Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cell Phone Menu Traversal

When looking for my new phone, I selected the Motorola i880 because I previously owned the Motorola i760 and had a good experience with it, the reception was excellent and the phone was sturdy. This one appears to be a descendant, and it has a 2 megapixel digital camera and audio player which sound useful and fun.

While exploring the new features, I discovered that traversing the menu in the i880 phone is aggravatingly slow. Menu items with multiple choices do not provide a numbered list! This means that if I am presented a list of 20 things, and I want to choose number 13, I must arrow down 12 times instead of just typing "12". Twelve keystrokes versus two is a big deal, especially if you are performing a repetitive task. This is the kind of small but important feature that separates professional from amateur.

A good menu system should allow the user to traverse the available options with as much ease and speed as possible, meaning arrow keys, numbers, or maybe even letters (5 could be 5, or 5 could be "jkl").

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