WatchOS 10 Timer app Feedback

Apple’s feedback form has a character limit. My feedback on the watchOS 10 Timer app was triple the limit. So I am making this into a blog post instead. As a software designer, I can attest this is not an effective way of providing feedback. Since I have to edit this down by 2/3rds, I will try to make it more effective. But for my blog audience, you get my unedited emotion. Apologies in advance.

It took 9 revisions to get a decent Timer app in the Apple Watch. What happened in version 10? I myself design software for a living, so I am incredibly hesitant to write messages like these. I understand the challenges behind the scenes—unseen by users—that some times cause changes that are sub optimal. But in this case, I cannot recall a time when a new Apple product was released that took such a massive step backwards in usability.

Every time I visit the app the only visible timers are shown to me randomly, because they are arranged by most recently used. For people who set timers frequently, this essentially means I have to learn the layout every time I open the app.

In watchOS 9, I could designate “favorite” timers. This finally made the app useful. Why did you take it away? My timer I use most frequently could always be at the top! This is good! Why remove the feature?

Siri can name a timer. This is important, especially when cooking and setting multiple timers that run simultaneously. But the app doesn’t allow you to name a timer. I don’t always want to use my voice—what if I am cooking breakfast while on a call for work? Should I announce to my call “Siri set a 4 minute 15 second tea timer”?

Just bringing back the watchOS 9 app would be an instant improvement. But really—it’s a watch. Do better. — I know this isn’t a headliner app, but do you actually usability test major changes like these? If not, you should. You have enough employees to have under NDA to do this even before the public beta. I recall the Safari UI debacle of a few years back. Did you not have a retrospective after that to improve your process?

I am not the only one that noticed. Noted Apple developer Craig Hockenberry published a blog post about the Timer debacle, from a different standpoint.

Please don’t make us wait for a year for fixes to this core element of the Watch for your millions of daily users. Thank you.