Some Sort of Card Sorting – iPhone UI – Part Two

Here are a collection of comments made by the users at the “Some sort of card sorting” test.

This is the second part of the series. Remember to check out the previous article about how the test was done.

About the dock

Most users have in this little group, the applications that define the iPhone as a phone, that is, phone and messages.
The other 2 apps are usually calendars, mail, music (either iPod/iTunes or other services like Spotify) or Safari.
“For me the dock is for the apps I use the most, the reason why I have a phone”.
“[the dock] is for those [apps] that are used the most and are more important, for easy and fast access.”

About the main screen


The main screen is for the important apps:
“The home screen is for useful apps that require fast access”
“The most important and the ones I use the most”
Users like to have less apps per screen:
“I leave space at the bottom to avoid having too many apps. It looks good. An aesthetic reason”
“I like less apps to avoid making it look too ‘stuffed’, less crowded”
“I don’t like to have all the rows. This way, I can avoid tapping by mistake on the dock icons”
“I have few apps, so I can see my background photo”
Different rows and columns are for better access.
Some users have sub-divisions of the screen by relevance of the apps. The ones in the middle are more difficult to access, so they are less important.
“The most left column are the most important”
“The top row are the ones I use the most”
“I use the second screen for the not so important apps, but that I use once in a while, folders are on the third screen”

About folders

“I don’t like folders, they make the phone look messy”
“Sometimes I can’t remember what is on a folder or where I put an app”
“Folders should have an icon depending on the content”
“I leave the default name. Can’t be bother changing it”
“I used a folder to put all the apps that I never use but can’t delete(apple apps). I call this folder ‘useless things’”
“I rename the folders but not when the name is relevant (talking about the “social media” folder as an example or the “travel”)
“I put the apps on folders when I don’t want to use them anymore but can’t be bother to delete them, just in case i need them later”
“I would like to have, instead of folders, a list view of the apps”

About “search”

None of the users mention the search function. When asked, they indicate they don’t use it or use it rarely to look for contacts

About the apps

Some apps are redundant, like contacts and phone.
“I don’t use ‘contacts’ because they are on the phone (app)”
“I put some apps apart from each other to not confuse them. They look to similar (colour: messages/sms and phone)


Disclaimer: I don’t want to sound like a “fanboy” or an “anti-apple” user. I have owned Apple products for many years. I was a Nokia Siemens user (good old phones!) then Nokia and then iPhone. Recently, I became a Windows Phone user. Why? Because I like to try new systems. I guess soon I will be using Android.
Now, my opinions are based on what the users told me and my own personal experience.
Apple has got it right many times. With the iPhone they hit the ball out of the park!
But 2012 is not the same as 2007. The iPhone is not the only big player in the market and users are more experienced than 5 years ago.
What then looked and sounded incredible (an app for everything) can be seen today as overwhelming (how many apps do you have?).
It reminds me of that time when Google first came out and everyone was thinking how simplistic it looked, how clean. Of course this was compared to other search engines like Yahoo.
Yahoo had everything on the screen and was a bit overwhelming. The idea at the time was to have as much information per screen, to avoid loading pages all the time. All you need only one click away!
So, in my opinion is Apple is falling into the “Yahoo syndrome” with too many apps per screen as well as too many apps overall.
If they are going to let users have 1000 apps, they should come up with a better way for them to find the apps. Yes, there is a search function, but it is (or so it seems) underused.
This is a paradox. A “closed garden” that offers way too many options to the visitor, but then leaves them to their own devices to find their way around the garden.
A solution?
Well, I’ll leave the apple UX team to come up with something new and amazing.
My recommendation?
Why not let the users decide how many apps per screen? I could do with only 9 apps on the home screen (plus 3 or 4 in the dock) and also bigger icons.
Moreover, I know icons are pretty, but a great idea would be to have a generic icon. I am saying this because I really like about the the Windows Phone with icons that change colour when the theme changes. Now that we are on to the Windows Mobile, the app list looks like a great feature.
Next time we will share with you the last part of this adventure, based on the screenshots from some users and the opinions that we got about them.

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