Sunday, 26 February 2012

What's (still) wrong with Android?

The answer is not a lot...

Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Nexus is a wonderful experience. It pushes the envelope of mobile design and I love it (tick and tick for the 2 goals of Android UX Design Chief, Matias Duarte).

So having used it for 1 month and having put every screen, dialogue and interaction under the microscope, I find only 5 flaws worth mentioning...

  1. Multitasking. Battery life remains an issue so it's time multi-tasking got fixed.  Yet I still don't get  how to kill an app vs leave it running. Windows had minimize and exit, it was simple and we have a decade of familiarity with it, mobiles need the same.
  2. Options button. This has been the source of most frustration in our early-use user-testing. Yes it needed removing from the hard keys and yes it was brave to do so. But the "more options icon" and the random placing are a missed opportunity to improve this important feature.
  3. Play music. To finally beat the iThing you have to get the music player right. A play button is expected to play this track AND those after it. It has since my first walkman and always should. Yet the play button on my Galaxy Nexus plays the current track and then stops. There is probably a gesture or learned behaviour to play all, but I don't know it, which is a nice segue to the next point.
  4. Having to read the manual. The single most important task to get right is to be able to answer the phone when it rings. I couldn't do it the first time as I had to learn how to answer the phone. This to me is heresy, it's a joyful interaction once you've learned it, but it erodes confidence for exactly the user segment that Google now needs to win over. This of course is just one example, there are a few too many areas where I only discovered something by RTFM.
  5. It is full of little inconsistencies. Inconsistencies that the average user won't even notice but that will gently erode their trust and love for it. Inconsistencies with earlier versions (OK/Cancel became Cancel/OK), inconsistencies with expected behaviour (the music play button) and inconsistencies within itself (was the Language and input section of Settings done by the same team?)
So that's all that's wrong with Ice Cream Sandwich. In the interest of balance, here are 10 reasons to get it.  Stop me and buy one.

1 comment:

David Bradford said...

The music playback stopping after first track is apparently a known issue awaiting a fix. Helpful? workaround here