User interface induced cognitive dissonance

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I was inspired to write this post whilst traveling into the office on the tube. If you haven’t been to London the Central Line at rush hour is pretty similar to this experience in Tokyo…

I usually treat my iPhone as a messaging device and turn off the vibration function, so that I don’t become a slave to my email. The vibration has a similar reaction to me that a baby crying has to a mother, an almost instinctive reaction to check on it.

I use a Mophie battery pack to give me a decent amount of usable phone life untethered from a charging cable. So I got on to the train and suddenly my phone started to vibrate in the pocket of my soft-shell.
iphone repeating

I eventually managed to squeeze my arm in there, pull the phone out and get into the home screen where it told me it was running under its own power and that the Mophie battery pack was no longer charging it.
I acknowledged the message, put it back in my pocket where it then kept on vibrating every two minutes to let me know exactly the same thing. I have virtually 100 per cent charge on the device so the alert so there obviously wasn’t any urgency for the message. More people got on the train and this became as annoying as having an itch that you can’t scratch.

20 minutes went by and I was thoroughly pissed, as Apple’s UI had annoyed me and reminded me how crappy the battery life is on an iPhone 3GS. Now Apple isn’t the greatest sinner on this and it isn’t a new phenomena, I know people over two decades ago who used to be enraged by the Sad Mac symbol (shown when something has gone horribly wrong with the computer on start-up for Macs prior to OSX) which they thought was making fun of their situation.

But it just goes to show how user interactions should be thought about in such a way as to not exasperate or initiate customer frustrations.