Summing Up Why Phones Suck

If anyone has been looking for the reason most mobile phones have poor user experiences, this article might enlighten you.  To quote: –

The panel, whose title was It’s the User Experience, Stupid agreed that iPhone represents a model for mobile operators to follow, but they reached little agreement on how to follow.

The discussion that followed seemed to involve a group of people who just don’t get it.  There are suggestions of using pre-input techniques, modifying a phones interface based on identified “need states” and getting out of the way altogether.  These are suggestions from

…A blue-ribbon panel of human behavior and technology experts…

It seems strange that a panel can agree that iPhone was a success, and sets a model that needs to be followed, and then come up with some of the most ridiculous suggestions I’ve ever come across.  They really don’t understand why people love their iPhones and why it has a far greater customer satisfaction rating than any other mobile device out there.  So, because they clearly don’t get it, let’s quickly sum up why iPhone works:

  1. The user interface excels in every area.  It looks fantastic, it’s intuitive, it’s mobile orientated and it’s fun.  The suggestion that mobile platforms need to “get out of the way” of users simply isn’t the case with iPhone.  People want to use it.  They want to show their friends.  People want to play with it.  No one has ever asked to play with my N95, and sometimes I hate using the interface.
  2.  Everything is easy.  From syncing your calendars to listening to music and viewing videos, everything you want to do is easy.  Compare iTunes to the Sync software most manufacturers ship and there’s no contest.  The n95 software is actually painful to use.  It crashed constantly, isn’t intuitive, randomly wipes data without telling you and doesn’t even work on my Mac.  Which is actually a blessing in disguise because I get to use iSync.
  3. There’s no learning curve.  The interface is so well designed there simply isn’t a learning curve.  you pick it up and you know how to use it.
  4. Complicated made simple.  Much like point 2, above, it makes tasks that would be difficult in any other phone easy.  Receive an email that contains a word document?  No problem you can view it right there and then, seamlessly.  While many other smart phones allow for documents to be viewed, they almost always involve other applications which take you away from the mail client, breaking your flow.

It’s those simple concepts that make iPhone what it is.  Do great things easily, while making it a point of interest in and of itself.  There’s no need to identify a user’s “need state” because whatever they’re doing, they can switch to something else almost instantly.  There’s no need for “neural network analysis” or “pre input” because people want to interface directly with iPhone.  And there’s no need to “get out of the way”, because people enjoy using it.  A concept clearly lost on the rest of the industry.

Can we get some real experts please?