Friday, December 24, 2004

mobile phones and usability

Everyone seems to be in a holiday mood today. There isn't much work being done and we seem to be forming the 'huddle' every second hour discussing things from politics to pepsi(?) to noise cancellation(??). Amongst all these, the topic that garnered the most interest was mobile phones.

Yes, you're right. After the recent MMS scandals (no, this is not an attempt to generate traffic), the mobile phone market is said to be booming. According to the Times Of India, there has been a lot of enquiry on MMS enabled phones and people who had the option are now activating it and learning more (I'm sure!). This has also enlightened a few souls at my workplace as some of them are contemplating on upgrading their existing phones to the 'all-wonder-camera' phones.

With multitude of phones with 'oh-so-many' features available, deciding on which one to buy can be a difficult process. If ease of use is what you're looking at primarily, Nokia used to be the only company that could get this right. This has changed a bit- partly because other companies have realized that user testing is important and partly because Nokia has been drawn towards including more and more features on underpowered processors.

Don't buy a phone that you can't personally play with if the UI matters to you. Even if the documentation (imagine that) were to show the complete UI, it wouldn't give a sense of responsiveness, etc. Sometimes I wish consumer electronics companies could realize the value of a web-based simulation of their product's interface.


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