Carriers Beware: We're All Too Dumb To Use Mobile Data

from the education-time... dept

While wireless carriers are pinning their revenue dreams on wireless data, it looks like they still may need to take a step back and focus on the basics. A new study of mobile phone users finds that, while many of them have phones that can handle data, most identify themselves as “too dumb” to figure out how to use data services. The recommendation from the company doing the study is that carriers simplify the interface — which isn’t a bad idea, but might not be that easy. What’s a little more worrisome is that this may be a bigger indicator. If people find a service really compelling, they’ll get over some pretty complex usability hurdles to use it. The fact that many aren’t bothering with wireless data suggests they don’t see enough value to make it worth it to learn. Simplifying the interface brings down the hurdle, but doesn’t necessarily make anyone feel any more compelled to jump over it.

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Comments on “Carriers Beware: We're All Too Dumb To Use Mobile Data”

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rspencer says:

UI on handsets

You are so right on making the appl compelling in the first place. But there is another issue. Addressing usability on a PC based application means finding better ways to make use of the host of tools a PC appl developer has at his disposal….keyboard, mouse, html, rich interface. Handset applications have a major disadvantage in that these usability tools are just not available for the developer to take advantage of. There are major limitations to what you can do with a handful of keys and the odd toggle switch. It means that a lot of data applications will never overcome the usability issues of a handset.

Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Compelling Serivces

The fact that many aren’t bothering with wireless data suggests they don’t see enough value to make it worth it to learn.

Perhaps, but only 6% said the services weren’t interesting. Maybe they weren’t interesting enough, but it sounds like most people would consider them.

In fact, 55% of the people said they’d be “encouraged” to use more services if they were simpler. (Of course, “encouraged” doesn’t necessarily mean they would use them and it’s not likely simplifying the services would make people less likely to use them.)

However, the important thing to note is that most people seem to want the services.

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