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Phone features baffling users

Advanced features adding to the problem

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Configuring mobile phones and setting up applications has become too complex for many users, a report’s concluded.

Of 4000 people questioned across the UK and US by consultancy Mformation, 85 per cent said just getting a new phone up and running is a frustrating and difficult affair.

Around 95 per cent said they would be more likely to use advanced features, such as web browsing, if the required application was easier to configure.

Matthew Bancroft, a spokesperson for Mformation, told the BBC that it should only take 15 minutes to set up a new phone. But he claimed that many folk spend an hour or more getting phones to work the way they want.

The downside is, according to Mformation, that 61 per cent of those questioned said they stop using applications if they can’t get them working straight away.

So what’s to be done? Would dumbing down instruction guides help? Should retailers be legally forced to provide 15 minutes of phone training to every new customer?

Bancroft suggested that as the processing power of phones increases, a larger proportion of talkers’ computational ability should be devoted to anticipating what users want to do and to guiding them through features.

The results of Mformation’s study mirror those of a similar report published last year, which discovered that one in five of Blighty’s mobile phone owners don’t know what most of the functions on their handsets do. ®

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