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Thanks for the UX

stevec October 6, 2011

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Today I was awakened by my iPhone playing music from a radio station 200 miles away. So far today, I’ve used my iPhone to interact with twitter, send and receive texts, take phone calls, check stock prices, check the location of meetings, read news, and probably some other things I can’t remember. I also built a keynote presentation on my MacBook Pro and used my iPad to record notes in a meeting.

I also heard that Steve Jobs died.

It’s hard to measure the impact Jobs and Apple have had on my life as a consumer. It’s even harder to measure the impact he made on me and countless others as members of the software development community. One quick story illustrates this. Back in 2005 or 2006 a friend and I were discussing how much we loved our iPods. The style was certainly part of the allure, but the intuitive user experience was truly what we loved. I remember saying I wish they would add the phone functions in my Treo to the iPod. My friend mentioned that it would be almost impossible to be successful with that approach and the end result would likely be “clunky”.

Of course, a short time later the iPhone was released. What’s the opposite of clunky? Streamlined, smooth, sleek, effortless. I remember thinking the thing actually anticipates my needs. Beyond a hugely successful consumer item, the iPhone was an example of awesome user experience. Jobs was not satisfied with the merely good. It had to be awesome.

Often in the software business we settle for average, but we know good can get in the way of great. We should aspire to a higher goal. There’s plenty of average (and more bad) user experiences out there. So for now, I will take a moment and say Thank You. Thank you Steve Jobs for making an awesome impact on my life. May I in some way, in my work at ACS Technologies, bring “awesome” to others.

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