I personally really like the idea of the Mac App Store. It’s not an end all-be all solution but let’s look at some of the features of the App Store and discuss why it enhances the UX.
- Aggregation – We used to have to know about the apps we wanted or be subscribed to sites/blogs that talked about apps. Now everyone who has a Mac (assuming it’s up to date) has the apps available to them placed right in front of them in one place. The user’s experience of finding the app they need just got much easier.
- Easy Install – No going through individual forms for each company you purchase an app from any more. You have an Apple account and click that you want to buy the app and (BAM!) it’s installed on your Mac. User’s experience is streamlined.
- Familiarity and Consistency – While this is not true for all Mac users, a lot of them use multiple Apple products (iPad, iPhone, etc.). They already know how to purchase apps for those devices so Apple just made the process the same for getting apps on the Mac.
- Findability – You used to have to search for something like “task list app” and then look around for a while until you found what you thought might fit your needs and even then you didn’t know if it was any good until you actually tried it. Now apps are sorted by their purpose and users can easily find what they need and see other users’ ratings of that product to better determine it’s quality before purchasing.
- Updates – AppFresh did a good job of this but unless you knew about AppFresh it didn’t do anything for you. Mac does a wonderful thing in combining this tracking with the purchasing process through the App Store. Now users are automatically alerted to updates by virtue of the App Store knowing what you purchased. Now your maintenance experience is simplified.
- Trackability – So what happens if your Mac dies or you just buy a new one? Well, since the App Store knows your purchases then you can simply redownload them. Again, maintenance simplified.
I’m curious to see how well it does when it goes live today and if Microsoft follows later this year with the Windows App store.
Let me know your thoughts on the App Store, especially if you test drive it.