Rarely do I agree with anything professional controversialist Andrew Orlowski says but he has got a point here:
“Nor is that the full story. A PoP (Plain Old Phone) is simply better in what we might call “adverse situations” - such as making a phone call from a tree while trying to rescue a cat, while driving… or being bladdered. The coming few weeks will tell. Britons spend December in a foggy cloud of Christmas Parties, work booze-ups - and then into the final straight of the holiday break itself: family get togethers in which reality is best tempered by even more alcohol. The whole country, I noticed when I returned for my first British December in years, looks like a bouncy castle. Trying to text with an iPhone in such situations makes you want to chuck it against a wall. It isn’t a fatal flaw. But it’s splendidly ironic that Californians have designed a device based around “motion” - that requires the human to be perfectly upright and still. Round here, what are the chances of that happening?”The key difficulty in designing personal interactive products that are opinionated like the iPhone is that they will always be more culturally specific than a bland everyphone. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing. If you want to delight people, you will disgust others. But when the culture you’re designing out of is that particular blend of west coast technoutopianism well, sometimes you design for the best case scenario where someone a little more British in outlook is likely to be designing for the worst case. A wise, yet strangely small man taught me my number one principle of phone design a couple of years back: “Never embarrass the customer”. What would a phone that’s designed around the principle of minimising social embarrassment look like?
Posted on Nov 22, 2007 at 12:45