Cross Platform User Experience Inconsistencies: Apple’s Safari

For the past several years, working intimately with multi-platform content providers, like TMZ1 and The Daily2—and as a self-admitted gadget-holic owning a multitude of different devices—I’ve been extremely conscious of inconsistencies between all the cross-platform variants of the content and applications that I interface with daily.

As someone who is product-minded, several of these inconsistencies drive me absolutely mad. In the hopes of someone from one of these companies fixing these inconsistencies, I decided I should start writing these down as blog posts. I’ll be writing a series of these discussing Apple, Google, Twitter, and FlipBoard to name a few. To be clear: I’m a big fan and heavy user of all the products I plan on highlighting in these posts.

Apple’s Safari

I have an iPad and I use Safari on my MacBook Air. Apple very smartly stole took a cue from Google Chrome and made the address bar also be the search field for Safari on OS X; they call it the Unified Smart Search Field:

Safari’s Unified Smart Search Field: Search Google or enter an address

It’s great. I love it and use it daily.

Unfortunately, I also use Safari on my iPad daily. And on iOS, for some reason (even though iOS has been updated more recently than OS X), there is no Unified Smart Search Field:

On iOS, Address Bar & Search are two different and separate things.

Due to the conditioning that I have received from Safari Desktop, I inevitably end up clicking in the Address Bar when on my iPad and trying to type in a search query there. This, of course, doesn’t work and I find myself triply frustrated: frustrated by this inconsistency between these two different versions of Safari, frustrated by having to re-enter whatever I was attempting to type in the Address Bar (I normally don’t catch the mistake until I try to add a space in my search and find no space bar on the ever-changing, depending upon the task iOS keyboard), and frustrated by the fact that no matter how savvy a end user I may be, I still make this mistake. Frustrated. Every. Single. Day.

Fortunately, there’s a Google Chrome Browser app for iOS that I can use now to avoid this. But I don’t. Using Safari on my Desktop and Chrome on my iOS would mean that I’m not using either iCloud or Google Sync effectively. Does Apple want me to dump Safari completely and go all Google Chrome? This inconsistency sure makes it feel that way.

If I did that, I would have better Google Sync across all my iOS devices and my Android phone. Although if I really wanted seamless Google Sync, maybe I should consider ditching all my Apple devices and going Google Android…

Mistake: Features ahead of Frustration

This should be obvious: Frustration isn’t a good thing for end users. It makes them think about ways to leave you and your products behind so that they simply no longer feel frustration. Continued frustration will often eat away at and outweigh any sort of brand loyalty or affinity they have for your product(s).

Sadly, a consistent, non-frustrating but more limited user experience is better than a really nice and highly functional product with amazing new features that has frustrations that the user encounters every single day. While you’re ignoring the parts of your product that frustrate users, your competition, if they’re smart, will be adding features and polish to their less frustrating experience.

Apple shouldn’t have introduced the Unified Smart Search Field until they had it ready for all their platforms. Or they should have quickly added it to iOS. As it stands, they’re letting their size—the fact that they have multiple different teams working on different versions of their product—create inconsistencies between a product that based on engineering teams is most likely seen as very different, but which in our cross-platform multiple-device world is seen by the end user as something that should be as functionally identical as possible.


1website, mobile web, iOS apps, & Television (everyone always seems to forget that TV is a digital platform)

2iPad, iPhone, Android tablet, Android phone, Kindle Fire, Facebook app, and individual web-pages for iPad content that had been flagged as shareable.

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Dear FitBit UPDATE: FITBIT CUSTOMER SUPPORT IS AWESOME

So I had my FitBit One for all of one week. I had it attached to the supplied clip that was attached to my belt yesterday. When I arrived home and went to take it off my belt, I discovered that the actual FitBit One had at some point disappeared from the supplied belt clip.

The belt clip itself is still fully intact and I had observed the FitBit nicely secured in the belt clip for most of the day yesterday, so I have no idea how it would disappear as it did, other than by the supplied belt clip being defective / poorly designed and not really adequate for keeping the FitBit One contained during strenuous activity (especially disconcerting given that my strenuous activity last night was dinner and drinks with friends in celebration of an engagement).

Any chance of a replacement?

Sincerely,

C.K. (note I also submitted this to your support email address; screenshot attached).

UPDATE: FITBIT IS AWESOME!

Dear C.K.,

Thank you for providing us with your information. Your replacement Fitbit One is now being processed. Your confirmation number is ******.

To link your replacement One Tracker to your Fitbit.com profile, please follow the steps below:

1. Open Fitbit Connect.
2. Select “Set Up Device”
3. On the next screen, select “Existing User” and login with the email account you used with your previous One.
4. Once the software is running, and you’ve signed up for or logged into your Fitbit account, it will search for your One.
5. When your One has been found, a 4 digit code will appear on your One’s display, and the Fitbit Connect software will prompt you to enter that number.
6. After entering the number, your One’s information will be connect to Fitbit.com. Connecting to One will take up to 30 seconds.

Once your One is linked to Fitbit.com, you can log into Fitbit.com and go to your Dashboard to see all of your synced data.

Thank you for your time and patience with this. We hope you enjoy your new Fitbit One!