So normally I don't blog about my interactions with my customers. I get a mail or two every now and again asking for help, clarification, etc on using Webmail++. These people usually come with a pretty open mind and are earnestly seeking help with a product they spent hard-earned money for. I would think I do a pretty good job of not only being prompt in my replies, but taking their issues seriously. If there's one thing I have learned form my day job, it is that good customer service can go a long way in establishing long-lasting relationships.
Out of the blue late yesterday evening I received an email. The name has been redacted to protect the insane:
I have notified Apple that you're application does not support OWA, but merely passes a link to the native OWA interface. I think your advertising is misleading and I'll continue to pursue this with Apple until you application is removed from the store.
Naturally, I am little alarmed at this, so I wrote back:
Thanks for contacting me!
I'm sorry you feel that way. In what manner do you feel that I am being misleading?
A few minutes later I get a reply:
It is quite obvious that you are advertising an app that provided an "iPad friendly" interface to e-mail. By stating the OWA is supported, you imply that the "iPad friendly" interface also applies to OWA.
I think this is fairly obvious.
And I think that that was quite clear in my first e-mail.
The fact that your response was just a patronizing "oh, I don't think I'm misleading you..." is just going to ensure that I continue to pursue this with Apple.
I fully expect you to send a patronizing "Oh, I'm sorry you feel that way.." e-mail.
But I will have your app removed from the iTunes store.
In that moment I am hearing his voice, something along the lines of Dr. Claw, but in all seriousness, I was absolutely astounded. Usually people try to seek some sort of resolution instead of shaking their fist at me, but I also felt that my honor was being questioned. Everything I put on the App Store is done in good faith, so I guess it hurts me a bit to have someone outright question my motives. At any rate, I responded back:
The enhancements to OWA on iPad are a little more subtle compared to the changes on iPhone. But they are nonetheless there. Here are a few screenshots that compare Webmail++ when the OWA Interface is enabled and when it is not:
With OWA Interface:
You'll notice here that logging in is much easier because it is automatically zoomed in and the button is much larger, too, making it easier to log in.
Here are some samples of mail messages:
With OWA Interface enabled:
Here's a series of screenshots of your mail list:
With OWA Interface enabled:
In the latter screens, I am removing a lot of white space so that your fingers can more precisely tap on the messages you are most interested in. Without the improvements, it is very easy to 'fat-finger' the wrong message. On iPhone the difference is even more dramatic:
I had considered displaying them in a similar manner on iPad, but scrolling became a pain and decided that a subtle enlarging was sufficient for the interface to become touch friendly. Just to give a bit of perspective, the checkboxes there on iPhone are just the right size for a thumb to easily press.
Despite your feelings to the contrary, I have many happy users who find great utility in my application. If you have some specific suggestions on how you think the interface could be improved, I definitely would like to hear that. I am currently making additional enhancements to the app right now, including push notification integration and printing, as well as other fine tuning with the enhanced OWA interface.
If I sound a bit defensive, it's because I take this stuff really seriously. My modis operandi is to make the best experience possible for us poor schlums who have to access their corporate mail through the crumby interface Microsoft gives us.
After I sent this mail I didn't hear anything back, but it's still got me a bit worked up. Grrr...
EDIT 12 MAY 2011, 7:22:53AM
Looks like he's back with a vengeance in the App Store:
The app claims to support Outlook Web Access, but "support" just means that it just points you to the native OWA interface.
I've contacted Apple and am having them look at removing this application and refunding my money. This is not just a waste of money, it's fraud.
Haters gonna hate.