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A Critique of iTunes Ping

Below are notes from my quick critique of the new iTunes Ping social network. These are in a rough form, but I thought it was important to get this out there so that people can think about and discuss these issues. I think Apple could have caught many of these issues had they done some simple user testing. This was done in a quick and dirty format and I had only briefly looked at iTunes Ping before.

Easy to “follow” someone, but I’m not entirely sure what ‘follow’ means in this context

not easy to tell who I already follow
“ghosted” follow button didn’t appear fast enough
cause user error

artists page button isn’t clear as to where it points
“artist’s iTunes page” would be more clear

Ping navigation on the right is universal but in an awkward place according to the rest of the content
makes it seem like navigation within a particular page itself rather than a universal navigation
maybe because it has page content directly above it

concerts is great, but it is very low on the page
looks like navigation once again, but really isn’t

people is also very low on the page
this is global navigation

no global search that is always persistent, which is important in social networks

no easy search feature for quick finding

recommended follow is way off my musical taste
because it’s not personal to me it is wasted space
makes me not trust the system
apparently the same for every user? (Nina and me)

why can’t I easily find my friends, they should appear in the search results, but do not
couldn’t easily find a friend whom I know users Ping
why not look through my facebook and twitter networks and suggest friends to follow
this would hook me into the Ping system easier and quicker

When searching, I don’t fine much.
Then I want to refine so I click in the search box -> my text disappears 🙁
then there is no easy way to get “home” (besides the global itunes navigation

I can “kill” homepage elements
but they just appear on the right hand side navigation
not what I expected when clicking on the close button

iTunes knows what kind of music I like through my listening habits, my purchase habits, and the genius feature
why can it not find artists I actually like to recommend for me to follow?
could I find friends and artists by city?
is this is way to make local music more local?
why can’t I search for and follow the artists I have in my iTunes library?

I should be able to follow the artist to which I’m currently listening
can I follow dead artists?
for new releases, news, etc?
I couldn’t find popular artists that are in the iTunes universe
I know they exist, so once again I don’t trust this system

Feels very unfinished and lonely

I want better tools for which to edit my profle
WYSIWYG editing for my profile
why can I only chose three generes?
why can’t iTunes pre-populate this for me based on my listening habits
why isn’t there autocomplete of generes
can I use generes as tags to find other people who like this type of music as well?
or search for artists to follow within this genere?

It took me a while to find that I could “like” a song or album
can’t I “like” an artist
what good does this do me?
shouldn’t this be more prominent in order to fill up my profile more?

the right hand navigation is familar in iTunes, but it doesn’t seem to work well with this content
things seem fairly consistent but very sparse
I only found 1 artist to follow, and I don’t listen to that artist all that much
I want to click on the navigation headers like “artists” -> should lead me to a search or filter tool
why can’t I follow tv shows, iTunes U, or movies? -> I want to follow anything that lives within the iTunes universe

Music that I like in my profile
I can’t take out just one album from the smart list, it’s all or nothing
why can’t I add generes or remove generes from this list
this should be drag and drop off to remove album covers

profile isn’t very visually pleasing
Why do I need to put in where I live
it doesn’t seem to be connected to anything else

Why would I use this?
crazy about an artist
how cool am I
find new music from friends that I follow
to get concert information from my favorite artists
deals, exclusives, and offers from artists and iTunes

Have you used iTunes Ping yet? What are your thoughts and reactions to the service. Did you have an aesthetic reaction, an emotional reaction? Etc?

Leave a comment

  1. I see potential but agree with most of everything you said.

    Especially the friend searching, or lack there of.
    I only really saw potential, or got “excited” to see what music my friends were liking, buying, and what concerts they would attend
    But having such a hard time finding friends >:I

    shouldnt be that hard….

    so far Ping is a fail for me