Saturday, September 11, 2010

From appertunity: Why do I have Shazam in my iPhone's bottom bar? Incorporating urgency

Here's an article I wrote for the all things iPhone blog -- If you're into iPhones or Container Store type organization, you'll be down. Read the post below, or in its native habitat over at appertunity.

Since the iDawn of the iPhone era, most people have organized their iPhone apps according to frequency of use, loading up their homepages and bottom bars with the apps that they think they will most often need: phone, email, text, Twitter (for the fiends), iPonzi (for the crooks). Like hanging their coat by the door, they think: “I use it a lot, so I want easy access.” But this thought process might not actually be the most effective way to map out your apps (and neither is a color-coded scheme, Katy Perry). Instead, when organizing our apps, we have to think not just about frequency of use, but urgency of use as well.

I have Shazam in my bottom bar. (For those of you in the app cave, Shazam identifies songs that are playing on the radio or in the background and gives you the details) When I showed my friend my bar, without explaining my technique, he said “Buzz, your bottom bar: woof!”.

Here’s the explanation though: although I don’t use Shazam that often, Shazam is one of those apps, which has a very time-sensitive usefulness: when you hear a song that you like on the radio, you have to get Shazam opened and listening before the song ends or is cut off. I have missed out on a lot of songs, by being a couple of seconds late on the “Tag Now”.

So even though I don’t use Shazam as often as I do other apps, I moved Shazam to the bottom bar – a location we all know to have higher rent per sq. ft. than that Upper East Side.

We have to find an equilibrium that incorporates both urgently and frequently used apps, in order to jointly minimize the cost of time-wasted getting to frequently used apps, and value lost from not opening urgent apps fast enough. It is certainly a balance beam, and one that we should all start to tip-toe.

So, here’s what you can do: of the 16 apps on your homepage, reserve at least the bottom four spots for your quick-fire apps – such as Shazam, Camera, Twitter, Bump, iPepperSpray, etc.. I think you’ll find this ratio to be a good starting point.

But what do we do with the frequently urgent apps? Maybe Katy Perry will know


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