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Showing posts from April, 2011

More Android Usability Issues

Second post in a series of problems and solutions for Android usability. I'm writing these because I love Android, and if these usability issues are fixed, it'll be even mo betta'. =)

1) No notification on receipt of SMS that needs to be downloaded.

WTF? I had a nice argument with the Android team when I was still at Google about something likely related to this. If you receive an MMS that your Android phone can't display, then there's no notification. None. You only notice the new message if you explicitly go into Messages to look for it (or more likely, receive a totally unrelated SMS that alerts you to check Messages). I was told by the Android team that no notification is better than a notification when you can't see a preview of the message. I got far too frustrated arguing with someone who actually believed this to be self-evident, and just gave up (one of many super detailed Android bug reports that never made it past the Android usability gatekeepers).

Interesting Korean Grammar (really!)

I think one of the hardest things about Korean (or any language, for that matter) is learning the subtle nuances and differences between grammatical constructions. Typically, when you're learning a new language, you start with super easy, often present tense constructions.

We eat food? You go store? I happy.

Then you start to learn how to form proper sentences, and learn various tenses:

I'm eating food now. She went to the store. I'm happy.

For most people, language learning never goes beyond the point of simple sentence construction. But for Korean especially, there are an incredible number of nuances in sentence endings and conjugational forms, and most foreigners either don't use them or use them incorrectly (myself included). Korean is a very indirect language, like Japanese, so simply stating what you think often makes you come across as rude. As a result, there are tons of ways to form "simple" sentences in Korean, all with different nuances. It's c…

Assorted Android Usability Issues

I like my Android phone. It's a quite functional device, and is actually pretty decent for making phone calls (for those of you unfamiliar with a "phone call", imagine a tweet, but longer than 140 characters, and transmitted via human speech). But it has a fair number of usability issues that constantly annoy me. Some have been fixed as the OS has evolved (for example, searching from the Google widget used to only allow vertical mode, but luckily they added landscape mode a while back), but others continue to linger. Here's an incomplete list of some of the usability annoyances I've found, along with simple fixes that would make the experience better.

Problem: "Next" and "Done" buttons in text fields. Their behavior is inconsistent at best, confusing at worst. Sure, I know that "Next" moves you to the next text field. But does your grandma know what a text field is? No. So this fails the grandma test.

Try handing an Android phone to a…