The most important elements of my life are relationships. My spouse/partner. Kids, parents, siblings. My company, co-workers, project teams, classmates. Community groups that I am part of — churches, school communities, neighborhoods, charities, etc.
It is interesting that my most personal electronic item, my iPhone, does not really provide much support for these relationships. The top level apps are generic actions that work equally well with all my contacts e –mail, texting, calls, scheduling. There is little support for or focus on the most important relationships in my life.
* Why, when I start to compose an email and type “Liz” in the address book, does the mail app suggest all the “Liz”s I have ever known with equal importance, including people I haven’t contacted in 8 years? Why doesn’t my phone know that I mean the Liz in my immediate family?
* Why do I have to click as many times to send a text to my spouse as I do to send a text to a co-worker? Shouldn’t it be super quick to send a text to my spouse?
* Why is it 1000x easier to share my calendar with my co-workers than with my spouse? Part of this is an Exchange back-end problem, but…
* There are 100 apps to try to keep track of where your potentially cheating spouse is, but why are there so few good ones focusing on the positive scenarios? (Glympse:”www.glympse.com” is a good positive tracker, a recent Ignition investment)
* The best way to see my children’s latest photos is to navigate to their facebook page — why aren’t these as easy to see as my photos?
And so on. It ought to be extra-easy to communicate with the closest people in my life — but it is no easier than communicating with some distant friend or business associate. It is easier to play a game on my phone that to communicate with my family.
Android and Windows Phone have much better support than the iPhone, enough to make me consider switching some days. Just being able to pin a contact to my home screen as I can with Android would be a nice first step.
I’d really like an app on my first iPhone page that is my spouse/partner app:
* A thumbnail of him/her
* A count of important items I need to respond to — email, texts, vmails
* quick buttons to call, text, email him/her
* his/her current mood — each of us can quickly set this and it transmits to the other’s phone immediately
* what’s on their/our calendar today and this week
* their photostream from facebook, twitter, their phone, etc
* the latest messages we’ve exchanged
* countdown to birthdays, anniversaries
* where they are right now (ie Glympse functionality)
* honeydo lists — things she/he needs me to do
* and so on. The app probably needs to be very customizable as every relationship is different.
And I’d like something similar, not quite as much info, for my kids, my parents. And maybe key friends or coworkers. Right now, my phone is a distraction from my personal life, rather than a tool that helps me to improve my personal life. For this most personal of technologies, that just seems wrong.