Software updates are the new Christmas

At the time I am writing this post, we are 3 months away from Christmas. As a child, there were 2 major milestones in my life: Christmas and my birthday; which, luckily, are 6-month spaced. So anything between these 2 milestones was just a filler till this great moment. The moment when I would receive some cool gifts; which to me were mostly videogames.

And why was I so excited? because this was the only way for me to get these videogames I was craving for, since I wasn’t able to afford those by myself.

Of course, not all the gifts I was receiving were that cool. You always have a relative to offer you something you really did not want, that made you think “Seriously, you really thought I would like this kind book???”. But you had to hide that and be all like “Awesome! I’m really looking forward to reading that crap… err.. that book!”

Now that I have a salary, Christmas and my birthday have lost their appeal. I can buy anytime any videogame that I’d really like to try; and my focus actually switched towards things that I definitely cannot afford (Elon Musk, if you read me, I’d really like a Model 3 Tesla for my birthday). But now, there is a new Christmas for me: software updates.

Everytime Apple announces a new OS, I get all nervous and excited; I dream about all the new things my device is gonna be able to do. Actually, I even “over-dream” them: for a reason I am not able to explain, I always tend to think that the next update is gonna turn my old iPhone into the kind of phone you see in the Sci-Fi movies, with a nice hologram projector and all.

And I so-cannot wait that I usually get a developper account so that I can have a taste of the new software before anyone. “Look, I can do that thing that nobody else can do for now! mohahahahaha”.

Unfortunately, just like the not-so-cool-xmas-gift from your uncle, the end result for a major update is very often disappointing: yes there are 2–3 new cool things to do, but instead of being faster and better, my device turns into a Macintosh 1st generation trying to run a 3D game. Which usually ends up making me hate my device (maybe they do that on purpose for me to buy the latest model?!).

Actually, whether it is a major or a small update does not really change the expectation for me. I don’t know for you, but to me, any app update on my iPhone generates a tremendous amount of expectations.

Facebook update? “OMG maybe they changed the whole interface?!”

Snapchat update? “OMG maybe they added a filter to turn me into Tony Stark?!”

Pokemon Go update? “OMG maybe they found a way to make a stable game?!”

Same thing when I turn my Playstation 4 ON, and I see it requires a 3GB download. You cannot imagine how much I can expect from this kind of update: maybe I’ll be able to run a 4K game on my old TV?! The bigger the download, the higher my expectations are.

Unfortunately, most of the times, this kind of update brings anything but disappointment once again; it usually is just an update to fix a security breach, or just some bugs (except for Pokemon Go that liked to introduce more bugs).

I can already hear some of you to tell me that usually, the content of the update is clearly described before you install it. Yes, that’s true, but:

1) who reads that?! (it’s even worse than reading a manual)

2) don’t you like surprises?! Yes right? So why would you read anything when you can actually just experience it and see for yourself?

So, to me, developpers should really think more carefully about their updates and the way they announce them:

  • Updates should never make your device/app worse than before
  • Updates for bug fixes should ALWAYS come with something tangible for the user : a new UI, a new menu, a new feature…. even just changing an icon would bring its lots of joy
  • Updates should from time to time feature some hidden surprises/easter eggs (like, let’s say for instance, a new pokemon that wasn’t announced; or a new snapchat filter that you can access by swiping to the left).

This way, instead of offering me a sad & disappointing Software Christmas, developpers will make of each update a really nice gift Santa Claus would be proud of!

This is a repost from my blog “1 Up my Life”. If you can leave a comment or even just like the post, that would mean the world to me :) Thanks!

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