So, with the release of Apple TV and the Apple TV+ shows I’ve been using the TV app quite a bit lately. I’m really starting to be annoyed by what I consider not so little user interface (UI) behaviors that any first alpha tester should have pointed it out to the developers.
Having spent years in the tech industry, specifically 5+ years of it in software testing I think I’ve got a leg to stand on here.
The abomination of sideways scrolling goes against all previous list presentation conventions that we’re used to on paper forms and on our smartphones. We won’t even mention how difficult it is to accomplish using the Apple TV Siri Remote to make it happen. It feels unnatural, limits the number of items you can see at one time, and seriously restricts you from finding a specific show in a season. The Netflex UI isn’t perfect here but it’s UI is closer to ideal than Apples at this time.
I suspect it’s to appease those Window’s users who’ve been indoctrinated since Win95 when Microsoft first released their hastily and ill-design UI for that OS. Where Apple had done studies and made tweaks to improve the user experience (UX), Win95 was a hack job that failed to understand how everything should work together to the benefit of the user. Mac OS had vertical scrolling so they went horizontal. Its a bad UX all around and yet it prevails and spreads like the cancer it always was.
Note that the Apple TV Siri Remote won’t help here either. It’s as difficult to control in either direction. Did I mention what a POS it is? And this is after using one since the device was released.
Lets examine a show’s list of a season. Listed vertically from top to bottom in numerical order with no way to reverse or custom sort the order. God-forbid you want to watch a show in the latest season. It’s at the bottom of the season list. That’s right, it’s sorted numerically. I just purchased Season 4 of Rick & Morty and finding the latest episode is a disaster every time I attempt to watch the show. I have to find each show manually every damn time. Again, yet more bad UX to suffer through.
Note it doesn’t show up in my Watch Next list as you might think it should, nor do any of Apple’s shows. Which brings up the next issue of contention…
TV App Alzheimers
The app has no memory that I can tell. If I watch episode 5 of For All Mankind you would think the TV app would remember that and show it or episode 6 on the title screen within the Watch Next list, or take me directly to it or the next episode in sequence. After all, its Apple’s own show, it only has one season with six episodes now. How hard can it be? Impossible from what I’ve experienced so far.
As much as I’m loving the shows Apple has released so far, the UI to find and view them is a badly designed UI and UX hack that should never have left the building.
Suggestions for improvement:
• Swap the horizontal scrolling for vertical
• Provide some means of sorting seasons. I pity those with 29 years of Simpson’s episodes.
• Fix whatever is causing the memory issues
• (Off-topic) Give us a replacement for the Siri Remote, I beg you!
My only hope is that with the leaving of Jony Ives more common sense will prevail in the design department of Apple and the next release of devices and apps will be superior to what is in the wild now. We’ve already seen that in the MacBook Pro 2019, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.