iPhone 7 — No Headphone Jack = BASIC UX Fail

Dan Smith
Dan Smith
Mar 28, 2016 · 3 min read

So you may have heard the rumors that the new iPhone 7 will not have a headphone jack. I am fervently praying that those are just rumors because this would pose a whole world of issues to a lot of people and would make life more difficult than it should be. OK, I’m being a little dramatic…1st world problems, right? But in all seriousness, I feel this would be a big UX mistake.

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BASIC UX stands for Beauty, Accessibility, Simplicity, Intuitiveness, and Consistency. These UX principles can be used to test a product’s overall user experience and can help guide developers and designers in an easy to follow way as they move from an idea to a solution. In BASIC UX there is also a balance that is important. For example, one must balance Beauty with Accessibility, Simplicity, and Intuitiveness. If a balance is not found then you are likely to have a less than useful product that is “pretty” to look at. That’s not to say that aesthetics aren’t important when it comes to UX, but like I said, there is a balance.

Products exist to solve real life problems, not to solve their own self-created ones.

Simplicity is a tricky principle to grasp. Usually, people think about flat-minimalist-user-interfaces when someone says “simple design.” But the question that BASIC UX asks about simplicity is “Does it make life easier?” Notice that the subject there is ‘life’ not the ‘product’ or the ‘user interface.’ Products exist to solve real life problems, not to solve their own self-created ones. If the designer loses sight of this then the product will eventually lose touch with ‘real life’ and could possibly create real problems while trying to solve its own.

Sure, no jack means the iPhone 7 can more easily be made waterproof and can probably be made thinner and slicker looking too. And this would also mean that the iPhone itself would be ‘simpler.’ But does it make like easier? No. Because now you have to go back to the 2006’s when jawbones were in everyone’s ears. Back then, that seemed like such a great invention but people gradually started moving back to wired headsets. There are some great Bluetooth headsets out there still, but a majority of people I know and see around still use wired sets. Why? Because it makes like easier! Literally just plug-and-play. No worries about batteries and charging etc.

Apple needs to take a step back and think about this before it moves forward with this design (if that is their plan). Maybe they will also release a self-charging Bluetooth headset that will disrupt the tech world. That would be awesome, but I doubt that will happen. And ‘no headphone jack’ will mean more complexity overall for users.

Simplicity does not mean less for the sake of less or even for the sake of the product. It also doesn’t mean flat design or less functionality. Simplicity is ‘making life easier’. Great products do this with grace and balance.

Check out more about BASIC UX at www.basic-ux.com.

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