Posts Tagged With: Design

Once You Go Mac, You Never Go Back

I'm home for Spring Break and working on my PC at home... I keep reaching for the command-space tab to bring up Quicksilver and keep looking to change the volume in the keyboard. As my new, terrible Verizon RAZR and Apple prove, the best features of a phone aren't the camera, or the video text messages, or the new technology. They're the ease of use and the free, simple stuff that makes using a product easy and intuitive.

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Verizon Phones Are Terrible

Well, the phones aren't terrible, but the software that comes with them is. I recently broke my two year old Samsung phone, which I was urged to replace but chose not to because it was so easy to use. I was disappointed by the software on new Verizon phones. First off, there is only one software running on every phone - unlike choice of plans or physical products, the user has no options when it comes to the interface. The interface is bereft of opportunities for customization, and a lot of the shortcuts on the phone point straight to opportunities to buy expensive games or ringtones from Verizon. It takes about ten button presses to change the text message alert status, and the display letters are small enough that you have to squint to read them. You can't set the alarm clock as one of the main shortcut buttons either. Verizon has emphasis in the wrong places - all of their phone 'capability' is based on whether the phone has a camera, or whether you can buy games, or send emails. I want to know how easy it is to do stuff with it. Anyways, I might be switching to Sprint. Verizon has had excellent coverage, I'll give them that, but I don't like the software on their phones, and that software is something I'm gonna have to navigate every time I try to do something with the phone. I'm amazed that no one's designed alternative software for phones - the Mac or Linux equivalent. It seems to me there would be a market for good software - software that does T9 Word better, or has easier access to the things you can do.

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What I Want in a Phone

I've had my old, simple phone for two-plus years now, and Verizon's telling me I need a new one. Fair enough. I started looking at phones and realized that Verizon is focusing its product specs in all the wrong areas. I don't care how nice the camera is, or how many MBs of music it can play, or what things I can buy online for it. These are the things I want to know about a phone: Can I put it on silent mode without it making a sound? How many button presses to turn on/off the ringer? How many button presses to send a text message? How many button presses to look up someone in the phone book? How big are the buttons? How big is the screen? If I try to make a call will I have service? (To its credit, Verizon usually has a signal) How navigable is the menu? How many recent calls will it store? Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, LG, and whoever else makes phones, this is the Apple approach. Design phones with the user in mind and you'll reap the benefits. Maybe not immediate fiscal benefits, but rewards in terms of user loyalty.

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