The iPod is by far the most popular music player around but although it's the darling of the audio players and is consistently praised I find a number of things lacking or non-intuitive.
- The most obvious is the power button, or lack thereof. When I first got the iPod and friends tried it out this was always a stumbling block. Holding down a button for several seconds isn't the most natural or intuitive action. It's also not something that you would naturally stumble across. You have to either read about it or have someone show you.
- There are two common modes that people use the iPod. I either want to listen to a shuffled list of music or an ordered list of music. But to get to this menu I have to leave my current location and get into the settings screen. If I'm playing a song and I press the menu button I should get a menu of appropriate actions such as return to song, shuffle list, browse for more songs, rate this song, etc. The current menu design doesn't allow you to create a context and apply changes directly to it.
- The ear-bud design has a lot of problems most notably that the soft covers for the ear-buds keep falling off. This is a different type of user interface but a problem none the less.
- Scrolling long lists is a problem with the scroll-wheel. If you have a list of 10,000 songs it becomes very difficult to use the scroll-wheel. The wheel seem to have some proportional scrolling but it's not done correctly. When you use a mouse and you have a list that goes from the top of the screen to the bottom the amount you need to scroll is maxed out at the height of the screen. On an iPod there is no maximum number of turns you need to make to reach the bottom of the list. If I'm scrolling "fast" I should need to make no more then 4 turns around the wheel to reach the bottom of the list. The motion should feel like opening a combination lock. 1.5 turns to the right, .5 turn to the left, another 3/4 turn to the right and I have my song. With a large music collection it's 15-20 turns to the right.
- Why do I have to "Undock" or "Disconnect" my ipod? This may only be an issue with older iPods but I'm currently presented with a screen that warns me "Do not disconnect." This is silly. I should be able to connect and disconnect at my hearts content. Moreover the iPod shouldn't reboot after I disconnect, it should keep playing from where I left off on my PC. The experience should be seemless.