the sky floor

Here is the Brutal Truth: You Can’t Make Everyone Happy with Your Product

January 9, 2023

Do you have an Apple TV? If not, here is a quick overview of the product. It is Apple’s version of Amazon Fire, Roku, or many other built-in applications that come on TVs nowadays. You can download apps and watch channels with only an internet connection. There are also games, weather apps, and many other valuable ways to integrate the device into your home. 

In 2015, Apple re-designed the remote for the Apple TV and produced a highly contentious debate about the product’s design. They went from a slender, high-contrast design to a more squat all-black design. Many users complained that the new remote was difficult to use as time passed. The primary complaints were that the uniform color and shape made it impossible to tell which side was up and that the built-in trackpad was too sensitive to swipes. To many, it was an outright failure of Apple’s design ethos: where beauty and simplicity intersect with usability. 

In 2021, Apple finally alleviated the hater’s terrible experiences with a brand new remote. This new remote was like a child of the original remote and the all-black model with a combination touchpad and circle button, more heft but an aluminum case. 

Everyone should now be happy, right? Of course not. I recently researched charging the remotes for my parents and found this juxtaposition on Amazon reviews: 

That wasn’t the only instance of this review dichotomy. To many, the new remote has made the Apple TV experience smoother and less painful. But numerous others have had the exact opposite reaction. 

What is the lesson here? If you create any product or experience, know heading into the work that you will not satisfy everyone! One person’s “worst-ever” feedback may well make someone else quite delighted. As always, the audience matters. You should take feedback seriously but also with a grain of salt – when you try to make something for everyone, it usually ends up watering down the product for its biggest fans. To use websites as an example, Squarespace drives me crazy because I want complete control. Still, it will probably be great for a basic website if you aren’t a professional designer/developer. 

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The other lesson is to consider the other side. We become better creators, consumers, spouses, and friends when we acknowledge a wide range of preferences – even when they aren’t our own. Sure, an opinion on an Apple TV remote won’t alienate you from anyone unless you are friends with a tech reviewer. Still, a little understanding goes a long way in an age where we are polarized over nearly everything. 

There is a vast world of opinions and beliefs – you can hold to yours with integrity and still be understanding of the other!