Bad Design #42 – I thought it was a “smart” phone

When I think of SMSs (Short Message Service), I think of faxes. For any millennials out there, click here, “what is a fax machine. I think of them as old technology, but solid and trustworthy. Your WhatsApp message may not get read, but it’s highly probable your SMS will. I guess this is one of the reasons it is still around, and still being used. But just because it is old, does not mean it should be neglected.

When sending phone numbers via SMS we have an issue.

This is how people normally send phone numbers. 0123 123 123. Separated with spaces for visual clarity. Visual clarity for the human on the other end. The problem though, is when the user wants to dial that number directly from the SMS they received, or add it to their contacts list. When the user wants the “machine” to do something with that “human” number, we have a problem. This happens:

 

The user clicks the “number”, but only grouped numbers are carried through to the call function. As you can see, only “0123” went through, and we know that won’t work.

We do have the option of cutting and pasting….and we all know how much fun that can be:

Once you have selected it, then copy it, then switch to your call app, then paste it, then dial it…I thought this was supposed to be a “smart” phone.

Or you can do what I do, send the phone number with no spaces, like this:

Yes, it is ugly, and yes it confuses people,

but I do this because I am making the assumption that the receiver will want to use the number, directly on the phone on which they received SMS. Therefore, by clicking the number with no spaces, the “machine” can understand the intention, and they get the correct options, like so:

But firstly, I’m having to think about it. I’m sending an SMS with a phone number, it’s not complicated, I should not have to think about the end users intentions when sending an SMS. Secondly, I am making an assumption, taking a punt basically, that’s not good. And thirdly, we are breaking our rules of communication. We all add spaces in phone numbers so that our fellow human beings can read them easily.

No spaces? No comprendo!

So yes, our “smart” phones are getting smarter and smarter everyday, but the older technology is being left behind.

I’m sure there is a moral in there somewhere.

Come on Nokia, fix it…oh…what…ohh

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