What the iPhone says about user experience

Summary:It turns out the iPhone is pretty damn popular. Those of us following the digeratiy scene could probably have told the analysts that but even these numbers are impressive.

It turns out the iPhone is pretty damn popular. Those of us following the digeratiy scene could probably have told the analysts that but even these numbers are impressive. 6.892 million iPhones sold in the quarter for a total of 12.992 million and more importantly, it gave Apple a revenue boost to the tune of $806 million. Not chump change by any stretch. And what made iPhone arguably the greatest gadget of a generation? The user experience.

Sure the multi-touch stuff is great, and it adds, but the iPhone is a nearly flawless device from the silicon to the software. It's exactly what most people want in a phone and it helped show that the vision of "one device that does almost everything" was actually possible. Some of that is good hardware engineering, but largely it's due to software and how that software links all the pieces. Look at how easy it is to sync the iPhone with your music, photos, or applications. And how easy it is to purchase those things. That's good software design.

When you nail the user experience, you go mainstream and you make a lot of money. Web 2.0 has given us a ton of great building blocks. Social networking, the web as a delivery mechanism, real time collaboration, the cloud - all of those things really started becoming realities during the Web 2.0 boom. So from a technology standpoint, we've established a good baseline. But in order to really make a difference you've got to put a better experience on it. That's essentially the promise of rich Internet applications. And as more and more companies pour money and resources into design, you're going to start seeing real, tangible dividends in terms of user adoption and revenue.

Web 2.0 came along and turned software on its head. The software business is having to rethink how it does things. And as part of that transformation, design and experience are taking center stage. With the plethora of design-centric software development platforms out there, it's never been more fun and interesting to build software. It's one reason why I'm excited about RIAs and also why it's great to see the iPhone do so well. If you put the design time in, you are going to be more successful. Keep that in mind as you're looking to build the new generation of software.

Topics: iPhone, Browser, IT Employment, Mobility, Software

About

Ryan Stewart holds an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is now a Rich Internet Application developer and industry analyst. After graduating from Penn, he spent two years developing applications for the Wharton School and pushing the idea of the web as a platform for learning. Ryan now lives in Seattle with his wife... Full Bio

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