Buttons for Humans
You know when I ran across the new mini site and advertising campaign for the Nokia 6101 last night, I just about choked in disbelief. You may not believe this, but Nokia's new big selling point is, "Buttons for Humans." The site animation shows how big and friendly the buttons on the phone are, how it flips ever so easily closed when you're done with it, politely and conveniently, almost smiling at you with unbounded user friendliness. My god, after seeing the ads, it would be unthinkable for a phone to be designed in any other way...
Hey, I'm all for Nokia's solid entry into the flip-phone market, and I really like the new clean designs and basic colors, and I'm definitely 100% behind them embracing big usable buttons as well... But, but, but, wow! These guys have got some real cajones no? The most heinous crimes ever commited against the physical human interface we call a mobile phone keypad were perpetrated by none other than Nokia itself! The fact that they've turned around and gone 180 degrees in the other direction is wonderful, but to then market this stuff as if they weren't the main ones responsible for small, oddly shaped, insanely unusable keypads in the first place takes some real nerve, don't you think? MAN!
Okay, sure - the past is the past and Nokia has paid their dues for past design missteps... But as an owner of more than several wonky handsets sold by these guys over the past few years, I'm reticent to let them off the hook that easily. So lest we forget those oh-too-recent travesties of usability, I collected some images of the worst offenders above. Sure, the 3650's round keypad wasn't actually that bad, but the people who designed - and then approved - the 7610 keypad need to be brought out to a Finnish lake in mid winter, dumped in buck-naked, then pulled into a small, insanely hot room with other sweaty naked Finns and hit repeatedly with bundles of birch twigs until they're delirious. (Yes, I know, it'd be an extreme punishment, but that's how I feel.)
"Buttons for Humans!" From Nokia! Can you believe that?!? Next it'll be something like, "Easy to remember product names, not numbers... of course!" (Oh, how I wish...).