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Beauty Versus Function

Just a quick thought on where apps are and where they are headed. Everyone loves glossy looking apps. And one of the prettier things is the barrel style menu where you can flick through the columns to input information. It’s fun and pretty. But, it really is cumbersome. Think of the act of scrolling through the dollar amount of $73.86 as is shown in the picture. Using the barrel wheel you need to flick through four independent wheels. It’s really not efficient. If you opt for a keypad with ten digits (0-9) then you actually get a lot faster input. Of course, the penalty is that it looks a bit stock and boring even if it is better.

We’ve seen the iPhone swing the beauty pendulum as far as possible. At the same time, Windows Mobile has a history of swinging in the opposite direction and functionally there’s almost nothing that can’t be done on WM – you just need to dig into submenus and use a stylus to get there:) As 6.5 has been moving forward and we’re getting closer to WM7 I think WM will continue to get prettier and glossier apps. For my two cents, finger friendly is good, but given the choice between beauty and functionality I would take functionality. I want the power and speed even if it’s less of a show and I hope developers give me a powerful app that’s efficient and they can skip aesthetics that are just there for as a show piece . But that’s me – what do you guys want and which direction do you think developers should go? In other words, do you want something flashy to impress your friends or something powerful to show your boss?