The Jolla user experience

I noticed a tweet from Sven Putze @hardcodes this morning and it seemed to highlight some of the issues I’ve recently written about.

I felt it was worth adding in my comments on his view of his experiences with the UI – supposed to be one of the key discriminators (making it “Unlike”). You can read his post here – The art of raising expectations and to fail on them.

Is it about user experience?
I’ve paid EUR 399,- for the device. A midrange price for some low edge hardware. It must be the experience!
Well, I beg to differ!
Even six months after release the software is more or less still in an alpha stage. Jolla thinks it left beta stage and has released an update almost every month so far. That’s great on one side but I’ve paid for a working product! The competition also has buggy software for sure but they would come with a basic set of features out of the box. Talking about bugs, I’ve entered “bug” into the tag search on TJC right now and had an outcome of 1213. Maybe not all of them are bugs but that’s still a big number I think.

What I really do experience using the phone is

the need for at least one reboot a week. Be it for freezing or acting strange.

I do sometime shave to reboot – usually to do with the inability of the phone to recognise the difference between mobile and wireless networks – not good if you want to sue the “sat nav” functionality!

bad readability out in the sun

couldn’t agree more – it’s worse with native apps than it is with Android apps – basic error!!

lean design favored over usability (every extra swipe, tap or whatever needed to reveal some information hidden from the user to follow some special design is headstrong and not user-friendly)

definitely agree – e.g. why not show me the day of the week in the calendar app?

misinterpreted gestures

I’ll put this down to em getting it wrong – and I still do it, loads! Closing apps when I want to go back a page.

the constant need to scroll up to reach the save button or the pulley menu is far from effortless interaction

Agree totally the pull down menu is not the most user friendly way to dot his – give me an onscreen button every time!

a browser that keeps on reloading icons and pages. Yes I know the saying: there are only two hard things in computer science: naming things, cache invalidation and off-by-one errors. But using some caching would be really appreciated. Dataplans are expensive here in Germany. Don’t reload data all the time!

I don’t actually use the native browser that much – I just don’t like it

can’t sync my address book so far
I can’t sync my calendar so far

I’ve grouped these together – this is a cardinal sin!  We’re waiting for update 6/7 and yet they haven’t already made this necessity a priority – strange way of doing things guys!!

putting the phone to my ears turns on the speaker every 5th time or so
UI stutters very often
pulling down the lock screen just a tiny bit to get information about time, battery status and network is partly hidden by either the left or right thumb

I’ve lumped these together as they aren’t an issue for me.

talking of the lock screen: what’s the purpose of this empty area anyway?

Agreed this is a complete waste of space – should have been included from day 1 – if you want to get Android users to switch then you’ve gotta realise what they already have!

the phone lost the SIM card once but I don’t have the SIM card holder problem, I am quite sure. My SIM card sticks in like concrete. There is no official statement from Jolla to the SIM card holder problem by the way
sometimes the phone gets stuck and I also had some surprising reboots. On twitter Jolla suggested to try the paper trick. But also my battery is stuck like concrete and if they have a problem with the battery / design they should simply admit and life goes on
the phone gets hot. Like really hot when doing data transfers. What happens if we get something that is worth being called a summer? Will it fail completely?
I get a large email every day and guess what? The email program freezes when I open the mail

Again these don’t really affect me, no problems with battery, nor sim.

Inconsistent use of UI elements from Jolla apps
UI often relies on hidden elements or gestures
count the steps you need to actually make a phone call. This thing is a smart phone!

I once worked with an extremely bright man (he came up with the idea for the Internet Screenfridge – in 1992!) and his view of technology was that if it meant that people had to do too many steps to achieve something they just wouldn’t use it. This is a critical problem that the design gurus at Jolla have yet to realise – before too many people just sya to hell with it I know I’m an early adopter but – I think I’ll go an try the OnePlus One – it’s cheaper, more customisable and have better hardware specs……

Over to you jolla.

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