I work in design agencies, so operate under an unspoken agreement to hate on any effort Microsoft make to take sales away from Apple. A new mouse? I think you’ll find that the Mighty Mouse is the premium device, sir! Windows 7 now has a simplified ‘dock-like’ task bar? Tshk! OS X perfected this years ago!
Now comes Windows Phone 7: a desperate assault on castle iPhone. I thought I’d be happy to join in with pretty much everyone I follow on twitter and slag off the new advertising campaign that has been divised to accompany the new mobiles OS’ release. The most common complaint I heard was that this advert makes potential customers look like, well, douchebags. Maybe, but I think beyond that the advert tries to sell a very good point: We will help you get what you want quicker so that you can return to the real world. This is a great approach and a smart advert. How so?
I’ve used iOS a lot and I’m confident to say it is generally a pleasure to use. I don’t say this lightly, but it really is a work of art sometimes. Every sliding stroke, every tap that does that little flashyexpandy animation thing. It’s just feels great to use, and this is a genuine achievement.
Unfortunately, I think sometimes iOS is less about where you’re going and more about how you get there. Have you ever watched people use their iPhones? Sometimes they will take them off the table infront of them (they’re never in their pockets) and do this wierd little finger-dance: A slide to the right, then another. Then a slide to the left. A raised eyebrow and then a tap of the ‘lock screen’ button. It’s like they’re looking for something amongst the multitude of icons. So many options! Then they place the phone on the table infront of them again, happy.
The time they were doing that? That’s time when they were disconnected from those around them. Time in which they missed a colleague make an important point, or maybe cracked a joke. That’s the time in which they were the guys and girls in that video.
This is not an iOS-unique problem and it certainly happens with Android et al. Now I’m not saying WP7 is going to stop that, but surely that’s the aim of all reasonable phone software developers aiming at the consumers. Yes, users want to enjoy using their phones, but I think aiming your product at people who just want to get a job done quickly and then get on with their lives isn’t something that we should be making fun of, it’s what we should be embracing.
Disclaimer: I’ve not had a chance to play with the Windows Phone 7. I’ve had one demonstrated to me and it looked well put together at least. I won’t be getting a Windows Phone 7, despite some rather tasty hardware. Partially because i’m an open-standards nerd and I need something less restrictive and partially because I’m put off by product names so long that they have to run all the way around the packaging. Hey, maybe I’m as finicky as the rest of the UI porn obsessives: a group which I strong identify with.