Monday, September 24, 2012

Apps suck

(I was at a user experience conference called Fluxible over the weekend. This post describes one of the talks I attended, and is part of a series.)

James Wu, lead designer for tablets at Kobo, gave a talk called "Rethinking tablet UX". His central insight is that users are interested in content, not apps. He said...

Technology sucks for most people. Unlike most of us at Fluxible, most people don't want to know, understand or learn the techie features of their devices. They don't like having their main tablet navigation be small impersonal icons that represent all their apps. They hate it that their content is stored within apps. They're interested in content: in their movies, music, pictures, books.

This is what people want to do with their tablet:
  • Find content
  • Organize content
  • Consume content
At Kobo, James has been involved in the development of a new tablet look called Tapestries, which is a way to let users focus on content. He calls this "organic curation". Users can create a tapestry, multiple tapestries, and sub-tapestries. The full sample he showed us was a page a woman might create to plan her wedding. It had lots of big pictures.
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I wish he had also shown us something more meaty, like a tapestry I might use to store research on something.

In fact, for my personal use, I'm not convinced that Tapestries is the best application of this idea. But the idea is a winner. I hate apps. I hate having four screens of the stupid things on my phone. I hate having to remember which eReader has which books. I think content-centric UI design is/should be the next wave.

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