Series 60 UI gripes

Russ reviews ProfiMail for Series 60:

“The most innovative part of the app is the fact that the authors completely ignored the Nokia User Interface Guidelines. Usually I’m against that sort of thing, but in this instance, when I’m looking for a power-user’s email client? It’s perfect. They use a small anti-aliased font, and got rid of the standard huge S60 title bar. Suddenly the screen has *tons* of room to read emails and work with files (using the integrated file explorer). WOW! Yeah, I’m sure my mom would go blind trying to use this app, but for me it’s perfect. I wish Opera would use a font that looks as good, because it adds *so much* to the screen’s real estate.”

That is an observation that I’ve made before – although I didn’t know there are official UI guidelines (btw. – why “Nokia Guidelines” – shouldn’t that read “Symbian guidelines”?): the way Series 60 apps are usually implemented limits their functionality quite a lot.

Just about every S60 app uses HUGE fonts. While I can understand the need to provide large fonts for people with reduced sight, I think something calling itself an operating system in 2004 should provide a way to select between different fonts, including smaller ones. This would show more contacts in the contacts directory and generally reduce the need for scrolling.

The contacts directory has another problem – for me, at least: when I’m looking for a name and start typing, I would never get the idea to type characters in the middle of the name, you always intuitively start typing the first characters. So, if I’m looking for a name starting with “S”, I also get all the contacts whose first name starts with an “S” – and that may be quite a few. Why is it so hard to provide an option to sort the list for either first name or last name and limit the search to one of the two? I don’t know about you, but to me that would be much easier to use.

And one more thing: why is it that Nokia phones won’t let you customize the number keypad to start programs, or at least the two softkeys? You can put the built-in programs on the two keys, but that’s about it. I’d like to put a non-Nokia calendaring app (AquaCalendar) on that key, but I can’t. Putting other shortcuts on the number keys, like bluetooth on/off or arbitrary apps, is also something that lots of phones (Siemens, for example) support.

It’s not that any of this is brain surgery – but it would certainly help make S60 much more attractive. There’s lots of potential in the platform, but the current UI hides some of this. A shame.


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  4. try smart dialer. it lets you start finding a number via both phone numbers and T9 style input for name matching.

  5. try smart dialer. it lets you start finding a number via both phone numbers and T9 style input for name matching.

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