Sunday, January 14, 2007

Get Smart- A first time smart-phone user's initial thoughts

A UI review of the Blackberry ...

"A couple weeks into my first smart phone (BlackBerry Pearl/8100) I decided to take a minute away from reading my pushed mail and syncing my Outlook Calendar while Browsing Opera Mini to formulate some "first impressions" that I've been collecting on my handset throughout these fledgling smartphone toddler days.

... So I might leave a full review for posterity and historic archiving, but I bet I'll land somewhere in between as I begin typing. This will probably be between the minute details of the phone, and the general *usability) point of view. In either case, as regular readers already know, this won't include technical details or call quality or any of the other stuff you can likely get anywhere else in reviews. Generally, this is usability/UI review that focuses on the user experience and UI design.

Even though I may love a product, I still tend to write negative things quite a bit because I think there's room for improvement or discussion, not because I'm knocking the product. That said, I'm very pleased with the BlackBerry 8100. I've found a device that lets me converge where I want my devices to converge and sacrifice where I'm willing to sacrifice. Even after I saw the announcement of the iPhone earlier today, I still stand behind my purchase (for now- I'll wait until I can try out the all touch screen interface- I'd prefer some keys to tap), I just thought I'd share some interface thoughts I had.

BlackBerry Pearl/8100- Thoughts from a first time user

My initial requirements were never to have access to my work, or to be connected all the time. It was a simple set of requirements....I wanted a cell phone that would be about as thin as my RAZR (since it spends most of its life in my front pocket) and had the following capabilities:

• Ability to run Opera Mini ("The only extension this browser an arm")

• QWERTY layout for keyboard- a full keyboard would be nice, but unless it's the size of a sidekick, my meathooks/spoon thumbs might have a difficult time getting in there. I wanted a text/SMS/MMS machine! I actually liked my Motorola predictive text software on my RAZR and felt like Sure-Type would give me bigger targets to hit, QWERTY layout, and (what I assumed was) better prediction software. This balance seemed perfect for me.

• An OS that was designed with some kind of mobile lifestyle in mind. I wanted a Palm OS at first- I would have loved a Treo, but they are just too big. Size was the ONLY reason I got the RAZR. Turns out that is the only thing I liked about it, but I still had that requirement.

• Ability to take note of an upcoming school appointment or task for my son, as I seemed to be forgetting to send his library books off to school with him. Some way to jot a note on the go and be reminded of it later. I had been using my RAZR to SMS to my email inbox with any reminders, but by the time I got home the message was pointless "Get box back?" What box? Who's is it?... I wanted to be able to capture thoughts or tasks or appointments immediately."    (Continued via User Centered)    [Usability Resources]

Get Smart Phone - Usability, User Interface Design

Get Smart Phone


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