Insight from Agora Consultants

A Bad App is still a Bad App

Alternative title would be “Continued Adventures with my iPad”.

As I posted two recently, I have started using an iPad.  It currently sits on our kitchen table, counter or on the couch in the family room.  Great for checking the weather, sports scores, checking (not composing) email etc. 

But I’ve also downloaded a number of applications to see how they work.  And as on any platform, my observation would be “a bad app is still a bad app”. 

Applications that are written by professionals are just that – professional.  They look great, make sense in terms of navigation, they are easy to use and they don’t crash.  Based on usage in our house, the Solitaire application is particularly good.

However, the iPad world is exploding so quickly that it has attracted all manner of application developers and the results are predictably spotty.  I have found that apps written by independents exhibit the classic shortcomings that emerge anytime a platform allows marginal developers to fairly easily create and release products.  You get applications that don’t do what they should, crash randomly (my best possible QA skills have not allowed me to replicate many crashes I’ve encountered) and lack basic functionality.  Many also don’t take advantage of the fundamental strengths of the iPad platform such as the ability to turn the display and zoom and un-zoom sections via touch screen.  Also I’ve found many that were built for iPhone and simply repurposed for iPad by doubling them in size with the resultant pixilation. 

Now for $3.00 I supposed I shouldn’t complain, but the fact is, one bad apple (pun not originally intended, but I kind of like it) can start to spoil the barrel.  First of all, even at $3.00 I want my money back – but that’s not terribly easy to do.  Also, it calls into question the rigour of the QA process at Apple before they would release an app to their store. 

So as someone who runs a company of professional application developers, while I still really like my iPad, it doesn’t really do much without applications, so I find myself appreciating well written applications that much more.

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