iTunes has issues with Outlook

I had to install iTunes on my computer.

The emphasis is on “had” – meaning I did not have much choice. Apple’s way of handling information is especially inconvenient – in order to see or use sound files on an iPhone, one has to install iTunes (it is possible that other applications might do the same job). If you just add the files in the iPhone, there is no application that can see them there. Amazing logic!

At some point during the installation, soon after the beginning, I got this message:

iTunes

Warning icon

Outlook is currently running on this computer. If you proceed without quitting Outlook, it is highly recommended that you restart Outlook after installation.

OK

After I clicked OK, the installation continued. I got a confirmation screen that iTunes was installed, and that was it; no mentioning of Outlook again.

Problems

  1. The second sentence is too complex – the Hemingway app defines it as very hard to read. Thus, the entire message is difficult to understand.
  2. The message does not state under what conditions users will have to restart Outlook. So there is not enough information for any user to decide whether to quite Outlook now or not.
  3. The developers left a decision to the users; however, the users do not have the information needed to make the decision. Since the only choice the message provides is to click OK, I guess most users will just hit OK – this is what I did. Thus, the message is an unnecessary interruption of the installation process.
  4. The timing of the message seems to be wrong. It appears in the beginning of the installation process. Unless users close their Outlook before hitting OK, it is very likely that by the end of the installation, they would have forgotten about the message.

Fix

Quick and dirty: Do not show.

Design for humans: If there are conditions that may affect how users use the software, give these conditions to users so they can make informed decisions. Provide clear instructions and explicit options. Show the message at the moment in which you want users to act.

29 February 2016 | iTunes

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