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Gesture Oops

Someone I know got a new phone recently. It had gesture recognition capabilities. (No, I’m not going to name names. Partly because I don’t know.)

Fortunately, he was able to turn that feature off. And you’re not going to believe why he decided to do that.

Apparently, a “wave” gesture was used to end a phone call. And I’m sure that gesture was tested over and over, but only in the obvious use case: when you’re done with a call, you wave and the call ends.

Only one problem, and apparently this must not have been tested, since it’s so egregious. When a call comes in and you try to answer the call? By bringing your hand up to the screen? Yup: it sees that as a wave and ends the call before you even answered it.

This happened enough times that he gave up and turned off the feature.

Years ago, I got a PC with fingerprint security. I tried over and over to get it to read my fingerprint consistently, and it couldn’t. So I disabled that feature, fearing that I might end up locked out of my own computer. More importantly, I mentally wrote that feature off, and I’ve never tried it since. Even though it probably works a lot better now.

Short-sighted? Maybe. But heck, I’m human. And lots of people do that with new features.

So we may now have a cluster of people that are deciding that gesture recognition doesn’t work based on this goofy oops. It boggles my mind that a phone could have made it out into the wild working like that; maybe it’s something else going wrong, but it doesn’t matter. The user’s experience was that attempting to answer a call would hang the call up. Shutting off gesture recognition solved the problem.

Time to go back and review the testing scenarios…

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