5 Things Apple Should Do to Fix the WWDC app
WWDC 2015 is around the corner. Apple just updated its WWDC iOS app with the conference schedule and over 180 sessions. This conference is one of the most resourceful events for iOS and Mac developers. The sessions are incredible and provide valuable software development insights.
By making the session videos available for streaming in the WWDC iOS app It is clear that Apple wants developers to use them as training materials to learn to build great apps leveraging new technologies and APIs as well as write better code.
However from a training materials point of view something has been missing from this app and is yet to be addressed even in this new release.
One thing I have learned from making apps is to be your first customer and you will see more clearly on what the end user experience should be like. I wonder if Apple engineers actually use this app internally or are simply too busy writing code.
Since there is no other effective way to consume this content (viewing it online is even less user friendly in my opinion), the WWDC mobile app needs to become a developer’s reference guide. Using WWDC videos as study materials imposes a number of basic requirements including: Accessing video sessions on demand quickly, stop when you want to, resume with ease, bookmark and take notes so you can easily come back to the videos later on to review specific areas of interest.
To put things in perspective, the WWDC mobile app currently packs over 400 session videos ranging from 2011 through 2014. It will be well over 500 by June 2015. Navigating through all this content can be cumbersome and often frustrating.
So I have come up with a list of things that Apple should do to make it more user-friendly for developers ahead of WWDC 2015.
1. Favorites should survive upgrades
For the second year in a row after upgrading the WWDC app I lost all my favorite videos. With over 400 sessions this makes it impossible to go back my previous list of favorite videos.
2. Add a Downloaded Tab
It is great that the WWDC app gives you the ability to download videos for offline viewing. However there is no easy way to quickly look at only the list of downloaded videos.
Why do we have to scroll through hundreds of videos every time and visually try to spot the ones that don’t have a cloud icon in the list to figure out which video was downloaded?
3. Add searchable bookmarks and notes so the user can bookmark interesting topics or areas of interest within videos
As you come across interesting topics in the video that you think are worth remembering or revisiting later it would be useful to be able bookmark them on the video timeline and provide the ability to add your own notes or comments.
Making these bookmarks and notes searchable is critical so one can quickly and easily access their references.
4. Add skip 15s, 30s, 60s forward and back buttons to the video player
If you just missed something or something caught your attention and you need to view it again, your only choice currently is to drag your fat finger on the video timeline to skip forward or back, trying to be careful not to go too fast, nor too far and hope to fast forward or rewind just the right amount. This is frustrating. Apple please why don’t you just add a 15s, 30s and 60s Rewind and Forward buttons so that in a single tap we can replay something we just missed or skip ahead?
5. Add speed up button to video player
And last but not least: with over 100 hours of 45–60-min-long session videos every year at WWDC, that’s well over 2 weeks of full time commitment to explore them all. For those who like to learn as much as possible from these videos it would be very helpful to be able to speed up playback by 1.5x or 2x.
These suggestions were submitted to Apple about a year ago but apparently were ignored. This is not rocket science. As a matter of fact many of these features already exist in the iTunes U video player. It seems logical that Apple should either bring some of these functionalities into the WWDC app or make the video sessions also available through iTunes U (it used to be the case) which already provides a better learning experience.