Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Amazon’s square peg, round hole

This post is hardly cutting edge; a search shows people asking the same question as my mother, only three months ago. Not quite the same, my Mum’s phone call said she couldn’t find the option to switch off the radio on her Kindle; it wasn’t until after we’d hung up, having agreed to her stopping by after church because I had no idea, that I realised she meant wireless. And indeed this wasn’t a case of her forgetting how, or having lost the hand-written instructions she makes for every device, be it DVD player, iPod or this, her latest device. The wireless on/off option had disappeared. It wasn’t on the main menu, nor had it moved to the settings sub-menu.

Only of course it had. If I’d looked more closely at the blurb under ‘Airplane Mode’, which I’d briefly registered as not having seen before, or if I’d even given some thought as to what ‘Airplane Mode’ might be, I’d have realised this was the wireless option, relocated and renamed and with the on/off options therefore reversed. Presumably done with the noble intention of consistency with other products, the iPhone for example, that’s still a crap user experience.

An iPhone has several functions transmitting a signal and ironically, depending on the aircraft operator, since ‘Airplane Mode’ isn’t standard, it allows you to re-enable the Wi-Fi independently. So if Amazon is determined in its effort to be consistent, to a term that isn’t, it needs a specific option for switching the Wi-Fi on/off, in addition to its ‘Airplane Mode’ - which on my mother’s Kindle can only switch the Wi-Fi off/on. Or perhaps Amazon should concentrate on applying patterns where they fit.


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