Mobile Usability

Published on 13 December 2004 in , ,

Back in June I got a new mobile. Unlike most of the known world, I’m not a mobile a-holic, and rarely use it. So much so that my trusty Motorola c520 had been with me since Christmas 1999. But my mum got a free pay as you go phone she didn’t need, so I took it on.

The other weekend a red phone symbol started flashing on the display. Being extremely low on credit I just assumed it was letting me know this fact although as I couldn’t find the manual anywhere, I wasn’t sure.

After finally getting the credit sorted out, I was a bit concerned as to why the flashing red phone was still there. Was there something up with my handset? After all, red and danger are closely associated, and flashing – well that just draws your attention to it doesn’t it?

It was only this evening that I realised. For some reason, Sagem had decided to use the red, flashing phone to denote voicemail. Quite why they decided this is anyone’s guess – no other icons on the phone flash or are red. All of them are in black and white, and certainly don’t blink.

Then the next triumph of good design. As you might gather, I’d never had a voicemail left on that phone – people who know me know how to get hold of me if the mobile is off. So in the six months of owning this phone, I’d never actually used Voicemail.

Which meant I was even more confused when I couldn’t actually find anywhere in the menu system a single option of ‘Call Voicemail’. My old phone had this, and so have other phones I use. Could I find it? Did that one simple option called ‘Call Voicemail’ exist? Well no. In fact I had to type in the full number to get my message. And that meant finding the number…

Still on the plus side, my new glasses are ready for collection. And have been for over a week…