What does Apple claim to be about? User experience, right? Apple doesn’t focus on the latest and greatest hardware. Or, the niftiest software tricks of the competition. Instead, Apple focuses on the overall user experience.
If that’s the case, then why does the user experience in the Mac App Store suck?
Yes, it does. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s probably not easy to manage tens of thousands of apps in a single online store. But Apple has been dealing with many millions of songs in the iTunes Store, so the shortcomings are probably not technological in nature.
Here’s a perfect example of where Apple short changes users, and gums up the user experience in favor of app developers.
Go ahead. Search for a category of app on the Mac App Store and use a few keywords while you’re at it. Don’t use more than two search words because the App Store has trouble thinking.
I entered ‘picture frame’ and received a single page of apps, ostensibly sorted by relevance. Relevance is one of four search criteria, the others being Most Popular, Release Date, and Customer Rating. For whatever the reason, Customer Rating and Most Popular are not the same.
Go to the Mac App Store home page (click the Featured icon in the Toolbar) and select Photography from the All Categories drop down list. The App Store will list a page of apps, with an option to See All. Click that and you get many pages of apps, but the only sorting options are Release Date and Name.
Where’s Most Popular and Customer Rating?
So much for a good user experience, huh, Apple? Enter the same word– Photography– into the App Store search field. Does that yield the same results as the Photography option in the pull down menu? Nope. What you get instead are two pages of apps, again sortable by Most Popular, Release Date, Customer Rating, and Relevance.
Relevance? What happened to the few hundred photography apps from the Photography section, Apple? Seriously? Is this any way to run a store? User experience? Why is there not a search and sort button for Most Popular in Photography? Or, Customer Rating in the Productivity category? That one has 18 pages of Mac apps. But a search for ‘productivity’ yields but a single page of apps.
What’s going on?
Apple is shortchanging Mac App Store customers in favor of app developers. How so? By making it more difficult to search for apps by Customer Rating or Most Popular in a specific category. Instead of making it easy for us in the user experience, Apple instead wants us to try new and untried apps, which ends up turning customers into beta testers.
The app search process is no better in the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad apps, and could be described as worse since results for key search words often list songs, albums, podcasts, books, and albums.
Clearly, with the App Stores Apple is not so much about user experience as it is about profit and catering to app developers.