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Friday, 01 August 2003

Sony Ericsson T610 Usability

I like my phone. Really, I do. Provided I'm not outside and in full daylight, of course. Otherwise, there are a few little niggles, one of which is that Sony Ericsson appear to have skimped a little on their user interface testing.

Here's an example of the steps required to send a text message on a Sony Ericsson T610 configured for use on the Orange network. If I get round to it, I'll post screenshots of each annoying stage at some point.

  • Default screen: move navigation nipple to the left. Bonus point for making a common task (sending a text message) quickly accessible. Score: 1.
  • "Write New" screen: Write text message in either T9 or "multitap", press the "continue" soft key (left hand side of the screen) to send the message. No, I don't know why "continue" means send. Deduct above bonus point. Score: 0.
  • User interface asks for a "Number". I don't know the phone number of the person I'm sending a text message to, so I press the "Look up" soft key (left hand side of the screen). Here's where things start to go wrong: of course I don't know the number. I bet I know the name. I'm not allowed to type in a name. Deduct one point. Score: -1.
  • "Options" screen lists "Phonebook", "Groups", "SIM entries" and "unsaved numbers" as options to look up the recipient's number. There's no reason why the first screen I see after pressing "Look up" shouldn't just ask me for a name. I choose "Phonebook". Deduct another point for just getting in my way. Score: -2.
  • "Contact" screen has a "Find" prompt. We're now where I should've been two steps ago. Type in first couple of letters of name. Press "OK" to select highlighted name. Getting bored now. Deduct another point because I can. Score: -3.
  • Screen title is contact's name. Highlight mobile number (identified by completely unrecognisable icon depicting what must be a mobile phone, because it doesn't look like the other icon, which looks like a house. Press "Select". Deduct a point for the silly mobile phone icon. Score: -4.
  • "Send Message" screen: shows me that I have just selected that contact to send the message to. Soft key on the left says "Send" (but not continue?), soft key on the right says "Recipients" and lets me add more recipients, presumably through the same convoluted process. Deduct a point for the designers suddenly deciding to use the word "Send". Score: -5
  • Message gets sent.

Here's a suggestion. The first two steps in the process are fine, but I really shouldn't have to go through that terrible rigmarole of adding a recipient. Ideally, after pressing the mislabeled "Continue", I should be able to type in a number and hit send, whereupon we skip to a screen showing the current recipients and I can add any others. Otherwise, typing in a name should, horrors, just search any collection of names on the phone.

To add insult to injury, it took me ages to figure out how to turn on SMS reports that let you know when a message has been received. This is because it's called a "status request". Finding the SMS options menu wasn't a problem. Deciphering what the text meant was.

Updated 2 August 2003 0:51 BST: Move nipple left, not right, to send a message. Thanks to Gareth for the correction.

32 comments and trackbacks

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I've only had mine a few of days, and this unweildy texting was the first thing I noticed (um, not counting the fact that Orange fried my SIM, losing all my numbers and disabling SMS for two days in the process)

It seems like pretty much every task has at least two unneccesary steps, and it might just be me, but the wee joystick is awfully fiddly and prone to taking a move for a click...

Posted by: Jack on August 2, 2003 06:10 PM

If it's the same as the t68, when it gives you the 'Options' screen you can actually start typing letters there and then. It doesn't look like it, seeing as you're basically faced with a menu, but it woiks...

-4, still quite crap really :) This is why sending SMSes from address book is so cool.

Posted by: Rowan on August 5, 2003 10:52 AM

Hello there. I've got my T610 for a couple of days now, and there is a thing that's really annoying me.
I mainly use the phone's address book, because I can sync it with the Address Book in my mac.
But the fastest way to make a call with that is:
1) press (or right) the little joystick
2) press down to select Phonebook, press joystick to enter
3) press down two times to select "Call contact", press joystick to enter
4) I'm finally to a "Find" screen...

There seems no easy way to directly access the internal phone book, pressing the joystick down always takes me to the SIM phone book, even if it's empty.
Ideally I should be able to view just the SIM, just the phone, or both... with a fast access to the one I use most (phone, in my case).

Maybe there's something somewhere I didn't see to set it the way I want... any idea?

Luca.

Posted by: Luca on January 12, 2004 01:50 AM

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