Inertia, The User Experience, and the Value of "It Just Works"

I am on iPhone now mostly because

  • Windows Phone was abandoned
  • Increasingly, it looks like SDuo is abandoned
  • Android software is a PITA

Case in point: Siri functionality

  • I rely on Outlook/MS365 and MS To Do
  • I set up my iPhone so that my default mail/calendar is my account
  • When I invoke Siri (with hardware, not wake words), whether I ask it to make a call, add an appointment, create a task or a reminder IT JUST DOES IT.
  • Siri’s creations are added to the native Apple apps, and that work just appears in Outlook and MS To Do. IT JUST WORKS.

Pixel Fold

  • I admit being tempted by the hardware
  • Until I try and replicate the simplicity of the Siri activity described above
  • It would take some combination of Zapier, IFTTT, and making my Outlook Calendar a slave to the Google Calendar (including permissions for Google to scan it to teach its AI) to get Google Assistant to do some of what Siri does.
  • Several years ago, Google Assistant was better, but its been deprecated - to “improve our user experience.”

Samsung’s No Better

  • I was temporarily tempted by the Fold, mostly because of the pen
  • However, Bixby solved none of my Android problems, and introduced others with Samsung’s layers of UI.

Message to Microsoft: The KISS Principle is still important

  • Cortana did all these things and you deprecated it; the user experience got worse
  • Your current approach to voice solutions that require users to go into your app to complete tasks
  • This misses the point/promise/possibilities of voice command at the top of the UI like Siri.

If AI enhanced “digital assistants” - or whatever the euphemism is these days - don’t get that right, it’s not an improvement of the user experience IMO.


That should really be

“Message to the TECH UNIVERSE: The KISS Principle is CRITICAL!”

NOT the KISS principle you currently impose on users…


Yeah, I must be one of the rare people who regularly used Cortana on PC. I had it linked to Win-C, and any time I needed to set a reminder I’d just hit Win-C and type “at noon remind me to check TPCR” or something similar, and that’s it.

Not looking forward to trying to find another way to do this. I guess I could talk to Siri, but I don’t love it that the neighboring office would hear every reminder being set up. Maybe I can map Win-C to the ToDo app, I think it can do similar things. Still, why break a perfectly usable feature. :frowning:


I’ve been using Siri for text replies and phone calls, but it still aggravates the HOLY H$LL out of me to ask Siri a question and get the stupid “Look what I found on the Web. Check it out!” instead of answering my question!


That reminds me of a super helpful recent Bing Chat response: “Dunno, why don’t you look it up on the internet?


And this is the AI that is terrifying everyone?


It’s part of the plot - look dumb.


I can do that…pick me… :vb_wavey: :vb_wavey:

1 Like

Being at least somewhat sirious for a moment (sorry couldn’t resist) AI and intelligence is incredibly complex and multifaceted, but spoken language is from what I’ve been told easily one of the most complex things for machine language.

Just think about sarcasm where what could/should be simple data processing isn’t but OTOH is usually understood when humans communicate directly.

I just think of the many shades a word like “seriously” can have when conveyed in context, expression and intonation. It’s one of my daughters favorite words and can be said with contempt or anger when I’m scolding her eg…"Seriously??? " to the same word with very different meaning when someone tells her something that she’s impressed by “seriously ???”

Additionally I’ve been told by those that work in the field that a babies ability to acquire and process language essentially from zero at birth is one of the most remarkable feats of “computing” they know of.

OTOH consider the absolutely amazing progress in computational photography, in the last five years or so. eg the photos from an iPhone X look positively amateur next to those from the iPhone 14 Pro

1 Like

Good one. :laughing:

I guess my larger point is Siri, Cortana on Windows Phone, Google Assistant and Alexa had practical productivity skills. I suspect AI can do more. Now 3 of the 4 are decimated/deprecated.

No one ever made the case why not add features as the software evolved - to take the analogy further, like a child grows from ABCs to writing poetry. It feels like Cortana got sent away to a Siberian orphanage to make way for a new step kid that can earn bigger subscription fees - at the risk of Chucky growing into SkyNet.

1 Like

I have been fascinated by this very thing all over again - my 2.5 year old granddaughter is a marvel of fluency already in language acquisition.

Imagine the money they will make the day they removed the need for a whole generation to memorize and learn something. Whoops they turned on a subscription fee (or worse a charge per usage) for AI.