>>Mobile Websites >> Confessions of a Fed-Up Blackberry User
As a Blackberry user who had the fleeting privilege of using an iPhone for work, I feel there is some wisdom to be gleaned from my pain and suffering.
Some of which might even be useful for those building mobile websites, and interested in user experience.
It’s no secret: Blackberry is not doing well. With only 16% of the smartphone market (compared with Google’s 47% and Apple’s 30%), this number continues to decrease.
It’s even been reported that Blackberry owners are less likely to score on a first date. For realsies. If this isn’t enough evidence that Blackberry is on its way out, here are a few personal gripes I have with my own “Blackberry device”:
First, I Call it My “Blackberry Device”
I feel this name connotes the awkward, bulky, stuffiness of the thing. I love refering to my phone as my “Blackberry device” when explaining to friends why my internet is so slow; why I don’t have patience to download or even find any apps whatsoever. Oh – you have location-based restaurant apps that interpret your favorite genre of music and then locate the nearest, best place to eat based on a cross-reference of your personal tastes? Well F-you. I’m never going to enjoy that luxury, as long as I have a Blackberry device.
Socially-Awkward Call Logs
It’s extremely uncomfortable using my Blackberry device for even the most basic mobile phone functions. You know – like, making phone calls?
My contacts list is one big hodgepodge of names and email addresses, assembled from two different SIM cards and I think an email account or two. I don’t even know – and it’s never been made clear to me. That’s probably due to my own laziness or ignorance – but isn’t my phone supposed to be “smart”? Meaning – it should ask me in clear and straightforward language: “Do you want contacts from [your work email] meshed in with everything else?” To which I’d probably respond yes – but at least I’d be given the option.
Also – I hate that the call log is arranged by user, not call. In other words, if person A calls you at 1:00 and 3:00, and person B calls you at 2:00, you’ll only see 2 entries. I just don’t like that. Sometimes when I’m bored I like to review my social interactions and judge myself for not connecting with people enough outside of work. I can’t easily do that with a Blackberry.
Slow and Bulky Operating System
Checking Blackberry World is a lesson in sadism. Sometimes there are new apps, but they’re always useless games or completely random garbage. You just don’t have the same Christmas-morning feeling that comes from opening the App Store or Android Market – to discover an updated version of a favorite app, delivered in seconds. Or something totally useful, offered for free and with minimum download time.
Inaccessibility of Mobile Websites and Apps
It goes without saying. Everyone with a Blackberry device knows that browsing the internet is a non-option. Other than the New York Times, it’s virtually impossible to enjoy the mobile versions of websites with a Blackberry. Shopping carts? Forget about it. Click-to-call and click-to-email just doesn’t work. I tried doing a Google search of eCommerce statistics from RIM devices – and there’s basically no information. I’m going to venture a guess that no one does any mobile shopping from a Blackberry. The temptation just isn’t there when you have to scroll, wait a few minutes, zoom in, wait, zoom out, reload, etc.
Wisdom from Suffering
1. Keep it simple
If you’re making a mobile website – keep it nice and light. Don’t burden your visitors or their old operating systems, with unecessary images or bulky media files.
2. The importance of user experience
Apple and Google have realized that the key to a satisfying mobile experience, is technology that is both sophisticated and user-friendly. The same rules should apply to mobile website design.
3. Not all smartphone users are the same
People access websites from a huge variety of devices. Just because you might have the latest Google gadget, doesn’t mean your target audience does. Bear this in mind when creating or updating a mobile website for yourself or your company, and perform tests accordingly.
I’ll be switching to an iPhone as soon as I can. Until then, I’ll continue avoiding to use my Blackberry device unless absolutely necessary. And…I probably won’t go on any first dates.