Cell Phones May Be More Powerful, But Not Any Easier To Use

Mobile operators are using their speedy new networks to offer all sorts of new services, while device manufacturers are cramming more and more functionality into mobile devices, hoping to usurp things like MP3 players. But while they’re busy adding all of this stuff, they’re not paying much attention to usability. Between the difficulty of navigating and using new services — and the tollbooths operators put up around them — the idea that consumers’ data spending will significantly increase to offset declining voice revenues seems pretty unrealistic for a while yet. The rub here is that it isn’t as if people have suddenly found mobile devices and services hard to use. There’s been plenty of evidence that people find mobile services frustratingly difficult and that this poor usability, unsurprisingly, hampers uptake. Adding new services and features is all well and good, but becomes rather pointless if people can’t actually use them.

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