28 Replies
      Latest reply on Nov 15, 2017 2:22 AM by jabdulrasool
      shhh Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

        In previous versions of the Music and Podcasts App in iOS, the default behaviors enabled the user to very quickly get thier content playing without much effort up front, or maintenence effort.  This was effective for hands-free situations, such as a workout, doing yard work, bicycling, driving, and others.  Hitting play in control center or the App would resume where you left off, and continue through the unplayed content without user intervention. 

         

        When the new Music app arrived a few years ago, the focus on Apple Music as a service changed the behavior, removing some of this functionality entirely, and hiding other parts of it, requiring many actions and visits to unintuitive and unexplained parts of the UI to facilitate playing a playlist of music that is wholly owned and downloaded to the device already.  The shuffle function didn't even appear for the listing for Downloaded Music, so each selected song played once and stopped, without naturally traversing to the next song in the list.  It appeared that the focus on the new music subscription service was so great that the essential job of the Music app—the ones that made it effective especially in the user contexts recieving attention in other areas—was actually severely downgraded, and went from simple and graceful to frustrating, obtuse, and ineffective at just playing the music.  Thankfully, the last revision to the Music app restored enough of what was—if you know where to look for it—to at least get its job back. 

         

        in iOS 11, many of the built-ins have deliberately adopted the style of Apple Music—a vaguely music magazine style presentation which is passable visually but a bit wasteful with premium screenspace on handheld devices, and features a font which lacks the elegence of the previous system font—and with the style, also comes the curious disregard for the basic functionality of the app especially with regard to the features it already had that support new focii currently being discussed and added and extended in other contexts:  particularly hands-free use.

         

        Podcasts now plays a single podcast, then stops.  There is no facility in settings or the app itself to make it play a chain of podcasts.  In order to trigger that podcast, you have to drill down into it.  On the plus side, clicking a podcast episide presents the user with an extended description of the episode, which is nice.  However, doing this is required just to play a single podcast, and it appears that in order to play more than one podcast at a time, for example, on the way to work, biking, working out, driving...the user must select each podcast episode and pop it onto the up next list.  A user who is accustomed to just grabbing his or her phone and getting into the car, hitting play and putting the phone down to commute 1 hour to work is likely going to find themselves fiddling with their phone 3 minutes later, to try to trigger the next unplayed podcast.  Asking Siri to play the next podcast generally fails silently.  The solution that appears to be the intention of the designer is, the user before work must select the podcasts they want to play and add them to Up Next before leaving for work, and then at work before leaving work for the ride home...every single day.

         

        With other areas recieving attention for hands free enhancement, how did the most basic version of it get removed from the most popular apps used in those contexts?  The use cases that made the iPod and the iPhone so useful seem to have had a hit taken out on them by the mob.  I read a preview of the Podcasts app by one of the Apple focused tech sites that said that the Listen Now tab in Podcasts is an upgraded version of the last versions Unplayed tab.  That reviewer must never have used the app.  Having to select each podcast episode, drill in, and select Play is laughably bad, and potentially dangerous.  To add to that, once an episode is complete, the user doesn't even get crickets.  They have to pick up the phone, back out of the played episode to get back to Listen Now, skip over the one they just played, select the next one to drill into it, and press Play.  Hopefully they don't listen to a lot of Spoken Editions, because those are often 2 to 3 minutes long. 

         

        I read the release notes for the betas, fully expecting a message about the podcasts app not being complete, but there wasn't one.  Does the team responsible for this have a design theory they can share with us that clarifies the decisions they've made with these apps lately and helps explain how they are intending they be used? Is the assumption that the user always has the phone screen up to thier face, or that the user should prepare thier podcasts Up Next list twice a day because the Beats guys think this is cute?

        • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
          Just_wayne2305 Level 2 Level 2 (65 points)

          I can't understand why this has happened either.

          Yesterday I set out on a 5hr drive and getting my podcasts to play while I drove was so dangerous I ended up having to wait until I could pull over to get a new episode to play.

          Where once I only had to find the podcast I wanted to listen to and press play to hear one episode after another, now it's a complete joke and I'm thinking about going back to a 3rd party app.

          • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
            KMT Level 9 Level 9 (14,355 points)

                 >because the Beats guys think this is cute?

             

            That. Anything to force adoption and pump up music revenue. iOS 11 is just a milking stool otherwise.

              • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                JasonBracy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                I am hoping that they fix this in later betas. Historically the iTunes Playlist option has always been missing during betas and arrives with the final release or soon after. I think Apple really wants us to start using "Stations" instead of Playlists, but for my use Playlists is much easier for me.

                  • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                    Watotoro Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                    This is true. Still, at this point it’s starting to get frustrating that this feature is missing from the betas so often. I understand that this is a test version of the product but It just is such a basic part of the podcast experience (to the point that several third party apps are built around playlists) that it’s just weird for an app to make it past alpha stage without it.

                • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                  neostryder Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                  They seriously need to add playlists back in.  Why would they take that out?  I have a huge backlog of many different podcasts, and all are carefully organized to add the oldest unplayed episodes to playlists, then a master playlist groups them all together into one and shuffles them for my listening pleasure, but since trying the beta, I've been relegated to listening to audiobooks due to this deficiency.  =/

                  • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                    raiasteme Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                    In the Library tab there is a feature to add a "New Station", which I thought would allow me to basically make a playlist of podcast episodes that I could manually add and reorder as I'd like. I can't do that though... this feature is more akin to creating a radio station based on types of podcasts I'dw ant to group together with a theme of my preference. For example, a "Comedy" channel where I could add podcasts (shows, not episodes) and determine how many recent epsiodes from each show would be automatically added to the station. There are many settings here, but I can't find any combination that would allow me to basically make a playlist of podcast episodes, and then order/reorder as I'd like. This "Station" feature is a use case I don't get, but maybe it's valid for people who regard podcast listening in the mental model of a customized radio station.

                     

                    "Listen Now" could simply be my queue of episodes. And I would be able to Edit > Sort these as I prefer. This would work with the "Play Next", "Play Later" actions in the "•••" menu from any podcast. As it is, the confirmation of "Added to Queue" is confusing... because there is no "Queue" that I can actually find and manage. "Queue" exists obviously... but it doesn't actually present in the UI.

                    • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                      R0shamb0 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                      I agree! Podcasts used to be my favorite commute activity and essentially effortless. Now I struggle with finding the at-a-glance unplayed episodes and arranging them to listen the way I had been able to before. Less customization in Podcasts doesn’t make sense and I think once 11 hits the public, you will find Podcast hosts wondering why they don’t have many people listening anymore.

                      • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                        jormon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                        The fact that they removed the most blindingly obvious use case is driving me off the wall.

                         

                        What are people's favorite replacements?  Spotify?

                        • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                          NvBaren Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                          My replacement? I have just dusted off my iPod Classic for use on my daily commute. Since I am pretty certain no more updates will be issued for this hardware I expect (and hope!) that Podcast playlists, as synchronized to iTunes, will keep working for the foreseeable future.

                          Too bad that Apple is crippling far superior hardware with an unusable bit of UI.

                          • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                            Vitali-Iakovlev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                            +1

                            The inability to create playlists in iOS 11 forced me to find an alternative app. I am learning a second language, so I need to listen to the same episodes several times. Adding episodes to a queue is NOT an adequate alternative to a playlist, because the player keeps removing episodes from the queue once they’ve been played. Overall, bad usability, and bad design on the part of Apple developers. I wonder what logic can there be behind removing much needed functionality.

                            • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                              a.mcintosh Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                              I have also found that with iOS 11 that my headset controls control my music and not my podcasts. In previous iOSs the headset controls would control whatever is playing or had been playing last.

                              • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                ellucian-jkh Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                There is a "play next' to create a queue but you have to go to each item to add (I think)

                                • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                  robmille Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                  I just downloaded overcast and am moving my subscriptions to there.  The new app stinks.  The layout stinks.  Finding my podcasts is near impossible.  There's no auto play next.  IDK how they could've done a worse job on podcasts.  iOS 10 version of podcasts was lighyears ahead of this one just on usability.

                                  • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                    Al2ale Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                    So I’m finding the same issues with an upgrade to the iOS 11. Where and what can be done to get the old system of auto play back???

                                    • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                      Mthorner Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                      Over the last years I tried several Podcast software on iOS and Android. The Apple app was definitely the leader and all others followed. With this iOS 11 release of the software your developers are definitely losing the Apple excellence they used to have. The marketing department decided to make podcasts another audio content of Music. UI design, usability, surprising features - product excellence - are all gone. Something similar happened to iTunes over the last years. From an industry trend setter it became the cashier of a media empire. I already found a better replacement for you new podcast nonsense in your App Store. Unfortunately, I was not yet able to find a new and more intuitive home for all my music. Dear Apple, you are losing your crown.

                                      • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                        kalyk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                        I also really hate the updated Podcasts app and I think about a rollback to IOS10 while it is still possible.

                                        But my watch also updated and downgrading that will probably a bit too much.

                                        Can anyone from Apple confirm that there will be a playlist function in the next version of IOS11?

                                        If not than the Podcasts app, my primary reason to use an iPhone, will not be used anymore and then there is no more reason for not using the Android phone from my work.

                                         

                                        Edit: I found that under Library you can select a podcast and choose to Play or Play Next or Play Later.

                                        After that you see that in the bottom of the screen there is a play option.

                                        When you select this you see the old player part without the old queue/playlist option.

                                        What you don't see is that you can scroll down in that screen.

                                        And then you have what you need!!

                                          • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                            tdrtu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                            Too bad there’s no rating for the Apple apps, otherwise they’d get a lot of 1-star ratings and maybe actually start listening to the users of the app instead of just doing whatever they believe is right. Breaking frequently used features (or switching them off and hiding them where almost no one would go looking for them) is just no way to treat your customers.

                                          • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                            Mr_8o8 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                            completely ruined the app

                                            • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                              September_Skies Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                              I also can't find the Podcast History. This was incredibly helpful for me to go back and find important information in an episode. Hate the new design. So ugly.

                                              • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                davo8888 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                This is REALLY BAD.  The app becomes almost unusable for its most common use case - DRIVING!!

                                                 

                                                Please bring back auto play.

                                                • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                  Tomatoman10 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                  I agree, this app is terrible. I wish I could get back previous version.

                                                  Changes I would like:

                                                  - One Click Playback

                                                  - Play eposides in sequense automatically

                                                  - Add a global settings

                                                  - Add Sort by oldest date

                                                  - Add List view in shows

                                                  - Separate Subscribed and Non-Subscribed shows

                                                  • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                    DC_Louisville Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                    Another thing on the User Experience side ... iOS 11 basically gives you the ability to Add podcast to the Queue and Sort Podcast within the queue. But you cannot remove a podcast from the queue (short of removing the podcast from the library & redownload).

                                                    • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                      ernieoporto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                      Like many things, when they make these choices for the Beats guys, they need to remember to add a switch for the Pro guys to keep the old behavior. Why not just have new episodes drop into the queue if a switch is selected? Programmatically its an automation of the Play Later feature so it's not even new technology that needs to be figured out. Hey, if Siri was so smart, why didn't it notice that's my behavior? Call it Auto-Queue and everyone would be happy, or maybe it needs to be Air Queue for the Beats guys??

                                                       

                                                      Here's a new idea, priorities on the subscribed podcasts? New episodes of Podcast A (priority high) and Podcast B (priority medium) - Podcast A queues first. Also not crazy tech, but the kind of innovation I expected from Apple and do not see.

                                                       

                                                      Here's another crazy one... why isnt there a friggin separate Podcasts app for Mac? I have to load the iTunes behemoth to do what a tiny few MB app can do? C'mon guys... where's the love for the Pro users?!

                                                      • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                        mdkurtz12 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                        I agree entirely with this post and it still applies in the full ios11 release.  It outlines my exact thoughts on these two apps.  Apple, please update podcasts (like you did with music) to at least allow some functionality back in.  Most importantly adding back autoplay and cleaning up the navigation.  It is difficult to navigate down in the weeds to "available episodes" to see which I have listened to.

                                                        • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                          mskogly Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                          I second this, in my eyes the lastest version of the podcast app is broken. Looking for a replacement app.

                                                          • Re: iOS 11 Podcasts App Usability
                                                            jabdulrasool Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                            I guess we all agree on this downgrade in functionality, but I want to add something more to the wishlist: why not have algorithmic podcast suggestions even in the grid or somewhere in the brows area instead of the classical so called "Featured" items?