Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Digital annoyances

Digital annoyances



People nowadays tend to buy lots of electronic gadgets like mobile phones, PDAs and so on to make life easier and more enjoyable.
With mobile phone we are able to communicate with each other (almost) independent of our actual location.
With mobile internet access we can even communicate not only overcoming the restrictions distance but also the restrictions of time.
For example, we can just send an email or a message within a social network like Facebook or Mixi.
For entertainment purposes we can install games on our mobile phones to play with.

The iPhone is often used as a very good example for its ability of doing all of this and it is also constantly praised that it is top-notch in terms of usability.
Why is no one talking about its dark sides in terms of usability?

Let’s get back to the topic of games again: Since quite a lot of small developers were able to make quite some money with casual games, now the “serious” game studios also push their franchises into the iPhone market. But playing games originally developed for traditional controls like gaming pad fail badly on a touch screen only device. Without any haptic feedback whatsoever when pushing a button precise control is nearly impossible and the player often makes mistakes. Just try playing something like Sonic, Rockman or Pacman.

Another very annoying property of modern gadgets is that they try to “think” too much. Again referring to the iPhone, the number one feature to be deactivated is “auto rotate”. When the user rotates the iPhone by 90 degrees, it automatically switches the display to landscape mode – but, for example, if you want to listen to a podcast while lying on the couch or bed and read the accompanying information (or reading lyrics while listening to a song) the device is auto-rotating like crazy and showing the ever so useless Cover Flow view.

Don’t get me wrong – I am by no means against technological advances but there are loads of features we would be better off without.
And even if there is something like the ability to switch to a different layout like landscape, maybe it would be nice to entrust the switching to the user.
He is most likely the best person to chose what’s appropriate depending on the situation.
Please put more trust into humans every once in a while.


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