04-23-09 - iPod Hardware - the harbinger of suck

Is god fucking awful. Stop touting it as the greatest example of product design in this century. Yes, yes, the screen is nice, and the basic shape and weight of it is appealing. If it was just a paperweight I would be pretty pleased with it. But when you actually try to *use* it, it's rubbish. (it's the Angelina Jolie of product design if you will - it's the canonical example that everyone uses of something that's great, but it's actually awful).

Try to actually browse through the menus with that fucking wheel. Scan through a big list of artists, back up, change to album view, scan down, it's awful.

The wheel is a disaster for volume control. The right thing for volume is a knob, or a dial. Something physical that you rotate. And it shouldn't be a fucking digital dial that just spins like all the shit that they're giving us on computers now. It should be an *absolute* dial with an actual zero point, so that I can turn the volume down to zero when the thing is off. Hitting play on an iPod is fucking ear drum roulette, you never know when it's going to explode your head.

You're playing a song, you pause it, you go browse to some other song. You want to just resume the original song. How do you even do that !? I suppose it must be possible, but I don't know. It should just be a button.

Design for music playing devices has been perfect for a long time. You have play, pause, skip, volume. You have those on different buttons that are ALWAYS those buttons. They're physical buttons you can touch, so you can use the device while it's in your pocket or your eyes are closed. They should be rubber (or rubberized) so they're tactile, and each button should have a different shape so you know you're on the right one.

It's just fucking rubbish. It's like so many cars these days, changing user interfaces for no good reason and making them worse. Don't give me fucking digital buttons to increment and decrement the air conditioning, that's awful! Give me a damn dial or a slider that has an absolute scale. I don't want to be hitting plus-plus-plus.

The damn "Start" button that's on so many cars now really pisses me off. You used to stick in a key, then turn it. What's wrong with that? It works perfectly fucking fine. Now I have to stick in a key, make sure I'm pressing the brake or the clutch or whatever, then press a start button. Why !? It's more steps, it's just worse.

The worst of course is the menu shit like iDrive that's basically an iPod style interface with a fucking wheel and menus and context-dependent actions. Context-dependent actions are fucking horrible user interface design, quit it. With consumer electronic devices there should just be a few buttons, and those buttons always execute the same action and do it immediately. I know some jack-hole is going to run into me because he was trying to mate his bluetooth and was browsing around the menus.


ElonNarai said...

The problem is that the iP* (iPhone, iPod, etc) does not allow a multithreaded enviroment (actually it can, but apple does not allow it). If you wondered why there are so many jailbroken applications out there than you have now have had a first hand experience ;)

Anonymous said...

You're playing a song, you pause it, you go browse to some other song. You want to just resume the original song. How do you even do that !?Navigate to the top main menu, select the bottommost "Now Playing" menu item.

Yes, this is stupid, I agree that the whole UI is a mess.

Sylvain V said...

The worst part with the IP* is probably the (very crappy quality) headphones. Isn't that the main purpose of these gadgets?

old rants