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.

0 thoughts on “PhraseExpress – Product Review 6

      1. Ah – I missed that. Sorry.

        And, I’m looking forward to the visual overhaul.

        And, thanks so much for the sarcasm on both comments. Great example of how to make a user feel like an idiot. I hope it feels good doling it out..

        ..I’m just not sure how much business sense it makes.

      2. It didn’t at ALL come across that way, Michael.

        Sentences such as “but why bother about better new versions anyway” and a “thanks for the review anyway” feel more intended to making me feel stupid.

        Maybe it wasn’t intended that way. But, that’s how it came across.

      3. Rohan, we have thanked you genuinely for the review. The 2nd sentence was incomplete. Sorry for that. What I actually wanted to ask: Why you are not interested to try out the latest version if you felt shortcomings in the tested version? // We would be happy to learn more about your user interface ideas. Can you send sketches to http://contact.phraseexpress.com ? We give away freeware and it would be nice to hear back from users. // The “bunch of submenus” are actually the phrases you store in PhraseExpress (or the phrases of the optional sample phrase file). The samples are just to demonstrate various features. // To open the program window, double-click the icon (just like Microsoft Outlook). // Please try pressing ALT-SPACE and start typing the phrase you have saved earlier and you wish to paste into the application. // It would also be great if you check out the clipboard manager, the calc-as-you-type feature, the powerful macro language, browser search, text prediction feature, the PhraseExpress Android App, DocumentGenerator, the Outlook Add-In or the desktop menus. Have you tried that you can limit each phrase or phrase folder to specific programs? I am sure if you invest a little bit additional time with the software you will find many useful features that weren’t obvious in the beginning. This is by design; You can start easy with PhraseExpress but it still delivers if you dig deeper. Please also check the documention at http://manual.phraseexpress.com and step-by-step video tutorials at http://www.text-expander.com

    1. Hey Andrea,

      Thanks for the note. I’ve put in a note to try this out but this’ll be a bit. I’ll stay away from comparative reviews for now – hope you understand. :)

      1. Oh sure. Glad I could help. I understand that comparative reviews could create some issues. If you want to review PhraseExpander independently that’s fine. Just reach out to me directly and I’ll be happy to send you a free review license. Thanks.

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