is that the forums are completely unmonitored. People expect answers from Apple and get none. Bugs (such as the one I linked above) are discussed ad nauseum with workarounds that don’t work, links to irrelevant knowledgebase articles, and lots and lots of complaints.
What I’d like to see happen, and what I think should happen, is Apple addressing these questions/problems (at least ones that have critical mass). An Apple moderator should reply to all posts with a link to an official knoweldgebase article, and should monitor the continuing discussion to ensure the knoweldgebase is correct and in fact addressing most user’s problems. The knoweldgebase article should be updated as knowledge about the bug grows.
This would achieve two things: (1) users will waste much less time crawling the forums to get to information they need and (2) it will communicate back to us the Apple in fact knows the problem exists and is working on it.
Not only does Apple not do this, they have a history of deleting threads that discuss solutions they’re not fond of.
The problem is aggravated by the fact that many bugs seem to linger years and years. Some of my personal favorites (ones I experience all the time) are the aforementioned AppleMobileDeviceService.exe is hogging up to %50 of CPU and wifi sync not working windows 7 64bit. I often have friends who come to me with issues that, when Googled, appear to be wide spread and long lasting. It’s frustrating when you don’t even know if the problems are being fixed.
4. The Small Things
#1-#3 we the biggies, but I have a few small things that simply drive me crazy in day-to-day use. I’ve collected them below:
- Email auto complete or rather, lack-thereof. The phone knows all my email addresses. Why can’t it offer auto-complete for them when I’m typing into web forms?
- Need to scroll to the bottom for email attachments. Have you ever received a reply-to-a-replay-to-a-replay that’s 100 pages long and has an attachment? Lucky you, you now have to manually scroll to the bottom just to see the attachment. Can we move attachments to the top please?
- Broken bulk delete mode in apps such as Messages. Compare the Edit mode in the Mail application to that of the Contacts application. The former lets you check all the emails you want to delete and delete them with one tap. The latter forces you to click the “stop” icon then Delete for each and every message you want to delete, which is slower than the non-bulk/regular way of deleting (swipe left). What’s the point of that? Even worse, I see app developers copying Apple with this stupid design.
- Selecting words in Safari is too difficult (depends on the actual HTML tags the site uses). Try this: Go to http://slashdot.org and try to select a single word from any of the article titles. Maybe I’m stupid, but I can’t do it.
In conclusion, there’s still room for improvement, even for one of the best product executions we’ve all seen. Apple, if you’re listening, help me love my iPhone even more!