What We Mean by ‘Bad User Experience’

Steven Frank:

It’s not just that the iPhone has fancy woo-woo transitions and purty graphics; it runs all the way down the software stack. For example, when I tap on something, I don’t have to hover for five seconds wondering “now did it get that tap, or do I have to do it again?” This is something other platforms are still struggling with. When we say you have a bad experience, this is the sort of thing we mean. It has little to do with features, and everything to do with core functionality.

What matters is how things work in actual use, not how they’re supposed to work.


Jason Santa Maria kindly invited me to write a short piece for his October series on candy. How could I resist? Love that purple.

Jamie Zawinski Gets an iPhone

Syncing bugs and performance problems led him to abandon the Palm Pre:

If the Calendar app is not running, it takes 10-15 seconds to get from “I clicked on the Calendar icon” to “I can see today’s events”. And then, switching from the display of one day to the next takes 2+ seconds (and it doesn’t buffer swipes, so you have to keep trying).


It seems to me that the only way this phone is going to be usable is for it to get literally 10× faster across the board. There was a speed improvement of maybe 10% between WebOS 1.0 and 1.2.1, so I think it’s safe to assume that they’ve already picked the low-hanging fruit. I don’t expect the performance of this phone to be even remotely suitable for every day use for at least a year.

It’s worth recalling that Apple had a similar idea to WebOS for the iPhone, where certain apps would run as Dashboard-style widgets, written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Apple abandoned the idea in the six months between the iPhone’s January 2007 announcement and when it went on sale at the end of June, concluding that performance for such apps was unacceptable and that they should go native Cocoa across the board. And Apple was only going to do it for small apps, like Weather, Stocks, and Calculator, not the flagship apps like Calendar and Mail.

Analyzing the Analysts

Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports on the estimates from the leading Apple financial analysts. Andy Zaky and “Deagol” were pretty close, but were still low. (Deagol has a nice post-mortem here.)

I’m not surprised that so many of the analysts were way off overall. I’m only surprised that so many of them were so far off on estimates for iPhones sold. The two 3GS models are selling like hotcakes, and it’s not hard to find people at Apple who’ll tell you that.