PhraseExpress – Product Review 6

Attribute #1. Delivers on a singular value proposition in a world-class way (purpose): Grade – A+
PhraseExpress exists to make it easy for you to replace oft-used phrases with a couple of keystrokes. I use it to replace phrases that I use a lot – e.g. “please find attached,” “hope you are doing well,” “looking forward to,” “alearningaday,” my email address, etc.

It saves me a ton of time and has never caused problems. Definite A+

Attribute #2. Simple, intuitive, and anticipates needs (design): Grade – B
I don’t find PhraseExpress’ design to be simple or intuitive. 3 areas where it just over complicates things –
1. Clicking the icon on my taskbar doesn’t open the application. It opens a bunch of sub menus. I need to right click -> Edit phrases to open up the application.
2. Right clicking the left hand side of the image above (i.e. where the phrases are stored) gives rise to 5 options – to create a new folder/phrase/bitmap/counter variable/separator. Maybe PhraseExpress’ users are largely power users who understand what all of this means. But, I somehow doubt it. It feels a lot like feature creep.
3. The right hand side is, again, anything but simple. I would scrap this and start all over again to make things simpler.

The only place where PhraseExpress scores high is that it notices spelling errors wherever I type and helps auto correct. But, thanks to bad design, this is only a B.

Attribute #3. Exceeds expectations (customer love): Grade – B
It does what it is supposed to. Solid B here.

Attribute #4. Emotionally resonates (feel): Grade – C
No emotional resonance. I don’t find that to be disappointing as I don’t expect any better.

However, the product keeps popping up with these massive alerts asking me to upgrade to their latest version. Now, I’m really glad their product team is shipping all these upgrades. But, it is text expansion software for god’s sake. I wish there was an easy way to turn the updates off. Sadly, I haven’t found any. And, as a result, the annoying updates cause negative emotional resonance.

Attribute #5. Changes the user’s life for the better (impact): Grade – A
Definitely positive impact.

Overall Rating: B
PhraseExpress is an example of a product that delivers on its purpose well but fails on the user interface. It feels like a classic case of feature creep with way more options than necessary.

But, that said, I still use it and I’d still recommend it. And, I think that speaks to the power of a product delivering on a single value proposition in a world class way.