HTC details “radical shift in user experience design” in Sense 5

Daniel Bader

March 1, 2013 6:53 pm

htconelowres-1HTC is about to unleash its biggest update to Sense since its introduction in 2009. According to User Experience Director, Drew Bamford, after extensive consumer the company discovered several important user patterns that influenced its design choices in Sense 5.

First, most people don’t use widgets; they tend to leave those pre-installed in place, and fewer than 10% of users install new ones, even when the app advertises their presence. Next, most people don’t differentiate between widgets and apps (which is likely why widgets aren’t used — they’d rather get the full functionality of the app). Lastly, and this one I’ll quote directly, “Most of you don’t modify your home screens much. In fact, after the first month of use, approximately 80% of you don’t change your home screens any more.”

I’ve seen this behaviour myself: many friends who have purchased a new Galaxy S III or One X don’t even remove the stock icons from their home screens, never mind alter the placement of widgets. They tend to use the app drawer, time and time again, to access familiar apps. I’m not saying this applies to everyone, but certainly a good cross-section of the Android community.

Sense 5 was designed to be usable out of the box, and to be accessible to smartphone novices in ways that iOS is considered simple to master. Bamford also figured that legacy ways of communicating with our home screens — icons on a grid — are antiquated. Instead, BlinkFeed focuses on providing users with quick-access content, from Twitter, Facebook and the web, that can be glanced over or ignored at will. The regular home screen experience is still there, but it’s no longer front and centre.

He also touches on peoples’ tendencies to “huddle around the phone to hear music or videos,” which inspired BoomSound. The dual user-facing speakers on the front are not only louder but prevent distortion at higher volumes. Same goes for the dual microphones, which we hope stay true to their word.

Lastly, Bamford touches on the camera experience, centred around Ultrapixels and Zoe. While we know that the One takes great photos, it has yet to be seen whether it in fact takes better photos than the leading smartphones on the market.

The HTC One is already up for pre-order at Rogers, and should be available on Rogers, Bell, Virgin and TELUS by the end of March.

Source: HTC Blog
Via: Android Central

  • Pessimist

    What? Who doesn’t use widgets? That’s absurd. I have like 15 widgets going.

    • Mexico Ron

      So much for the theory that people buy android to tinker, because they can customize it or because of widgets. Sheep get sold a line and they believe it. Similar to Samsung convincing people to use surplus tablets as phones and only then selling out of them.

    • Pahech

      How is that going against the customization element? Most people do their bulk of customization (or lack thereof) when they get their phone, gets it how they like it, and don’t really change it afterwards.

      Tinkerers still get an Android to tinker. Just because you don’t mess around with it doesn’t mean the option isn’t there.

      Or are you the type that bought into Apple’s ecosystem because you actually went through the thousands and thousands of applications individually? Or do you just use those few everyday?

  • Raymon

    If it’s not an iPhone, why would I waste my money…? :-/

    • Comment Master

      You are a Bag of S H I T

  • Felix

    OK, so. What’s the scoop on multitasking with it? Can it?

  • Michael

    This article says ” BlinkFeed focuses on providing users with quick-access content, from Twitter, Facebook and the web, that can be glanced over or ignored at will.” Windows Phone OS does the same thing, Blinkfeed was designed to mimic Windows Phone Live Tiles, both in design and implementation.

    Who would’ve thought Android would look like Windows Phone, guess they saw the beauty and productivity of Windows Phone Live Tiles, as they say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  • kenypowa

    Let’s put it this way. HTC’s “radical shift thinking” should include: not letting Sense holding back software updates. The hardware of many older phones is perfectly capable of running latest Jellybean, except they don’t get the update because Sense (being a terminal cancer as it is everywhere in the Android OS) is holding back.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I’d like to point out Samsung Galaxy S2, announced more than 2 years ago at MWC, is getting 4.1.2 update where as HTC phones, many of them released in late 2011 that has better hardware specs, don’t see any Jellybean update. Oh, HTC One X, and One S, the super flagship phone from 2012, only get 4.1.1.

    Dear HTC, stop spending all your energy on all the crappy phones you are releasing, and focusing on updating your top phones to the latest Android.

  • Keith

    I guess HTC’s freefall wasn’t fast enough as it was. That looks bloody awful.

  • Tom

    Wow, lots of negativity towards Sense 5. I think it looks great and I agree with much of what they said – for ordinary users, not power users.

    So, I think it sounds great and that the biggest issue they will face is that most ordinary users haven’t heard of HTC.

  • stylinred

    looks like Metro UI streamlined even more

    I guess that’s why HTC decided to make Windows Phones’ to cop some ideas

  • Red the Dog

    I hope I have the choice not to update. I like my One X+ with icons in a grid thank you. I found with my iphone everytime I ‘upgraded’ the OS the phone would get slower.

  • KID ANDROID

    I don’t know where Sense 5 looks at all like windows? It doesn’t, windows is boring as hell. Sense 5 looks great and if anything it mimics flip board which is my favorite app & a must have for me. HTC has made a true gem with the HTC ONE, & if I didn’t already have the Galaxy Note 2 I’d be snatching the ONE up so fast you’d think I stole it. Samsung has its work cut out for them & I can’t wait to see if they rise to the occasion with the Galaxy S4.

    • stylinred

      It’s the metro ui that microsoft pioneered except unlike microsoft websites and htc took it 1 step further and took the monotone tiles out and replaced it with pictures

      imo it looks better than WP8 (i find that boring) however it is what it is

  • fandroid

    Its funny, Android jelly with Sense 5 and a side of Apple patent with Microsoft and blackberries. HTC ONE ohmy is that tasty…is it

  • williamworlde

    Hmmm….. Interesting article, and true. I like that HTC is reaching us on yet another Marketing level: We always want to have multiple options/features available to us, but not necessarily do we use them. Now HTC seems to be making the features even easier to use. Sort of like Windows 8 with its “radical new concept” that “everybody” hates. Hmmm….. Interesting indeed.

  • williamworlde

    Hmmm….. Interesting article, and true. I like that HTC is reaching us on yet another Marketing level: We always want to have multiple options/features available to us, but not necessarily do we use them. Now HTC seems to be making the features even easier to use. Sort of like Windows 8 with its “radical new concept” that “everybody” hates. Hmmm….. Interesting indeed…

  • fnair

    If a lot of people are too stupid/lazy to setup their home screens with icons and widgets and actually go digging in the app drawer everytime they want to launch an app, they are likely not going to setup the Blinkfeed and still go digging…

  • S2556

    I Don’t like what HTC did with sense 5. Maybe light smartphone users and the majority of the general public don’t use too many widgets (But many still do). However the power users NEED them. It brings so much more applications utilities and information at your finger tips on the home screen which is a necessity to any android power user.

    I understand why HTC is going after the mass market but pushing the power users to use android your way when it would hinder the phones ability is NOT the way to do it. If it had an unlocked bootloader it wouldn’t matter because then I could put AOKP on it or something and just have HTCs hardware. However HTC doesn’t like those options apparently. I want to give HTC a chance but they wont let me!

  • tomatoes11

    The Sense UI is the only UI that NEEDS a widget. The rest like touchwiz has the toggle settings in the notification tray, sense needs the toggle widget. Haha HTC sucks.

  • SC

    I’m sure someone’s going to make a clone of blink for all android devices

  • rspear

    Still tickled pink with my note 2, lol. (Personalized with my own widgets)

  • John

    If fewer than 10% of HTC users install widgets then why is Beautiful Widgets in the top ten best selling apps? I think HTC is totally off with those stat’s… How many Mobilesyrup HTC users never installed or added new widgets to their home screen please reply below!