iOS6 Maps Is An Incredible Gift to UX and Content Professionals

Jared Spool

September 24th, 2012

If you’ve been under a rock for the last week, you might’ve missed that when Apple released iOS6, they changed their Maps application away from using Google’s maps to using something Apple has created. It’s possible you also missed that the shift to their own map data has not made iOS6 users happy.

This isn’t the usual whining about change. It’s apparently a much worse experience. There are blog posts showing the differences and they are stunning. So much so that many folks are considering delaying their upgrades because they value maps too much.

For UX and Content professionals, iOS6 Maps is a gift. Apple has done something for the field of UX without realizing it, and in a big way. They’ve given us a solid example of how high-quality content contributes to a user’s experience, and how, when you reduce the quality, it interferes with that experience.

Before the switch, we didn’t realize how great Google’s mapping system truly was. (As Luke Wroblewski has been pointing out, unless you used an Android phone too, you didn’t realize there was even more quality from Google.) We used it and enjoyed its clarity and accuracy.

However, because of a business desire of Apple to stop using Google’s data, they opted to build their own system. Apple has a lot of resources, but didn’t seem to invest enough in building out the quality of product they’ve become known for.

It’s not the first time Apple has shipped something that wasn’t up to their own standards, and they’ll likely recover in time. But that’s not what I want to focus on here.

Instead, I want to talk about how this change has given us, the community of UX and content professionals, a chance to show the world the contribution of great quality content. I hope to see dozens of presentations in the next year showing this example of why good quality content makes a difference and why it needs solid investment.

Apple has given us a gift. We shouldn’t squander it.

2 Responses to “iOS6 Maps Is An Incredible Gift to UX and Content Professionals”

  1. Toby Elwin Says:

    Before I had an iPad when I heard, “… there’s and app for that”, I thought that must be cool.

    Now that I have an iPad and I need “an app for that”, I think what an incredible nuisance for me to close my browser and go launch, or worse yet, find, download, and then launch, an app. Complete disruption.

    My experience is not disrupted with my Motorola Xoom.

    For all the brilliance Apple brings, particularly in desktop, laptop, and OS, they really make too many things difficult in their iOS.

    Not sure their switch had user experience in mind. It has happened before at Apple (you’re holding the phone wrong). Or is it a constant vigil that needs tending across all UX professional community?

  2. Panayiotis Karabetis Says:

    @Toby When I raved about my Droid having turn-by-turn GPS narrated by a fembot, all my friends with iPhones said “Ah, you can by an app that does that… iPhone’s rule!” Both Android and iOS have their perks, but Android’s maps are the winner by far. I humored another friend by trying his new iOS maps and almost crashed into solid surfaces a few times :)

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