After two years using and abusing my beloved HTC Desire, time came to get a phone – and this week I’ve been incredibly happy with the HTC One S. It’s a sleek, sexy phone which despite its thin nature doesn’t feel fragile. I’d 100% recommend it, but with my obsession with UI, there’s a few things that bug me.
Essentially – HTC need to know when to stop. The Sense UI, their modification of Android, has certainly been made slicker and toned down since previous versions as it came bloated. It’s great in parts, they add nice little features and elements but it doesn’t feel like it was designed with Ice Cream Sandwich in mind. They’re not ugly – I just know they’re wrong. And wrong for little good reason.
Google’s put together a fantastic set of guidelines which HTC’s designers could really do with looking at. In their own apps, they have decided to do a few weird bits with the action bar – and insist on using a look for tabs from Android a few years ago rather than ones that look nice and are consistent.
Then there’s bits of the OS they ignore. Tweaking the popup alerts for Yes/No. Using green as the accent colour on things when for the rest of the OS is blue. And replacing the quite nice new icons for system apps with ones they’ve used for several versions. Things like that make it quite awkward when you come across bits of the OS that they can’t change, namely anything involving Google.
It’s when you get to that level of tweaking – someone going “make sure we replace those icons” without good reason, “change the alert window”, you know they’re fiddling. And not in a good way. Put your effort in to making good, value-adding extras. I know hardware manufacturers need to stand out and having all ICS as standard phones might not be that but put your efforts to things that matter and actually improve it. And stop designing for Gingerbread, ffs.