Last week was a major milestone for us, marked by the introduction of the new HTC One and a completely redesigned user experience, HTC Sense. Over the last few years we’ve taken an evolutionary approach to extending and refining Sense. That changes with this latest release, which represents our most radical shift in user experience design since introducing Sense in 2009.
After releasing Sense 4 last year, I challenged the team to step back and take a fresh look at the overall customer experience. We interviewed customers for their personal feedback and we became students of human behavior, taking more time than ever to observe how people use their phones today.
During our research, a few consistent patterns emerged:
- Most people don’t differentiate between apps and widgets.
- Widgets aren’t widely used – weather, clock and music are the most used and after that, fewer than 10% of customers use any other widgets.
- 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.
What did we learn? We needed to dramatically reinvent HTC Sense to meet your actual needs.
A New Way to Consume Information
With these three guiding principles in place, we looked closely at how you consume information. Our existing home screen, and frankly any home screen you see on a mobile device, is at least loosely based on the desktop experience originated by Xerox in the 1980’s. It was a useful approach to help people transition their physical work environment to something digital. However, the utility of the desktop model evaporates when you’re serving an entire generation of customers who consume information via Facebook, Twitter and other feeds, as we do in 2013.
We became students of human behavior, taking more time than ever to observe how people use their phones today”
The goal of creating a user experience that supports how most of you consume information, led us to BlinkFeed. Now, every time you power on your new HTC One you’ll see fresh content – whether it is from your friends, your social feeds, or our premier content partners – that is uniquely relevant to you.
Enhanced Audio Experience
Of course the user experience extends beyond software. In our research we observed people huddled around the phone to hear music or videos. So we introduced BoomSound, delivered by two front-facing speakers and a powerful built-in amplifier. Combine this with Beats Audio and you won’t believe the sound that comes from this phone.
Have you ever taken a video clip at a concert only to watch it later and find the sound is completely distorted? To solve this we’ve also added two dual-membrane microphones that deliver distortion-free audio recordings at both high and low volumes.
Redefining the Camera Experience
The ability to capture and share great photos is an inherent part of the phone experience today. Because of this, we felt it was time to step away from the arms race of packing more megapixels into a camera based simply on the argument that ‘bigger is automatically better.’ Nothing could be less true when it comes to your camera, which is why we’ve focused on delivering UltraPixels that let more light in and improve the overall quality of photos taken with your phone. This, along with features like Zoe, make the camera experience in HTC One our best ever, and we’ll share more on it in another upcoming post here.
These are just some of the highlights. We’ve updated Sense to better meet your needs and I know you’ll really enjoy the changes and see how it impacts how you actually use your phone.