Technology is a wonderful tool that should make all of our lives better – at least until Skynet takes over. But then I am hoping that this article will serve me in good stead with our new superior overlords. :D
The problem, as you may have guessed by now, is that far too often we find that technology often frustrates us as much as it serves to benefit. Beyond the work software that we use that simply never functions as well as we think it should (Microsoft Office, anyone?) are the increasing multitude of apps that are available for pc’s, tablets and smartphones that either perform nowhere near to expectations or behave in odd fashions that we would not expect.
For example, I am an avid fan of Spotify, the streaming music service. I love it and have it installed on my desktop, laptop, iPad and now iPhone (as well as on my beloved Android that I recently exchanged for work reasons). It works wonderfully on my two computers. It is functional (in my opinion) on the iPad and similar on the iPhone (though I haven’t done as much with it there just yet) and flat out unusable on my old Android. Making it worse is the fact that I pay $10/month for this service and can’t really use it as well as I want on all of my devices. Yet, with a few tweaks (all of which I have found suggested on Spotify’s forums), I think it could be even better. I seriously considered giving up the service but continue to hold out hope that it will fix those last few issues to make it a better experience.
And, in the end, all of the software that we use is for the experience as much for the convenience. If we have a bad experience or the convenience is not what we think it should be, we are less likely to pay money for it again. This holds true for non-technical experiences (how many times have you gone back to a bad restaurant?) so it should not be a surprise that we increasingly expect our apps to be worth it as well. And when considering how many apps are developed, it should not be at all surprising how many fail because they are either not providing the experience that the user expects or do not perform in a manner to benefit the business.
It is critically important for the developers to recognize not just how to put an application together but to ensure that the user can have a positive experience from it on top of the expected convenience. Frustration with those apps will only end up reflecting poorly on the application and those behind it. Even if it accomplishes what the users want, an unpleasant experience will negatively color the reviews and ultimately the product. But if we make things that not only do what they’re expected to do but make for a pleasant experience (or, at the very least, leave no lasting negative experience), then those apps will succeed in every way.