No, That Phone Isn't Broken, It's Just Unusable
from the how-do-you-turn-this-thing-on? dept
From the "Not Surprising At All, Really" file comes a new survey out of the UK that's found nearly two-thirds of the new mobile phones returned to a major retailer there as broken aren't broken at all, it's just that apparently they're so difficult to use people think they're broken. The poor usability of increasingly complex devices is symptomatic of the mobile industry's usability problems as a whole -- particularly with the mobile content and data services that are supposed to be driving its latest renaissance. A survey of people who used data services for the first time during the World Cup found that half of them won't use it again, citing poor ease of set up and use as significant reasons, while other content providers report embarrassingly low response rates to content-delivery messages, something largely blamed on, again, setup and usability problems. The sad thing is that these exact same types of stories and surveys have been published for many years, but very little meaningful action is taking place, particularly from mobile operators, who must bear a lot of the responsibility for ensuring users devices are set up properly when they get them, but also from handset vendors, most of whom don't devote enough resources to software and user-interface design.