Friday, April 25, 2014

Make It Easy

In a New York Times technology advice column, a grandparent asks for advice on getting grandchild videos which are recorded in portrait mode to show properly since the media player they use plays it back in landscape mode. Various software options are discussed for accomplishing the task, but there is a glaring hole in this advice. The video shouldn't be recorded in portrait mode to begin with. Video is always more natural in landscape mode, so they should ask their son to rotate his phone when recording videos to begin with, but again there is a glaring hole in this advice. The fact is that it is more natural to hold phones vertically. So if it's easier to hold phones up and down but video is more natural to view in widescreen, what's the solution? The solution is for hardware and software vendors to create their cameras so they record in landscape mode even when the phone is held vertically. It would be very simple to do and reduce many of the poor quality videos that are recorded. You may not work somewhere that makes hardware or software for smartphones. But wherever you do work, there's probably a similar issue you could solve just by paying attention to the user experience and making it easier for people to use their technology better. If there's something you want people to do, the solution is simple: make it easy.