Hate your phone? I know. I hear your whinges. I hear your cries, and I am shouting them to the mobile phone industry because it needs to listen.
Minotaur menus – Phone menus shouldn’t be mazes. User interface designers, try using your own menu before pumping it out on to unsuspecting customers. Even I’m starting to get confused with the plethora of menu systems out there. Believe it or not, people want to be able to access content and options easily. People want flashy effects in games, not when looking for phone numbers.
Feature poor – It’s better not to have a feature than having one that doesn’t work properly. If you claim your phone supports email, then make it easy to set up. If you add a music player, then – for the love of Bruce Springsteen – add a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
Mobile phone adverts – I’m tired of telling friends their phones don’t really do what the advert says it does. Explaining that celebrity endorsers like David Beckham and James McAvoy won’t come in the box doesn’t count.
Fine design – Find a good designer and hug him or her every day. It’s bizarre – no, completely wrong – how many phones look awful or feature awkward keypads. Design should be about usability. You can give it some snazz and use fancy materials, but there’s no point if we can’t use it.
Secret ingredient – Disillusion sells phones these days. It’s amazing how many people buy new phones simply because they’re fed up with their old ones. It’s not touchscreens, A2DP, HSDPA, or Wi-Fi that attracts people to a new phone: it’s the promise of one that actually works well.
Mobile phone manufacturers, designers: have you lent us your ears? You might learn something.