Apple’s usability and information architecture blunders?

I was on the 7th km of my run when, suddenly the left speaker of my Bluetooth headset went almost inaudible.  I tried to adjust volume and on headset and on my iPhone but nothing worked. I just hated this predicament.

Just 15 days ago, I had got my headset replaced because the left speaker of my headset had died.  It was a pain arguing with Reliance retail that it was their responsibility to get the headset replaced. I didn’t want to argue with those dolts again.

I was contemplating buying a new Bose headset or a Samsung Active but suddenly on a footpath I saw a person selling A copy of Sony headset ( An A copy is a Chinese term which represents that the counterfeit item has same BoM as the original product).  I tried that headset but again the sound on left ear was low. He offered to let me try the LG one and once again the left sound was low.  The seller guessed that the damage may be in internal socket of my iPhone but I disagreed. The socket damage won’t affect the Bluetooth headsets.

 

I was sure by now that this was the speaker balance system problem. I came back and checked my iPhone settings.  I went to sound settings and saw nothing which could tell me how to fix left and right balance problem.

SoundSettings

  I concluded that there was no balance setting and was wondering how to fix this problem. I tried almost all other settings tabs and found it nowhere.

 

This was the time, I shared this problem with my wife.  She being an avid programmer asked me whether I googled this problem.  I said, “NO! Why for such simple stupid things I should Google”. She nevertheless did and told me that this setting exists deep down in the “ACCESSIBILITY” settings tab. I exclaimed #WTF, why on earth will any designer or an Information Architect burry a simple Left –right sound balance deep under accessibility?  To my dismay it was there.  It’s one of the biggest usability and IA blunder from Apple.

Accessibility L R

Why do I think Apple made avoidable blunder?

 

Let’s look at the stated goals of Information Architecture   by its world body:

A good IA helps people to understand their surroundings and find what they’re looking for – in the real world as well as online

Source: http://www.iainstitute.org/what-is-ia

 

This is where the designers at Apple failed.

 

What could they have done differently?

 

Use Information Architecture synthesis technique like card sorting (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_sorting ). With this they could have figured out where most humans would look for when they try to adjust the left –right settings. The most appropriate method for this could have been closed cart sorting as top level grouping for this already is Setting > Sound

What could we as individuals learn from Apple’s blunder?

 

The decisions like navigation and placement of important control should not be left to the gut feel of inarticulate designers. There are proper techniques to make such decisions which make the OS or application more usable and intuitive to use.

 

If you are trying to discover where your application sucks in terms of usability or Ux , do get in touch with me.

Philips- Death of a brand : Why I will never buy its product ever and you also should not

I bought my first music system 27 yrs ago in 1990. It was a Philips Stereo set DR 481. It was special because when every other music system was making 8 to 12 W, this was a 32W power house which could blare mind boggling sounds of Oye- Oye, Jumma or Hawa hawa with panache. It looked something better than this

 

PhilipsStero set  After the initial glee was over, I found that the songs started crying.  I figured out that the rubber belt Philips used to couple the motor with cassette driver had gone loose. After the first repair, I figured out how service the set myself. I could notice that Philips with all its glamour had poor attention to reliability of its components.

I moved out of Calcutta city in 1994 and thereafter, I just had some small emotional weakness for this brand. In the economically emaciated state of Bengal, Philips was the only international brand manufacturing. The only other brand was Britannia. I held a belief that I must support the economy and jobs of my state by buying their products.

 

In 2004, I got married and some of the friends gifted us a 800 watt Philips audio system. As usual it delivered good sound for few months and then

  • The cassette player stopped working. I took it to Philips authorized center . They charged Rs 1000/= for repair which worked only for 15 days
  • The CD player stopped reading CDs in another few months.
  • The remote failed in an year and
  • The physical buttons on the system are a pain to operate.

Fast forward to 2016, I was looking to buy an LED tv for my parents’ room.  I had considered Samsung, Sony, and Haier and suddenly the shopkeeper started pushing a Philips model.  I was not sure that I should. Philips in electronics had become an obsolete brand and no one would trust them to deliver reliable products in the age of Chaebol (Samsung, LG) and other global products.  The regional head of Philips was in the shop and he tried to convince that I should bet on the TV set. However, the arguments he made were not convincing. I decided to buy a more trusted Samsung for a higher price.

April this year, I was flying out to Minneapolis, USA for a critical business assignment and I had an irrepressible need to buy a sport Bluetooth headset.  The wired headset which came with my iPhone 6s+ were hopeless. I spent more time putting back into my ears than focusing on my runs (8 to 10K every day).  I went to a Reliance mart and suddenly saw a Philips sports headset (SHQ6500).

PhilipsRunFree

With black and fluorescent green it reflected good European design.  I checked the price tag of  Rs 3000 and it appeared reasonable.  After some thought, I decided to buy it oblivious that it will give me nightmares.

First few days, it served well as it paired well with my iPhone instantly and the quality of music was good. The frustrations of dealing with a bad product was just about to begin.

  1. If it paired with iPhone, it didn’t pair with my iPod touch
  2. If I tried to pair it with my iPod, after 10s of install, uninstalls, it won’t pair with my iPhone.
  3. If it got detected on iPhone, it will not pair with my Windows 10 Dell notebook or with my Mac Mini.
  4. I started having low expectations from the product and started using it exclusively with my iPhone. I felt cheated. Bluetooth pairing with eligible devices is not a rocket science.
  5. Suddenly in the third month, during a workout, I heard a lot of white noise on the left speaker and it became persistent. After a day or so, the left speaker was dead.
  6. I went to Reliance store and asked for replacement. They argued with me for 3 hrs on why it’s none of their responsibility to replace the headphone. I argued strongly and finally, they agreed to work with Philips to replace it.
  7. For a month and half, I was without a headset and finally a replacement came.
  8. I was happy for few days as my jogging routine resumed.
  9. Few days into usage, I suddenly realized that the sound on left speaker disappeared. There is nothing I can do for it.  I do not have energy to go all the way to Phillips service center in Bangalore.  The cost of my 2 hrs is more than the cost of headset. I can’t even throw this piece out…
  10. The only thing I can do it: Resolve never to buy a Philips product again and urge each one of you to never buy a Philips product. The frustration of following up is not just worth it.

 

Conclusion: In this age,

a. Do not ever buy a product from a manufacturer who is not in Top 3 of its category.

b, Read blogs about a durable product before buying it. Getting after sales services is a pain and not worth in a traffic nightmare city like Bangalore.

 

Nation of stupids

Who do you have your national rivalry with ? ” I asked the tall Dutch man at our first dinner outing in Amsterdam. He almost looked like Tom Cruise ( Somewhat like this image)

realistic-painting-of-a-dutch-man-337-p
I was expecting something to the tune of our angst against Pakistanis, but the reason he gave, shocked me. ” Belgians“, he immediately responded.
Belgians are stupid ” he said and gave no further elaboration.

Next afternoon, I met Mabeen, a 5’11” Dutch project manager who was wearing almost 4″  stiletto.  She, I heard was a fencing pro. A modern version of this lady

img_20160202_084543

I do not remember the context
but I do remember she telling a joke . It ended with she lolling ” Belgians are stupid. ”

I recall that later in the night, our customer had arrived.  He was a Belgian. He didn’t have demeanor of a a suave person.  Our conversations veered over Amstel beer and cheese and there was a point where he exclaimed , ” The Dutch think , we are stupids

I was still wondering if a nation can be collectively stupid.

Few months passed. I was at SAP campus for a meeting of Ux( User Experience) leaders in Bangalore. The conversation was on – ” What can be a particular India Ux strategy? What is it which works no where in world but works in India?”

I heard something very interesting and here it is –

Indians are stupid. You ask them their cell phone number for anything and they provide it without even thinking “.

On the way back, I stepped into a general store More. I saw a man , approx 25, buying a chocolate. The counter guy asked for his mobile number.

98*** ***** “,  was the sound I heard.

Naturalist bows down

Continues from my last post 

My body has been medicine free for last 40 yrs “ boasted my father, while taking a sharp breath sounding like shoo, as the doctor injected the needle on his bum.

I have inherited this trait from my father. For the last few years ( 5+), I have gulped no medicine . Even when there was a 1.5 inch diameter wound on my knee, I trusted keeping it clean and open to facilitate natural self healing.  This time, however was different, a frozen spine and only 2 days left to fly. I had a choice to stick to my values or do something artificial to get going.  I tried various stretches, lying on the floor.  Pulling my knees towards the chest, on the same side and then other side. Crossing my ankle on other knee and pulling the knee again. Keeping the knees such that they made a triangle with ground and then twisting them side by side (Just as women do after child birth to get rid of belly fat). I tried touching my toes while feet outstretched but the gulf had grown to a feet plus. I just couldn’t do it. None of these could make me sit without pain.  Having tried balms, lotions, hot water bottle and cold pack, I finally decided to go and seek medical help.

19d6c58793357d0a98652174120bdb54

The orthopedic did his routine check and found no evidence of bone injury and concluded that it was muscular. I was ushered into a room of a physio therapist. She was a petite, young beauty, well built, muscular but this was no time to appreciate or revel in it.  She sensed the trauma I was in and made me lie face down.  As she rubbed electrolyte at various places on my back and attached electrodes, I told her of my plan of glacial trek. I requested her to do whatever in her control to ameliorate. I was not giving up on this trip. As she increased the impedance of the machine, the electrodes started oscillating at manic frequency. I shrieked in pain, as those impulse sent all my back muscles from behind my lungs to bums in a frenzy. Those electric impulses hit me like a storm. She stopped increasing the intensity. Here, I was undergoing heavy impulse vibrations on all my muscles which had pain trapped somewhere in them.

You will have to get it 3 times today and tomorrow and gulp these anti-inflammatory tablets to get anywhere even close to travel.  I was in a meek surrender and agreed to do whatever it takes.  Next 2 days were spent oscillating between home and physio therapy center. The medicines did their own thing. At end of the day 2 , she examined my back . I had healed completely and was cleared to take off.

I was on my way to solo travel to mystic Himalayas, totally happy of having gone beyond my basic belief to do a pragmatic thing.

Spine freezes over

July 2015, Pune : A needling pain rose up my spine, as I braked my car pulling up the parking ramp. As I turned off the ignition and took the keys out in my hand. I was still assessing the state of my back. I unlocked the door and tried to turn right, but found my torso frozen. My knee won’t come up without me pulling it up with both hands. This was an abject state of health which had come at the worst time.

Backpain

2 days from now, is my ticket to Chandigarh, my gateway to glacial mountain in Dharamshala, Himalayas. This is the trip, which had always eluded me and the one, my heart most desired.  Here I was, desirous of a treacherous trek when I was struggling even for basic body movement.

12 yrs ago, all alone in a hot and humid room at Bathinda, I had just finished reading “The razor’s edge” by Somerset Maugham. It’s a story of Larry Darrell, an American pilot traumatized by his experiences in World War I, who sets off in search of some transcendent meaning in his life.  Larry travels to India and takes a no cash trip to Himalayan forest and tries to survive on whatever he could get without spending money. I was inspired, I wanted to do something similar and being in India, I will only have to fly a few hours to do it.

I had made up my mind to go exploring the mountains immediately after quitting Air Force.  This, however was not destined to happen. On the day , I hung my uniform,  I didn’t have a job, had got married an year ago and was expecting my first child.  Life had planned an adventure of different kind for me then.

July 2015, this time, the setting was perfect. Between a job switch, I had planned a 15 day interval and I was absolutely sure, nothing would come between I and this experience.

Here I was, lying on my back on a hard floor, struggling with the pain which could possibly snatch my dream trip away..

Continued in my next post  ‘Naturalist bows down”

The naked truth of 7% GDP-How Modi fooled the FOOLS

#DeModiapa  or note ban  has been one of the biggest folly of Feku but come UP elections and he had to fool the middle class to believe that All is well with his shit..

To bring credibility to his idiocy he is adept at making use of holy cows.

First he hid behind army to claim success of fake #Furgical Strike. He has no evidence or facts to show what was done or not done.

Now, he has  tried to use the Central Statistical Organization ( CSO) to put sand over his shit..  So how did he manage to fudge the GDP growth data ? Read on as I try to pull his pants down to expose the statistical fraud.

1. 45% of Indian Economy in unorganized ( Read road side shops, low wage workers, village trade, non taxable trade etc)

2. CSO doesnt measure informal economy directly but makes assumptions to gauge its value. This is done by approximating it as a fraction of Organized economy i.e 81.818% of organized economy.

3. Rural economy was worst affected by #DeModiapa as these folks didnt get paid. Estimates tell, it shrunk by 20 to 30%

4. Through his Stooge minister Sadananda Gauda,  Modi asked the CSO to continue to use the same assumption, thus showing no decline in unorganized sector. // This is the ghotala source

5. He showed an increase in Govt spending to account for decreased industrial production.

6. In the immediate aftermath of #DeModiapa, gold buying peaked up in markets. The cost of gold skyrocketed from Rs 25,000/ 10g to Rs 65k/ 10g. Apple iPhones were bought in dozens creating all time high sales for Apple in India. Luxury vacations, over seas air tickets were bought. This increased buying was used to show that consumer spending didnt go down..// High spending on gold and shady products ofsetted the low spending on consumer products.

So, now we know what Feku did this summer, just before UP elections, to fool the FOOLS that Demonetization shit doesnt stink.  He did throw some sand on his crap and Bhakts went ahead saying Herculean chootiyapa had no effect.  Yes, it was not crap till you dont remove this layer of sand or pull his kurta up.

kurte-kay-neechay[1]

BhajaKosh – A lexicon for understanding BJP, India’s biggest political party

Many rational Indians find it difficult to understand the madness called BjP. It has now become a cult movement in India just few cms short of Nazism which grew in Germany.  The only difference here is, this cult is more stupider. Most of the illiterate Hindus are by default, sworn slaves of this movement. The narcotic, now also affects a significant proportion of educated dolts who seek more and more of this drug.

bjp-office-lucknow

The lexicon or definition of key term, forms the building block or first step of understanding this cult. While most of the words have been synthesized from terms popular in BIMARU states( Bihar,MP, Rajasthan, UP), there exist a little profanity in this lexicon.

This I think is reasonable as one cant define or understand the act of RAPE without mentioning penis, vagina, thrust, etc. If you get outraged at any stage, please feel free to abandon reading.   Any suggestion to enrich this lexicon is welcome

BhajaPa : n. A union of Bhaja(Pray)+ Chootiyapa .. essentially do stupid acts and pray that something good will happen in the long run.

Feku – Word used to now officially describe  Narendra Modi without any ambiguity. His penchant for braggadocio regarding his achievements has earned him this sobriquet. Derived from the Hindi word (Phenku) which literally means: someone who throws. Usually used for someone who is bullshitting.

Bhakts : These are the folks who have flushed their brains out in commode and got it replaced by program which enjoins them to treat Feku as Prophet or God’s gift to India. Typically, they have low intellect, no logic or argumentation capability. They are very very happy about stupidity of Feku. They have low boiling point and can turn violent on any one who questions their Prophet. They have militant ideologies slightly less than ISIS and believe strongly in extra judicial killings  example Dadri, Bhopal encounters,

BjPigs : The karyakartas (workers)  of BJP who have undeservingly hogged power. Derived from Pigs of literary classic George Orwell novel Animal Farm where Pigs rule the animal farm after ousting the torturing human owner and thereafter meet out a even bigger torture to animals who brought them on power

Modi – n. (1) Maniac  Obsessed (with)  Death- causing Instincts : Example : Hitler, Stalin,

(2) Massive Obsession ( With) Damaging Ideas : Example Tughluq,  Demonetization etc.

Modiapa – An act of conducting chootiyapa which damages the country or causes deaths of people, employment or sanity.

ModiFied : n.  A transformation of an ordinary sane human being to become a sucker of deaths, genocide, ugly ideas and singing panegyric for the Prophet of newly adopted cult called Bhajapa

BjPimps : The bhadwas (Pimps) who try to bring ordinary gullible folks into its Bhajapa fold by invoking Hinduism superiority ( Nazism like)  or to vote for it

BhajaPaads : The gas BJP propagandists spread to defend Modiapa or Modi. Example: Demonetization has ended terror,  BjP is working  to loot the corrupt and give that money to poor.

BhanGis :  The Bhajapias ( Official party members) who are also Sanghis ( RSS wrokers). It sounds like Bhangees( The people who clean turds/toilets)  but no correlation with that noble job. BhanGis are RSS nominees for various party, govt or political positions. The dismissed governor of Meghalaya V Shanmugham was a BhanGi.. and so are Nitin Gadkari, Modi, Rajnath, Parrikar,  etc

Bhajapias : The union of Bhajapa+ Chootiyas( Dolts)  whose primary trait is to defend  every shit Bhajapa does .example Sambit Patra

BhajaPandu :  Union of Bhajapia + Gaandu . One who lends his ass to MODI, enjoys                        the sodomy very much and makes a public admission of the pleasure of that. Essentially, thinks that a sodomy from their Prophet cures his constipation. Example : When paying Rs 250 as cess and tax on a restaurant bill of Rs 750/= claims he is doing Desh seva.. but goes to office and submits fake rent receipts or medical bills to avoid paying legitimate income tax. Also , the same BhajaPandu buys most of his things without bill to avoid paying taxes

BhajaPani : n.  A union of Bhajapa + ChaiPani ( Bribe) + Surnames ending with “ani “, usually,  crooked business persons/entities  who thrive in business by bribing Bjpigs. Example Adani, Ambani etc.

BhaJang :n   A union of Bhajapa +Bhujang (snake)  usually  a vitriolic asshole who spews venom whenever he opens his her mouth making the environment poisonous example Rithambra, Sakshi Maharaj, Uma Bharati etc

BhaJamiya :n  A union of Bhajapia and Chhamiya : Typically an obnoxious female with very fat buttocks which she shakes in vulgar dance.. Example : Find her out .

BhajVaada n:  A union of Bhajapa + Vaada ( promise) also takes roots from Farzi-vaada aur fraud/ false practices. It often refers to to the fake promises BjPigs use to fool hoi- polloi to come to power or keep them in power. Example : Fake Surgical strike , Fake war against corruption, Fake promise to give 16 lakhs ( U$ 220K approx) in every account, Ram mandir banayenge..

BhajoPia : n.  An imaginary but unrealistic and stupid utopia imagined by Bhajapias where all rivers are interlinked, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tibet are part of India, Entire economy is cashless, India becomes Hindu rashtra and Golwalkar becomes the father of the nation.

BhejaPhrenia  n. A disease where an afflicted person, typically a Bhajapia loses the coherence between thoughts, actions and logic. Example talks about large denomination of cash ( 500 and 1000) causing illicit economy and comes up with even larger denomination of notes viz 2000/=

BhajaPaploo : n  A shameless and incompetent replacement(Usually a Sanghi ) for an able professional at an exalted position who  disgraces the chair he sits own . A union of Bhajapia+Paploo (Impotent Person) example :  Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Director, Shanmugham ( Sex maniac) disgraced governor of Meghalaya and Arun jaitley, the FM

BhajaKti : n . A  devotional cult borrowed from ugliest, lowest, stupidest and crudest form of Hinduism where land units are maatas or pitas, water bodies are devtas(Gods), heterosexuality is a disease.

This is a WiP and ever evolving lexicon. Please feel free to add more terms, better definitions in the comments. If I find them good, I will include them in the main blog giving you the credit for coining that term.