User experience and the iPhone

By Jordy Pickel | May 9, 2014

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I have a little secret to admit. I really, really, really, really hate how people organize their smartphones. Take a look at someone’s phone nowadays and it’s screen after screen after screen of app icons, usually with no logic in place as to how they’re organized or arranged. As someone who has an eye towards UX, this drives me batty.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Take for example, my wife’s phone—riddled with games, social media apps, and utilities—but in no discernible order. Ask her and she’ll gladly tell you that “everything is where it should be,” but I can tell it’s not. Having to flip through screens when using apps related to each other or even pausing to think about which screen an app might be on is straight up, a poor user experience.

Typically, a person thinks about user experience when they’re using a product that’s shared with the community—a company’s website, a piece of software, a methodology for ordering sandwiches at Whole Foods—but they don’t always equate user experience when they are the only user to experience it.

Just as I think about organizing website content, I think about organizing my devices. There are some client preferences (I don’t like too many rows of icons), some usability standards (reduce the number of clicks needed to open an app, organize content by themes), and some inherent properties (for example, how a person would use a phone as compared to a tablet). These are all things I think about when organizing my stuff.

Luckily for me, Apple has taken care to design their products to function in similar ways. They even migrated their computer OS to keep “apps” instead of programs, which I will admit was a little tough to process at first. So, as someone who loves to organize website data into something anyone could understand, Apple let me easily organize my devices and keep them consistent across the board.

Take for example, my iPhone:


Exhibit B

I organized my apps into a few main buckets: Office (for those administrative things like email and calculator), Games (that’s pretty self-explanatory), Library (for pictures, books, and news), and A/V (for the camera, Pandora, and Roku). Apps that I use the most often are placed on their own, out of the folder structure. This includes some visual items like the calendar and the clock, both of which display the date and time so I can get visual info at-a-glance if I need to.

And I take a similar approach to my iPad:


Exhibit C

Most of the same old culprits are there—Office, Games, Library, and A/V—but I’ve organized some of my go-to apps differently, based upon how I used my tablet compared to my phone. Email is front and center (I try not to check my email in the elevator), and I use my tablet most often for notes and to-dos, where I use my phone for music and GPS.

The thread that holds the devices together, is that all of the other many, many, many apps that I have are housed in the same folders on my phone, my tablet, and even my computer. My news apps can be found in the Library, my Dropbox is always in the Office, and if I want to pull up WXPN, I know the radio will be under A/V.

A lot of our clients have more than one website, and use cases on each website are different, much like that of a phone and tablet. Brand strategy is extremely important for our clients, for obvious reasons. What some people forget about, is that a logo isn’t the only thing users use to identify a brand. Knowing where to look for content on a website and seeing your expectations pleasantly met will help increase your brand name and lower frustration.

Here at FVM we love to reorganize a website. Classification, card sorting, and qualitation—this is our bag, baby. There’s nothing like the feeling of redesigning a website that’s more organized, more efficient, and more streamlined than it was before. Except of course, diving into the analytics and user testing to see where else you can improve.

Some people might make fun of my smart device habits, but I know that the user experience on my iPhone is 100%. Of course if you ask my wife, she’ll probably tell you, “I can never find anything on this phone.”

Oh well, time to take another look at the analytics…

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