Is it worth contacting Sony to offer design tips?

Started Feb 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
LifeIsAVerb
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Re: Is it worth contacting Sony to offer design tips?
In reply to MrTaikitso, Feb 26, 2013

MrTaikitso wrote:

lesnapanda wrote:

It's sure worth it, but what the chances are, those ideas will be implemented (and you rewarded for the effort)? Hard to say. I think the controls suck simply because of the effort to keep them simple (and hide the most functions, so that beginners don't get overwhelmed). Physical buttons for most of the settings? Sure, but a beginner will get a heart attack seeing such a camera (even if it would be a joy to most of us).

Well, most of the casual photographers I know actually own or owned cameras like the (excellent at the time) Nikon D40 - lots of buttons and fits in the hand, and produces great IQ. Most of the NEX users I see and chat with (here in the UK anyway) appear to be prosumers to pros, and chose NEX as their street camera because it offers the IQ of a larger body, but fits in the pocket.

Cameras like the popular Canon 650D and Nikon equivalent cater to the consumers here. They pick them up and know where all the controls are because they are marked. I used to watch people in Jessops, and consumers rush to the Canon/Nikon DSLRs, whilst prosumers and pros would (do!) head to Olympus/Sony/Panasonic area to handle an OM-D, NEX or GX1/GH2/3, already knowing the pros and cons of such cameras.

Just my take anyway, no pun intended.

Best of luck, Mr. T., if you try to pursue your mission of constructive feedback/influence. Corporate culture is highly variable, and whether Sony's is amenable to this would be interesting to discover.

I was doing a "live chat" (text exchange) with Sony's customer service the other day, asking something about the 5n.

As an aside, i asked if there was anywhere in the Sony Web universe where owners/users of their cameras could provide feedback, observations, or suggestions on their experience with Sony products. As an example, i mentioned that there was considerable concern about issues with the NEX menu system, and mentioned that it would be useful if, at least, there was a way to allow users to re-order the menu items in the list, putting them in some kind of order that would make it easier to find a particular function.

Rather than say yes, or no, the rep i was "talking" to said that he would forward my feedback to the product development department.

Not sure what one can take from that. On the one hand, they at least make a pretense of listening. On the other, if they really cared, it would seem like they'd have an established, institutional mechanism for user feedback (something they don't currently seem to have).

The larger issue of poor user interface (UI) functionality in industrial design isn't limited to cameras, nor is it a recent one. Television remotes were one of the earliest examples of overly complicated UIs in consumer, tech devices.

There's a great book which talks about design issues like this, called (i think) The Design of Everyday Objects. Design shortcomings seem to extend beyond electronic devices. The book mentions doors on commercial buildings. Many times, the door lacks any visual, intuitive clue to let the user whether to push or pull on the door. Doors with a grip would clearly indicate "pull," but many door simply have a raised, flat plate that can be either gripped and pulled, or pushed with a flat hand. Some doors swing both ways, but many don't, an many users end up trying to decipher how to interact with the door.

If a door is that much of a challenge, i'm not sure how soon we can expect designers to get it right with a complex, electromechanical device, but we can hope.

Good luck!

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