UX Inconsistencies In Windows Phone 7 Mango

I’m biased when it comes to Windows Phone 7, I like it. It’s a fact. I’ve listed and written about my favorite features in Windows Phone 7 Mango and now here are some that bother me. In my first impression piece on the OS, I listed some shortcomings; in Mango, several have been fixed. However, here are some new ones.

  • Unnecessary option in the Mail toolbar:

In Mango, the search inconsistency has been fixed. (Original design had the physical search button for searching mail and the Folders icon in the toolbar.) Now, we have Select, Refresh and Search buttons. The Folders icon is gone. But, here’s the thing, we don’t need the Select button and any heavy mail user will want the folders option up front.

Tapping on the left edge of the screen (next to the mail subject) it gets selected. No need for the option in the toolbar.

  • Unnecessary Camera Settings option:

In the original release, camera settings have had an Anti-Shaking ON/OFF toggle. Having read a bit about the technology, it seems that it has to do with the shutter speed and low light. The phone cameras don’t have shutter speeds, aren’t half as powerful as dSLR cameras, so the option makes little sense. Why would I want any shaken pictures?!

In Mango, a new option was added under pictures+camera, titled: Prevent accidental camera launch when phone is locked. Here’s the thing, why would I ever want to turn this OFF?!

  • Sharing Links on Facebook:

Facebook uses the webpage meta to pull in an image, description and the title. Unfortunately, when you share a link via Windows Phone 7, none of this meta information is used. The result is an ugly looking link.

  • Obscuring indicators:

Surur over at WMPU talked about this issue and I agree with him. There is inconsistency when it comes to these indicators. In some apps a user can slide his finger on the top edge and indicators appear. Sometimes, they don’t.

  • Posting through People’s hub:

Windows Phone 7 is natively social. Sharing and consuming data from social networks is fun. (Reading through the People’s hub, notifications and posting under the Me tile.) Unfortunately, the inability to post something via the People’s hub adds steps that shouldn’t be needed: Quitting the People’s hub, starting the Me tile, posting and then going back to the People’s hub. You can however, reply/retweet from the People’s hub; this makes the inability of posting anything new, weird.

Update: Just to be clear, even if you post by clicking on your image under the contact list, you go into the Me tile and after posting YOU’RE STILL IN THE ME TILE! After posting I have to still go back to the People’s Hub to read! Either by clicking the back button and swiping right or Home -> People’s Hub -> Swipe. Unnecessary to say the least. A ‘+’ icon to add a message eliminates all this!

  • Limited access to SkyDrive folders:

SkyDrive integration in Windows Phone 7 is pretty good. But, as a Live Mesh user I can’t access the desktop folders I synced (devices.live.com). Not cool.

  • No Screenshot support:

This isn’t new but still very frustrating. Writing this article wasn’t half as much a hassle as getting the screenshots. What irks me more is Microsoft saying nobody uses/shares screenshots. I disagree. Go check homescreen.me.