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A few days ago I downloaded and tested a new app that showed up as recommended by Apple on the international App Store. Here is what I found.

Peek makes a great promise with the visual appeal of its user interface. However, it fails to deliver the most basic product promise with a limiting user experience that makes you guess and run into walls more often than it helps you.

For most calendar apps, there are a number of quirks, like tiny fonts and too many elements cramped into space, calendar apps typically have, which makes them not ideally suited for a mobile device with a small display. Peek is much better in this regard, providing a focus on what you are currently looking for, or what you want to do. Unfortunately this is where it’s greatness ends.

Adding an event that spans over a weekend, like a wedding, holidays or a conference? Impossible with Peek. You will have to open each day individually and add it manually.

Peek uses gestures that seem to have been chosen by a lottery system. Patterns you are familiar with, such as swiping an element left or right, or double tapping it to make it accessible, are missing completely. Instead you have to tap and hold an element to make it accessible.

Peek’s designers praise their work as a great user experience. But in fact they went for style over function. They decided to style every user interface element uniquely, abandoning every recommendation, established flow pattern and interface element Apple’s iOS Human Interaction Guidelines provide, so you find yourself tapping and guessing in an attempt to identify what each thing does and what counterpart it represents in a familiar interface.

There are UI designer rookie mistakes, like elements with an action assigned to them and those that look exactly the same, but do nothing when you tap on them. For an example, the location icon looks like the reminder icon. It leads to you tapping blindly around, desperately trying to memorise what does what.

There are two different time selector interfaces, both of which seem to have been designed not by function, but by looks only. They are both very hard to use. In all, this results in a user experience that seems to be driven by a graphic designer’s preferences, rather than user centred design.

Overall, Peek is one of my those apps with a look and neat effects that makes you want to like them. But they are failing at the delivery of the most basic product function, failing to serve as a true help for what you aim to do.

(Photo: Peek Calendar)