Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wish List - A Better App Store

Why is the App Store the most poorly-designed app on my iPad?

Among the problems:

No back button - I follow a link to an app from a web page. While in the store, I notice that I have updates, so without thinking I switch to the update screen. Crap! Now I have to go back to the web browser and click the link again to get back to the app I was checking out. This and a dozen other common scenarios would be far less annoying with a simple back button.

100,000 apps, 20 categories - Browsing by category is useless when there are tens of thousands of apps in each category, and no subcategories to divide them! I understand that when the app store launched on the iPhone, they had no idea what a runaway success it would be and these categories were probably sufficient for a while. But by the time the iPad launched, and certainly by a year later, they should have figured this out. I go into Education and the college economics study guides are right next to the ABCs apps! No subcategories for age/grade level or subject. What's even stranger is that games do have subcategories listed once you're on the game's page.... But this information is not used at all in the app store itself.

Limited and inconsistent sorting and filtering - Once you're in one of those categories with tens of thousands of apps, you get three options: sort by release date, name, or popularity. (Unless you're in the Games category; then your choices are only Featured or Release Date.) So if a really great app whose name starts with W was released several months ago and never caught on, it probably ever will because no one will ever see it. If you search, you can't sort but you can filter by paid/free, customer rating, and more. Why can't you sort within those filtered results? Why can't you filter within a category browse? Who knows! I guess that would just make it too easy to find what you want.

Leaving the app to download - This is just nonsensical. Every time you download an app - or even an update to an existing app - you're pushed out of the store. Because it is simply VITAL that you view the little "waiting" icon, amirite? And nobody wants to buy more than one app at a time!

Stupid Genius - I have yet to see the Genius recommend an app I actually want. Some of the recommendations seem totally random, unrelated to the app they're based on.

No zooming - As with their calendar app, Apple somehow completely forgot about those great multitouch gestures that they pioneered when designing the app store. No swiping between apps isn't such a problem, but no zoom? When the text is fairly tiny and the screenshots are miniscule?

The app store is both a major revenue stream in itself an a main driver of the popularity of iOS devices - you would think that Apple would want to make it as easy as possible to find and buy the apps you want. And yet it suffers from such basic usability problems that it seems to have been designed by a summer intern rather than Apple's famous software design team.

Did I miss your biggest app store pet peeve?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Totally agree with all of this! The app store really does annoy the hell out of me particularly on the iPad. Some of the points apply to iPhone as well, such as kicking you to the home screen every time.

    My biggest annoyance.... You've scrolled through page upon page of apps under a category, you accidentally hit an app, it takes you to the page, so you hit back, and it takes you back to the very first page! Infuriating!

  2. just got my ipad 2 couple of days ago and i also agree! the app store for ipad is rubbish! says too by a few friends of mine who tried it out. it made them change the way they saw the ipads. apple, it's your downfall if you still do not change this!