Friday, April 29, 2011

Chinks in the Google/Apple armor

Recently I've transitioned away from the PC world of Microsoft Windows, Office and Outlook software environment. I now spend my days primarily on Gmail, Gdocs, Mobile Me, Safari, Google Chrome, iPad, iPhone and Mac. And I'm finding that these products are far from perfect. These products are human and have their flaws and bugs, just like all the software products that came before it.

For example, would you believe that:

Apple.com's support site, when viewed on an iPad, has pop-up windows with content that you can't scroll to see?

or

I cannot login to www.mobileme.com from the iPad because I'm asked to pay for the service (I am actually paying) but I can login to the same website from the Mac?

or

Google Chrome's browser has a delay after attaching a document which prevents the user from typing in the body of the email they are sending?

or

Google Chrome's browser seems to direct every browser entry to Google instead of the actual website?

1 comment:

Capt. BS said...

I know this is shocking to many people (and difficult to accept for those of us who actually develop software for a living), but... all software has bugs, usability issues, and annoyances. (Yes, even you, Apple... although I will grant that the dreaded Spinning Beach Ball of Death is much easier on the eyes than Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death.) And until someone invents a device that can translate raw neurological impulses into dynamically-generated/compiled computational actions (don't hold your breath), this will continue to be the case.

On a more practical note, I actually am quite surprised as to what passes for quality software these days. In recent years (and, I would argue, largely thanks to Apple), software products have emphasized graphic design and visual appeal over true usability, intuitiveness, and intelligent workflow. Making the font size 25% bigger and giving all buttons rounded edges might make an application seem friendlier, but it has zero impact on how easy it is to use, how well it is designed, and whether or not it is fundamentally useful.

BTW, I like that you say "login to" versus "log into"... I frequently debate myself on which phrasing is more proper.