Posts tagged problems
Disclaimer: I am a non-geek, attempting to use the Desire without geek assistance, as a normal, general consumer would. Please do not give me answers in comments. They do not help me give an honest review of what it’s like for a true non-geek to use the Desire.
There are some things I really love about the Desire. I love that I can access all three of my Gmail accounts through the one program, that my calendar automatically syncs and that my contacts are readily accessed. I am totally in love with the share function. I know I have mentioned this before, but it is just so simple, straightforward and immediate. Today, one of my students mentioned she was having great difficulty remembering how a particular technical exercise went, even with the music in front of her (like a lot of singers in the early stages of training, her reading hasn’t yet caught up with her vocal skills). I whipped out the Desire, used Voice Recorder to record myself playing the exercise, pressed the share button, chose Gmail, started typing her name (her contact details came up almost immediately) and emailed it to her account so she could listen to and practice with it at home. Fabulously useful and it didn’t waste valuable lesson time as the whole process took about 90 seconds. Using Twitter is also very easy on the Desire. Once I got used to the notifications bar, I found that pretty useful as well.
And for me, that’s pretty much where it ends. Everything else is just so hard. I am exhausted from the frustration of searching for functions I can’t find; from selecting something from a menu that looks to me to be the logical choice based on the name, only to find it’s not what I thought it was; from trying so hard to complete a task and simply not being able to complete it. My brain feels like it is overloaded. I am choosing to spend more time at the computer and less using the Desire, simply because the Desire was slowing me down and wasting too much of my work time and mental space.
Today I tried file sharing through Bluetooth again, this time using my old Nokia instead of my husband’s iPhone (which I’ve discovered was creating the problem with this function). After a bit of fiddling, it worked. The music track (the only one I had on the Nokia because someone sent it to me via Bluetooth back when I first bought it in February 2008) that I’d selected had downloaded onto the Desire. I went to play it in order to test it out and compare the sound with that of the Nokia. I pressed the Music button, assuming it had been downloaded there. No sign of it. I looked to see if it had saved on the apps page. Nope. I looked everywhere I could think of, then thought there must be a search function to find things on the phone. I tried three different things that said “Search” but none let me actually search through the contents of the phone: two different websearches and the search settings. I gave up in frustration. My husband, as an experiment, took the phone and was playing the track within 90 seconds. (He did not show me how he had done this.) To me, this proves that the phone is not designed with broad usability in mind. The phone has been designed by geeks out of touch with the way that non-geeks think.
I’ve said this before on Mark’s blog, but I’ll say it again here: If this phone is to be marketed more broadly, then it must be usable by the broader market, ie business and general consumers. It doesn’t need to be dumbed down, as some geeks seem to fear (and reject), it just needs to be made more simple, more intuitive and less complex. There can always be advanced options for power users. The KISS principle is a wonderful thing. It should be used here.
Please note: Some of the readers may think that Bluetooth technology is outdated. I like to use it to send files straight to my students’ phones without them getting my mobile number. Think of the possibilities for the classroom! I realise that I can email files with the Desire, however, that means the students then have to transfer the file from their computer to their mp3 device, which is generally their phone. Bluetooth saves them a step.
Why does the browser (the “Internet” button on the apps page) take you to the last viewed page? This is not normal behaviour for a browser, unless you have it set especially to do this: the default setting is for the browser to load a home page.
Why this is an issue for non-geeks:
I had already been browsing websites via links in emails and tweets. I had also been messing around with other things in the apps page. When I pressed the “Internet” button for the first time, with the intent of jumping straight to a particular webpage and this is what appeared on the screen:
Now for those who can’t read this (I’m really sorry: I have no idea how to take decent photos of the Desire screen), the URL is www.htc.com/desire/m/en/in… (the rest cannot be read on screen) and below, it says, “Learn more” and underneath is a menu with two options: How-tos (71) and Guides (2).
Now these are really useful to have stored on the phone. However, they don’t look like the internet to a non-geek. The presence of the menu had totally overridden the fact that there was a place where I could potentially type in a URL and go to a website.
Now maybe I was just unlucky that this is what came up for me, the first time I opened the browser, but I tell you what, it sure did cause a lot of confusion. The browser should behave like a browser. Settings such as retaining the last webpage viewed should be just that: in advanced settings, so that power users and geeks can mod the phone up to fit their own requirements. Non-geeks need the familiarity of a home page and the more savvy of us should have the option to set that homepage to our preferred choice.
This is yet another reason that the Desire has not been designed for a broad market.
I was all primed today to write a post about the design of the Desire and a few of its features that I’ve been exploring over the last few days but right now, I’m freaking angry, so my readers are going to get a huge rant instead.
Turning the background syncing off is supposed to save battery power. So I’ve been turning it off in low-use periods or when playing games. Last night, I sent an email off to a client, confirming our 1pm appointment. I didn’t know until today at 1:05pm while wondering why they were late to the appointment, that the email had not sent until after noon today, which just happened to be when I turned the background sync back on.
The fact of the matter is that the phone had given all appearances of having sent the email when it clearly hadn’t. This has now had an impact on both my business and my family, who had rearranged things to accommodate this changed meeting time that never eventuated because my confirmation email had been sent 13 hours too late.
This is a serious fault with the phone: not the fact that it apparently requires the background syncing to be on in order to send email (though this does seem excessive), but the fact that there is no way of immediately knowing that the email has not been sent.
This reminds me: why in the menu is there no option to look at your sent mail? I was told today that it’s under “labels”. This is totally non-intuitive and I never would have found that myself if I hadn’t been told.
If HTC are serious about attracting business and general consumers, then these problems need to be rectified.
The “Force close” message about which I previously posted is still occurring. It seems to be an issue to do with the HTC Facebook app, which was pre-installed. I cleared the data from both Facebook apps, in the hope that this would solve the problem. I got the same error message about 2 minutes later. I cannot uninstall these apps. I tried. If they are causing a problem, I don’t want them on there.
Editing text is almost impossible. Today, I was commented on Mark Pesce’s blog from the Desire. It auto-corrected the name and Twitter handle of one of the other reviewers. I only noticed this doing the final proof-read before submitted. I could not get the cursor to go where I wanted it to be placed. I couldn’t select the name to fix it. Eventually, I gave up and turned on the computer so I could re-type the entire comment. What a waste of time.
I was told that the battery life gets better after a few charges. If it has, I haven’t noticed it. I used to be able to go for up to four or five days without charging my Nokia, depending on usage. Now of course, I’m using the Desire much more, so I expect it not to last anywhere near that. However, having to charge the Desire twice or three times a day seems really excessive. I have the background syncing turned off most of the time, so that isn’t the issue.
I’ve been getting this message a lot: “The process com.htc.bg has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.” A button appears that says, “Force close.”
To me, this seems to be a problem. Is this a precursor to the blue screen of death?
This is not a rhetorical question.