Alexa, Clean Up Your Smart Home UI
Richard Gunther

Several updates later and—surprise—Smart Home configuration in the Alexa app is still a disaster. The latest incarnation replaces sortable lists with unsortable, seemingly infinitely scrolling views of nearly identical tiles; all but eliminates the ability for you to remove old, errant device entries; and introduces a much-needed, but unreasonably buggy “routines” feature.

Every time Amazon updates this app, I cringe and shake my head in frustration and disbelief. How do they manage to make the experience worse with every release? It suffers from bad design, bad workflow, and an overall bad experience—not to mention so many bugs. How is it that I can open the app and find a handful of problems after just poking around for just a few minutes? Does Amazon not test this stuff with real-world scenarios? Sure, I have many more connected nodes in my home than most consumers, but they need to account for that use case. They need to design an experience that scales.

I’m happy to see Amazon building out new features on the platform to support more advanced smart home control and automation, but this team desperately needs to focus on improving the app experience before it gets any worse. While they’ve rolled out numerous new features, they’ve so far only addressed five of the problems I mentioned above (two of them by entirely eliminating the ability to sort in different views).