A Word On User-Hostile Design: Press T to Focus

I took that pic in my last post with my Nokia E71. I’ve been really happy with this device since I started using it about six weeks ago, except for the camera. It’s been taking fairly awful pictures, even under good conditions. The first pic I took of that WSJ ad was so blurry, the text at the bottom was unreadable. The camera simply didn’t seem to be adjusting its focus at all.

I’m thinking 3.2 megapixels, autofocus, my past experience with Nokia cameraphones… something isn’t right here. So I shoot an email over to Rafe from All About Symbian, asking if he thought the pic was particularly bad for an E71. Rafe responded that he thought it was worse than the ones he usually took, and that pressing the T key on the E71 to autofocus was a bit tempermental.

Wait. T to autofocus? So I try again, hitting T this time, and as you can see, the results were much better. But T to focus? I’m sure somebody will pop up with a “RTFM” comment, fair enough. But am I so obtuse that I’m the only person to whom pressing T to make the camera focus isn’t intuitive at all? It doesn’t make sense to me. I’d simply, and wrongly, assumed that pressing the center of the D-pad to snap the image would engage the autofocus, like pressing the shutter button on my N82 and N71 (and my Sony Ericsson K750 before that, if you want to keep going back) did. Oh well, live and learn, as long as I’ve got Rafe to email.

But at the very least, I’d have appreciated a “Press T to focus” message on screen.

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