Tag Archives: Symbian UI

Debate: Symbian’s UI Consistency Is Good – The Geeks May Hate It, But The Average Joe Loves It

For the last two years, the world (?) has been going on about how the Symbian UI is old, clunky and must go. It must be written again from ground up if Symbian has to have any chance. At any rate, these rants have managed to dent Symbian’s brand name by a huge margin and affect Nokia’s fortunes adversely.

So much so that even supporters of the OS, were taken in by the storm and only a very few loyalists remain. The good thing is that even the loyalists are not fanboys per-se, but people who would like to see the OS improve and mature into a world class OS that it is. Anyway, that’s not why I am writing this post.

Debate: Symbian's UI Consistency Is Good - The Geeks May Hate It, But The Average Joe Loves It

Yesterday, I was out with friends and since they know I would probably be rocking the latest and greatest device of the time, my phone is generally passed around and comments made on it. I happened to be using the Samsung Galaxy S, a phone that I really like, I might add. I was sure they would be taken in by the huge gorgeous screen, ‘modern’ UI, the amazing size and weight and would come out impressed.

So on being asked, I immediately whipped out the Galaxy S, unlocked it and handed it over. It was back in my hands in a hardly a minute. Why you ask?

The reason was simple, he fiddled with the homescreen a little bit, tried to go into the apps and was probably thrown back by the sheer number of them I had. Ten seconds of poking here and there and his decision was made. The Galaxy S was not for him, it was simply too complicated.

For the vast majority of The Handheld Blog readers, that’s unfathomable. How could he not wrap his mind around something so easy and natural? But for a large chunk of the population that IS the case. For them the mobile is not nearly as important as it is for some of us. Its not as if they do not want Facebook, Email and apps in general, they really do, but they couldn’t be bothered spending time and energy fussing over these things. Whether we admit it or not, we’ve all seen it with friends and family.

This brings me to the debate, Symbian ^3 looks just like the old Symbian experience, but is that a bad thing after all? Lets look at it from my friend’s example. He’s looking to update from his N95 8GB which has served him well. Despite Symbian’s hidden shortcuts and folders, even he probably knows them inside out by now. The N8 comes along and he’s still at home with the UI and thus the phone. Isn’t that a win for Nokia?

Thoughts?