Your experience trying to connect a Bluetooth device

21 Nov 2009 - 3:50pm
5 years ago
6 replies
480 reads
Eirik Midttun
2009

Hi list,

I'm interested in hearing thoughts about using Bluetooth devices. In
particular the part where you have just bought the thing and want to
connect/pair it with a PC or mobile phone.

Apparently this is an incredible hard thing to do for most people
(I'm a techie myself, so not really that representative):
- What is so bad about current solution?
- How could it be improved?

Anyone who have made some thoughts about this when dealing with a new
gadget? I know there is some work going on to improve it. But the
focus is mostly on the engineering part. I think that is only half of
the solution, and without the other half (User Interface) the first
one good easily be wasted effort.

- Eirik

Comments

21 Nov 2009 - 7:30pm
Stephen Holmes
2009

On my Mac I've never had any problems over the years since I go my
first Bluetooth device. The interface is pretty straight forward.
I've connected keyboards, a mouse, and my non-Apple cell phone and
headset. No problems on the computer interface side.

The only problem I've had is with my sister's mobile and Bull-ant
bluetooth hands-free system - and there the problem wasn't
interface; it was connection - no real feedback on what to expect or
how long it should normally take. No warning to make sure the phone
has a good charge before trying to pair for instance! Strong power
supply = strong bluetooth signal!

It all comes down to meeting a users expectations and if you don't
tell them what can go wrong, then there is no way for a User to be
able to act on a problem when it arrises.

It brings up another question I've often thought about - should User
Instructions have "what may NOT work" rather than how it should
work? Are Troubleshooting sections on their own enough or should they
be part of the setting-up process?

regards

Stephen Holmes

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47575

22 Nov 2009 - 5:31am
William Hudson
2009

Erik -

I've had lots of thoughts on this and wrote an article about it back in
2002:
http://www.syntagm.co.uk/design/articles/wirelesschasm.htm

Regards,

William Hudson
Syntagm Ltd
Design for Usability
UK 01235-522859
World +44-1235-522859
US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM
mailto:william.hudson at syntagm.co.uk
http://www.syntagm.co.uk
skype:williamhudsonskype

Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985).
Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road, Abingdon
OX14 2DS.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-
> bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Eirik Midttun
> Sent: 21 November 2009 1:51 PM
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Your experience trying to connect a Bluetooth
> device
>
> Hi list,
>
> I'm interested in hearing thoughts about using Bluetooth devices. In
> particular the part where you have just bought the thing and want to
> connect/pair it with a PC or mobile phone...

22 Nov 2009 - 6:04am
Eirik Midttun
2009

Thanks for link William!

"Both technologies may survive these teething problems, but I think
that there are some lessons to be learned in the standards process:
- Standards committees should include (and listen to!) members of the
HCI community.
- Concepts and terms should be tested with users. Standards
compliance should mean manufacturers including adequate user-centered
documentation with their products."

The unfortunate truth for Bluetooth seems to be that - 7 years later
- lessons are not being learned. The focus on usability seems very
low in Bluetooth SIG. There are lots of the technical requirements to
get a Bluetooth qualified product, but on usability there are none.

The usability is then left to the product companies. That will lead
to varied quality and inconsistency is close to guaranteed.

Eirik

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47575

22 Nov 2009 - 11:06am
Paul Sherman
2006

Setting up a Bluetooth device in pretty much any modern OS is so incredibly bass-ackward it's actually entertaining.

I've done it in both OS X and Windows. It's slightly easier on a Mac, mostly because Apple has managed to avoid exposing the user to the whole virtual comm port and networking adapter mess.

But the core setup process, i.e...

[Read quick start guide] OK, where is the "device discoverable" button?...Press the "device discoverable" button...Now make the computer discoverable...Quick! Pair them before discoverable mode times out!...How do I do that?...Oh, I have to enter a PIN...Is it "0000" or do I need a "real" PIN?...Where did I put the quick start manual?...Crap, it timed out! [Repeat]

...is four or five object lessons rolled into one about how not to design hardware, software, hw/sw interactions, and user assistance. Plus, bonus points for silent failures when devices disconnect after sleep/standby/hibernation.

Despite indications as early as 2003 that Bluetooth was facing a user experience problem (see http://www.wsdmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/6598/6598.html), it's clear that the designers of Bluetooth just didn't get it until it was too late. Even acknowledging that security and usability are sometimes in opposition, poor design and what appears to be little-to-no early stage usability assessment has contributed significantly to this technology's troubles.

Here's some related reading on (the travesty that is) the Bluetooth user experience:

http://www.ittc.ku.edu/publications/documents/Juola2005_TR-35580-2_Bluetooth.pdf

http://www.theunwired.net/?item=bluetooth-losing-the-manual-is-the-first-step-to-the-future

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:7PqAD44u0GsJ:www.bluetooth.com/NR/rdonlyres/B9A1DCE0-295C-43DF-87FE-D819648EB900/0/BluetoothSecureSimplePairingUsabilityMetricWhitepaper.pdf+bluetooth+unusability&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShyjkGhKU_2Hwib5q3roSdidYBXIXu9cFGmJVJKOesn6zP7XxIdDlZUDWfxMmvDSUlAeXAeQDrfGmBe03CpJj3Cdhi2iOznQYvoxOFxJDfN3zcf-vkHdtImqHE9YKiBRlDPbbUz&sig=AHIEtbTN7ao0XbPxUBBOSxVMFKwo4QmFOg

-Paul
- - - - - - -
Paul Sherman, Principal, ShermanUX
User Experience Research | Design | Strategy
paul at ShermanUX.com
www.ShermanUX.com
+1.512.917.1942
- - - - - - -

On Nov 22, 2009, at 4:04 AM, Eirik Midttun wrote:

Thanks for link William!

"Both technologies may survive these teething problems, but I think
that there are some lessons to be learned in the standards process:
- Standards committees should include (and listen to!) members of the
HCI community.
- Concepts and terms should be tested with users. Standards
compliance should mean manufacturers including adequate user-centered
documentation with their products."

The unfortunate truth for Bluetooth seems to be that - 7 years later
- lessons are not being learned. The focus on usability seems very
low in Bluetooth SIG. There are lots of the technical requirements to
get a Bluetooth qualified product, but on usability there are none.

The usability is then left to the product companies. That will lead
to varied quality and inconsistency is close to guaranteed.

Eirik

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47575

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23 Nov 2009 - 4:57am
Leon Barnard
2008

I recently tried to transfer photos that I took with my mobile phone
to my computer. It was such a pain on my PC. It seemed like the
software was designed to help me use my phone to connect my computer
to the Internet. It basically guided me through adding my phone as a
modem, which is not at all what I wanted to do. I tried it on my Mac
and the experience was much smoother, it was more centered around
connecting the devices together than creating ports and network
devices. I think it's a cardinal sin in UX to make naive assumptions
about what the user wants to do, like 'oh, you're connecting your
phone to your PC, you must want to use it to get online'. I think I
place most of the blame on the Dell Bluetooth software. Very
frustrating. Just my 2 cents.

23 Nov 2009 - 10:51am
tonyzeoli
2008

The iPhone to Mac link up is nice too, but it can troublesome if all you
want to do is charge your phone using your USB connect cable. The assumption
that you want to import and sync is a valid assumption, but not true all the
time.

On 11/23/09 5:57 AM, "Leon Barnard" <leonbarnard at gmail.com> wrote:

> I recently tried to transfer photos that I took with my mobile phone
> to my computer. It was such a pain on my PC. It seemed like the
> software was designed to help me use my phone to connect my computer
> to the Internet. It basically guided me through adding my phone as a
> modem, which is not at all what I wanted to do. I tried it on my Mac
> and the experience was much smoother, it was more centered around
> connecting the devices together than creating ports and network
> devices. I think it's a cardinal sin in UX to make naive assumptions
> about what the user wants to do, like 'oh, you're connecting your
> phone to your PC, you must want to use it to get online'. I think I
> place most of the blame on the Dell Bluetooth software. Very
> frustrating. Just my 2 cents.
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

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