Why I Don't Use Siri

Why I Don’t Use Siri (a post from 2012)

I, along with everyone else, was fascinated at the most recent iteration of the iPhone and dreamt of all the cool, life-changing, and even hilarious ways I could use Siri.

I got the iPhone 4S in the mail and was so excited to open it up and Siri (verb) everything. I Siri’d where to eat, asked her (sometimes ridiculous) questions that irritated her and even had her set my alarm for about 2 days. That was about 3 months ago and I haven’t used Siri since. As I was trying to figure out why, I came up with some possible reasons. Well, maybe just one:

  1. I’m lazy. But shouldn’t Siri help my laziness by almost entirely removing the need to actually touch and type on my phone?

Think about how ridiculous that sounds: I’m too lazy to speak commands at my phone.

The more I thought about it though, the more it became evident that while Siri could potentially save me time, the time spent formulating my query in such a way that Siri would understand was the most burdensome part of the process. But that didn’t fully capture it.

Insert, Jakob Nielsen, usability expert.

I stumbled upon this interview with Mr. Nielsen who boils it down to the command line interface. Basically, Siri reverts back to a command line interface where in the old days of interacting with operating systems or software you had to type commands to perform certain tasks.

Side note: Remember MS-DOS? I totally remember having to type in a command to play my favorite old computer golf game, Links 386 Pro, back in the day.

Anyway, this is a pretty significant regression as opposed to what we are all familiar with today in a GUI (graphical user interface) where you can point, click and perform tasks from a set of options or menus.

Here’s Jakob’s point:

“The fact you can say something instead of write it is an advantage particularly for a mobile device say if you’re doing a query. But it brings us back to the command line interface. You have to compose your commands instead of just seeing something that you recognize like an icon without being prompted.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself (and I clearly didn’t). Jakob talks further about the merits of voice recognition in general and the challenge of accuracy as well as the important and reliance on UI as tablets continue to saturate the market. In any event, I’m thankful to Jakob for helping me pinpoint the root of my Siri-avoidance. Which, it seems, is still kind of just me being lazy.

Ryan Black