“What makes Apple Music so un-Apple is the total disregard for user experience in many areas of the service. On iOS, it’s more of tropical storm than a level 5 hurricane– the app is generally gorgeous, laid out in (fairly) logical sections, but still complicated beyond the level of Spotify,” Andrew Ambrosino blogs. “The level 5 is the Mac (and Windows). And the source is easy to spot– iTunes. For Apple Music to win, iTunes as we know it must die. Anyone who uses Mac regularly with Apple Music is clamoring for a standalone Apple Music app, just like on iOS, and just like Photos on OS X.”
“Being a designer, complaining about it wasn’t enough for me. I was curious to see what I could put together, so I took three or four days to work on a concept,” Ambrosino writes. “Right off the bat we’ve got a standalone app. One navigation bar up top, one player down bottom. Content in between.”
“Smoother search with clustering and one source, not two. Why is it that now ‘My Music’ search does result clustering and “Apple Music” search doesn’t?” Ambrosino writes. “‘My Music’ was interesting to design. Apple has had a war on the sidebar for several versions of iTunes and even groups playlists in a separate section. This creates two major issues. First, the discoverability and simplicity of switching from song view, artist view, or a playlist is poor. Second, most users don’t know you can drag a song into a playlist, since the playlist pane only appears when dragging begins. In trying to visually simplify the UI, Apple just made it more complicated.”
“Here, I’ve made a few changes. One is a double-level ‘sidebar’ on the left that provides discoverability, speed, and simplicity both in interaction and in visuals,” Ambrosino writes. “Second point– from this screen, I’m not limited to just my own music.”
Read more, and see all of the screenshots, in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: We’d love to have Ambrosino’s 3-4-day redesign on our Macs which tell you all you need to know about Apple’s current offerings.
Apple, take a step back and look at the iTunes app anew. Look at it as if, say, it was a piece of Microsoft software (it certainly looks and acts like one) and approach it as if you’re about to enter the market. What would Apple do? Laugh at what a POS it is and then get to work creating a coherent, easy-to-use solution.
Just like you did with personal computers, MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets make this experience for end users again. Look at what Apple did with non-linear editing via iMovie. You made something very complex into something simple, understandable, and usable for everyone. Reinvent. Simplify. Delight us. Surprise us. That’s why you get the big money.
Give “iTunes” to another Apple team, or teams, or even bring in some outside talent, and see what their fresh eyes might imagine.
And, as we wrote on July 17th:
Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, has shown a great and admirable willingness to cannibalize themselves. They obliterated their iPod business with the iPhone, for one example. But, when it comes to iTunes, they seem paralyzed by fear of change. Apple paralyzed by fear is not a pretty thing and it doesn’t yield pretty things. It yields hot messes like iTunes.
iTunes screams to be broken up into separate, streamlined apps. It’s been screaming that for years. But Apple seems to be scared silly to do so — perhaps 800+ million credit cards have something to do with it — so they’ve tinkered around the edges, making questionable tweaks here an there and bolting on even more bloat.
Grow a pair, Apple, and do what needs to be done already.
The tragedy of iTunes: Nothing ‘just works’ – July 28, 2015
Dear Apple, please go thermonuclear on iTunes – July 28, 2015
Marco Arment: iTunes is a toxic hellstew – July 27, 2015
Jim Dalrymple: I got (most of) my music back; Apple working to fix Apple Music issues shortly – July 26, 2015
Jim Dalrymple: Apple Music is a nightmare, and I’m done with it – July 23, 2015
Apple’s iTunes: Whatever happened to ‘It Just Works? – July 17, 2015
The iTunes Report: Still a mess – July 14, 2015
Apple releases iTunes 12.2.1, fixes iTunes Match issues – July 13, 2015
Apple Music, both on iOS and OS X, is an embarrassing and confusing mess – July 10, 2015
iTunes 12.2 is mangling network-shared libraries – July 6, 2015
Serious iTunes Match issues for some users ahead of Apple Music launch – June 26, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015