Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Dec 2012 23:01 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Two weeks ago, as I was busy finding out in Vegas that double-shot frozen cocktails are a really stupid idea, a small Finnish startup unveiled their mobile operating system: Jolla unveiled Sailfish. With a strong focus on the Chinese market, the company is aiming to offer serious competition to Android's dominance of the smartphone market.
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Never mind a manual, I just want a sane interface with no hidden screens nor icons you're just expected to know.

WP7.x is the worst for this. Screens that are several widths deep and require constant swiping to find anything. And monochrome icons that I'm sure mean a great deal to a whole lot of people, but not for me. Plus when they do have text menus, it's a wall of text with teeny tiny icons; which is a dyslexics worst nightmare.

However WP7 isn't the only culprit. Android OEMs break constantly design, leaving me lost when switching between my HTC and my wife's Samsung, despite both handsets running Ice Cream Sandwich. And don't get me started the differing system icons (home button et al).

The absurd thing is, Windows Mobile 6* was more intuitive than most current touch-centric devices. Yeah, it was an ugly, stylus-dependant, temperamental piece of shit at times. And sure it's multitasking implementation gave rise to a whole plethora of additional problems too. But everything was discoverable. There wasn't hidden activities waiting to be slid out nor essential functions cleverly disguised as a household objects from the turn of the last century. These anti-intuitive design features seem to be all the rage these days and they just leave me lost.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of things I love about modern smart phone OSs (intelligent "multi-tasking", works with blunt pointers like my thumb, more sophisticated applications, HTML5 browsers, etc). But for once it would be nice to be handed someone's phone and not spend 5 minutes trying to work out how to add myself as a new contact because yet another Android OEM / smart phone developer thinks what people really need is a 3 finger gesture (yeah, it might be quicker if you can remember the f--king gesture to begin with, but the 5 minutes I waste looking blankly at my phone while my brain plays catch up negates any time saved performing the gesture itself)

I think things are actually going backwards. It's like we've already had the design revolution and now everyone is trying so hard to take that idea and run a unique spin on it. Whether that's out of fear from litigation or just a need to reinvent the wheel I don't know; but it's just confusing for the users.

* plus or minus a few releases, i lose track of which version numbers came when thanks to Microsoft and their inconsistent approach to OS naming)

edit: ranted a bit more

Edited 2012-12-05 00:21 UTC

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