Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More women needed in interface design

About a month ago, I wrote a post titled “Worst Phone UI Ever,” in which I vented my frustrations over the general lack of phone-ness on the Cingular 8125. Since that column, most people running start ups to develop mobile phone software and services have been a little sheepish when they come to tell be about their products. Remarkably, most of these folks have a much better grasp of UI than do the well-resourced Cingular and its OEM partner, HTC.

In fact, I’ve downloaded a number of these smart applets to my 8125. What the phone’s file system has done with those downloads I can only guess, but let’s just say that Microsoft’s old saw about the flexibility of a general and open computing platform on the phone really only rings true if you can actually use the general and open computing platform to run other applications. On this device, it couldn’t be any harder to do so.

I could go on about the further “dumb design” discoveries I’ve made since I wrote that article. The Windows Mobile 5 software, for example, doesn’t recognize a phone number in a calendar appointment and enable click-to-call. The call log will tell you who called and when, but makes it nearly impossible to quickly capture a caller ID into a contact record. And the not-quite QWERTY keypad on the device doesn’t easily support the Windows key commands that are absolutely necessary to capture and move data from one part of an application to another."   (Continued via Wisconson Technology Network)   [Usability Resources]

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