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back to article A brief history of the BlackBerry UI

About half the people with a BlackBerry know that if you press space twice you get full-stop space. But only a few of them know that you can use space in email addresses to get full-stops and @ symbols. Tell them and their eyes light up with the thought that their little tool has just become that much more productive. This is …

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Stop

"Why should a square mean “stop” when the road sign is hexagonal?"

Geometry fail.

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UI paradigm fail

Why should a square mean “stop” when the road sign is hexagonal?

Because the STOP primarily applies to media motion control and the square relates to the stop button on a media player - going back to cassette players in my humble experience, but probably further than that.

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Coffee/keyboard

apples and oranges?

What button did you press on a VCR, or a walkman to stop something?

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: "Why should a square mean “stop” when the road sign is hexagonal?"

Umm. Error corrected. Octagon, it is.

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Anonymous Coward

No wonder then

that I so dislike my e52. I keep on comparing it to the 6310 that until very recently was still in regular use -- though even there I would've liked to re-arrange a couple menu items as my usage pattern differs enough that it'd save me about half the selection related keypresses. The e52, by contrast, costs about double again not counting the spurious backspaces and the missed deliberate ones causing having to start all over again. And all the other stupidity that blocks me from or at least impedes my doing what I want for no discernible reason. Like how the voip client --a selection criterion-- just doesn't work because of some entirely-by-the-book incompatability with everyone else. Even after installing the optional app that is pretty much required to even configure this "built-in" functionality. This sort of thing is in fact endemic in this device. Way to go, nokia.

Why I haven't switched back? I don't use the phone bit all that often but I find it useful to have a nicely small device that let me install software to do impromptu wifi site surveys, or lets me take a picture --even a more than disappointingly crappy one-- of something --like some poster in a window or other-- for later reference. And more importantly, the 6310's battery is just about dead.

A device with the form factor and all the advertised functions of the e52 working but the interface sophistication of yore would be more than welcome.

It's clear why I will never have a crackberry, though. I loathe the badly-written, top-posted diarhea that passes for non-spam email these days. If you actually pay attention to what's said in replies it's obvious nobody even reads emails any longer so the popularity of always wanting to "check their email" eludes me. It cannot be anything but ego stroking and otherwise a massive waste of time. It certainly isn't about the content, and clearly hasn't been about thoughtful discourse since 1993.

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FAIL

The real problem

Is shitty manuals/help systems that don't mention any of this stuff, or have it scattered all over hell's half acre. Windows at least has a page that's easy to find that lists all the common F-key operations, and unfortunately they're a major exception.

There's still buttons on the XINE UI where I haven't a clue what they do despite being uselessly "labelled" with a cryptic little tooltip.

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Anonymous Coward

Manuals

It's not mentioned in the article, but for me that was Nokia's other big score (at least the two I owned about 10 years ago) - calm, well written and organised printed manuals that went fairly meticulously through the functions. They were on a par with Sony's for thoroughness of content, but also set a fairly high bar in terms of design and layout.

The LG I had about six years ago was the complete opposite; dreadful UI with inexplicably labelled icons leading to functions that always fell some way short of working as advertised in the scant and overly optimistic manual. I'm revisiting that at the moment with my Dad's (rash with hindsight) purchase of a cheap Alcatel with a printed manual with what appears to be six point type.

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Yep.

And call me a fanboi, but that's one reason why the iPod took off- the UI was simple and elegant, and there have been a lot of imitators afterwards.

A lot of really technologically superior products have been brought down by their stunningly shoddy UI.

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Unhappy

Psychologists...

Its a mystery why we don't make more use of psychologists to design UIs. We have to use them to design aircraft cockpits... Asked one of my LA's crap highway engineers recently if he had had training in occupational psychology and he just looked puzzled (he was quite young - I would not dare to ask the older ones that question). Mind, I never used them in my design work - my native cunning was good enough.

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