When I first saw this in Cowling & Wilcox yesterday I thought “Awesome! A motorised rubber that sucks up your eraser remnants as it goes!”.
However, it turns out that it doesn’t. That empty space is just for the batteries. It’s not a mini vacuum, it’s just a motorised rubber. Disappointing. But my colleague bought one anyway.
Well, I managed to resist the pull of the iPhone and all its lovely shiny apps and instead purchased a new mobile from Nokia last week (turns out the desire for a small phone and to remain contract-free was stronger). After much deliberation (months of, actually) I decided to go with the, rather lovely, Nokia E55.
I think the reason it took me so long to select a new phone was that I couldn’t decide what was most important for me in a phone. Having the same one as everyone else (well, most of my colleagues at least!) and easy compatibility with my laptop (a Mac), or size and ease of use. I like having a small phone, and I’m already carrying around one brick-like device (my company-issued Blackberry Bold) and I really didn’t fancy another. I loved how I could pop my Nokia 6500 classic in my pocket and it barely makes a bump, so was on the lookout for another slim mobile.
I really just want a mobile that works well as phone. Sounds obvious, but I’m sure that many who have tried some smartphones over the years (iPhone being a good example) find that the basic phone functions don’t always work well. Never mind all the bells and whistles, what I really want is a phone that makes and takes calls without crashing, and is simple to send texts from (and I guess street maps are handy too!).
Another thing that I was keen on was a Qwerty keyboard, for swift texting, and potentially emailing. I couldn’t face typing out an email on a regular mobile phone’s keyboard (texting is painful enough), or a touch-screen either (can’t really touch type). However a full-size Qwerty means a larger phone, so a condensed Qwerty (which I’ve used before on my old Blackberry Pearl) was ideal. I had almost given up and just purchased myself another Pearl, when I discovered the E55 on Nokia’s website.
The E55 is not only (allegedly) the slimmest smartphone out there, but it also has a condensed Qwerty keyboard, built-in Ovi maps (which is now free, and pre-installed on some new Nokias, including the E55), and the built-in email and chat. It also has a handy feature where you can switch between business and personal modes (separating your work from your play). And most importantly, being a Nokia, it looks rather nice too!
I’ve been using mine for a week now, and I must say I rather like it. Although it was a bit painful to transfer over my contacts from my old phone (despite that being a Nokia also) it’s been quite easy to use otherwise. I’m typing texts at the speed of light, and it’s great to have maps on my mobile again (I hadn’t realised quite how much I relied on that until I didn’t have it anymore). I like that I can access email from my phone, but they’re not there all the time, in my face (unless I want them to be). The battery life is fantastic (I didn’t have to charge it until day 6) and the camera is better than my old one (though that wasn’t hard) at 3.2 MPix. The only thing I don’t like is that when adding a recipient to a text the list of ‘recently used’ contacts doesn’t exist on this phone, but that’s a small bug perhaps (or perhaps not, as I remember finding this feature annoying when I first encountered it on my 6500 classic).
I’m not claiming that the E55 is the best smartphone out there, but for me I’ve found the perfect phone (for now, that is).
Ahhh, smartphones. The web in your pocket. The phone that does it all! Making our lives better apparently. Or maybe not…
It’s probably worth mentioning that I have had a smartphone (in some form or other) since 2006. So this is coming from a user.
Although it’s handy to have the internet with you wherever you go, I don’t like how smartphones (iPhones and Blackberries in particular it seems) are taking over our lives. When we are out with our friends they are now competing for our attention with our phone. We try, but only partially succeed, to split our focus between the people we are with and our beloved mobile device.
It’s as thought we are afraid that we’re missing out on something somewhere. That there is something better going on that where we are now. People are constantly checking their emails on their Blackberry, seeing who’s just tweeted what, playing with the new app on their iPhone, all instead of enjoying where they are and who they are with, and giving them our undivided attention (and I think we’ve all done this). I just think it’s sad.
I don’t want to do this anymore. Our time with those we love is precious and should not be infringed upon by a small machine.
Of course I’m not about to throw out my smartphone (I’m far too reliant on it!), but I am going to try to use it sparingly, and not in company
Finally, a company with some balls! TalkTalk have said that they will stand by their customers, not the bill.
If you ever need to explain to a client how a browser works…
Cartoon from KuvatON.com
I don’t think that as UX Architects we should be governed too much by a recipe book, so to speak. It doesn’t really help true innovation. However, conventions are valid on the web, and often it’s not ideal to re-invent the wheel, just because you can. It can be handy to refer to a pattern library from time to time, so here are a few good ones…
- Yahoo Pattern Library
- Patterns from Designing Social Interfaces
- UI Patterns – User Interface Design Pattern Library
- Patterns in Interaction Design from Welie.com
- And, the UI Pattern Factory
UPDATE: And I almost forgot (well, did forget) one of the best; Pattern Tap (Thanks Gav!)
I must admit I’m a little unimpressed with the iPad. However, I’m probably not its target audience.
I can definitely see its advantage for people who are new to computers and the internet, as it simplifies things somewhat by stripping out much of the complexity of a fully-fledged laptop. But I’m not sure exactly how useful more tech-savvy people will really find it (other than to show off their new toy to their mates).
I’ve been trying to come up with list of pros and cons:
- Pro: It’s really pretty
- Pro: It makes computers simple (well, it’s just a big iPod touch)
- Pro: You can use it to read iBooks
- Pro: My laptop is Apple, so it should sync
- Pro: Did I mention it looks good?
- Con: You can’t multi-task
- Con: That shiny screen means you can’t use it in bright light (like outside with cup of coffee in-hand)
- Con: That shiny screen breaks easily
- Con: You can only buy iBooks from the iTunes store
- Con: It doesn’t work ‘out of the box’ – which Apple is so famous for. Need to connect to iTunes first
- Con: There is no webcam built in for Skype etc.
- Con: There’s no Flash support (and probably never will be). Not so great when you’re surfing the web really.
So the cons win so far. No iPad for me… unless someone gives me a really convincing argument. Right now I’m more intrigued by Microsoft’s Courier…
I had a quick browse around My-Wardrobe.com today. Nothing unusual there. Later in the day I was looking at Stephen Fry’s article about the iPad on time.com and an ad caught my eye. The ad was for MyWardrobe, and the content of the ad was made up of items that I had been looking at earlier that day!
Kinda clever, as it made me look at the items again and think “oooh, I really want those”. But to be honest, I felt like someone was spying on me…
While I’m on the subject of political websites, here is another good one:
A survey asks which policies you favour, without mention of which party’s policies they are.
Unfortunately on completion of the survey I was presented with a blank page, rather than results, but assuming it works for others, it’s a great concept! I wonder if it will sway anyone to change their vote?