Fusion Blog

App Backlash: 3 Lessons from 2012’s Apple Maps App


Image Source: Wired.com

Who can forget what some call the “most dangerous flaw” of Apple’s iPhone 5: Apple Maps? In April 2012, Apple introduced the iPhone 5, iOS 6 and the entirely new mapping app, which replaced the Google App available on earlier iPhones. Although Apple senior VP, Scott Forstall described the app as “beautiful,” the general public’s reviews of Apple Maps weren’t so favorable.

So what can we learn from Apple Map’s glitches and negative feedback? The following are three lessons to take away from Apple’s Apple Map fail:

  1. Verify Your Data
    When first released, Apple Maps erased or provided incorrect addresses for well-known landmarks and even failed to provide location data for entire countries. In many cases, this bad data—purchased from TomTom, Yelp, Waze, and other sources—made the app useless, however it does reinforce a lesson about the importance of good data.
  2. Take Advantage of Usability Testing
    In his review of Apple Maps, New York Times writer, David Pogue says the app “may be the most embarrassing, least usable piece of software Apple has ever unleashed.” Mobile usability testing is still an emerging area of user experience testing, but can help prevent flaws that would make the app less beneficial for the end user.
  3. Capitalize on Collaboration
    Reports suggest that Apple decided to create Apple Maps from the ground-up after a dispute with Google over voice-guided directions. However, Apple didn’t have to go it alone after choosing not to work with Google, they could have partnered with Yahoo!, Microsoft, or another existing mobile map vendor. Apple Maps had lots of problems, but sometimes all it takes to see the solution is a different view. Apple’s choice to build it’s own app from scratch cost them opportunities for successful collaboration with multiple perspectives.

SOUND OFF: What lessons have you learned from failed first attempts with a mobile app? When it comes to Apple Maps, what do you think was Apple’s biggest mistake? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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