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tararaffi
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎09-20-2010
My Device: Tour 9630
My Carrier: Sprint

Matchstick Message #1: BlackBerry Menus need to be more logically organized

[ Edited ]

For more information about my Matchstick Message mission, visit my post on the welcome forum or visit my blog. Thanks!

 

Dear RIM,


My name is Tara. I'm a student at UC Berkeley and a devoted fan of your BlackBerry phone. I've stayed with BlackBerry across two carriers, three models, and well over a dozen different pin numbers. It is because of my love of the BlackBerry that I am writing you a Matchstick Message this week, and every week until my mission has been completed. The reason for my correspondences is that there are many things about the BlackBerry that need to change in order for it to effectively compete with its increasingly user-friendly peers. I excitedly receive the news of each BlackBerry software update and hardware release, but for the most part have been repeatedly disappointed that my list of BlackBerry Flaws, which was started in the fall of 2007, has steadily grown.


What do I want you to do with my Matchstick Messages? Read them. Like a matchstick, individual ideas are mostly insignificant on their own, but have the potential to catch fire and grow into something powerful and beautiful. Hopefully one of my Matchsticks will do that for you.


With that, let's get started!



Matchstick Message #1


For my inaugural Matchstick Message, I'd like to discuss the single most poorly designed element of the BlackBerry. Menus. How were these designed to begin with? Was there a brainstorm list of things users may need to access from a menu that a coder directly incorporated into the program from the butcher paper on the wall? Each long menu seems to have no logic, no order, and no insight into what people may be looking for when they go into menus.


For example, let's explore the menu in BlackBerry Messenger, the flagship program on the phone. Here is the menu you see when the highlight is on a row under the Chat section:


Help

Find

Collapse All

Broadcast Message...

Open Chat

End Chat

Invite To Conference

View History

Send Picture

Send Voice Note

Send File

Invite Contact

Add Category

Contact Profile

My Profile

Options

Create New Group

Scan a Group Barcode

Switch Application

Close




There are two main problems.

1. The list is too long and has superfluous items

2. It is hard to find what you need



So. The list is way too long. I have characterized superfluous items into three categories:


Basic BlackBerry functions that do not need to be included in menus except for people with extremely short term memories:

Collapse All

Open Chat

End Chat

Close


Why would anybody need these things in a menu, unless they don't know the universal sign for expand/collapse list (+/-), that enter selects a message (like in every other application on any phone), that deleting a message from a list can be accomplished using the delete key (again, like every other list of messages, ever), or that to CLOSE an program, you hit the end or back key? These are just common sense, and if you feel some people need help with this, then the information should be published in an **bleep**'s Guide to Using a BlackBerry, or Any Other Phone on the Planet. Or, there could even be a universal option to enable the **bleep** Menu. But please, most of us really do not need an option to "Open Chat".


Items we may need, but rarely, and shouldn't be listed in every single application menu:

Help

Options

Switch Application


Like above, Help is an option that is used maybe when learning to use an application, and maybe once or twice more throughout the life of a phone. But why do I need to see it 10 times a day? I don't. I actually think it would be nice if there was a more robust Help function for people who know how to use the phone and want to know all the tricks and secrets, but this should be located at a single place on the phone, maybe as a free-standing program.


Options. For the first few months of my life with a BlackBerry, this really felt like a stab wound in the gut. WHY are there separate Options in every single application?? First of all, if I am setting up a phone, I want to go through all of my options at once, not stumble through every single program and tick-marking a hand written list to make sure my phone is fully customized. After that, yeah, sometimes you are in an application and want to adjust something. But its not that much more work to go to a universal Options pane in the actual Options program. It may even be faster than scrolling through the gargantuan menu list, and the pathway in my brain can be simply established: want to fix something => go to Options program.


Switch Application. There must be two types of people who use a BlackBerry. The simple type that just hit End and go to the next application manually (me), and the super-savvy type that hit "alt+back key". NOBODY will hit menu and scroll all the way to the bottom, then up one, when they need to switch applications. And if they do, you are doing them a favor by removing it.


Items that can be grouped together in sub-menus, like on other programs:

Send Picture

Send Voice Note

Send File


Its like this in the Camera program. Just make it uniform, and save space.





With all of the stupid things removed from the list, our revised menu looks like this:


Find

Broadcast Message...

Invite To Conference

View History

Send File...

Invite Contact

Add Category

Contact Profile

My Profile

Create New Group

Scan a Group Barcode



Now that the list is cut almost in half, let's look at the organization. What organization(!) you shout, in a voice tinged with hysteria? Exactly.


This list has no order, no logic, no beautiful serenity that you feel when using an Android or iPhone. I'm going to try to help by giving just one of many possible configurations that makes sense to me. I will be using two criteria when going through this or-gan-i-za-tion process: 1. How often does a user need this item, and 2. Which items make sense to be categorized together.


(daily use, first level. The profile options can be access in other ways, but its not blatantly obvious, which is why I kept them here)

My Profile

Contact Profile

View History


(daily use, second level--things that will be done after checking out the contact profile..etc)

Invite to Conference

Send File...

Broadcast Message


(Organizational tools. Used less often, but still cool to have and important)

Invite Contact

Add Category

Create New Group

Scan a Group Barcode


(Administrative tool-- nice to have in case you need it)

Find



The new, Organized Menu, looks like this:


My Profile

Contact Profile

View History

Invite to Conference

Send File...

Broadcast Message

Invite Contact

Add Category

Create New Group

Scan a Group Barcode

Find





Ta Da!


I only went through this process once, and not even for the most ridiculous of menus. For example, the menu that comes up when editing my BBM Profile includes Show Symbols (there's a dedicated keyboard button for that) and Switch Input Language (why here, of all places?). If I were to go through each poorly organized BlackBerry menu, I would have a product longer than Mein Kampf. Nobody wants that.








Sincerely,



Tara Raffi

Menu Enthusiast

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New Member
tan31
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-17-2013
My Device: bb bold
My Carrier: airtel

Re: Matchstick Message #1: BlackBerry Menus need to be more logically organized

My central key on my bb 9790 has stopped expanding groups, chats, updates etc which r collapsed. I can only do so thru the menu "expand all" . Any idea how to restore the function back to the central scroll key
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